Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Devil Wall

You know the scary movie where the person turns around, and there is mysterious writing on the wall that wasn't there before, and it looks like it's written in blood? This is the horror story that happened in my kitchen today.  Except the writing isn't in blood, it's in 
It has happened before, and it is back to haunt me...

A little background. A few years ago, we painted one of our walls dark brown. Before we painted, I - being the fun mom that I am - let the kids draw on the wall with washable crayola markers. We were going to paint over it, so I didn't see the harm. Boy, was I wrong. Wrong with a capital W. There was a whole lot of harm. Deep harm. Scars that won't go away. 

We primed. We could see the marker through the primer a bit, but we didn't think too much about it. We were using dark walnut brown paint. Nothing would show up underneath dark paint, especially not crayola markers. We got one coat of paint up and as it dried, we could see the outline of the kids' drawings - stars, animals, words.  Well, the second coat would surely cover it.

 Have I mentioned we were wrong? Because we were. 

The second  coat of paint didn't cover it either. Neither did the second coat of primer over the two coats of paint. Every time the paint dried, we could see the stars. It was those "damn stars" as we still call them.  Finally, we were satisfied that we could no longer see those stars after the fourth or fifth coat of paint, over the two coats of primer. 

Fast forward to today, where I decided that the dark brown was too dark. I wanted more light in my life. So I painted all of my walls light grey. I used "Super Paint" from Sherwin Williams. It has primer in it. It is awesome paint and looks great on everything. 

Except for the devil wall. 

That's what I named it this afternoon. Because guess what happened?
 I stood back to admire my work, and saw those damn stars staring back at me. 

The stars that are supposed to be forever hidden under two coats of primer and at least four coats of paint. I stepped back in horror and also noticed letters and animals and scribbling and everything else the boys decided to draw on that fateful day where I tried to be the fun mom who let their kids draw on the walls. It all stands out even more because it is a light paint. These are bad pictures, but can you see it? Maybe it's fate. Maybe we're supposed to have writing on our wall that just won't go away.

Bryan is out of town, so I called him to tell him that our house is haunted. Or at least our wall is. He is almost convinced that he is going to have to redo the sheet rock to get rid of the devil in the wall. 

So whatever you do, don't be the fun mom who lets the kids draw on the wall before you paint. It will come back to haunt you....  (pretend the music from the X-files is playing in the background)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Typical Parent-Teacher Conferences

Today, the boys had parent-teacher conference. I asked them before-hand what their teachers were going to tell me. Trey's answer was "I don't know," which is his answer for most things. He's a boy of not-so-many words. Kevin told me that his teacher would probably tell me that he talks to much. Not surprising. He's a boy of way-too-many words.

Trey -
Straight A's, Straight H's. Reads at a 3rd grade level. Very obedient and helpful. Good example to other kids. His teacher even told him he could talk more if he wanted to.

So typical. He does not want to stand out, so he always behaves so that the teacher does not have to bring attention to any bad behavior. His goal is to blend in. He is CRAZY at home, but is very reserved at school. When he does something, he does it to a perfection. It shows in his school work.

Trey is so completely different from the terrorist child I imagined he would be when he was two. He is happy, mellow, determined and sensitive. It is so fun to watch his school personality develop, because it is so different from his personality at home. At home, he is the nut of the family who is always making us laugh. At school, he is the quiet kid that never speaks out of turn or breaks a rule. I love seeing these different parts of him develop.

Kevin -
Was a little nervous. When his teacher asked him why, he said that he was nervous about getting a B and about getting in trouble for talking. She was SO good at telling him his strengths and making him feel good about himself. He got all A's and a B+, which is pretty dang good. She did tell him that he needs to work on his "talking." Ha Ha!

Again, so, so, so typical. This is about the same report he has received since starting Kindergarten. Great grades, great kid, just needs to work on not talking so much. His teacher said that he is not disrespectful, not mean. "He just has a lot of friends, and wants to talk to them...all the time." So, I will remind him not to talk so much as he goes out the door every morning.

Since I have been told this for the past five years, I've thought a bit about it. I want him to behave, but being "social" (the word used every year since Kindergarten) is part of his spirit. It's part of who he is, and has been since he could talk. I don't want to break that. I like that he feels like he is best friends with whoever he sits next to. I will help him know when he should zip his mouth and listen, but I will also encourage him to continue to be social. This is a characteristic that I LOVE about him. So I apologize in advance to all of his future teachers, because this seems to be a pretty strong trend.

So it seems my children are complete opposites. Trey's teacher is telling him to talk more if he wants, say something silly, goof off once in a while. Kevin's teacher is telling him to please SHUT UP, but in an I'm-a-teacher-so-I-have-to-be-nice sort of way.

I wouldn't change a thing about either of them. Love, love, love their polar opposite personalities.

Monday, March 12, 2012


We asked the boys if they know who Elvis is. Trey said that he is a Canadian who is famous for his paintings, who also plays the banjo. Kevin did a "Thank you. Thank you very much" impression, but didn't know anything else.

So, no. Apparently they do not know who Elvis is.

While we were fixing lunch the other day, Kevin gave me a hug and said: "Mom, you are prettier than Selena Gomez." He's good. Whatever he is sucking up for, it just might work.

The boys have been speaking in English accents for the past month or so. They call each other "lad." They say "cheerio" when they say goodbye. They try to use proper words when they speak in their accents. It's HILARIOUS. Because, let's face it...things are just funnier when they are spoken in an English accent. Especially by these two nuts.

Trey also has a few phrases in Chinese and German Accents also.

In Chinese: "Chinese Restaurant." Lame on paper, FUNNY in person.

In German: "Do it. Do it now. I kill you." Think Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ask him though, and he'll deny it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A little tired today

Bryan has been out of town for the last two weeks. I told the boys that if they were good, I would let them sleep with me one night. I don't know why they like to do this so much, but they get so excited about it.

I know that when I do this, I will get about 3 hours of sleep. max. They want me to sleep in the middle. Kevin is on one side. He doesn't make a peep, doesn't move all night. I barely notice he's there.

And then there is Trey...

During the day, Trey's personal space bubble is about a 10-foot diameter. He doesn't like to be touched and he will let you know it. I don't know what happens to him at night. I scoot him all the way over to the side of the bed, and within 10 minutes his knees are in my ribs, his arms are draped over my face, and his face is buried in my pillow, right next to mine. And he makes noises. He grunts. He snores. He moans.

This goes on ALL. NIGHT. LONG. And just when I scoot him over and think he might not move, I get an elbow to my face and his little body is almost on top of mine.

You'd think I would have learned my lesson and put the brakes on this after the first time I let them sleep with me. But the truth is...

I kind of like it.

I know that at some point, they are not going to count down the days until they get to sleep next to me. They are going to want their space. Away from me.

At some point, Kevin will be staying out late with friends, coming into my room to tell me he is home and then going to bed without me tucking him in. But last night, he was content falling asleep snuggled in my arms. And when he woke up, the first thing he did was snuggle back into my arms while we watched Phineas and Ferb before we got ready for school.

And Trey...the child who I have to beg and bribe for hugs and kisses, the child who will rarely hold my hand or sit on my lap...unknowingly wraps his arms around me and nestles into me all night.

So every time I got kneed in the ribs, or elbowed in the face, or didn't have room to turn over, all I could do was smile and savor the moment. Because I know those moments won't last forever. As much as I try to stop it, they're determined to grow up.

I took this picture at about 2am. Trey's arms are like this all night long.

Love, love, love these kiddos...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"I really want to be an engineer...

...but I just wrote this to be funny."

Trey was supposed to write about what he wants to be when he grows up.

I'm just impressed that my six-year-old knows how to spell "paleontologist."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

8.5 moves in 6 years

Bryan and I were trying to think of ways to torture our children a few weeks ago. We came up with something that we thought would do the trick. We were right. They were tortured.

We took them on a drive to all the places we lived before we bought our home. We covered all 8.5 moves, complete with stories and narration. And a camera. We wouldn't even let them play their DS games. They had to actually listen to our stories and look out the window to where we were pointing. Torture!!!

I know this is not interesting to anyone else but Bryan and I (and our tortured children), but I thought I would document it. For posterity's sake or something.

Now I should preface...we were married young. I was 19 and Bryan was 21. I still had at least two years of college left. Bryan was fresh off his mission and just starting college. Our tuition took most of our money, and we were POOR!

#1 - Paula Apartments in Sugarhouse

Our first apartment was a tiny one bedroom in Sugarhouse. This is a bad picture of our bedroom window (below). There were 8 apartments in the complex.


*We were close with everyone in the complex. We were all young, married, with no money. We would spend our Friday nights playing croquet and watching football/movies in the common grass area.

*Waking up to the SWAT team surrounding our complex and yelling at us to "stay low and away from windows." They wouldn't let us leave for over 8 hours. There was a standoff that turned into a murder/suicide in the complex next to us. We spent the day watching movies and making cookies (we didn't stay low) instead of going to school and work that day.

*Bryan's POS car started to break down here, especially in the winter. So a couple of times a week, I would have to TOW IT DOWN THE STREET to start it. At 6:00 in the morning. Yup. We were awesome.

*Sunday lunch with our next door neighbors. We went over to each other's apartments every week after church and ate CEREAL together. I told you - we were awesome.

*This was probably our favorite place to live. We loved our neighbors and ward.

#2 (really 1.5) - Paula Apartments take 2

Then a two-bedroom became available, so we moved across the grass. These are bad pictures. The complex used to be nice, but when we drove through, it was run down and a bit sketchy. There was a scary guy on his steps watching me take pictures, so we hurried out of there.

#3 - Applevale in Murray

We moved from Paula Apartments to Applevale beause we had the opportunity to live at Bryan's mom's house while she was away. It was a big house with free rent. We figured, why not? It didn't last as long as we had hoped, and we had to move a few months later.


*Living in the neighborhood we both grew up in.

*Having my parents around the corner.

*Living with Bryan's sister, DeDe, and her husband and getting to know them better.

#4 - Browning Avenue by Liberty Park

We wanted to find a place closer to the U, and found the cutest little house to rent close to Liberty Park. We rented the top level, another couple rented the basement, and a single girl rented a back area.


*The power went out all the time here. We spent many evenings playing cards on our porch when this happened. Loved the porch.

*There was no air conditioning. We had a spray bottle by our bed and would spray down the sheets before we got in bed to keep cool. We finally broke down and bought a window a/c unit.

*The first thing we would do when we got home in the evenings was to get the vacuum and suck up the 20-30 june bugs that would make their way inside every single day.

*I finished college here! I also completed my most difficult semester when we lived here. I took 12 hours of credit, worked 30 hours a week, and worked at my unpaid internship for 30 hours a week.

#5 - Marmalade Square in North Salt Lake

We moved to Marmalade Square in North Salt Lake because I was pregnant with Kevin and got a job as a weekend leasing agent here. I was paid with free rent plus commission. It was a job I could do from home, and we didn't think we could pass up free rent, especially since I didn't want to go back to work full time after Kevin was born.


*Kevin was born a couple of months after we moved here! Looking back, I can't believe I took my first child home to such a yucky place. It had bugs and huge cockroaches everywhere. I remember taking Kevin on walks around the neighborhood and I couldn't believe the awful conditions. I guess we were focused on the free rent, and tried to overlook the rest.

*Kevin had surgery on his cleft lip here. As a new mom, it was a time of anxiety and uncertainty. I learned a lot of things about myself during this time.

*Although we were elated with Kevin's birth, we still call that summer the "summer from hell." (Sorry, Kevin). Bryan worked all day from 9-5 at Standard Batteries and then at UPS (for the health benefits) from 10pm-2am. He didn't sleep, Kevin didn't sleep, I didn't sleep. Kevin had surgery. Kevin was grumpy. I hated my job because I really wanted to everybody to run away. As fast as they could.

*Besides my memories of Kevin as a newborn, I can't think of any good memories about this place.

#6 - Memory Lane in Holladay

A few months after Kevin was born, I got another job making enough money to afford rent, play Bryan's tuition, and allow Bryan to quit his job and focus on school. Best of all, I could also take care of Kevin because I could do it from home. I had already decided that I did not want to leave Kevin to go to work, and I did not want to rely on anybody else to watch him. I didn't know how I was going to do it, and this was an answer to my prayers. It was not easy at all, but worth it. I was on call 72-96 hours per week and I felt like a walking zombie most of the time from the 24-hour shifts. Anyways, we left Marmalade Square as fast as we could and moved to Holladay.


*Living down the road from my cousin, who married one of Bryan's best friends.

*Taking Kevin on walks and looking at the multi-million dollar homes on our street instead of the boarded-up homes with the hookers on the corner like at our last place.

*Hauling groceries/laundry/Kevin up and down two flights of stairs all day long.

#7 - Kent's House in Sandy

Bryan's uncle lived in New Mexico. He asked us if we wanted to rent his home for barely more than what we were paying for our apartment. It was a large home with a large yard, and we jumped on it.


*Kevin learned to walk here. I remember Bryan chasing him around the living room, and Kevin would laugh and laugh and want to do it over and over.

*We did a lot of yard work. I think we pulled an entire garbage can full of weeks.

*When I think of this house, I smile. Kevin was so much fun here, and we loved the space and openness of everything.

#8 - Hunters Woods in Murray

Unfortunately, Bryan's uncle had to unexpectedly move back only a few months after we moved in. I was so sad to leave. We were in a hurry to find a place, and we found on in Murray, close to where we grew up. We chose it because of the size and location. Those were almost the only things we liked about Hunters Woods.


*The people below us smoked, and our apartment ALWAYS reeked of cigarette smoke. I tried every way possible to mask it, but it wouldn't go away.

*The dog poop on the grass every time we would go out to play.

*The drug deals I watched go down behind the dumpster.

*Bryan's beloved bike was stolen from our second story balcony.

*We moved here just after Kevin's first birthday. There were duck ponds on the other side of the property. Every day, Kevin and I would walk to the pond and feed the ducks. It is one of my favorite memories of when he was young. He absolutely loved it and would make duck sounds all the time when he wanted to go feed them. When I was on call for work, it seemed like I would always get a call as soon as we got to the pond, or even before we got there. We would often have to hurry back and Kevin would cry and wonder why we couldn't just stay. At times, I would want to cry as well, wanting to just be with him instead of worrying about work.

*Bryan would come home from work/school and take Kevin on bike rides almost every night. Kevin would become giddy with excitement as the evening came closer, and would wait by the window for him. They loved their bike rides together.

*Bryan finished school while we were here!

#9 - Morningside Cove

After Bryan was done with school, we were finally ready to buy a home. We were open to move anywhere in the valley, but ended up buying a home less than 5 minutes from where we grew up. It's not a big home, and there are things that we would definitely change about it. But as soon as we walked in, we knew we were supposed to buy it. Neither of us had a question. We are supposed to be here.

We've lived here for 7.5 years and love it. Great neighbors, great ward, great school. Trey was born a year after we moved in, and this house fits our little family perfectly.

And while Bryan and I were reliving important family history, this is what the boys looked like in the back seat for most of the ride...

One day, they'll appreciate this. Maybe.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

So I Have It On Record...

After giving Trey some medicine for his earache, he reaches around me neck, gives me a hug and says:

"Mom, I'm glad I have you. I love you. A lot."

Coming from the kid who will barely hold my hand anymore, it

melted my heart.