Monday, June 30, 2008


As rendered by my dear, dear friend Lou. Who drew this from a single photo on my Facebook account. That is sheer talent, my friends.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Even Uncle Kevin

Last night before going to sleep, Brad and I played a game. We were trying to see which of us could name all of the extended family members of the other person's family. Embarrassingly, we both miserably failed. But I must say that Brad did worse for two reasons: 1. He has actually met all of my extended family members and has had extensive conversations with many of them and therefore really should know most of their names, and 2. He didn't know the names of a couple of his own relatives. Seriously.

But hope is not lost for our extended family ties. Tonight as Grace and I drove home in the car, I asked her, "Grace, who loves you?" and after naming me and Daddy, she proceeded to name every member of our family. Including Uncle Kevin. Who left for Argentina before she could talk. And who she somehow recognizes in photos (although occasionally she is actually pointing to a younger, skinnier Brad).

Anyway. Family. We love you. We miss you. And you don't have to worry about Grace forgetting about you. Obviously.

Friday, June 20, 2008


While spending another entire day at the Millers, I made a routine visit to Trey's bedroom to check on the kids.

And nearly exploded in disbelieving laughter.

Trey was hanging, upside down, from his top bunk, wearing his Spiderman suit. Except for his mask. And to this Grace loudly objected.

"Trey, you're supposed to have the mask on for kissing!!"

The scene sounds too familiar to be mistaken as merely coincidental. And yet Grace has not been allowed to watch adult-ish films (including Spiderman) since her last incident.

And so I am baffled.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


There's very little to do at our house these days. Every room is empty except for the living room which contains a mattress, a couch, a two-foot high child's table, and a TV. The toys are waiting in Dallas, and our backyard has been conquered by our neighbor's cats.

So it probably shouldn't surprise me that for entertainment, my girls make messes. What else is there to do? Grace scribbles on the walls, eats handfuls of plain oatmeal (spilling tablespoonsful on the floor), and dribbles laundry detergent on the carpet (albeit in a very well-meaning attempt to help me cart the laundry out the door). Claire has coated my floors in cereal and applesauce (a result of her happy discovery that she can reach our tabletop).

Yesterday Grace was eating some chocolate cookies--remnants of our roadtrip from Dallas. She fed pieces to Claire while holding the ziploc bag. And somewhere in the middle of this feeding, I fell asleep for a much needed two minute nap.

I woke up to a suspicious sound and opened my eyes just in time to see Claire lying down, shaking chocolate cookie crumbs all over herself. And all over our bed.

She started to cry at the cookie crumbs stuffed in her eye. And while flushing her face with water, I found chocolate in the folds of her neck. And in her ears.

In a helpful effort, Grace emptied a full bag of baby wipes to scrub Claire clean. An entire bag.

And so I loaded everybody in the car and headed to Trey's house. They have a backyard. And air conditioning. And no chocolate cookies!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Grace has had a couple of accidents at her friend's house lately. She gets too busy playing, I suppose. So when she told me (in time), "I feel I need to go to the bathroom..." I helped her onto that porcelain seat and sang her praise.

"Grace, you are such a big girl! I'm so proud of you. You did a great job making it to the bathroom in time. You are great."

Her polite response: "Thanks Mom. You're a great wiper."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I made scrambled egg wraps for breakfast in honor of my daughters' Daddy. He had unfortunately picked that day as the start of a new diet (a diet which somehow restricted the intake of eggs, but not of the candy bar handouts at church).

So, we had leftovers. Which I thought I would try out on Claire.

I might as well have given her a pony.

Uh-oh... Nope, still good.
"Claire, the floor is yucky. We don't eat things from the floor."
Wanna bet?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Every Night's a Sleep Over

The living room is the only part of our house that is air conditioned. And with temperatures hitting the hundreds, and most of the furniture out of the house anyway, we are camping out in the living room.

Rolling into people in the middle of the night is at least more comfortable than frying in bed, I assure you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flash Back

So I will now publicly release our found honeymoon photos. I know you're excited.

This B&B was not originally on our itinerary. We started our Washington honeymoon at a downtown Seattle hotel. But we had noisy neighbors. And the walls were paper-thin. And being in the city was chaotic. So we drove out to Port Townsend for some quiet. (Can you get over how young Brad looks?)
I loved the place. It was quaint. Breakfast included four courses. And we ate with other guests. Breakfast in this B&B was Brad's least favorite part of our honeymoon for the following reasons: 1. Gourmet food (Brad does not like it and will not eat it), and 2. Casual conversation with complete strangers. These happen to be the very same reasons that I loved breakfast.

This is the basement of the B&B. We played pool, laughed hysterically while watching Foul Play (okay, so only I laughed hysterically; Brad just laughed at me laughing), and got in our first married fight over the rules to Scrabble. Yes, Scrabble. Brad insisted that I was inventing new rules, and so I pulled out the official rulebook. I might be obsessively competitive.

I don't know why Brad took this picture. All I can say is that for a while, in the early parts of our marriage, Brad would take random photos of me in an effort to make me believe in my prettiness. Eventually he stopped because all he ended up proving is that I am the least photogenic person who ever lived. (He does, however, still tell me every single day how beautiful he thinks I am. Well, except for the last four days since we haven't talked at all because of Scout Camp. Still, I feel pretty lucky.)
The next day we met my family at Jack and Tanya Kendrick's for the Open House.

Oh, those carefree months of childlessness. All ten of them.

After All

So Brad and I did not actually remember our fourth anniversary by ourselves.

But it seems that our anniversary would not go uncelebrated. It only gets one day a year, after all. It must have felt cheated. It demanded our memory.

And so it happened that while packing up, getting ready to move, we found a camera. An old one. The film kind. I know. Ancient.

In the camera, we found partially used film. Intrigued, my Brad went to Walmart and bought an antiquated, short, fat camera battery (for a whopping $9), and turned in the film.

One hour later we returned, excited [do you remember the anticipation of going to pick up pictures at the store not quite sure of what you'd find? Try. Try to remember], to retreive our envelope of pictures.

We opened it to discover our long lost honeymoon photos.

Can you believe it?

Monday, June 9, 2008


My parents have this great pond behind their house. The girls were being rowdy, so I took them on a little walk with my Mom and we grabbed the camera. We had a blast.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Adjectives: Use With Care

Grace was coming down the stairs at my mom's house on her tummy, head first. Neglecting the potential danger she was in (I am such a great mom), I laughed and said, "Grace, you are the silliest!"

She was visibly offended. Or at least, she would have been visibly offended had her face not been buried in carpet. "Mom, I am not the silliest. I'm the greatest!!"

Apparently silly has a negative connotation at our house.


Moving Day

First of all, people love us. We are so lucky to be living in a place full of members of the Church who take care of each other and serve. We have never felt so loved in a ward before. We will miss it.

On packing day, we didn't ask anybody to come. In fact, we had just mentioned in passing that we would be packing up that day, and people just came. Just drove by to see whether we were working, and joined in.

{Tory, Andrea and Matt Smith; Chad, Paul, Kenny, and Curtis Twitchell, and Brad}

This ward has taught me that people learn to love each other when they serve each other and accept service. I have never felt so much love and family-ness in a ward before. I can't emphasize that enough. I want to go on and on. I hope I can be the ward member that my friends have been here to me. Brad and I leave Church every Sunday and remark to each other, "We can't leave. We have too many friends here." So we want to come back. Desperately. But not before we share the love with other wards.

{Cory, Angela Brown, Andrea Smith}

{Chad Twitchell and Brad}

{Curtis Twitchell, Marissa and Riley Smith}


Second of all, I am so big. Grace says that when she's proud of herself, and so I am saying it now since I drove a 17-foot U-Haul from Carlsbad to Prosper without Brad and with two little kids. I must also say that I am very proud of Grace since the recently-potty-trained-girl only had to take one single potty break. Which was good. Since it's hard to squish into a stall while holding a nine-month old and helping a three-year-old onto the toilet (while constantly reminding her not[!] to touch the toilet. or the walls. or the "sanitary napkin" basket.).

And I found myself relatively competent with a truck. Sort of. No accidents. Not any major ones, anyway. Although I did sort of brush one of those big steel bars they have at the gas station to prevent people from running into the pumps. Kind of embarrassing. And potentially (although thankfully not in the end) dangerous.

For anyone who's interested, we are not officially gone from Carlsbad yet. Brad still has some work to finish up there, and we still have a lot of work to do on our house before it's actually marketable (did I mention that we decided not to keep it?). This week, he is at scout camp on his last hurrah as ward Scoutmaster. And since I am not good at one week of kids by myself, we decided to move our stuff out of the house and spend the week with Papa and Grandma Betsy. We will go back to Carlsbad at the end of this week and... sleep on the floor. Yay!

{The front door of our house which sports a new front step. It happened to be poured the same day as moving day. Kind of awkward. But funny.}

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dog Pile

"How did Grace get so physical?"

Brad asked me this question as I helped Claire recover from one of Grace's bone-crushing, organ-gushing bear hugs.

If any of you know Brad, you know he was obviously kidding.

Grace is definitely physical. And not just with Claire. When I sit down, she is on me too: wallowing in my lap, climbing onto my head, standing on my shoulders. And if I'm typing at the computer, she's hanging off my arms.

And Grace learned from the best.

Because I am usually in the middle of some domestic activity when Brad pounces. I am ripped from cooking dinner, sweeping the floor, loading the dishwasher, or diapering Grace while he pins me to the ground and tickles me until I stop breathing.

Although there are some nasty side-effects to our family's rough-housing (namely unfinished chores, unsightly bruises...), we have fun. We laugh. We like to play.

I just have to make sure Claire doesn't get clobbered before she gets a chance to join in.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Packing Up

I can't help but think how terribly sad it is to watch our home--the one Grace learned to talk in, the one Claire first came home to, the one we ripped up and put back together, the home we became a family in--diminish into merely four walls and a roof in a few short hours.

Empty Cupboards Make Excellent Hiding Places

We came home from swimming, I unloaded the car, came back in the house and couldn't find Claire. It was Brad who found her--making the most of moving.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sisterly Love

Grace and Claire play well, I must say. Grace shows Claire her nose; Claire laughs. Grace tickles Claire; Claire laughs. Grace shows Claire that she goes on the potty like a big girl; Claire laughs.

I used to believe my mom was exaggerating when she said it broke her heart to see us fight. (And yes, I participated frequently in such battles... [Will you forgive me, Brittany?]) But if her sorrow is the emotional opposite of the bliss I feel seeing my own children happily playing together, then I sure believe her now.

There are some exceptions to their sisterly harmony, of course. Mostly accidental blips like when Grace trips and falls on Claire, or tries to carry Claire, or smothers Claire in rollover hugs. When these happen, my usually sunny, smiley, giggly girl starts to wail or whimper.

Grace responds by shushing Claire and singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Brad and I thought that was a little weird. For a while. Until we decided she's saying sorry in her own three year old way. I hope so anyway.

If not, at least it serves as a sort of fire alarm: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star..." Right. Time to rescue Claire.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Four Years

I know it's not all that common for other people to wish you a Happy Anniversary since the nature of it means no one else actually celebrates it. But it's a good thing my sister called to say just that. Otherwise, we would have completely missed it. The same thing happened last year when we were moving into our house and gutting the bathrooms. Except it was my Mom who reminded us.

So, Happy Anniversary to us.

We are apparently not big on celebrations.