Monday, March 12, 2018

Heart Eyes, Can't Lose

Well as it turns out I turned 41 yesterday.

I spent a chunk of the weekend holing up at B+J's cabin on a hilltop overlooking Bear Lake. Just me and CK--my favorite husband (I've had two). Basically we ate food and luxuriated in quiet living. We didn't even leave the cabin once. We just stayed in for two nights and a few days. I read a lot and CK worked a bit and we listened to a ton of chill music.

It was nice. It had a different flavor than last year when I turned 40. I spent the day on a cave-beach in Costa Rica with some of my most beloved people, drinking straight-up out of a freshly cut coconut. And when the sun started to set, everything turned a celestial gold--the water, the waves, the rocks and the sky. The entire scope of my eyes was incomprehensibly luminous and dazzling, and it was like I wasn't on this planet anymore. It was like a naturgasm. Yeah, that's what it was...a naturgasm. When nature is so unbelievable you sort of lose planetary consciousness and you land on a different dimension for a few moments.

I had one of those when I visited Spiral Jetty. And the Needles Outlook in Canyonlands. And so many others, really. I've had a lot of naturgasms. (Let me brag, yesterday was my birthday.)

But this year I needed the Cabin of Quiet because the day before was Iris' Zombie Birthday Party. Remember that event? It turned out to be probably the best birthday party we've ever hosted because it was LOW KEY. We played LOW KEY games (basically, CK and I turn into zombies and chase the kids around the Green Room) and we had LOW KEY entertainment (CK dressed up as a Mad Scientist and performed LOW KEY zombie chemistry experiments which was really just candy making) and LOW KEY cupcakes (emoji-ring cupcakes from WALMART HEART EYES HEART EYES HEART EYES) and LOW KEY decor (everything was black!) and LOW KEY costuming (old clothes and black eyeliner smeared on those little faces).

I came into motherhood at the height of kid's birthday fashion and I am telling you what--sham! Don't believe a word of it. The less preparation and money spent the better you're off. This is what 41 years of wisdom looks like. One time my friend Carina had us over for a kid's birthday party which was a plastic sheet with a hose for a "slip n slide" and some Popsicles, and the kids almost hyperventilated with happiness. You could not peel them away from that watery affair.

Anyway, Iris was glowing as an appropriate Princess Zombie (with some sign of the occult on her forehead? I didn't ask questions...) and so full of dreamy satisfaction after the party it was just the best.

But it was also loud. I mean, we had horror-themed tunes and kids screeching and zombie noises for our hours coming out of the cracked windows of our home. It was loud and it was dirty and no, I would never in my lifetime eat one of those emoji-ring WALMART cupcakes but I was so glad when the kids did happily.

So a retreat to a semi-secluded hilltop cabin with a yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting CK and I made over the course of a few days was just what I needed to thank the Universe for probably the most perfect year of being 40 I could ask for, and welcome a new year to come.

One in which I hope doesn't include the undead, in general. Oh please, please I pray.

(Unless it's just my mom dressed up as a zombie, I mean that stuff is good.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It's 1pm, Time for Writing

Oh man I really really want to write but last night the entire family got absolutely engrossed helping Anson complete the diorama for his report on the Chinook Tribe and now the table I usually write on is a disaster. I don't know how I can concentrate to write when the corner of my eye is appalled at the amount of modeling clay stuck to the Legos we attempted to use and the purple paint smeared across my new writing table top. 

I am looking at a white tiny plastic dolphin right now that did not make it into the oceanic scene we created to depict the lifestyle of the Chinook. And she's looking back at me as if to say, "Ok, so what do I do now?" And I am like, "I think I should probably put you back into the bin of tiny plastic animals, but I've made a promise to myself that today I would sit down and write."

It's really awkward.

As a family we struggle with math. Christopher and I did not pass down any genius math genomes. We own it. We say to our kids, "This is a void in our brains. We're sorry."  I think we might have one child who may be able to get by, but it's an anomaly for certain. We've had such excruciating experiences with numbers, I am now drilling math into my kids like a sergeant. Before they can ask for any favors I make them work out a math problem. "Can I have a fruit snack?" "Yes, after you solve this problem: Louis had five fruit snacks, but his silly dog ate two of them while Louis wasn't looking..." This way I can either cure my children of their fruit snack obsession, or force them to acquire math skills to have their basic human needs met. Who is the tiger mom now?


Anyway, in what we cannot achieve on math tests we make up for in humanities. The project last night was really where we shine. First, we have studied the lives of American Indians (both past and present) for years now. We like to dive deep into culture and peoples-- there isn't a museum we will pass up. We also rally behind anything creative and innovative. Last night was all hands on deck--without provocation. Anson and I started the diorama together, but by the end of the night Iris was making tiny fish baskets out of clay, Ever was designing a "tree bark" dress, Erin was doing research with Christopher for historical and present day accuracy, and I was trying not to curse out loud in the chaos and noise. Some of us are better at application of art, and others of us are idea people, (and I seem to be the irritable default project manage) but together....boy we can make one slick diorama.

And the mess that comes with it.

Which I should just clean up real quick before I start writing this post.         

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Comes In Like A Zombie

It's March. Thank Goddess.

I learned recently that although the vernal equinox is on the 21st, meteorologically (which is a word I cannot pronounce out loud) March 1st is considered the first day of spring. I always considered myself a spring baby and according to Al Roker I was a spring baby.

When the calendar turns into March it's like I've been battling a disease and I feel so much better having been cured of January and February.

One thing I am really looking forward to is watching The Academy Awards this weekend. It's the first time in my life I have seen all the nominated movies. This comes from heavy jealousy of my brother Topher who every year has seen everything and understands all the buzz and wins the office poll. This year, I am showing up prepared. I recently left my office job so I don't have any poll to win. But honestly, the Provo Mayor's Office wasn't really a place where people cared much about artsy films. No offense.

It's also Iris' birthday this month. She wants to have a zombie-themed birthday party. Ok Iris. Let me just make some invitations with illustrations of decaying humans with holes in their heads void of brains. I AM SURE ALL YOUR FRIENDS WILL WANT TO COME!

Oh heavens, you think you're going to have "normal children" but the truth is you don't. I remember Lucy calling one of her kids Weirdo So-And-So (protecting the innocent) one time and I was like, SHE IS RIGHT. You know, at the end of the day I am not fatigued because I've been with needy kids all day, I am exhausted from being with humans who don't make a lot of sense. That's what tires me out--all the confusion. "Why are you putting your hand on that hot stove?" "Why did you just leave your shoes exactly next to the shoe bin but not IN THE SHOE BIN?" "Why did you just hit her for no reason at all?" "WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO DRINK THE TUB WATER WHEN I KEEP TELLING YOU IT'S NOT OK?" "Why did you just lick that?" "Is there are reason you keep making that loud obnoxious noise?" "Why do you prefer to wear all of your clothes backward?" "Why do you keep saying Mom? Mom? Mom? when I've already answered What? What? What? a hundred times?"

Recently I had to run errands with all four kids and at the end of the excursion I texted Christopher and told him it was like being on a team with the Looney Tunes characters. Like, you get stuff done but it's full of devious buffoons, slap-happy high jinks, and cuckoo sound effects.

The Florida Project. That was probably my favorite movie from 2017. It's not even nominated. Funny enough, it's about kids and the non-nonsensical things they do when parents aren't around. Of course, it's also a little bit about the foolish things adults do too. The more things change the more things stay the same.

Except for the seasons. Thank Goddess it's March.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Two Book Reviews

A couple months ago halo-haired Ashley Thalman gave me a book called The War of Art. I put it on my night stand and looked forward to reading it--maybe when I was 72. I was just sure there was never ever going to be time to do that thing called" reading" in the foreseeable future for me.

But over Christmas (which was the best most wonderful Christmas I think I've ever known) there suddenly became space and time in my life to think and read. I picked up not The War of Art, but Essentialism and started to read it first. Essentially (if you will) that book is about pairing down your life to the simple simple simple. And while I cannot imagine a more first world problem, the book really helped me take a hard look at my life. After reading, I made a comprehensive list of what I really wanted to do in my life and at the top was writing and reading. Looking at Instagram and Facebook, while a delicious pastimes I have always enjoyed, did not make the cut.

So they had to go.

But if Essentialism shook me awake, The War of Art was the bossy parent who made me actually get out of bed and pull on my ass-kicking boots which I somehow used to kick my own ass down stairs to the den where my laptop was waiting for me like a dog at the window. If that book has one job to do it's to make you feel like a clown for even conjuring up the first part of an excuse for not doing the work you were meant to do. So I am writing more these days. Reading too.

One of the first things you learn in TWoA is that you will always always always encounter resistance when you start any endeavor and today I sat down to write and the internet instantly went down and Iris' alphabet website (that I make her do while I write--screen-time with value!) froze and I discovered a terribly painful hangnail on my middle finger and there were only VERY LARGE bandaids in the medicine drawer which were more appropriate for...I don't know...if your head was falling off your neck...and Christopher wanted to chat about our taxes because 'tis the freaking season.

But here I am writing anyway with a bandaid I fashioned to fit my middle finger (and to be honest I flipped off a group of men this morning who were all watching as I jogged my mombod past their unwanted male gazes and I grew up thinking that every time you flip someone off you will get an open sore on the very finger you used and it turns out I WAS RIGHT) and Iris' obnoxious website is blaring behind me reminding me that no more monkey's should be jumping on the bed, and Christopher has been put off until 8:15pm but here I am. 

Here I am.

But now I honestly don't know which is more "art" this post or the bandage I re-purposed out of a bandaid meant for a bleeding t-rex using pair of dull kitchen scissors. 

Either way...have a nice day.
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Monday, February 26, 2018

Lake Have The Flu

I don't know how anyone slept this weekend knowing that I would at some point post pictures of me and my family in Lake Havasu.

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As Christopher's parents Kay and Ernie have made the important life decision to become SNOWBIRDS, we've capitalized on their stellar idea, and for the last two years ditched Utah February for Hot Arizona. Not only is the warm weather a welcomed sensation on our pale skin, but the kids get fabulously spoiled by their grandparents.

Last year we spent most of our time checking out the more tourist types of stuff. You know, the London Bridge (not falling down), the hot air balloon festival, and the local beaches. But this year we ventured out a bit and saw more of the desert sandscape (did I just make that word up? If so I am super proud of it) and quieter inlets where we could hike, follow lizards and collect gold-tinged rocks and shells. The tryst of desert and lake has always resulted in my happiest times, and the Colorado River is water I recognize as home waters.

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Please know that if I post a picture of all my kids together smiling (or partially smiling, or somewhat expressionless, or at least with part of their face directed at the camera) it cost me money. Either in ice cream, or a fizzy sugar beverage, or sometimes in the most dire of circumstances...cold hard cash in their opportunistic little hands. This is why I cannot afford a more luxurious lifestyle. All of my money is drained in family photo ops. But I do it for the fame.

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Parenting hack! If they don't know you're taking the photo...IT'S FREE!

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Oh what have we here? Two parents on a beach taking selfies! It just got a little hot and sweaty on this blog! I just made your wait for these Lake Havasu photos VERY worth it.

(My mom is so grateful right now that I cropped that photo at the bottom, YOU'RE WELCOME, MOM.)

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Well, it looks like that was pretty much all the photos I had to share. God Bless America!