Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hallow-haunts the Sequel

 Last night was the annual ASDOH Boo Bash--our last one ever! It is a bittersweet thing but Elliott is only 7 months away from graduating dental school and nothing can be more sweet than that. 
Do you like our fantastically homemade costumes?!
Beckett is a lightbulb, Elliott is a plug and I'm an outlet. And yes, the plug and outlet were engineered to "plug in" (with the end result being a glo stick wearing light bulb of a baby).

Get the metaphor? 

Oh, and please take notice of Elliott's even more perfect teeth (I didn't think that was even possible for him) but the braces are off and I can't get enough of his smile. His teeth are pretty much what drew me in like brilliant white tractor beams when I first met him (that and the red hair, of course). 

 Beckett was quite the lucky boy yesterday, having the opportunity to frequent TWO bounce houses in a matter of hours. The first one (below) seemed a little too daunting so he hung out on the steps (after spending the most painful hour waiting for the bigger kids to go inside) but we nudged forced him into the second later that night and he seemed to enjoy rolling around and being bounced by the other kids. At least it seemed like an efficient way to help toddlers learn stability and balance!   

 At Claire and Lily's lovely Montessori, they held a fall festival and Beckett and I were able to come with Brianne. It was "crazy hair" day as well (in case your were so concerned about the extremely long and bending spooks coming from Beckett's head) Aside from the outdoor carnival, there was an awesome reptile presentation inside and Beckett was  able pet his first giant iguana and Burmese Python. Ahh yes, I remember the first time I pet a Burmese Python, no I really do! It was pre-tty cool. 

Elliott and I are busy planning for our upcoming trip to Colorado--our happy place--and will do nothing but embrace the snow and cold. And let's not forget Beckett's first time Trick-or-Treating on Monday. Perhaps the parent costumes will stay at home though...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Say Click, Take a Pic

 My good friend Jessica and I attended a free photography workshop in Gilbert on Saturday. The class focused on taking your camera from "auto" to "manual" settings, and I was beyond impressed at how thoughtfully they presented the techniques in an understandable and thorough way. Of course, I forgot a notebook to write tips and techniques down but never fear, I did have my camera to take a picture of the whiteboard. Special thanks to Jake Johnson and his crew for putting on this great and more than affordable class!
Jessica diligently practicing her photography skills. They said if we wanted to use the pictures of the model they provided, we had to ask her and get the rights etc. etc., but Jessica looks like a model and so I figured she would be just as photo-friendly--though I didn't ask her for the rights to use her picture. Whoops. We'll have to work out a contract later.  

In other news, Elliott and I  are soon to begin working on our homemade (it's evolved into tradition) costumes this year for the annual ATSU Boo Bash, not to mention Beckett's first time going Trick-or-Treating this year.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Elliott's "Welcome Home" cookie pie we made in my new Bosch. I did the "Welcome" and Elliott did the "Home Elliott." It was a team effort and a divine cookie in looks (clearly) and taste-- thanks to the best chocolate chip recipe on Earth (courtesy of Trevor and Brianne's dental school cookbook). Key ingredient: butter. 

Elliott just returned home Sunday night after being in North Dakota for 6 weeks on a dental rotation. It was less than exciting for me, despite the fun week spent up there in the middle of it. I was talking to my good friend from school today (who is also married) about the little things in marriage that make it everything it is for you. It's not the anniversaries, the gifts, the trips, the money made and spent. It's getting excited to cook and bake together. Watching our shows that have been filling up the DVR over the past 6 weeks because I refused to watch them alone. Making plans for after the rotation was over including family dinners out, upcoming date nights, and of course, park trips with Beckett. 

In my Tests and Measurements class that I took in July for my Master's Program, we discussed life activities that individuals with impaired IQ's would not be able to aptly perform (i.e. drive, hold a job, etc.).I, feeling slightly snarky and less inhibited since Brianne was taking the class with me shouted out, "BEING MARRIED." The professor laughed and said "No." To which I simply replied, "Well, I live my marriage every day!" He had to stop the class because he was still laughing and said, "No. Nono. But I've certainly never heard that one before!" I'm sure Brianne reallllly appreciated being associated with me that night. It was a fairly goofy and unplanned comment and I too, laughed at myself. While it certainly didn't fit into the category we were discussing in class (and I understand that all walks of life can be in happy and successful marriages), I have thought of that night several times and reaffirm to myself, "I really do live my marriage everyday." It is something Elliott and I work at constantly, and yes I know that we have "only" been married three and a half years. However, we listen to and are receptive of one another. We openly express our values, priorities and goals. We have tools that will prepare us for the road ahead, despite the unknown. Developing these tools took years and continue to benefit from evaluation refinement; What's working here. What's not.  

I often think of a comment my dad made when he was Bishop several years ago in reference to a BYU devotional given by Spencer W. Kimball , "Most any man and any woman can be happy and successful in a marriage together if they respect each other and apply the Gospel in their lives (President Kimball referred to it as, 'if both are willing to pay the price')." It is a loaded statement I know, and I have often speculated its validity. However, time and time again I have thought of it while observing the marriages of those I know as well as my own and it rings true in every aspect (though understandably, there are many who have different standards and religious beliefs, but have successful marriage and those should be valued and respected just as much). It's a perk that Elliott and I naturally click together so well, but that really is only half of it. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Farm (Part 2)

For my birthday, Elliott surprised me with a night at the Twin Oaks Resort on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Metigoshe (in addition to THIS)! I had never heard of it either. I really am a big fan of isolated beauty and hidden wonders (New Zealand??), and this place was no different. 

 Jonny, Krista, and Pam very thoughtfully took care of Beckett for the night then met us up at the lake the next day for fishing. Max was a lot of fun to watch as he patiently and intently held the pole. He even had a few promising and exciting bites, but time would not allow us to stay too long.  
Beckett wouldn't let Elliott or I stay too long either, and we decided to take him back to our room for a bath (or swim?) in the whirlpool. Funny thing about a lot of these Midwestern states: iron water. I had never heard of it either... too. Aside from the startling sight, it's not really gross but... kind of like the harshest of any hard water you've heard of or felt. It actually started to stain some of the boys' clothes with a rust color before the plumber came. That's when I learned about a fascinating little product called "Iron Out." 
 Beckett and Max in Nana's and Papa's unisex treehouse--complete with roof hatch. Couldn't get enough of the camo juxtaposed with the pink. It was certainly one of the coolest treehouses I've ever been in.
Max loving Nana's "magic pumpkin patch" courtesy of the Bottineau, North Dakota Wal Mart. Beckett is of that age where a pumpkin will still topple him over so you throw him a gourd and let him have at it, but Max is a fun glimpse into the world of boys as their world only becomes that much more exciting as they become more aware of what's going on. The past few days of cooler weather have made me think of nothing but The Farm--now if only Arizona could jump on board with some greenery. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Park Baby

Yesterday marked the first day (ever) of park-season for our house. Beckett is a busy body, as I'm sure most other little toddler boys are. He is carefree, and gets the giggles out of most anything; happiest when he has some music to dance to or some food in his mouth--really, he's an easy-to-please, Doug Heffernan kind of boy. Beckett has taken to "finding his true voice" lately. It is not yelling, shouting, saying "No," it is screaming so sharp and high pitched that only dogs should be able to hear. 

It's important to recognize your victories, big or small,  which, for me, primarily consist of keeping my "cool." After days of being worn down by THE screeching, the cool was lost. Calm "pleases" were turned into harsh imperatives. Relaxed hands were turned into clenched fists. Looking down at my son changed to leveling my face mere inches from his. All the while, my sweet toddler was giggling, not out of animosity or cruelty, but because he just loves to play and interact with most anyone in most anyway. In a single swoop it seemed as though he was out of the tub, a towel briskly wiped over his little frame, and he was put to bed; damp body, wet hair. I told him I loved him but that This, has got to stop and that I was at the end. As I walked out, I heard him blow me a kiss. 

The door was shut and I was too irritated my "157 Days Without A Freakout" counter had just zeroed out (yes, that's a made up number), that I didn't return his gesture. I stewed, I pouted, I remained frustrated, I justified: I'm pregnant, my husband has been gone for 6 weeks (yeah, true story), and quite frankly, I'm young and still in the "first-time" mom stage. I thought, absolutely those are valid, and absolutely I should cut myself some slack because I have been a stellar mother the past 6 weeks and take complete pride in it. I then thought, when the fallacies of human life take place, all too often do we justify and say "Do better next time," without correcting this time. It had been 20 minutes since Beckett had been down, and I refused to let his night be soured by a lesson I am still learning (though really, not much sours this boy). I opened his door to find his eyelids in that twilight period moments before slumber takes over. I picked him up, blanket and all, and quietly apologized before singing,  "My Favorite Things" to him in the rocking chair.

In true Beckett fashion, while resting his head on his teary-eyed, pregnant mother, he burped. Loudly. Then 2 minutes later he burped again. Then, as if knowing I wanted to make up for the kisses lost earlier, he kissed me smack on the mouth over and over again all the while repeating "MMMUAH! MMMUAH! MMMUAH!" I think I have been especially blessed to soon be surrounded by three boys in my house. They do and will always calm me, gently correct and teach me, level me, love me. Plus, it probably will take three males to balance out the hormones of this one female. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Farm (Part 1)

 First S'mores

 Getting some much needed help blowing out my candles on my Oatmeal Birthday Cake. Heaven. 
 The lawnmower ride wiped away Beckett's tears. I may have bumped his head with my bulky camera lifting him up to Elliott.
 A "Foodie" at heart. 

I had never been to Pam and Jay's farm in North Dakota and heard nothing but quaint and peaceful stories about it. The Brennan brothers have been "stationed" there for quite a while on a dental rotation (have I mentioned enough how exciting it is for Elliott (and Jonny) to finally be in his last year of dental school)?! Krista and I, along with our lot of children, were able to go visit our husbands. The weather and greenery were perfect. It's such a healthy place--well, despite a few unfortunate bouts of sickness. Though I may like to be the sort of person with one hand on the city and one on isolation, the seclusion of the farm was eye opening to realize that there are indeed places where your children can run through the fields without fear of cars, strangers, crowds, etc. (well, mind you there are a few wild animals out there), you can have campfires only feet from your front door, and you can see the night sky, clear Yes, the farm was a good visit. It was a good break. It was a full house. It was a wonderful birthday. And it was a good place to feel truly, undisturbed and quiet.

PS, did you watch Conference this past weekend? I actually found myself watching a little more than falling in and out of sleep. Maybe it helped that I didn't make orange rolls this time. I'll have to test this hypothesis in April by making orange rolls and seeing if I can't pay as good of attention. We couldn't believe it when President...Elder... Cook's name was called to speak next: go here to watch.