Sunday, December 2, 2012


 Mr. Mom has been at it again. It drives me crazy that he is doing such a good job of being home with the kids.  They do projects almost every day.  These are their turkeys.  Now they're working on balloon santa claus.
I had a birthday a couple weeks ago.  Ben packed up the kids and surprised me at work with flowers and a handmade card by Benny.  I was such an emotional wreck that day due to some things with work (grateful to have some work for the time being, but the situation isn't exactly ideal and I have really struggled some days). When I saw them I just started crying.  How embarassing.  But they were so sweet and I sure appreciate them. Ben took me to Tucano's that evening and then we went to a movie on Saturday.  It was nice to get two dates that week! And although things at work aren't perfect, a nice coworker took me to lunch, and the boss got me a cake and gift. But yeah I pretty much cried my eyes out that day.  Don't know when's the last time I've been that emotional! I told Ben he had to get a job soon.  But then I see the things he does with the kids and wonder if maybe we don't need him to go back just yet;)

Benny just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
And Ellie is just as crazy as ever.  Yes, her head is stuck and she is not happy about it. 
And then we had Thanksgiving, which was a nice day. Ben's mom and brother came over and we had dinner here at the house.  Waaaay too much food. Ben got to watch the Cowboys afterward (and fell asleep during the game! Don't know if that's ever happened). And then we watched "Brave." Benny loves to watch "family movies," and he had been waiting all day:)
And Ben and I are trying to lose weight.  I'm trying to lose everything I gained AFTER the baby haha. My older sister has lost 40 lbs (way to go, Helen!) and finally made me feel like I could actually do it, too. It's annoying that Ben has been working on it for less time than me and losing more quickly, but at least it's nice that we both are trying to eat/not eat the same things. The holidays make it hard but hopefully we can be strong.
Ellie's 1st birthday is this week.  To be continued...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What a nut

I know I already put these on Facebook, but I don't think the parents have seen them. Our nap refuser got tuckered out at Costco and fell asleep in what looks like an extremely uncomfortable position. She is so silly! She is close to walking, so probably by her 1st birthday.  She still has the cutest tiniest feet and tiny blue eyes.  Her blond hair is always sticking straight up like she got electrocuted.  She has spunk.  She will not eat anything if she cannot do it herself, so baby food is out.  She likes to shake her booty when she hears music, and she especially loves to dance in the tub, which drives us crazy as it's so unsafe.
She still spits up a ton which is soooo annoying.

 She adores her brother and continues to pester him, like most younger siblings do. Anyone know how to get her to stop biting? She thinks it's hilarious to bite Benny's toes. She also bites our cheeks, thighs, shoulders, basically whatever she can get her teeth on. But her favorite is Benny's toes because he freaks out every time. And besides the pain, feet biting is gross; so I'd like her to stop.
But she sure is cute


Jack o' lantern is perfect for her.  She looks just like one, even without the costume.
 Ben took Benny shopping while I was in California and sent me this pic.  I thought it was so cute I couldn't get mad at the money they spent.
 I'd like to crop myself out of this one, but then we'd lose Ellie.  I made Thor's helmet out of tinfoil since the real ones were all sold out everywhere.  Benny didn't care and it only cost $1 to do, so score one for us!

After the trick or treating and candy eating.  Benny got a lot of loot and Ellie's tights are cute.
We just went to the townhouses in our neighborhood and that was plenty.  It was way more fun trick or treating here than in Cali.  People got in to it, were home, and were friendly. Benny got so much candy compared to California. My favorite was when we went to the Primary music leader's house. She is a bubbly newlywed and is always gushing about Bnny, and we figured she would enjoy having him stop by. And we were right. Her husband answered the door and called for her to come before we could say anything, and when she saw him she exclaimed, "My favorite!" We of course think Benny's great but it's funny that she likes him so much.

Stay at home dad

Ben said he doesn't like the term "house husband," but he's ok with stay at home dad.  As mentioned earlier, Benny loves having his dad at home. Today Benny told me that I should get a job and take Ellie with me so he and his dad can stay at home and hang out ha ha. But it really makes me wonder if I'm the one that should get a job and Ben should stay home.  He's so darn good with the kids, way better than I am.  Maybe it's the teacher in him, but he has things all scheduled out and does projects and everything.  I rarely do projects:(
He took the kids to the park and snapped this:

My sister Janice gave Benny a turkey making kit, so they made these:

This week I came home to tombstones.  I will clarify that I did not post pics of all of them as Ben's sense of humor can be a bit much;)
So I still have no idea what we're doing in the future.  I'm just picking up as much work as I can, and we're taking things one day at a time. Thankfully Ben is an excellent husband and father and this is a great bonding time for him and the kids.  The little ones are soaking up every second of it.  I think they will be disappointed when Mom is back home again:)

Benny-isms for today

Benny: (watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, after they had just found a treasure chest with coins and candy)
I sure hope they paid their tithing!

Benny: What are you making?
Me: Pumpkin dessert.
Benny: Are you making it the right way?
(Last time it may not have been the right way)

Today, 10/31

At bedtime prayer Benny seemed to get stumped on what else he wanted to say, so I whispered in his ear: "Help Daddy to find a job."

He whispered back: "No, I like him staying at home.
 Help Daddy to find a job...."

I love that every week when the ads come in the mail, he snatches the Toys R Us ad and studies it very seriously:

His art is getting better.  Big Ben did the eyes, but I thought Frankenstein turned out pretty good.  He still hasn't caught on that you have to write all the letters next to each other to spell a word, but oh well

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What in the world?

I feel like I ask myself that question all the time lately.  I don't know how, but the past 2 months have been crazier than the past several years put together.  After arriving in Utah ( and even before I guess) there has been incident after incident.

The short of it and probably biggest at the moment--Ben lost his job after 4 weeks.
This is the job we were sure about taking and moved from California. So, we figure the job was not as meant to be as we thought but now have no idea what we are doing. We felt we needed to move to Utah and that's as far as we've gotten. We're here.

I say I either have to laugh or cry about it, and mostly I laugh.  But sometimes it's frustrating.  The 3 years we were in the Bay Area I felt like we were wandering around, moving from apartment to apartment, not knowing where to be.  Then he got the job in Utah which we felt really good about.  I thought we could finally get settled, find a house, find a place where the kids could grow up and Benny could start school next year. So now I laugh because I think the wandering and not knowing is even worse now.

And then I remember to be grateful. There's no doubt Somebody has been watching over us.  The place we're living is really nice, and it's even nicer that the landlord/friends of ours signed us on a month to month basis.  We can stay as long or little as we want. While Ben is out of work, I've been getting calls to work here and there.   It's not as much work as I think we need, but we also have savings because for some reason we held off on using that money for a down payment on a house. I also got an opportunity to go to California for a week to work. It was a great experience in many ways--the work was good, the office was great, the pay was good, and I got to relax at my parents.' I even got to sleep in my old bed, just like when I was growing up.  It kind of felt nice to just worry about myself for a few days and order as much Thai food as I wanted. I missed Ben and the kids, but they were all doing great at home in Orem.  It couldn't have gone more smoothly.

So while I really wish I knew that Ben would get a job soon and we would have benefits, I am doing my best to trust him and trust that God knows what's best for us. I hate not knowing what tomorrow brings--literally tomorrow--but am trying to take it one step at a time instead of planning my entire life. In General Conference last week there was a talk about a pioneer woman who was almost out of food for her family.  But just like Christ feeding the 5000, the woman miraculously had enough food for her family out of 2 hard biscuits.  The speaker said that the woman did not demand to know how she was going to feed her family tomorrow; she was just grateful for the food they had at that moment and had faith that things would work out somehow.

So I try to be less demanding and more trusting, and we will see what tomorrow brings.  I have no idea.

Funeral weekend pics

This is a lot of us, the kids and grandkids in my family, at the cemetery. 

Ellie at the funeral luncheon.  I just can't get over how fair skinned she is and how blue her eyes are.  Silly girl. Is she really mine?
 Benny enjoying his strawberry cake.  The story behind it was so cute. His cousin Mayumi had a piece of strawberry cake with strawberry frosting.  Benny was dillydallying eating, and we told him he better hurry and finish his food so he could have dessert.  When he went up to the dessert table all the strawberry cake was gone, and he had to settle for some German chocolate cake.  As soon as took his first bite a lady walked by with a whole tray of cake, many being pieces of strawberry.  Benny stared longingly and exclaimed, "Aw, man!!! I should have waited!"
He looked so disappointed I couldn't tell him no and let him get a piece of strawberry. Doesn't he look like he's enjoying it?

What better way to celebrate death than with new life? It was a great ending to the weekend when we were able to attend Kimiko's baby Lilli's blessing.  She got permission to do it in Grandma's ward since there would be so much family in town. She had dragged her feet on what to do about the blessing as she wanted people to be able to attend, but knew they probably wouldn't be able to make it to California.  It worked out that they were able to do it with all her siblings being present.

 Speaking of the siblings, here we are, left to right, oldest to youngest.
 A bunch of the grandkids and great grandkids (Grandma Doris's great-great grandkids!):
 All of us who attended the blessing.  Dad's brother Keith and sister Karen were also there.
 I think this one is hilarious.  This is at Janice's house after church at dinner.  Spencer is an RN and works weird hours and is always asleep on this couch.  It looks like Mariko just stuck the baby on him.  I was so worried Spencer didn't know he was there and would move and knock him off or something.

Grandma Doris

We drove in to Utah early in the morning Aug 1st.  We were supposed to head to our new place in Orem.  As we were somewhere in the desert on our way to Utah, the landlord texted to say the floor was not done yet, and he was so sorry, but it would be best if we found a place to stay for the night.  He felt really bad as he had promised us we could drive right in and crash for the night. He even offered to get us a hotel.

Well, no big deal, we decided we'd just drive 100 miles out of the way for the night.  Chad, who drove the Uhaul, could go home and we would go visit Grandma in the morning.

You never know how blessings pop up. Grandma passed away the next week, and that unexpected trip was the last time Ben got to visit with her.  The kids and I went up again that weekend for a great visit, not knowing she would be gone two days later.

Grandma had a stroke 2 years ago and her health had not been the same.  She was still witty and able to live at home, but she needed help and did not enjoy being dependent on people. There were many times over those 2 years that she went downhill and we thought it would be the last time we saw her, but she always managed to pop back up. This time we had told Kimiko that if she wanted Grandma to meet the new baby, Lilli, she better hurry and visit, as Grandma once again was not doing well. Kimiko and her family couldn't decide if there really was an urgency or not as this had happened so many times, but finally decided to make the drive.  We felt a little silly when she got here and Grandma looked better than ever. But then we realized what a blessing it was that Grandma was coherent and happy and was able to enjoy the visit. And we realized even more what a treasure that visit was when Grandma was gone 2 days later.

Grandpa and Grandma lived around the block when I was little.  They were always there within walking distance for ice cream or just to visit.  We saw them at church.  They took us places when they could, like a family camping trip one year.  They were great people and it was so hard to say goodbye 9 years ago when Grandpa died.  Grandma missed him terribly and one part of us wanted her to be able to be with him, and another knew how much we'd miss her once she was gone. 
And we do. 

The funeral was very nice, and we got to see a lot of family.  My brother Allan, who lives in St. Louis and doesn't visit often, was able to come, as well as Grandma's relatives in GA, HI, AZ, and CA.

Grandma hoped to be able to make it to the new Brigham City temple before she died. We were excited that tiny Brigham City would have such a beautiful and special place right in the middle of town.  She barely missed it and it opened to the public the day of her funeral.  I was sad as we drove past it and on to the cemetery.  But I can only imagine that she and Grandpa visit there together now.

I'm so glad to have known wonderful grandparents in my lifetime, and so grateful for those visits we were able to have over the summer.  As my 4 year old says, "I miss her, but I'm not sad.  I'll see her again."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crazy little girl

I remember my sister saying something about being afraid to have a boy because of how crazy boys are. 
My boy is not the problem.
I don't know where this little ball of spunk came from.  Guess it serves us right for naming her after not one, but two, lively grandmothers.
A couple days ago I had a headache and was sitting down for a few minutes.  A few minutes is all it takes for a 4 year old to get his mom's hidden stash of m&m's and feed them to his sister. So I do blame that incident on him:)
She loves the tub.  If Benny gets a bath and she doesn't, she will shriek and yell.  The other day this 8 month old climbed in when the tub was empty and I caught her just before her head hit the porcelain.
She hates cows.  She will make the saddest face ever if she hears "moo."  We experimented with different animals, and she was fine with all of them except the moo.  Being the mean parents we are we kept moo-ing because it was so darn cute to see her make this face.  But then she did get pretty upset so we had to stop.
She makes a really interesting face which we call her "sour puss face."  We aren't sure why she does it but she does it everytime we eat dinner, and sometimes just because.  To add to the funnyness of it she pants loudly through her nose while she does the face, and sometimes "things" fly out of her nose.  I know that's gross but it is the most bizarre thing.  The video is worth watching although not super clear.
She truly is a joy to have around.  She is one of the happiest and smiliest babies I have ever seen, when she isn't being dramatic.

Summer catch up part 2

We made it to the Oakland zoo one last time.  We hadn't been to the famous Fenton's ice cream parlor yet, so we hit that on the way home.

We bought 3 ice creams, one being child size.  We spent $34.
And Ellie would have rather eaten the table.
Benny and Mayumi with their A's hats from Jennifer (the friend that works for the A's)
My awesome brother in law Chad said he would like to go to a baseball game, so why doesn't he fly out and go to a game then drive our Uhaul to Utah for us?  We said ok!
This was the longest game EVER (for the A's anyway) and finally ended after 5 hours in the 15th inning.  And we were supposed to get up early and make the long drive to Utah with our 3 cars in the morning.  At least we got to be part of history, right?

It's blurry but this sign was just for Benny. It says, "Benny, have fun at the game and GO A's! Love, Jenn"
And this one I was not expecting and almost cried, what with it being our last night in Cali and all.  It says, "Dear Middletons, Good luck with your move to Utah.  We will miss you.  Jenn & Eric"

Moving day!  Benny got these socks at the Monday night game from Jennifer and didn't take them off until Wednesday.  Silly boy.
We all made good time in our cars and with just a couple small hitches pulled into Chad's driveway about 12:30am Aug 1st.

Summer catch up part 1

The past couple months have been so craaaazy. But we had some good times.  Before we left California, we had our last hurrah.  Or last hurrahs.  We made sure to have fun.
 A friend who works for the Oakland A's posted on facebook all the cool signs she made for her friends that attended games.  We jokingly told her Ben wanted one for his birthday but it was too late.  Well she wasn't kidding about getting a sign done, and since our anniversary was in a few days, she did one for that and told us to jump in the car and get to the game. So we did!  Benny and I enjoyed our first pro baseball game, and Ellie did great.

We then did a beach trip. We visited Ben's dad and stepmom in Cambria.  Things were crazy there as well since they were in the process of selling their Bakersfield home and making the permanent switch to Cambria.  We were lucky they were willing to have us over:)
 One cool thing I never knew about all these years was the San Simeon elephant seals.  No idea why I never heard they lived right by Hearst Castle.  They were big, loud, and stinky. 
Then we headed to Lompoc so I could go to the Thai Cuisine one last time.  I'm sure we'll go to Lompoc and Cambria again, but it won't be as frequent since now we live 13 our so hours away. I really wanted a good beach day, and the weather magically cooperated.  We went to Regugio a couple times (well, Benny and I did. The fair skinned ones stayed home on day two). Refugio Beach is also where Ben proposed 9 years ago. We enjoyed the freezing water, getting bitten by sand crabs, viewing sea lions and dolphins in the distance, and watching kamikaze divebombing  pelicans.

We celebrated our annversary while we were in Lompoc and had my parents watch the kids while we went to dinner.  Ellie screamed the whole time:( Needless to say we don't go on many dates.
Benny has sure enjoyed his trips to La Purisima Mission and feeding all the animals.  This longhorn's horns span about 9 feet or something.  Am I remembering that correctly?
Then we came back and started packing.  I can't remember where I was but I think I took the kids somewhere so Ben could be productive and pack.  He got a little sidetracked and texted me the below pic while I was out.

And Ben finally made it to the Bay Discovery Museum in Sausalito.  I took Benny several times when we had a pass, and I know Ben thought it sounded cool by how much I raved about it.  Benny loved being able to show his dad everything there. It really is an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.