Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kitty Carlisle

We will be disconnected from the net (and also our phone) tomorrow. I think we will be back online some time between Monday the 25th and Monday the 1st. If you want to get a hold of us for any reason, my cell phone number sounds like: goo-free-gate -- hero-free-hero-poor. You can look up our area code online. Do you think that's cryptic enough for strange callers who surf blogs looking for random numbers to call anonymously? :)

On Sunday, we left two doors and the garage door open while we packed and organized and sorted trash from treasure. For seven hours, Carlisle wandered in and out, though never straying more than three feet from the house. He seemed soooo happy.

Unfortunately, when we finally closed the doors for the day, we didn't see Carlisle anywhere. And we haven't seen Carlisle anywhere since Sunday night. I wanted to find a new home for him, but certainly not like this! I'm feeling too guilty to be relieved, and too worried about his welfare. It doesn't help that it rained heavily on and off yesterday and some today, and that when I put a little cat food on our back patio, none of it was touched over a 24-hour period. I haven't cried over it--yet. I suspect that if I do, I just won't stop. I already cried while packing the dishes, semi-laughing at my emotional state and nearly soaking the newspaper-wrapped plates with my quite dramatic tears. It was good for me, but I don't think I'm done yet!

Monday, May 19, 2008


I thought I would update, since my next-to-last post was rather down in the dumps and overflowing with my overwhelmed mood.

I honestly don't know how Reed feels about moving to Saint George. I ask him, and he says with enthusiasm, "Good, good, good!" But I wonder if he's just afraid to say he's sad or doesn't want to move. Or maybe he has no idea how he feels or what this all really entails. I'm of course concerned for how they'll adjust, even though they've proven themselves extremely adaptable and steel-strong time and time again. But maybe my nerves over their adjusting are really all from me, and only 2% from things they've said or done that would indicate uneasiness. Just pensive over that matter.

Savvy is feeling better! She was sick for two and a half days, and just quietly laid in my arms for much of the time. Aside from how sad it is to see a one-year-old lay still for longer than one minute, she was so feverish that she made me sweat, not to mention sweated enough to make her beautiful little curls become almost a legend unto themselves. She has these teeny tiny ones at the nape of her neck that almost make me cry, they're so cute. Anyway, she is done with vomiting, mostly done with extraordinary diaper unpleasantness, and mostly back to her normal self, aside from still having a massively hard time with teething. However, due to about eight hours a day of me holding her, and ten times of me picking her up in the night, she (of course) expects me to keep doing that. And the little quick study has figured out that if she cries as if she's in pain, I will come to her very fast. (Then once she's in my arms she stops crying immediately, smiles and says, "Hi.") Clever little doll!

Due to an amazingly motivated and patient husband, we have gotten a lot of packing done. Since Savanna was in such great need of (ONLY MY) holding, Phill got a whole lot done before I was able to lay my sweaty baby in her crib and help him out. We have the bookshelves, books, lots of clothes, dishes, three closets, and most of the kitchen packed in boxes and waiting out in the garage for fast and easy loading. (Sisters in the ward, report that to your moving-weary husbands in elders' quorum. We have them in mind. We are doing our best to make things easier in the hopes that they will not mind coming!)

Because of the packing, I have been able to sort through my clothes and get rid of the ones I haven't worn (or will not wear) for a long time. It was fun and relieving to get rid of four Wal-Mart bags stuffed to the brim with things I will not wear again. But it was really sad to look in the closet afterwards and see absolute evidence that I just rotate eight or nine shirts throughout a two-week period. It was easy to trick myself when the closet was full of even the non-wearable clothes. Come to think of it....that rotatable supply may be more like six shirts, depending on how picky I'm being about the way the clothes look on me. Sometimes four, when I'm being ridiculously self-conscious.

The clothes I got rid of, mind you, are not just "Oh, I don't like this anymore." Most of them fit in one of the following categories: this will not fit me again, this is stretched out from pregnancy, this has shrunk, this has been faded since the third time I washed it three years ago, this one truly does not flatter me and I don't know why I ever thought it did.....that sort of thing. (By the way, has anyone else fluctuated between FOUR sizes due to pregnancy, nursing, and other fluctuations of a woman's hormone levels?!)

I love clothes shopping, and I love to say that I need to. But I feel selfish when I go spend more than $10.00 on myself, so it's kind of an outing that I have to build up to, talk about with Phill, plan extensively for, and realize the extreme need for before I feel justified. (Yes, I know that's silly. The logical part of my brain is yelling that to me right now. It's just not yelling loud enough to out-shout the illogical part at the moment.) I know it's not bad to treat myself once in a while, and that there are legitimate shopping needs here. But I still clean the whole house before I go and have an extensive dinner and dessert planned, along with some good bonding time with the kids and Phill, before I go pay such close attention to myself. (And yet, I'm still finding that I have to conquer some various habit of selfishness every day. I frequently overwhelm myself with all there is to improve. One thing at a time, Self. One thing at a time!!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Things you find while packing.....

Nestled neatly between the pages of a gigantic book called Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation, this perfectly pressed bloom was put there six years ago (to the month, in fact) by Phill's sister, Melissa, who was staying with me while Phill was deployed (the first time). She put it in there, I found it a few days after she left, and so I just cried and smiled and left it there.

Why do I have a book called Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation? Because I saw it in a dumpster in Belgium--I was 15 or 16--and it was huge and heavy and olive green and too important-looking to be left in that dumpster, lifted mechanically into a big metal rectangle, and dumped somewhere into a heap of soiled diapers, rotting food, perfectly good microwaves and happy rats. It's the kind of book that would hide a lot of money if you were to cut out a section of the middle.

Though for the record, no money--just this perfect little evidence of the kind of person Melissa is. (*Love you.)

P.S.-This is a scan of the flower. Not a photo. And to be perfectly honest, I upped the saturation a little bit in Photoshop.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lost & Found

Lost: Quick access to the Pastry Pub, Breakin Wind, and established photography clients, not to mention quick traveling time to several wonderful friends I've made here in Cedar City.

One gorgeous rental home in Saint George for a K
ILLER price, a nervous stomach indicative of my myriad of worries over moving and starting anew, and heartache coupled with the knowledge that this really is the best choice.

I'm trying to buck up and be brave, but at the moment, I'm not feeling brave. Mostly worried and apprehensive and sad and stressed. I will be attending girls' camp with my young women, but this Sunday will be my last here in Cedar Meadows ward. And although I love the house we found, I'm pre-whelmed with all the stuff we need to get done to make this move happen. At times I'm so nervous I think I might throw up, and then I calm myself down and remind myself that this is, after all, a move to somewhere only 45 minutes away!

Along with all this hubbub is one very unhappy 11.5-month-old. Savanna is suffering the effects of teething worse than my boys ever did. She chews her fingers, sobs, and uses her newest (and saddest) word: "Owweeeee....." and then laments, "Mamaaaaa!!!!" with her arms outstretched. Last night she threw up at 7:30, and then again this morning at 5:00a.m. I'm inclined to think it's the teething and possibly the Infants' Motrin I gave her yesterday at 3:00p.m., because her incidents were so spaced out. She fell asleep only an hour and a half after waking up this morning, and slept for a little over an hour.

Gross and sad. I went to get her from her nap, and she had vomited again. Not so encouraging. Perhaps I'll be missing my last Sunday at church tomorrow. Eugh. Tempted to wallow in self-pity, but there are things to be done. Besides crying.

Here's a photo of our new rental, 4 bedrooms 2 baths, plenty of square feet with one massive pantry, for $150.00 more than we're paying here. (For our 3-bed 2-bath open floor plan, combined with our $400.00+ a month in gas.) For now, we'll be about even with how we're doing (financially) here. Then in June Phill has his ten-year raise, and in August we're done paying off an advance, so then I think we'll begin to see the financial benefit of moving to Saint George.
Update: Feeling a little nauseated myself, though I'm not sure if it's the condition of things right now (moving and needing to pack and make phone calls and plan) or the smell of things (ew) or the possible contagious nature of things (a stomach bug, perhaps?).

2nd Update: I don't want to sound ungrateful, because I'm not: We really have been blessed through this process. We were able to find such an awesome place only 8 miles from Phill's work, and we are blessed to be able to move now when it really is the most appropriate time. Phill's mom just visited for ten days (from England, no less), and due to her cooking every night, we have about 8 frozen meals for our next few days. The boys are healthy right now, which is a blessing, because to have all three of them sick would be much harder, and we don't have that much to pack because of my wonderfully useful de-cluttering frenzy during my pregnancy with Savvy. Aside from all my nervousness and my sadness and my stressing, we have been blessed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mama's Day

I thought that after my Young Women lesson (that was on a subject really dear to me--preparing to enter the temple) and a very inspiring and uplifting temple recommend interview, I'd be all cried out today. Not so! My awesome friend Susan has once again stirred me to (happy) tears. I am just on a roll! But she is so good to me, and the post made me feel all warm-fuzzy happy. (Read it here, if you'd like). But I couldn't read it and not respond, because whether Susan realizes it or not, she was as much help to me (or more) as I was to her.

Phill was in Iraq, Reed was three, and Jaxon wa
s still a little half-year-old baby. I was trying to forget how miserable I (often) was by finding friends who were 1) really fun to be around and 2) needed something that I could give, something that would help drive away my self-pity. So I prayed. And very shortly thereafter, Susan moved into our ward. I loved her at once! She told me stories about being a nanny in New York (how oddly glamorous and intriguing!), sat at my house with me while I cleaned and talked to her (because it is soooo much easier when you have someone to talk to), stayed with the boys while I took packages to the post office, accompanied me on trips to the grocery store (which seemed infinitely easier with her there), and had no problem with the fact that if she wanted to hang out with me, she would also be hanging out with my darling boys. (I trust people--and like them--more when they take me as I am, with all my babies in tow. After all, motherhood is pretty darn central to who I am!) So, my darling Susan, you were every bit the lifesaver that you say I was to you!! Happy Mother's Day to you!

And to all you other moms, sisters, wives out there, I'm so happy to call you my friends. I love being able to inspire and lift up one another throu
gh this infectious thing called blogging. I love that here I can be proud to be just who I am, and I especially love that motherhood is wholeheartedly commended in this particular network of friends/family I have. Here, I don't feel lonely, just supported.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008


If you were part of the "campaign" to vote for Lara's photo, I am so happy to inform you all that LARA WON!! SHE WON!! It makes me so blazingly happy to know that many of you cared so much about this to help me help someone you didn't know. (And some of you who helped her DO know her. And that's every bit as awesome.) I'm so happy for you, Lara! It just feels like a small miracle, just given the way everyone pulled together to back you up. :) And I'm not even the one who won, but it feels like my victory too, just for having been a part of it. So we all win, right?

Three cheers for Lara!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The end/beginning of an era

Today I went to pick up Reed from preschool. Since today is their last day of preschool, they were allowed to play outside for almost the entire day. He was on the swing, going extremely high and pumping his legs. His cheeks were flushed and his eyes were bright, and I stood there trying not to cry. At the beginning of the year, he was afraid to swing. I would push him ever so slightly and he would scream. He didn't know how to pump his legs and do it himself yet. And now, at the end of his preschool year, he is perfectly proficient at this wonderful art. He has overcome a fear and replaced it with progress and bravery. So I waited for a while, just trying to memorize the way he looked, perfectly happy in his hilarious pajama ensemble, blazingly proud of his ability to swing high with bravery and ease.

And all I can think is this: now that the ball has been pushed, it will keep rolling. Next year is kindergarten. Then first grade, and so on and on until he is eighteen and leaving home to go to college and go on a mission and get married and/o
r whatever else his brave heart will lead him to do. Although I'm more than happy for the progress of my children, all I wanted to do while watching him go higher and higher was stand there and keep watching. Stand there, keep watching, keep smiling at him smiling at me, and never have to say, "Okay! Time to go home." But eventually we did have to go home, and I walked him to the car while he pointed out all the interesting things he sees outside. "Look, Mom! A bird! It's singing!" When he looked at me in concern because my reply was muffled and heavy, I said, "I just have a little frog in my throat." And then I cried and smiled quietly all the five minutes home.

Oh, Reed. You are brave and smart and funny and kind! I'm so proud of you, so proud to call you mine, so honored to have the responsibility of being your mother.

Phill got these socks at the Bodies exhibit in Las Vegas. Reed took a liking to them and hasn't taken them off for longer than a night. He calls them "the bone socks". I think Phill has worn them a total of ten minutes.

This is what Reed wore to school today. You can't see his pants because he's sitting down and his pants are tucked into the bone socks. His shirt says "Got Brett?" which is a reference to Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers. Obviously Phill doesn't really fit into that shirt anymore--it was my Christmas present to him--because it shrunk so much with the first wash. So it has become some of Reed's favorite pajamas.

Reed and his sweet teachers, Jocelyn Arave and Beth Snoddy. My camera-savvy photo-accustomed child was struck with sudden shyness the moment I asked him to stand with his teachers for a photo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


It is sooooo close! If you haven't already, PLEASE go vote for Lara's photo!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Phill is 30: Let us eat cake!

Thank you to all of you who left comments in the hopes of helping me with a Black Forest cake recipe for Phill's birthday!! One of my Cedar friends called, and she happens to be an incredible baker--really incredible. So she helped me make his cake and some cupcakes for the kids. Now, when I say helped, what it really means is that I did maybe 2% of the work, while she did 98% of the work (without breaking a sweat), and then I feverishly took photos! And her husband happens to also be a photographer, and he had a lightbox, which we used to make our delectable treats look even better!! So thank you Mandy for an amazing cake that Phill (and everyone else) loved, and thank you Sam, for the use of your very effective lightbox and large kitchen window. (And lamp.)The barbecue was so much fun! We had lots of friends over and had hot dogs, hamburgers, empinadas (but not anything near as good as Abby and Eric's!), chicken, and of course, the incredible cake and cupcakes. (If anyone wants to know how to make the cake, email me or Mandy! You'll be surprised by the amount of effort that went into it.) We talked and played Rock Band and just enjoyed each other's company. I would have posted on this Saturday night, but we played Trivial Pursuit with two of our friends well into the night, so we weren't too keen on staying up any later after they left. :) Such a fun day! Thank you to everyone who came and made Phill's birthday the best. He hasn't even been home for the last three, so this was as much fun for me as it was for him, I think, to finally get to celebrate the way we'd like to.
This photo is deceiving. There was MUCH less than this left over by the end of the night. Zero pieces left. We inhaled that thing.

Smiling about (and wearing) his gift from his friend Austin, one of the basketball coaches at SUU.
I know this photo is out of focus, as are a couple of the ones in the bunch. Who cares. I had to show it--Reed is using our very patient friend, John, as his puppet--acting out Ratatouille. We have some very patient friends. :)
Mandy serving the cake. (Or at least Mandy's hand serving the cake.)
Blowing out the candles. (Which we stuck in the cupcakes, so as not to ruin the landscape of the beautiful cake.)
He's saying: "SOOOO GOOOOOD" with a mouth full of cake.
On May 2nd of 2001, Phill walked into the gym of our church in Hinesville, Georgia, and the minute I saw him, I had to know him. And although I was wearing what I thought was a very ugly princess dress--because we were practicing for the church roadshow--apparently it was in keeping with his tastes enough that he "had to know me" too! So, after inquiring of everyone around me as to who this guy was, and getting no better answer than "Phill. That's Phill.", I walked up to him when our activity was over and said, rather frustrated, "Who are you?!" He replied with his signature grin and good humor, "I'm Phill! Nice to meet you too!" And, a little sheepish, I said, "Sorry. I meant--I know you're Phill. That's all anyone will tell me. I meant, what are you doing here? Why haven't I seen you before? What do you do?" And thus the little seeds of our family were sewn. By (first) fascination and curiosity, (then) frustration and rudeness, (then) humor and interest, and (finally) love.

Happy Birthday, Phill! I'm happy you were born. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Does anyone have a yummy EASY recipe for Black Forest cake that does NOT involve kirsch (Because isn't that alcoholic? And if it isn't, where on earth do I find it?)??? Phill's bday barbecue is on Saturday and this is his favorite cake. I'd love to make it for him. By the way. If you're reading this and you know and love Phill, we've probably already called you and invited you. If not, 5:30 Saturday at our house.