4/16/14

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

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

064

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.

261

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.

224

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.

3/31/14

CHEWBACCA CONTEST!!

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

chewie

In case you’ve forgotten what Chewie Sounds like:

Tutorial for making your best Chewbacca sound:

 

3/25/14

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.

026

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?”

image

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.

imageimage

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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

417

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.

3/24/14

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.

115

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.

118120

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.

123

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.

129135

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!

220

Down a Palm tree lined road . . .

217

With a white picket fence and perfectly manicured front yard

219

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

214

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

216

With a charming (freezing cold) pool

215

AND THIS UNBELIEVABLE CLOSET.

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.

3/22/14

Ode to Disneyland RideMax

Everybody knows Disneyland is the most crowded place on earth and that it’s a huge waste of money because you stand in lines all day and ride like three rides.

Well, not anymore!

(This is going to sound like a PSA and it is.  RideMax should hire me and all of my sisters.  We are in love with RideMax.)

Go to RideMax

Apparently some company has calculated algorithms to figure out when the lines for each ride are the shortest on which days.  It costs $15 to join the website (or just use mine, email me for code) and then you pre-plan you day by selecting the rides you want to go on, what time you’re willing to arrive, when and where you want to eat, and if you need to take any nap breaks.  And then it generates a schedule for you including the wait times for each ride.

Using RideMax on a pretty standardly crowded day we were able to ride 18 rides and do a total of 31 activities.  That is miraculous.

Here is our RideMax schedule:

143_thumb

We had to arrive at 7:50am (I barfed on the way), and then we ran to the Peter Pan ride.  It was so much fun blitzing past everybody in a stampede with Silas crying behind.  It’s a total blast.  If you hit Peter Pan at exactly 8:05, as you get off you will see the line filling up as those poor schmucks line up for their day of lines.  Look at the rest of the schedule. Dumbo!  Even the wait times on there were longer than we waited, we just walked right on most rides.  Here’s proof:

136_thumb

Peter Pan.  (why are these pictures blurry?  they weren’t on my phone!)

140_thumb

Dumbo

142_thumb

Snow White.  What’s missing from Snow White?  All the other people.  We didn’t even have time in line to get adequately scared by the line d├ęcor.  We went on most of the Fantasyland rides twice, because we could.

152_thumb

This is what Toontown looks like WITH NO PEOPLE.

153_thumb

We needed another adult to get Silas and Jude on the Gadget Go-coaster at the same time, so I asked an unsuspecting stranger.  Silas grabbed her hand and off they went.

158_thumb

How long did you wait to meet Mickey so that your kid could cry just when you got there?  Yeah, we didn’t wait at all.  In fact, Mickey invited US in.

159_thumb

You may not recognize Pirates of the Caribbean because it’s empty. 

After a few hours of riding everything to our heart’s content Disneyland started to get legitly crowded.  At this time RideMax doesn’t bother sending you to wait in a 40 minute line, rather it suggests that you just chill for a while.  We used this time to have an early lunch and go to the Tangled Show (where we sat in the first row, of course). 

My sister Val showed up around this time and took the kids for more Toontown while I did my own activity:

165_thumb

Pulling a Jim in Toontown.

Later in the afternoon RideMax tells you to use the Fastpasses that you sent a runner for earlier that morning.  This got us on Star Tours, no problem (Space Mtn was closed).

Itinerary:

Peter Pan, Dumbo, Storybook boats, Mr. Toad’s, Pinocchio, Snow White, Casey Jr Train, Toontown roller coaster twice, Chip and Dale treehouse, Mickey house, Minnie house, Toontown spin cars, Pirates, ate beignets in New Orleans, Tarzan treehouse, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear, Lunch at the plaza inn, walked down Main Street, listened to Dapper Dan’s Barbershop Quartet, took the horse drawn carriage, Saw Tangled show, More toontown, napped, Roger Rabbit ride again, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Star Tours, Teacups, Dinner in the Pinocchio attached restaurant through which ELSA AND ANNA walked, Parade front row.

That’s 31 things.

At 6:30 RideMax tells you exactly where to sit for the parade so that you have the best view with shade AND seating.  (It’s by the bathrooms behind Alice in Wonderland, next to the Matterhorn.)

168_thumb172_thumb

Waiting for the parade with Auntie Photobomber

189_thumb

And this is pretty much how Disneyland was for us:  outrageously joyful.

Thanks to Celia for teaching us about RideMax.  Thanks to Val for meeting us there at just the right time.  It was the best Disney day I’ve ever had.  The weather was perfect (you could wear a light jacket and not die from heat) and my kids were the perfect age (nobody asked to be carried even once). The only things missing were Hush and our cousins.