Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Great Canadian Adventure--Day 1

Ah--Canada! We're in lovely Canmore right now (just outside of Banff National Park) and we've finished up our first day of sight seeing! Evan has done great considering he was up at 5:00 yesterday morning and didn't get to bed until midnight last night (Eastern time). He did well on the flights and hung in there last night while we got dinner and then got settled in the condo. He did pretty well sleeping, but we let him sleep in bed with us, which I actually love even though he ended up keeping us up most of the night. I think he might have restless leg syndrome!

Evan woke up at 5:30 this morning, just in time to have coffee with Grandpa Jerry. We all got up and got ready and caught an 8:30 tour bus to take us into Banff National Park. The adventure for Evan began as soon as we arrived at the tour's transportation center (fancy way of saying 'bus stop'). Evan likes when we sing or read The Wheels on the Bus and makes the wheel motions with his hands, so the dozens of buses pulling in and out made him really happy.

We made quite a few stops on the tour, including a ride on the Banff Gondola, which took us to the top of Sulpher Mountain.

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It is an eight-minute ride to the top of the mountain, which has an elevation of 7,486 feet. The elevation itself isn't that high (remember--we're from Utah, so we're used to high elevations), but it is basically straight up and down, so the climb and the views are impressive.

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Evan loved walking all around the boardwalk when we got to the top of the mountain. He was a wiggle worm, so it made it hard to get him to sit still for a photo.

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Our next stop was at the Cave and Basin national historic site. Some railroad workers discovered this hot spring back in the 1800s and that is what eventually led to the creation of Banff National Park. The cave and hot spring wasn't all that impressive, actually, and you can't put your hands in the water because an endangered species of snails live there now. But, it was still fun to see. There is an outdoor pool people used to be able to use and being around all that water gave Evan plenty of opportunities to show off the sign for water (at least his version of the sign--it should actually only be three fingers, like a "w", but he uses all five).

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Next stop--some water falls! Evan was a little wiggly again, but we managed to get a few photos.

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That sign for water sure came in handy!

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One of the stops on the tour was promoted as "seeing the park's hoodoos." Hoodoos are rock formations and, I suppose, since we are from Utah, we have some pretty high hoodoo standards. We got off the bus and were all looking at each other asking where the hoodoos were. After a hike, we looked out and saw the hoodoos. Or should I say, hoodoo.

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Goblin Valley in Emery County (near where I grew up) is full of THOUSANDS of hoodoos, so I guess that is more along the lines of what I was thinking. We started joking around about it and even Evan got in on the joke blowing rasperries every time we said, "You call that a hoodoo?"

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After the tour, we just relaxed! Evan has been a trooper. He has been so well behaved even though I know he is pooped. He has enjoyed flirting with all the ladies and has been blowing quite a few kisses. Several ladies have mistakingly thought his sign for water was a kiss he was blowing, but it seemed to make the so happy that we didn't explain. I think he deserves a new toy or at least some cash.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Great Canadian Adventure

Ready or not (mostly not) here we come! Tomorrow we set off on our Great Canadian Adventure to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. We're meeting my parents there and staying in their time share for a week. The bags aren't packed and I'm still pretty far from being ready, but I can't wait! My brother and sister-in-law (Duane and Maria) are going to come up and stay in our house while we're gone and take in the sights of the D.C. area. I think I'll also ask them to vacuum the floor and unload the dishwasher since I don't think I'll be able to get either done tonight! I'll post about our trip if I get a chance next week, but most likely I'll save everything until I get back.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What to Wear

I've been trying to update the look of this silly old blog, but I just can't find anything that "fits." Bryan told me today the brown I've been trying out for the past few days was a little too dark. So, today I'm trying out plain blue. I've looked through all the options at the Cutest Blog on the Block, but I swear, it is like looking through my closet and seeing lots of things hanging there but not being able to find a single thing to wear.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The "Ball" Store

Bryan, Evan and I were in Knit Happens, a cute little knitting store in Old Town, this weekend. As soon as Evan walked in and saw the countless skeins of yarn in the store, he was in heaven. There are skeins of colorful yarn floor to ceiling against every wall in the store. Most of the skeins either are or resemble balls, which Evan loves. He looked up and down and tried to grab several "balls." We couldn't stay very long because he started to get upset that we were limiting the number of "balls" he could hold. I bought a skein of a peach colored yarn to practice on. I just finished my second beginning knitting class. Let's just say, it is a lot harder than you'd think!

Monday, June 23, 2008

My $5 Find

I took Evan out for a walk this weekend and we walked past a yard sale a few streets over. I don't think I've ever actually bought anything at a yard sale, but as we were walking by, I noticed a red and yellow car with a $5 sign on it. It looked like something Evan would like, so I bought it. Well, I put it on hold, since I didn't actually have any money with me. After getting some cash from Bryan, we had the car and Evan couldn't have been happier. (Although I think Bryan was wondering what possessed me to stop at a yard sale while out on a morning walk--he was convinced once he saw how much Evan loved the car).

He played in it outside for HOURS. As the sun was going down, the mosquitos started feasting on Evan, so we had to move inside. Evan insisted we bring the car with us. So, what was an outdoor toy has become an indoor toy, which meant we had to run it through the "car wash."
We got it all cleaned up (Evan accidentally washed his own mouth out with soap when he chewed on the sponge) and it is as good as new. I'm quite pleased with my $5 find!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Evan still isn't used to the feel of the grass under his feet. We try to encourage him to walk on it, but every time he gets close, he turns around and runs!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Evan Loved His Manny

Today is Grandpa Stu's final day working as Evan's manny. The week has gone by so fast! Grandpa Stu has been a good sport and he and Evan adjusted to each other really well. I honestly was more worried about Grandpa Stu than I was about Evan! He definitely took one for the team and we appreciate him coming out to help us out while we're in the pinch we're in. Thanks, Grandpa Stu!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do As I Say Not As I Do

Bryan has a tendency to get Evan all riled up each night before bed. I always tell him he shouldn’t rough house with Evan right before bed and I usually pace back and forth a little, biting my tongue while they play for a bit. Then, I call them into Evan’s room and we start the bedtime routine, which includes playing calm music—you know, to counteract all the tickling and running around that just occurred.

Well, Bryan had to work late tonight and guess what happened??? I started rough housing with Evan and it was so much fun I could hardly stand it. I even handed Grandpa Stu the camera and he caught a little of it on video. It isn’t very good video because the lighting in our living room is terrible, but I love the sound of Evan’s laugh.

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Shhh…don’t tell Bryan. Tomorrow night I’ll probably be telling him not to get Evan all riled up right before bed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Balls, Balls, Balls

Evan is in love with balls. If it isn't square, he thinks it is a ball and he'd like to be playing with it. This makes a trip to the grocery store very interesting. Watermelons are big balls, eggs are oval balls and blueberries are small balls. Recently he got a little frustrated when he couldn't pick up the watermelon ball that was on our counter and he didn't seem to understand why I was stopping him from throwing his blueberries (by the way--they do bounce).

Breakfast is a bit of struggle each morning. I've started sneaking one egg out of the carton while leaving the rest of the eggs in the fridge. Seeing a whole dozen is just too tempting for Evan's little hands. I prefer to quickly crack the egg and get the shell thrown away before Evan sees what I am doing. This morning, he saw the egg as soon as I took it out of the fridge. He started making the sign for ball and saying, "ba..., ba..., ba..." As I do every time he sees an egg, I explain that it is an egg, not a ball, then do the same demonstration I've done dozens of times--break the egg, show him the shell, rinse the shell and let him hold it. Today he put the two halves back together and looked so pleased when he looked up at me and said, "ba..." I don't know, but I think he was probably wishing he could sign, "I told you so, mom."

He played with the shells for, oh, about five minutes before they turned into twenty or more shards of shell. He didn't seem to mind that the "ball" had broken. He kept playing with the pieces, handing them to me one at a time until we had finally disposed of the entire thing. I just hope he outgrows this phase by next Easter!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saying Goodbye

My mom was with us all last week watching Evan. She left on Saturday, and I had a hard time letting her go. Some days when I leave for work, Evan will grab on to my neck and cry and won't let me put him down. That is what I wanted to do to my mom, but since I know how much it breaks my heart when Evan does that to me, I tried to contain myself. I shed a few tears and gave her a big hug. Most days I wish Utah and Virginia were closer together. Darn geography. Evan had a wonderful week and loved being with his grandma. He didn't even seem to care when I left for work each day. He would just wave and blow me a kiss. I can't blame him though--grandma was making sure he had a lot of fun. They baked cookies, went swimming, read books and played all day. The week was filled with fun and lots of love. My mom did a wonderful job taking care of Evan and took great care of Bryan and me, too. So well, in fact, that I offered her a full-time job, but she declined. It seems my dad needs her to help take care of him, too. She is definitely in demand!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Losing the Baby Fuzz

Evan has had his first haircut! Bryan and I finally realized that Evan was beginning to develop a bit of a baby mullet, and while that look may have been acceptable a decade ago, we decided we better do something about it.

We were nervous about how Evan would take the whole situation and figured he’d be really curious about the scissors. But as soon as we walked into Cartoon Cuts, he was too interested in the TV’s to care about the haircut.

He looks great and even conned the nice ladies there out of three balloons. Bryan lamented a little about the fact that Evan's haircut cost more than his does (I didn't mention how cheap it was compared to mine).

I was a little sad about the whole thing, but I saved a lock of hair for the baby book. My little boy is growing up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

You Tube vs. Extra Sleep

We had a face off at our house last night between You Tube clips and extra sleep. You Tube won. I wanted the extra sleep, but Bryan was really eager to show me this clip of a snake regurgitating a hippo.

I don't get it, but after seeing how many people have viewed this clip, I'm certain there are teenage boys and grown men all across America oohing and aahing over just how disgusting it is.

Bryan was also excited to show me this clip of Tyler Molnar from DC 101 radio singing an "Everybody Say No" song when he was a kid. Bryan heard this song on the radio and liked it so much he e-mailed DC 101 to see where he could find an MP3.

After watching both clips I am once again reminded of how different boys and girls are!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ambition or Denial?

Quite some time ago Bryan and his mom signed up to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach on Labor Day weekend. A few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly athletic and decided I should sign up, too. I paid my entry fee and downloaded the free training guide. Day 1 suggested running for three minutes and walking for two and repeating that combination seven times. How hard could it be to run for three and walk for two? I didn't expect it to be a problem at all, until I finished the first three-minute run. Let me just add in here that I WAS pushing a stroller. Not only was I pushing a stroller, there was a 25-pound toddler in that stroller. And there was a hill. After my second three-minute run, I decided I better not try to get to the seven repetitions on my first training day. Did I mention the hill? Or the stroller? What about the toddler? He was IN the stroller. I think that was hang up. The race course is flat and no children are allowed, so I'm sure I will be fine. Don't you think? I haven't run for the past two weeks though. Being athletic is so much better in theory.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm Officially Crazy

I think I have finally lost it, and anyone in the Safeway parking lot on Saturday--including four of Annandale's finest firemen, would agree with me.

I've been trying to move Evan to one nap a day, so I thought I would be tricky and hit the grocery store during his morning "sleepy time" in order to keep him up a few hours longer.

As soon as I pulled into the Safeway parking lot, he closed his eyes. He had only been asleep for about 30 seconds by the time I parked, so I thought I could easily wake him up. I got him out of his car seat and kept talking to him, but he wouldn't open his eyes. By the time I entered the store, I conceded defeat and decided I should just take him home because obviously I couldn't shop with a sleeping toddler.

I turned around, went back to the car and put Evan in his seat. I was headed to the driver's side when I realized I didn't have my keys. "I must have put them down in the car while I put Evan in," I thought. I went back to the back door and tried to open it. Locked. I looked in and saw the keys next to Evan's car seat. I tried the front passenger door. Locked. This is when I started to get worried. I looked in my bag again to see if I had the extra set. No luck. Safeway is only a few minutes from our house, but Bryan was working in downtown D.C. on Saturday and was at least an hour away. Even if Bryan had been home, I realized I didn't have my cell phone. I looked around and there was NO ONE in the parking lot. I looked for payphones but there weren't any. Finally a lady walked by. "Ma'am," I yelled. She looked at me. "Do you have a cell phone I could use." She told me no and started to hurry away. In hingsight, this is where I lost all sense of rational thought.

I started to cry and yelled at her that I had just locked my baby in the car. My helpless little baby and it was starting to get really hot outside. She whipped out her cell phone and called 911 for me. I thanked her for helping (even though I wanted to tell her I knew she was lying when she said she didn't have a phone). I think the fire department arrived in about five minutes, but it felt like forever. By this time I was crying hysterically. HYSTERICALLY. Right as the hook-and-ladder fire truck was pulling up, a passerby noticed the commotion and came over to help. His assistance including trying to open the driver's door. THE DRIVER'S DOOR, which I hadn't tried. Guess what? The driver's door was UNLOCKED. The whole time. I have never felt like such an a** in my life. I started crying even harder. I think for a split second I actually caught myself wishing the driver's door would have been locked!

He unlocked all the doors and I grabbed Evan out just in time to apologize to the three firefighters who had jumped out of the truck and run up to my car (the driver stayed behind the wheel, but I'm sure he thought I was crazy, too). Evan was asleep the whole time, so he had no clue what was going on. I was crying my awful, ugly, heaving shoulder hard cry, which is also pretty loud. The firefighters told me not to worry and it wasn't a problem. I stood in the parking lot holding Evan for a bit and crying after everyone left. Finally Evan looked at me and started to laugh. I don't know if he thought my sobs were laughs or if he was just trying to change the subject! We eventually packed it up and went home and saved our shopping for later.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer Days

Yesterday at the pool, a three-year-old boy walked up to Evan and grabbed one of his toys. The boy's babysitter told him the toy belonged to the "baby" and he should ask if he could play with it instead of just taking it. The little boy looked at Evan. "Could I pla..." He stopped mid-sentence, looked at the babysitter like she was an idiot, then he pointed at Evan. "He can't even talk. How can he tell me if I can play with it or not?" I appreciate what the babysitter was trying to do, but I thought the kid had a good point.

Childcare Update

Just an update on the childcare situation, for those of you who are interested. The daycare we like can't guarantee us an opening until September. SEPTEMBER! The director tried to reassure me that it is ONLY a few months away. She said they might be able to take us in July. My mom (aka Grandma Roz) arrives this weekend and will stay all week. Then, Bryan's dad (aka Grandpa Stu) arrives. (That reminds me of a story Bryan told me about how when they were kids his dad reheated a casserole for dinner and left the plastic wrap on it. Bryan said he was burping Saran Wrap all night!) But, we're really happy to have the grandparents' help. It is brave of Grandpa Stu to take on this challenge. It will be nice for Evan to have lots of one-on-one time with him and with Grandma Roz. Bryan is taking off the week of June 23 and then the following week we are taking a trip, so we can get through until July. Let's just hope the daycare has an opening then. In case any of you were thinking of visiting this summer, we're trading room and board (and the use of a car) for babysitting. What do you think?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

She's Gone

The "new" nanny left this afternoon. She told me she'd keep in touch and drop me an e-mail to let me know how she is doing. I told her not to let the door hit her on the way out. I'm still a little bitter.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Lie of Omission

I have to confess. I told a lie recently. A really horrible, awful lie. It didn’t start out that way, but before I knew it I was letting someone think my brother was dead. Not just dead. Killed in a war. And I let this happen on Memorial Day of all days.

I took our new nanny (the one who QUIT this week) to see President Bush speak at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. We got there a little later than I would have liked (even though we were still two hours early). We managed to get in, but the place was packed and there were no seats. There was one glorious row completely empty. We looked around and it seemed like we could sit there. I even asked a man in uniform who was working at the event if we could sit there and he said yes, so we parked ourselves on the end of the bench. As we were sitting there, I noticed everyone in front of us had on T-shirts that said TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. People had name badges on that also said things like, “Spouse,” “Sister,” and “Son.” There were rows and rows of people ahead of us. There were two women and some kids in front of us and, for some reason, as I was looking at them, I finally saw a small reserved sign on the other end of our bench, which was still empty. Oh no. I realized that this row must be part of the section that had been saved for the group. At this point, I probably should have moved, but I didn’t. There definitely were no other seats and, besides, our row was still empty.

After about an hour, a man in an Air Force uniform walked up to us and stared chatting. As soon as I had assessed that he wasn’t going to make us move, I quickly engaged him in conversation and kept trying to chat him up thinking no one would make us move if we were talking to someone in uniform (we’d look official, right?). We had some idle conversation (I’m from Utah, he is from Alabama). Then he asked me who had served in my family. I told him my brother, because he did and still does serve in the Navy. I can’t remember his exact words, but he basically asked me where he had served. I just finished saying Iraq (which IS NOT a lie—my brother did do two tours in the Persian Gulf) when it hit me that he thought my brother was dead. My brother who is alive and well in Virginia Beach.

I didn't correct him, so I didn’t technically lie, but I think it was a lie by omission. Then he asked me if it was my first TAPS conference. I had passed the point of no return, so I said yes, but technically it was my first TAPS conference. He said, “We’re here for you,” which is the TAPS tagline. I just sort of sat there, he walked away, and I turned to the new nanny and told her I don’t typically lie like that. No wonder she quit. Apparently she didn’t appreciate the lengths I went to so SHE could see the president. I've seen him before and Evan didn't seem to care.

After we got home, I Googled TAPS and learned more about the group. After reading more about TAPS, I’m really impressed with the work they do. It is a great organization that has conferences and meetings throughout the year to help the families of those who were killed while serving in the military. Check them out at

I made a donation to help assuage my guilt. Just as a side note--no one else ever sat on our bench, so we didn’t keep any of the TAPS participants from getting a seat--I promise I would have moved if that were the case.

The entire ceremony was beautiful and a great tribute to the men and women who have served and still serve in the armed forces. It was incredibly sad to see the children and loved ones of the men and women who had been killed while serving in the military. I can't imagine the pain they feel, but I certainly hope they realize how much we appreciate the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mommy Guilt

Like most moms I know, I feel guilty from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed. Guilt for going to work, guilt for feeling tired, guilt for not wanting to change a diaper, guilt for flipping on the Wiggles so I have time to get dressed, guilt for not being more creative or for not knowing what Evan wants when he points to his hand (which he seems to think means something). You name it and I’ll feel guilty about it. Like most working moms, I work because I need to work. We live in an expensive area where even our little house cost an arm and a leg and Bryan and I both have hefty student loans. I don’t work because I love it (although I am lucky that I like my job). I don’t work because I want to be a career woman. I work to help take care of my family. Even with paying for childcare, my job helps make ends meet. Believe me. We've looked at our budget and no matter how we slice or dice it, it is what it is.

One thing that has helped assuage my guilt is that we had a great nanny who lived with us and took excellent care of Evan. We were able to hire a live-in nanny for the exact amount we would have paid for daycare, so it was a win-win situation for us. Evan loved her and she loved him. You could tell from the way he would light up the minute she walked in the room. Our first nanny stayed with us for a year and then was ready to move home and finish school, which was what we had agreed upon ahead of time.

We hired a new nanny who started with us last week and all seemed to be going well. That is, until last night after dinner. The nanny came up to chat and started off with, “I need to be totally honest with you.” I thought it was going to end with something along the lines of, “He hit his head today but he is totally fine.” Or even, “He swallowed a nickel, but he didn’t choke on it.” I don’t know what I expected, but somehow in all the things she started rambling off, I was able to finally figure out that she was quitting. After one week. I was shocked. After Evan was asleep I talked with the nanny more and the ensuing conversation made me realize she needed to leave immediately and shouldn’t be left with Evan. I don’t think she has done anything to physically harm him, but I do think she hasn’t been as attentive with him as she should have been.

So, the nanny is leaving on Thursday and this is one of those times when I really miss having family close. I’m taking vacation time for the rest of this week and will wrap up some projects while Evan is napping and after he goes down for the night. I don’t feel like it is fair to leave my boss in a bind just because I am in one. And, the hunt for new childcare is beginning again. It took us months to find this nanny. I’m sure we’ll get it all smoothed out eventually, but it is all so upsetting! My mom is coming to watch Evan next week and my father-in-law offered to come the week after that. But, clearly our parents can’t fly out every other week. Not to mention the fact that Evan is going to WEAR THEM OUT. I’ll keep you posted!

Little White Lies

I know there are loads of little white lies my mom has told me over the years, but I was reminded of one of them when I took Evan to the Prehistoric Museum in Price a few weeks ago.

The statue above is in front of the museum. I remember asking my mom what it was when I was a kid. She told me it was a mommy dinosaur carrying its baby. Looking at it now, it certainly seems like it is a large dinosaur eating a smaller dinosaur, but I think the story of the caring momma was a much nicer tale.

I loved this museum when I was little, and I wanted Evan to love it, too. He didn’t really enjoy anything about our trip and especially disliked the kids’ play area, which I thought he’d like. I did manage to snap a few photos of him with the exhibits, but we only spent about 15 minutes at the museum (after paying $5 to enter! Times change--I'm pretty sure it used to be free). We’ll try again in a few years.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Domestic Divas

Evan and I were a couple of domestic divas this weekend. We aren’t anywhere close to making Martha Stewart jealous, but we produced a batch of snickerdoodles and batch of Rice Crispy treats, made some freezer meals for a friend and had our neighbors over for dinner.

This was the first time I let Evan help bake cookies. I’ve lifted him up before so he could see the mixer swirling around, but this time I actually gave him a spoon, a few pieces of dough and some bowls.

He spent most of his time spooning the cinnamon/sugar mixture, which I used to roll the cookies in, from one bowl to another. He tried to feed Bryan a piece of dough, but Bryan quickly spit it out. I can’t say I blame him since Evan had been playing with that same dough for about thirty minutes.

The cookie playtime ended when Evan put one of the bowls on his head. I couldn't help but think this kid is going to be a lot of fun at parties when he hits college.

I wiped our counter down three times, but I think we'll be cleaning up cinnamon and sugar for a few more days. This weekend also marked the first time I let Evan help me with the dishes. My mom introduced him to this fun when we were visiting Price a few weeks ago. Evan loved splashing in the water. Needless to say, he went through several outfits over the course of the day!

So, Evan learned how to measure, stir and clean. I learned that a kitchen chair isn't necessarily the best thing to let a 15 month old stand on. He almost tipped over a few times and the sugar didn't vacuum out of the chair cushion like I thought it would, so I’ll be ordering a “Learning Tower” stool and warning our guests not to sit on the chair at the head of the table.