“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”– Margaret Atwood

At LAST the freezing winter weather seems to be gone for the season.  And as a reward for making it through, these pear trees burst into pink bloom just for me.  Our house is all Easter’d out and there’s pastel color everywhere! 


For Spring Break the minions went to see Houdini in SF for a few days.  The day before they were supposed to fly out there with him he tried to cancel the whole thing, blaming some client.  But our amazing nanny came to our rescue and flew with the kids to Oakland and then turned around and got right back on the next flight to SLC.  She deserves a medal of honor.  I’m so grateful.


Rachel is one of the best kid helpers I’ve ever had.  When I took this 4 days a week right during dinner time teaching job I had Hush there to pick up the slack, but his schedule changed a few weeks in and now we both come home at 7.  Rachel swoops in at 1:30 T/TH and 4:30 M/W and plays with the kids, helps with homework, executes the meals I’ve set up, takes kids to lessons AND cleans our house!!  Coming home to dinner put away is a beautiful thing.  Our family adores Rachel and we will miss her terribly when the semester is over and I retire.  But if one of you need a second one of yourself (that’s how capable she is – it’s like having another me around who isn’t tired and pregnant) I can hook you up with a wonderful nanny.  We would not have been able to function this season without her.


This is what I did while the kids were gone for four days.  Worked.  Our spring breaks didn’t line up at all.  Boo.


Cubby has started playing in an indoor soccer league.  I am floored by his ability.  I’ve never been on a team in my life and I haven’t taught the kid the rules of soccer, but his first time on the field Jude took to the sport like it was his calling.  He is on top of the ball the whole time and startlingly aggressive.  I’m of the picking daisies and doing kart-wheels temperament, but Jude is intense.  The other day he face palmed a kid to the ground while chasing the ball.  The kid screamed, “You can’t do that in soccer” and Jude said, “I just did.”  He scored 3 out of 4 goals in the last game.  Where did this kid come from?  Whose child is this?


As a reward we let Jude pick the restaurant.  He LOVES “feast places” which is his term for buffet.  Man, that is a cultural experience in Utah if there ever was one.  The clientele at the Golden Corral are something to behold.  Silas does his part to make a complete slob of himself to blend in.


I have bed pride.  Since I plan to retire to my bed in two weeks to recover from reading essays I needed my bed to be spectacular and perfect for me and my hippie husband.  I call the theme Sparkle Hippie.


And here is my masterpiece getting thrashed in the daily kid wrestle event.



Want to know who else I love?  Anna Ruth.  I am so blessed to have a smart, funny cousin who lives just south of us and who has a ton of energy and likes thrift shops and fun.  We went together on my annual trip to the zoo the other day and it was blissful because our kids could all walk and we could hang out. 



Mimi and I went on a Girl’s Weekend to CA to see Pam’s fantastic DCMT show “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” starring Paige’s and Celia’s talented kids.  It was a very enjoyable albeit barfy trip. 


Speaking of barfy, I had to get my blood drawn the other day for pregnancy testing.  Jude and Silas came with me.  As soon as the needle went near my hand Jude turned white and started barfing.  I had no idea he would react that way, he just freaked out and nearly fainted! 


Here’s Jude with his lady friend Finley.  They have play dates.


And for your enjoyment, a picture of Hush wearing a crazy outfit doing a wheelie on a little pink bike.


“I Don’t Have Time for Your Silly Problems”

We have a four year old weasel living in our home.


You break the dishwasher, you wash the dishes.

Mimi has started referring to Silas as “The Little King” because he acts like a little tyrant around the house.  What’s funny is that Silas is exactly like Mimi, it’s like raising the same child twice but in different sexes.  He’s sneaky and bossy, but he’s also occasionally affectionate and usually charming.  My mother used to say that I was “making Mimi that way” because I would snicker when she was misbehaving creatively and now I find myself indulging Silas’ sneaky ways.


Silas has an opinion.

This child demands corndogs for breakfast, but I can negotiate him down to a bagel with cream cheese (also not really breakfast food).  He sees Mimi getting a capri sun in her lunch so he cajoles until I sneak him one when the other kids aren’t looking and he hides to drink it. 

Then, of course, he brags and I receive the wrath of Mimi, “We can’t have Capri Suns at home, how come the Little King gets one?” 

To which Silas replies,  “No, I got two. This is my second one.” 

Such a little turd.


The “I’m a little turd” face.

Before the reign of the Little King, Silas earned the nickname “And Me”.  Everything the other kids did he would shout “And me!  And me!”  He demands respect as an equal, to them at least.

When I nap in the morning Silas carefully tucks me in and closes the door.  Then I hear rumbling in the pantry and the TV switched on.  He’s only allowed to watch Leapfrog so that he can learn his letters.  When I ask him about letters later the only one he knows is S.  “Like SSSSSssss Silas.”

A few weeks ago I called Si upstairs because we had to leave.  His shout from downstairs?  “I don’t have time for your silly problems.”

Si’s face is preternaturally messy, though always wearing a mischievous grin because the mess is invariably from some contraband food item.  He freaks out when I cut his nails because he uses them as weapons to scratch Mimi and Jude. 

One of my favorite features of Silas is that he doesn’t give a crap.  Girl socks?  He’ll wear ‘em, no problem.  Food?  He’ll gobble it down.  Outside play time?  Sure.  Bedtime?  No protest.

But some of the most unexpected activities trigger Si’s rebelliousness.  He resigned from neighborhood preschool for no reason whatsoever.  He would throw the most epic tantrums out on the sidewalk and I didn’t have Ms. Carol or Ms. Jackie to grab him kicking and screaming as I ran away.  Last week I dragged him into primary by his arms.  He can sure bring the noise and ferocious gnashing of teeth like a little honeybadger.

One time Silas ran away.  It was the worst 20 minutes of my life.  Hush was at home and I shouted that I was leaving Si so I could go pick up Jude at school.  This was a normal regular occurrence.  When I got back Silas had disappeared.  We looked everywhere in the house and couldn’t find him.  I had to call the police.  Finally I called up to the school where I’d just been picking up Jude, thinking maybe he had climbed in the back of the car without me noticing or something.  They said a little boy had just walked in and Hush raced to go pick him up.  He had crossed four lanes of traffic by himself and walked about 1/2 mile by himself.  I can hardly talk about it it was so unbelievably terrifying.  He knows now not to leave without me, “I not leave, Mama.”

Si is particularly excited about the new baby and enjoys watching Baby Center videos of animated babies in wombs.  He talks to the baby whom he calls “Tulip” if she’s a girl and “Chocolate” if he’s a boy.  Hopefully becoming a big brother at the ripe old age of four will help Silas learn his place in the world.



Every person who calls in and reports back to me will receive a small prize from me.  $100 to the winner!!


In case you’ve forgotten what Chewie Sounds like:

Tutorial for making your best Chewbacca sound:



The No-Stretchmark Pregnancy

I’ve written about this before, about 7 years ago.  Time for a refresher course.

If you’re pregnant it’s likely that you’ve considered or contended with the dreaded stretchmarks.

I am 16 weeks into my fourth pregnancy and I don’t have any glaring stretchmarks.

Life is unfair?  Nope.   I am 100% genetically predisposed to stretchmarks.  I just got this information at the right time and I successfully avoided letting my skin get the best of me. 

Also I had good motivation:  I have thousands of dollars invested in bikinis and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let those go to waste.


Me summer 2013 with the first child that was once housed in that torso, and some chips that I was eating.  Head cut off to reduce vanity implications and because I am the consummate professional who cannot have bikini pics floating around on the internets.  Photo for scientific proof purposes only.

About 10 years ago I made the acquaintance of a female body builder who was the mother of one of my students.  She was a babe.  We were about the same size, but she showed me pictures of her in full body-building form and it was like a completely different person.  She would increase 50 lbs of muscle or more and then shrink right back down to a normal sized body.  She often wore half-shirts and tanktops to pick up her kid and I finally asked her, “How do you go from being gigantic to small and back again without a single stretchmark?  Are you just genetically blessed?”


Not my student’s parent, but looks just like her.  Could actually be her.  I dunno.

“No, I have an anti-stretchmark routine” she said.  Then she taught me and now I’m teaching you.

Here’s How I Reduced and Avoided Stretchmarks:

1.  Buy a vicious shower brush or sponge.  The texture should be firm, and most brushes I’ve found easily were not firm enough.  If the bristles bend easily it’s too soft.  Think a nail brush or the texture of a kitchen sponge with yellow on one side and green on the other.  The natural looking sponges are also effective.  The Body Shop sometimes have sufficiently firm brushes.


2.  When you’re in the shower, scrub your torso in circles as hard as you can stand.  The purpose of this is to increase circulation which brings blood to the surface of the skin and it sloughs off the outside layer.  The first circle should make your skin turn red but obviously not lacerate.  I think the technical name for this is dry brushing, but I do it wet.  I scrub anywhere on my body that might be prone to strechmarks:  tummy, sides, back, booty, hips, thighs.  If it doesn’t hurt a bit you’re not doing it hard enough or your brush is too soft.  If you follow this general pattern it increases lymph flow which may also reduce cellulite.


3.  Get out of the shower and while still damp rub the thickest lotion you can find all over your torso.  For the first few pregnancies I used body butter and shea butter and cocoa butter.  You can find these in the black girl lotion sections of most stores.  These days I’m using coconut oil and I’m not yet convinced of it’s magical powers.  I’ve also bought and used Burt’s Bees Belly Butter and anything from maternity stores. They mostly work, but not thick enough in my opinion.  Queen Helene is the best and the cheapest.


4.  Take a Vitamin-E pill daily along with your prenatal.


5.  Any time you feel that uncomfortable feeling of my skin is too tight (or itching), slap more lotion on there. 


Occasionally while you’re pregnant you’ll see tiny red stretchmarks, but those usually go away on me.  Also they make me panic and redouble my routine.  I don’t have a solution for the stretchmarks that come from nursing engorgement because dry brushing hurts too much during that phase and you probably don’t want a ton of lotion on your breasts.  However, I have seen old stretchmarks from adolescence visibly reduced using this method so even if you missed the boat, try the routine anyway and see if it doesn’t help reduce the old wear.  Most of the time I’ve been pregnant I’ve been in a considerably more humid climate and I’m worried that the dry Utah air will ruin my plan, but I’m still hopeful. 

Please let me know if you find this useful and if it works for you!


Religious acknowledgment:  Being that I’m LDS and I wear garments I have always dressed modestly.  I have a really really hard time with this and I give myself two minor rebellions against the strict dresscode to which I generally adhere:  I wear whatever I want when I swim and I wear garments selectively when I am pregnant and nursing.  Neither of these concessions are inline with the expectations of the religion, but I justify them thusly.  When I’m swimming it’s going to be immodest no matter what and one-pieces just look weird on me.  Even Mimi pointed and laughed when I tried one on once.  I just feel comfortable in bikinis and I started collecting them when I was about 15.  When I’m pregnant and nursing I feel that I’m on the Lord’s errand anyway and my body is otherwise employed.  I usually wear either the top or the bottom, but clothing is so difficult during these times we all could use a bit of a break from restrictions that make appearing in public not-naked complicated.

Also, maybe you haven’t noticed, but I do whatever I feel like doing and find my own peace.


Voyage to See the Mouse

First, the getting there.

Dear everybody who casually makes the drive from SLC to LA: You are all dirty liars. 

You led me to believe that it was no big deal.  Like 8 hours, right?

WRONG.  That horrible hideous drive was 11 hours, minimum.  Add two for stupid road construction between Vegas and St. George.

Here I was thinking SLC to Vegas was like LA to Vegas: 3 1/2 hrs, 4 on a bad weekend.  I say nay nay. That torturous drive from SLC to Vegas is like 8 hours by itself.  I left SLC at about 7pm thinking I’d reach Vegas by like 11.  Not even close.

I’ve driven SLC to SF a number of times and I can do it with kid in about 11/12 hrs.  I usually stay over somewhere.  But I’ve just assumed that Vegas was closer because surely nobody would live in such an isolated place that takes 11 hours to get anywhere.  Now I understand why there are so many LDS people here.  If you make the journey you might as well just convert because you’re not going anywhere any time soon.  Oh, and flights?  Anywhere I’ve looked costs about $400 for a weekend trip!  Multiply by kids and sorry, forget it.  We are immobile.

Thankfully, my children are seasoned and excellent travelers.  They had no issue with the length of the trip and we made it into a lovely odyssey of Americana.

We crashed in Las Vegas the first night because Hush was at a work conference there and he had a nice (free) room at the Luxor.  The only thing I’m sure he was missing was four extra people barging in at 2am.


Yogurt on the way out of Vegas.  I bet I could have convinced the kids that Vegas was just another Disneyland.  They were into it and wanted to stay.


In Baker we found a kitschy Alien Jerky place complete with an Alien display and a lot of creepy conspiracy theory.  Silas was appropriately creeped out.  Their beef jerky there is kinda gross, but it’s a fun place to stop. 

Once leaving Alien Jerky my fantastic any-time sickness kicked in and I found myself barfing into a plastic baggy WHILE I WAS DRIVING.  Oh, and when I puked it exploded INTO MY EYES.  I barfed in my own face.  Traumatizing.


After the incident we were guided by gigantic signs to Peggy Sue’s Diner.  I recommend this place.  It has tons of movie memorabilia and a fun park in the back full of dinosaurs.  It’s like going back in time sitting at the bar and the kids thought it was rad.


Barfing, driving, barfing, driving.  At least the kids were glued to their iPads watching Frozen and I had a couple of good books on tape.  And man, did we ever have good accommodations upon arrival.  Check out Val and Alina’s new house!


Down a Palm tree lined road . . .


With a white picket fence and perfectly manicured front yard


Next to a neighbor who apparently drives a Celebrity House tour van!


You’ll find a cozy bed in one of three bedrooms


With a charming (freezing cold) pool



Deep in Bear Country (read: the Valley).

Thanks Val, Alina and Piper for making us feel at home!  We will be back next month.  If I can invent some sort of Beam-Me-There technology because I ain’t never doing that stupid drive again.