Monday, December 29, 2014

Ash Is Two

I know, I know... this is old news, but I have another boy, having another birthday in a little over 24 hours and even another boy, having another birthday 24 hours after that and I don't want Ash's 2 year old update to get lost in the mix.

Ash at two is spunky, goofy, stubborn and beyond empathetic.

He always notices what mood I'm in and will grab my face between his two chubby hands and ask, "Why are you crying, laughing, happy, sad, "fustated", etc.."

He might not have walked until 19 months and 1 week, but the boy has been talking our ears off all year long.  He says everything.  He picks up new words instantly and uses them correctly in sentences after that.  I forget his speaking so well is a little unusual, until other moms with kids his age comment on it.  Sometimes they worry a little about their kids, but I assure them Ash had plenty of extra learning time, since he did not so much as touch his feet to the ground for an entire year longer than their children.

If he's happy, he says "That so fun." about everything and if he's not getting his way, "You so mean."  Needless to say, I get called mean a lot.

He is in a hitting phase right now and I have repeated hundreds of times in the last few weeks-"Ash, you may not hit.  Hitting hurts.  If you are frustrated, use your words and tell River why.  If you choose to hit, you choose time out.  Understand?  Now what happens if you hit?  That's right, you go to time out.  Now what should you do instead?  That's right, tell River why you are frustrated."  Blah Argh... Let me tell you why I am frustrated.  This does not seem to be working.  Maybe after a few more hundred times???

Despite what I said about the hitting, he adores his brother.  He is on team River all the way.  If River is in trouble, he tells me "Brother is sad.  Why brother crying?  You so mean."  I love their loyalty to each other.  I love that they genuinely enjoy each others company.  I love that tears are short lived, forgiveness comes quickly and laughter abounds when they are around each other.  Ash idolizes River and wants to do whatever his brother is doing.  I love hearing him call River "Brother".  It is so sweet.  A prayer was answered when Ash was born.  Babies are not easy for me to come by and I desperately wanted River to have a friend to travel through life with.  It makes my heart happy their love for each other is so strong.

Ash gets around great now.  His awkward toddler run is to die for.  He swings his arms side to side and his hips side to side in opposite direction.  He climbed ladders before he crawled, or walked and once he got a little help from ankle braces needed to stabilize his overly flexible ankles, he was moving in no time.  (Before the braces, you could bend his feet up and back towards his legs and his feet would completely lay flat against his shins.  No wonder he was afraid to walk.  He had no stability at all.)

He loves his kitty "NO-Dull". (Noodle)  He loves laying flat on the ground beside him and putting his arm across Noodle's back.  Noodle tolerates it pretty well and no matter how many times Noodle runs away and hides, Ash's love never falters.

  He yells "AMEN" at the top of his lungs after prayers and runs around not listening when we read scriptures.  He needs to get water, or throw something away every ten meetings during Sacrament meeting and cries for a minute when I drop him off at Nursery, but always has a huge smile on his face when I pick him up.

He adores his Kindermusik class and smiles the entire time, trying to copy the sign language the instructor is doing as fast as he can.  His favorite is when they pull out the parachute, but he refuses to listen to the music and wave it gently.  There are only strong hurricane waves from this little guy.

When he turned two, he was still waking 5 times a night and nursing back to sleep.  It was a combination of his love of nursing, lack of other self soothing techniques like binkies, bottles, blankets, thumb sucking, Bear working nights, sharing a room with his brother and us living in an apartment.  Crying it out was practically impossible and he had no idea how to get back to sleep without nursing... nor was he interested in learning.  I am beyond thrilled to report that in the month since he turned two, we traveled to Colorado and used my friend Becca's spare bedrooms to sleep train him and he is now sleeping through the night, but really... who cares about him... I AM SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!  Hallelujah!  He goes to bed at 8:30 pm and wakes up between 7 and 8 am.  It's not quite as stellar as River's sleep schedule, but it is consecutive and consistent and miraculous and wonderful!

He goes to sleep with a growing army of miniature babies.  It started out with the kitten we call Kiss Kiss and he calls Kee Kee, that used to be River's.  Then grew to include the dog named Hugsy that he calls Doggy, which he acquired from Primary Children's Hospital's Surgery Day.  Then a tiny duck he named Duck Duck joined the pack in November when his friend Collin gave it to him and last to join the crew was a baby kitten he named Little Kitty (pronounce Yiddle Kee Kee) that I think he stole from Becca's daughter when we were sleep training, but I wasn't going to report him, maybe Little Kitty was our lucky charm.

He makes me laugh 100 times a day.  Once, he belched loudly at church during the closing prayer and then announced "I fah-ted!" (farted) even louder.  I laughed so hard I had to leave the chapel.  He has no shame and delights how irritated it makes River that he mixes up his bodily functions.

I love his smile.  I love the way he crinkles his nose and shows his teeth when he is really happy.  I love how much he loves his birthday and how he has told me everyday since, "It my birthday."  I love that he would stop in the middle of whatever he was doing and run to our Elf On The Shelf and say, "Hi Sparky." and that he has asked me over and over again, "Where Sparky?" since Christmas has come and gone.

There is a million things I have forgotten.  I kept promising to write them down as they happened and I failed, but this post is already too long.  I'll leave you with this- Ash Phoenix has our hearts.  He has us all wrapped around his chubby little finger.

Happy 2nd Birthday my little love!

Drops the mic and walks away...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Happy 40

Most people plan on getting married for forever. My parents were pretty sure it was going to last two weeks. It wasn't always easy and sometimes it was downright impossible, but with love and the Lord's help... they are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary today. I could not be more proud. There aren't award shows for this kind of achievement, but you get something even better. You get a wonderful life, filled with love and the miracle of seeing something you started with a simple promise, continue to grow to the eternities. Thanks for loving us, loving each other and being willing to do hard things. Sorry I don't have more pictures of you guys as young-ins, but did life really start before me? I love you both so much!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I took the boys to McDonald's.  Ash had his two year well child visit and there happens to be a McDonald's, with their unmistakable golden arches that work like homing beacons on small children, right across the street from our pediatrician's office.  After deflecting chants of Donalds, Donalds, Donalds the entire visit, I caved and we went.  Seriously, someone with more money than me, please start a chain of healthy restaurants that have a play land?  Please?

Anyway, we were having a grand o'l time-The kids rocking that play land like champs and me, quietly obsessing over how many french fries is too many french fries, when out of nowhere a little boy, slightly smaller than River, so I am guessing about four, kicked Ash right in the face.  That's right.  Out of nowhere!  Ash wasn't blocking him.  There were no toys involved.  He just happened to be the smallest kid at the play land and looked the most kickable I guess.  I  ran over to pick  Ash up, but before I could get there River let out a mighty roar!  "Don't kick my brother!!!  It hurts!!!"  His face was flushed and his fists were clenched by his sides and his whole body was shaking.  Then he just yelled, "AHHHHH!!! I AM SO MAD!"  I helped Ash up and grabbed River tight, and just let him breathe into me for a second.  The other boy fled into the arms of his very embarrassed grandmother and they quickly left.

When everyone's heart rate returned to normal, I began putting their shoes on and two moms came up to River and told him they thought he was awesome for protecting his little brother.  He shut down the way he always does when he gets a compliment.  It really embarrasses him.  Then when I tried to tell him how proud I was, he told me, "No.  Don't say that."  So I let it drop, but I just wanted to write down how proud I am of him.  He was brave and acted quickly.  He was not passive and his mighty yelp got the attention of everyone in that play land.  He could have hit that boy.  He wanted to so bad.  It took every once of impulse control he had, not too.  All the adults would have thought it pretty justified too, but he didn't.  He was assertive, not aggressive and that is a hard path to choose.  Look how many adults can't do it.  We either say nothing and complain later, or completely over react.

I am a fighter.  It's taken my whole life to calm my temper and I promise you, I would way rather hit somebody, than tell them, "Stop!  I don't like it when you do that."  When I finally learned I shouldn't be hitting, I thought my only option was too squash my feelings, walk away and complain about the unfairness of it all later, but it is not true.  Assertiveness is a skill and it can be learned like any other, but no one is teaching it.  It is hard teaching skills to your kids that you don't personally possess, but maybe, just maybe, if I keep trying to teach them, I'll finally learn something myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


You guys... they just grow up so dang fast!!! It is Ash's second birthday... aka... 730 Days SINCE I'VE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! I don't say that lightly, in a cliche' kind of way. I very literally mean Ash wakes up three to six times a night like a newborn baby! It has been hard and I'm pretty sure the ongoing exhaustion has permanently affected my intelligence, capabilities and appearance, but Ash is my ray of sunshine. 2014 has been a pretty crappy year for me. Sorry for the negativity, but it is true. Don't worry, nothing to start a Fund Me account over, it's just been one of those years you have to just get through. That being said, I wish everyone that was having a hard time had an angel like Ash to help them get through it. From the way his upper body and lower body swing to opposite sides in his awkward toddler run, to his declarations of "That So Fun!" when we do anything from crunch leaves, to blow out birthday candles for the sixth time in a row, he constantly reminds me of the source of real joy. Failures, struggles, disappointments... they all end, but Family is Forever. I am so, so, so very blessed to be his mother. Happy Birthday Ash Phoenix! You have my heart.

Photos by Melissa Sue Photography

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blue October/October Blues

I am hear to tell you-There IS crying in baseball.  I should know.  I was sobbing buckets last night.  Today I woke up feeling like I had been through a really bad break up.  My eyes were red and puffy.  My throat was hoarse and I had a heaviness in my chest that could not be lifted, in spite of my rubbing essential oils on it and adding flower essences to my water.  (I know... I'm such a hippy.)  

I had a horrible night of sleep, in part because of Ashy waking up 6 times to be nursed.  Does that even leave me any time to sleep?  And in part because of my reoccurring nightmare of Gordon rounding third base and not stopping.  He runs for home instead, but as soon as he passes third he switches into the slow-mo dream run, like he's stuck in goo and all of the giants are still going full speed and he can't go fast enough!!!!   It was the worst!

By the way, I am not capitalizing giants on purpose.  It's the little things that get me through... umm kaaay.

Much like a bad break up, you end up focusing on the end result and forgetting all the good times and there were good times... lot's of them  In fact, this post season was pretty much perfection.  I can't figure out if that makes it better, or worse.  The Royals playoff run was historic.  We were so far down in the Wild Card game that I know people were turning off their tvs and boom, magic happened.  It didn't matter, they said, because no one was getting past the angels... best team in baseball, they said and boom, magic happened.  The orioles are going to out slug us, they said.  We didn't stand a chance against their heavy hitters and boom, magic happened.

The Royals are the team of destiny.  We are the better story.  Three World Series wins in five years... yawn... is The Voice on?  First post season appearance since your World Series win 29 years ago and you sweep your way into the World Series.  You battle it out with a fierce opponent, going round after round of high highs and low lows.  Then at the bottom of the 9th inning of game seven, you are down by one run, with two outs  and facing a pitcher that no one can score off of,when boom, magic happens.  Yeah-I'd see that movie.  I'm Miss Frugal and I'd even buy that movie.  Can Hosmer play himself, because he ain't too bad to look at.  Amirite?

Anyway, it didn't happen.  Gordon got to third, not home and as much as I would have loved to see Perez hit a home run and limp around the bases for the win, after he had been nailed in the leg by a fastball earlier, he got out and that's that.  I'm supposed to say, good game giants, because it was and you guys were worthy opponents, because they were, but I'm not to that point in the break up yet, so it will have to wait.

I do have to thank my little boys for not allowing me to wallow too long.  They are such empathetic little fellows that my tears were rubbing off on them. River promised to cheer for the Chiefs, to make me feel better and said he was just pretending to cheer for the giants.  Ashy just kept saying, "I sad."   How could I teach them the more important lessons of perspective and picking yourself back up after a loss, if I caved into the disappointment I was feeling.  At the same time, I think it is okay to be honest about your feelings and passionate about your choices.  Games might just be games, but that doesn't mean they can't be important to you, so we agreed to be sad till tomorrow morning and then we would need to think about the games we won, instead of the one we lost.  Time may not heal this wound, but the memories of Blue October will stop the bleeding.

Thanks to my husband for always wearing the rally cap.  It worked wonders against the A's and I thought you had them in the 9th too babe.  Thanks to River for finally cheering for the Royals in game 6.  We won 10-0 honey.  I told you, you are the lucky charm.  Thanks to Ashy for sometimes cheering for the Royals, but mostly saying, "Go Dolphins."  You can always make smile.  Thanks to all my friends that could care less about baseball, but were cheering for the Royals because they knew it was important to me.  Thanks to all my friends that LOVE baseball and have other teams, but were cheering for the Royals, because they hate the giants and they love an underdog story.  Thanks to my family for being loyal, true blue Royals fans.  It was so fun randomly getting to meet in Wyoming to watch the Wild Card game.  I'll never forget it.  Thanks to my one friend that is a giants fan, for being a gracious winner and not rubbing it in.  It's okay Rob, because you're a Raiders fan too, so the universe has a way of balancing things out.  And finally, thanks to the 2014 Kansas City Royals.  You could not have been more fun, or inspiring to watch.  Life can be hard and a lot of good people needed a boost and you were that boost.  Lets go Royals... Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap!