Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Those Magical Memories

I got myself all worked up and excited the past couple weeks over a new tradition I cooked up for my kids. It pretty much sounded like BEST DAY EVER to my 5 year old self, so I decided to start it this year with the girls so by the time they are old enough to really anticipate it they will already have warm fuzzy memories. I called it SUPER SANTA DAY. It included sleeping in (this was added on because it happened to occur today) eating a big eggy breakfast (also today's breakfast request) and then heading for the mall a couple days before Thanksgiving, before things get out of control, and see Santa. This would involve no waiting in line because it's so early and everyone is at the grocery store, plus kids are still in school. (This part will probably need to be altered as years go by, but this year--ideal.) Then we would walk on down to SANTA'S MINI-WORKSHOP aka Build-a-Bear, and each kid could pick out an animal to make and it would be incredible. Then we would make a stop at the Chick-fil-a for my favorite nuggets, and then home for naps and laundry. And then I pretty much avoid the mall until January, or later.

Of course in this fantasy my kids are darling and well-behaved and I am able to use the Santa picture for Christmas cards this year because we were sick on our scheduled family picture day a few weeks ago. They smile like angels and are grateful and sweet.
Here is the resulting Santa Picture:

Not the worst ever, but certainly not one Christmas card worthy. In fact, this is more like those pictures you see of yourself as your get older and think..."Huh. I thought I was cuter." Instead you find yourself looking perplexed and not all that intelligent, and Santa appears to be slumped to one side and ever so slightly creepy.

Santa was also not all that excited about Ella's new Tigger toothbrush she waited all morning to show him, and of course once on his lap she couldn't managed to choke out her request (an umbrella) and Ava screamed bloody murder the moment I stepped out of view. So that was fun. Luckily I'm well seasoned enough as a mom to not bend under pressure and buy the $40 picture package suitable for over the couch framing, and instead sprang for the cheap-o
"Dasher" package, as in "You will "Dash" all your children's Christmas Dreams" for $24.99. Arg. But, happily, no line.

Next on to Build-a-Bear, were I was expecting to drop a chunk of change on Childhood Magic. I had promised myself I would allow Ella to choose whatever bear she wanted, (except the ultra-luxury ones) no matter how offensive it was and even if it had peace signs on it or smelled like stickiness or was something dumb, like a stuffed vegetable or something. However I did stand in front of the stuffed Angry Birds during the choosing process. Ella chose a baby blue fluffy bear, and tried to force the pink one on her sister, but I steered Ava towards the more natural looking bears and she picked out the Midnight Bear, which would have been my fourth choice or so. So far so good.

I didn't understand that the noise maker for putting inside the bear was optional until after Ella had chosen one that sang a verse of "True Colors" so we splurged on that but Ava did not get a noise maker. They enjoyed stuffing the bears and REALLY enjoyed fluffing them in "the bath tub" where they are sprayed with air and brushed, so much so that Ella had to return 4 times to the tub and had to be carried screaming from the store after an hour. Also she chose a Buzz Lightyear costume for her bear, and after she was all dressed in it (and therefore committed to buy) she decided she needed another bath and announced she preferred her bear naked. Ava was thrilled with a striped sweater so I didn't push it. So we made birth certificates we forgot to ask for at the end, and the bears were named "Ella" and "Black Bear" and a mighty fit was thrown when they were put into boxes at the cash register, and then we left. I'm not going to share the grand total on this piece of holiday cheer because my husband reads this.

However, here is the happy at home photo of the girls with their Christmas Bears, or their bottoms anyway, to protect their identity.

Also my husband has hidden my camera, so these were taken with my iphone, aka my birthday and Christmas gift for the rest of my natural life.

Now the kids are taking little naps (we skipped the chicken in the end...boo.) and Ella is topless because she wants to be naked just like her Ella bear, and by the way, her name is now Mickey, you know, because the bear is Ella.

I can't help but think that for all the happy memories we made today, this little preschool place mat will become our treasured 2011 Thanksgiving tradition, and perhaps we should make one with Ava when she wakes up.

Ava even has a matching forehead boo-boo I could put an Ariel band-aid on. I think I will do that. Maybe Super Santa Day should be every-other-year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This is how the Holidays are making me feel. Well, the Holidays and Coke Zero, which is, for obvious reasons, zero points on weight watchers. Which is something I'm doing right now because things were getting out of control. And egg nog season had not even begun.
Also, I'm listening to Ella shout "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?" from her room and wondering why The Children would never let me sneak away to take a bath by myself but when I want them to come be with me, Ava falls into sleepy fits until I plop her in the crib and Ella locks herself in her room with the Ipad and yells "Mom" 97 times until I go make sure she isn't trapped under the mattress. And she's 3. Shouldn't I have a few more years until she locks herself in her room after dinner? Hopefully by then she won't be following me into the tub. So there is that to look forward to.
Speaking of the Ipad, I swore I would never expose my children to "Barney," and turns out she was yelling for me because she is having trouble finding "The Orange Barney" on Netflix and would like some assistance. I cannot stand the orange Barney. It involves a very offensive dinosaur named Riff with a voice worse than Babybops, if that is possible. And he plays the saxophone. Plus it is bedtime. Ella is not taking this news well.
And yet I keep typing.
Hmmm. Maybe needing to cut back on evening Coke Zero.
And blog some other time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Blue Heaven

I've debated about whether to blog about this for a couple of days but it's had such a profound effect on my brain that I'm going to share it. It's such a little thing but so ridiculously healing to me. I feel very whole.

Two nights ago I had a dream about Charlotte. I have always wanted one, and have occasionally prayed for one, but I've never had a really good one. People have told me they have had dreams seeing her running and playing and I'm like, hello, I'm her mother. Where's my dream? Well it was kind of silly and definitely had those funny nonsense dream aspects, but I want to remember it. It is somewhat religious. Which made it more special.

To start out, I dreamt I was in a run down toy store and couldn't get out. That has nothing to do with anything, but I remember that's what I was doing before the dream really started. Then I was falling in the dark, and I had the sense I was going to die and go to heaven, but that it was only for a few minutes, so I had to hurry. Suddenly I came out of the dark and it was very bright but not at all blinding, I could see perfectly and didn't have to squint. I remember thinking "well this is very heavenly light." And I liked it, which is cool because I hate sunlight.
Yep, I would prefer overcast any day of the week. Anyway, there were mountains around and rivers and clouds at ground level, and lots of people. I was running around calling "Charlotte? Charlotte!?" Then I thought maybe I should look for Jesus, but a voice said "No, just find your daughters." So then I yelled "BOOFUS?" and I saw a little toddler girl and ran up to her but it wasn't Charlotte. I knew I didn't have much time, I knew I was going to wake up. I ran up some stone stairs and there she was, wearing a pink shirt and standing with an adult I never really looked at. She looked about 8 years old. She turned and smiled and had the same little face and hair cut and put out her arms. I ran and hugged and her and squeezed her face in my hands and laughed and she laughed too. We talked for a few minutes but I don't remember what we said, it was quite casual, I think just like "oh I'm so glad I found you, I know I'm going to wake up and was afraid I wouldn't see you" and she said "I'm glad too Mom!" I asked her if she knew where Lily was and she said she was quite busy, but maybe she was over by those trees. I kissed her cheek and headed for the trees, and suddenly I was on a ledge looking out over a valley with yellow trees and lakes and a big sky above, and I heard a voice say "I'm so busy, I can't come, but the day I left earth was the most wonderful day, and I was so glad to get out of that sick little body. I will see you later!" Then....here comes the awesome nonsense dream silliness--a fleet of silver jets flew over with big University of Utah flags flying behind them, and I knew it was a gift from Lily. Pretty awesome. Then a breeze came up, and lots of yellow leaves came flying around me and I could see below Ella and Ava looking up at me (both about 8 years old as well ) and I woke up.

And believe it or not, waking up was almost the best part. I felt so calm and happy and warm and like I didn't have a care in the world. I started to realize I had to get up and go to work and it just seemed ridiculous, like such a meaningless thing to have to do. Well I did get up and went to work, but all day I had this little excited feeling about seeing Charlotte, and almost an anticipatory feeling as well, like she was so close and I would see her again. Which I believe but it has never felt so REAL, so literal. She felt so real.

And since then, and I realize it's only been a couple of days, but since then it's like I have zero sadness when I think of her. ZERO. I even made a point to linger on those memories of her right before she died, when she was so sick and didn't look like herself and was unconscious, and it's like there is no emotional hit. As if it just doesn't matter, because everything is fine now. I thought about my regrets, that we didn't get the g-tube sooner, that I didn't make her wear her hearing aides more, that I didn't work harder on her physical therapy. Nope, doesn't matter. It doesn't matter just like having my heart broken in 6th grade doesn't matter, like that bad hair cut in high school doesn't matter, like the fender bender I got into in college doesn't matter. It happened, I learned from it, but it doesn't matter anymore. It's an incredible feeling.

As for Lily, my little mysterious girl, I still feel sadness when I think of her. I still have regrets and don't want to think too long on certain moments of her life. That's okay. I'm not ready to be at perfect peace with Lily's life. But what an amazing gift, to feel free of any sorrow associated with Charlotte. Her name came up in conversation with a friend this morning and my friend said "Oh she was so amazing!" and I agreed and thought "Oh she is, she's such an amazing girl." And I felt like a proud mom, talking about a daughter away at Harvard or something. That familiar tightening in my chest didn't come, that wistful sorrowful moment after saying her name didn't come, there was nothing but happiness and pride and joy. It is incredible.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Pooh and Rex, the chosen souvenirs.

Buzz and Tiana

As you may recall we went to Disneyland a few weeks ago. Here are a few choice pics. It was delightful, as Disneyland always is. The company was perfect, the mid-day naps at our budget motel fantastic, and the Halloween Party was fun but PACKED but we did come home with a massive sack of candy which my mother enjoyed passing out on Halloween. We also got to go in to an annual pass holder party after closing time one night, which was awesome and ended with Ella running bare bummed through Tomorrowland, and how many kids can claim THAT? I don't know how we ended up becoming such Disney people but I guess there is no denying it. Hoping to make one more trip before our passes expire in March.

Once we got home, we enjoyed the rest of the Halloween season, and then I celebrated my 31st birthday on Friday. Fantastic. Yes, time is tripping along faster than I anticipated as a teenager, but that's fine with me. I worked on my birthday but on Thursday I got in a run, got a pedicure, (a real one) took the kids for bowling, got a nap, and had dinner and a movie with my husband. Which is an amazing day. Even my work day birthday included a sushi lunch and ended with pizza and taking Ella to see Puss in Boots (she learned some fiery Latin dancing). To top it off we went to a Hopekids birthday party for Lily on Saturday and did some skating, bouncing, and cake eating, and today my weight watchers (I'm baaaack!) weigh in was only two lbs up, for a week that included Halloween and multiple birthday celebrations. So not too shabby.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Things I would do with a couple more hours in the day:

Keep up my blog
Bag up all the tiny baby clothes in the house
Clean my refrigerator
Work out daily
Read my Scriptures
Give myself a pedicure
Do art projects with kids
Learn basic sewing skills, mostly so I could make things from Pinterest
De-clutterfy my house
Do a Festival of Trees test run
Plan and execute wonderful nutritious meals
Go to yoga
Read the piles of magazines building up behind the couch
Catch up on scrapbooking (which stops a month after Charlotte's death)
Try on all the jeans in my drawers and get rid of the ones that are hopeless or circa 1999

Am I slowing down or are the hours speeding up? As much as I would love to accomplish these things, I'm happy there aren't more kid-related things on there. I feel like I spend a lot of good fun quality time with my kids, which, in the end, is what matters most. To you moms who are somehow able to keep it all together, and do it all, (for example, my mother) I salute you. I may be just hanging on to sanity and hygiene, but maybe with tiny kids that's the most I should aspire to right now.