The Entryway Mystery

This past summer, Seth and I started to notice objects that don't belong to us in the entryway of our house.  It started simply enough, a shoe.  A converse type shoe.  But just one.  Odd right? Nothing too concerning though, so I threw it away.

Then another shoe appeared.  This time it was a little boy's sandal.  At the time we were having frequent barbecues at our house, so I assumed it belonged to a nephew, or a friend's boy.  I took a picture of the shoe and sent a text to everyone I knew with a boy around that age that had been at my house.  No one claimed it.  Really odd.

I should mention that I am a clean person in general.  My entryway however, not so clean.  You know how it is. Shoes pile up, coats don't end up on the hangars, reusable shopping bags, purses, running clothing, tools, etc, all end up cluttering the space.  Every couple of weeks I try and clean things up.  I put the shoes in the cubbys. I hang up all the jackets, I take the tools and other items to their rightful places.  So while these items were appearing, I wouldn't always notice them right away.

After the little boy's shoe, a woman's shoe.  Really cute actually.  A silver, pointy toed flat.  Looks like something I would wear.  Just one however.  I sent a text to some girlfriends and no one claimed it.  What the hell?  How do people keep losing just one damn shoe!? Are people frequently walking out of the house, shoes in-hand rather than on their feet?  This was getting annoying.  No one claimed it (big surprise).  Once again threw it away.

Then I found a plastic bag with 2 items of clothing with the DI tags on them.  A striped hoodie for a small man or teenage boy.  Also a green cardigan of sorts for a little girl around 8-years-old.  Instantly I figured my mom left it behind.  So I text her.  Of course, it's not hers.  It's nothing Seth's mom left either.  Certainly wasn't my brother Chris that left it.  What the hell?  At this point Seth and I realize something is up.  But again, we don't think much of it.

Enter the weirdest find.  I was vacuuming the entryway one evening. I didn't pick up everything and vacuum under it, but I mostly did.  I distinctly remember seeing Seth's boots in the corner.  I didn't pick them up and vacuum under them.

The next morning Seth is leaving for work and exclaims, "Um, guess what I just found in our entry? Another odd gift!"  He holds up a disgusting red and green retainer.  You have to be shitting me.  A retainer!?  I just vacuumed there!  Apparently it was kind of behind his boots.

At this point we are a bit freaked out.  Clearly someone is getting into our house. We run some possible scenarios through our heads:

1.  It's one of the kids that goes to school across the street.  We live right across from a junior high school.  The students often sit out of the sidewalk while they eat lunch.  Maybe they wait until we leave and check to see if the door is unlocked?  And then they just toss random items inside?

2. Millie.  Millie somehow finds random items and brings them in the house with her!  This felt extremely unlikely because I always see what she brings in.  Which is pretty much only her blanket.  And an occasional rock.

3. Rodent.  Maybe a random rat/mouse is getting in - but just in the entry?  And only to bring random items and not leave a poop trace?  Nope.  Unlikely again.

4. Ghost.  Maybe we have a ghost!  A ghost that doesn't seem to bother us.  A ghost that doesn't make any noise.  A ghost that just leaves a red and green retainer in our entry?  Right.

After the retainer incident I posted this odd mystery on Facebook.  Friends and family started to show equal parts intrigue, fear and wonder.  Once the retainer showed up Seth and I decided we had to start making a better effort to lock the door.  I'm great about locking the door, but Seth isn't.  It's not rare that I will come home on a day Seth was the last to leave, and the door is not locked.  I also am guilty of walking up the street to the park with Millie and leaving the door unlocked.  Ok, doors locked.  Check.  We also decided to leave the entryway as clean as possible.  That way, when odd things show up, we will notice immediately and start being able to put the mystery together.

A few days later, I had cleaned the entry, I had taken everything out to the car that needed to go into my car.  The coats were hung.  The shoes were sorted.

The next morning, I went to leave for my 6am yoga class. I grabbed my purse (in the dark) and noticed something was under it. I thought it was maybe one of my scarves?  I turned on the light and discovered black lacy lingerie.  Size 5XL.  And a black thong to match.  At this point I just started laughing. I walked into the bedroom and showed Seth and we both just started laughing.

Not actual lingerie, sorry about the sexy pic!
I went to yoga.  And a realization came to me.  Sean was over at our house last night.  Sean read about the mystery on Facebook.  Sean TOTALLY left the lingerie.  Busted.  I told my suspicion to Seth who absolutely agreed that Sean left the lingerie.  However, at this point I didn't think Sean was responsible for the other items.  I figured he saw the post on Facebook and was going to start messing with us.  So Seth and I vowed to play dumb and see how long Sean would drag this out.

I posted another post on Facebook about our weird lingerie find and pretended to be stumped. I was still stumped about the other items, but I was 100% sure Sean had left the lingerie just to mess with us.

Later that night Sean calls.  He says, "The best part of this whole thing has been everyone's reactions on Facebook."  At this point I didn't realize he was confessing.  I just thought he was calling to chat - and see what I would say about the lingerie.  I tell him I know it was him that brought the lingerie.  To which he replies, "It cost me $30 in shipping to get the 5XL! I didn't want to buy anything small because I didn't want you to worry Seth was having an affair!" We laugh.  Then he says, "I found that retainer at Gardner Village."  At this point I still think he's joking.

Then reality sets in.  It was Sean.  The entire time.  It has always been Sean!

Now, anyone that knows Sean shouldn't be that surprised by this.  It makes sense. He's a prankster.  It just never dawned on me that it was just a friend playing a prank on us.  So I asked him how he thought of doing this. His response was:

"Well, I had an old pair of shoes.  They were too old to donate and I didn't want to just throw them away so I thought, 'I know. I'll leave one in Becky's entry.  Because I know it'll drive her nuts.'"  When you didn't say anything about it, I went to the DI and got a bunch of stuff.  Every time I would come over to your house, I would just leave something."

Who does that!? Who thinks that way?  My good friend Sean was.

So...I suppose I should be relieved that 1). No stranger has been getting into my house 2). My daughter/rodent/neighbor dog isn't dragging stuff into my house 3). We are not haunted.

I had a good laugh.  Never a dull moment with Sean.  Never a dull moment.

Open and Vulnerable

Last week I had the opportunity to go and listen to Cheryl Strayed speak.  For those of you who don't know Cheryl, she is most well known for writing the book "Wild" - her memoir of the time she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, alone for 1100 miles.

There was just something about her book that struck me.  I never read memoirs.  I never read nonfiction.  And yet her book captivated me. I think it's because her writing style is honest, bare, vulnerable.  This is something that I have tried to capture in my writing.  Well, I suppose it's something that in inherently ... me.

For those of you who are friends with me, or who have worked with me anytime over the last 10 years, you know I am pretty much an open book.  I talk a lot and I talk about personal things.  I talk about my past, my family, my marriage, my kid, my fears, my issues, my beliefs, hell I even talk about sex.  I tend to be a bit too open and sometimes I find myself thinking "Becky, stop.  Stop talking now."

The other day the girls and our solo male lunch mate, were sitting at our conference room table having lunch.  The girls were talking about life, as we do every day during lunch.  We were talking about marriage and how marriage is difficult at times.  I was talking about how Seth and I don't get out much. How we work hard and how life often just feels monotonous.  There isn't much of "the spark" after being together for a decade.  Things aren't all that exciting most days.  We just go through the motion of waking, doing the morning routine, taking Millie to daycare, working all day, picking up Millie, running an errand or two, cooking dinner, cleaning, doing laundry, bathing Millie, putting Millie to bed, and finally...settling down for an hour to watch TV to unwind.  Repeat.  Day after day.  That's kind of life right now.  Sure, it's sprinkled with moments of pure and complete joy but often it's just kind of mundane.

Our token male lunch mate - one of our station interns - said something along the lines of "Ok you have to tell me why I should get married at all because honestly this doesn't sound too great."  We all muttered something along the lines of "Oh the companionship is wonderful." or "It may not be as exciting as dating, but it's consistent and comforting" or "you always have someone to support you."
He honestly looked like a deer caught in the headlights.  I think we scared him.  We didn't see him around for lunch for awhile after that.

This got me thinking.  Maybe I divulge too much.  Maybe I am just too open.  It's probably pretty off-putting to people.  Hell I scared the intern away for crying out loud!  Maybe I need to reel it in.  I think I made a bit of a decision that day to stop saying so much.

And then I went and listened to Cheryl Strayed speak.  I noticed that the 400 people in the room all felt like I do about her, I felt like she was a dear friend.  I felt like I knew her.  We felt this way because of her writing.  She doesn't sugar coat her life, her experiences or herself.  She is vulnerable and open.  That's why people love her. That's what made me love her and love her book so much.  I want to be that kind of person. I want people to feel they can open up to me. I want people to confide in me.  I want people to seek me out because "Becky will understand".

I have found it more and more difficult to maintain friendships with people who I find guarded.  Honestly I don't think there is anything really wrong with being guarded.  Yet there is something about people being honest and open that makes you connect with them.  I have friends that live hours and hours away and yet, whether through daily emails or weekly phone calls we reconnect.  I listen as they rattle off the latest family drama, or self esteem problems, or fears and we connect all over again.  I feel as close to them as I did 15 years ago when I saw them every single day in high school.  These are the friends that I only see once a year and I feel just as close as ever.

So I suppose the point of this blog is to vow to remain open and vulnerable.  Many times I sit down to write a blog and I stop.  I worry that I will offend people, or that I will embarrass myself or my child. I really worry that people will think I am ungrateful for my life and my family. Yet, how often do we read those blogs and we think, "Oh thank God someone said it! I'm not the only one that thinks/feels this way!" I'm so tired of living in a world where people only show off their best parts. The perfect family pictures, the perfect status updates and the picture-perfect Instagram photos make me cringe in a way.  Because I know that's not your real life.  You may as well be a celebrity for all I care. Lets be real people.  Lets be relatable again shall we?

Vulnerable blog topics that I have put off writing out of fear - but I plan on writing:

-Holy shiz, how am I going to survive with 2 kids?
-Pinterest is ruining our world.
-Why I want to throw smart phones and tablets out the window
-The art of conversation

Any other topics you can suggest?

Lets Talk About Family Vacations

We just returned from a 5-day trip in Newport Beach.  It was lovely.  We had an amazing time.  I am so glad we went.

Millie was great on the airplane.  She's such a great little flyer.

She had a blast swimming with her daddy.

She played and played and played at the beach.

We went to fun parks and she was happy as a clam!

It was a really great trip.  We were so relaxed and so happy.

Ok enough of the bullshit.  Sure, we had some nice moments on this vacation but lets be honest for a minute shall we?  Traveling with a toddler kinda sucks. In fact, I wouldn't say that traveling should be called a vacation at all. It's officially called a trip.  It's not relaxing.  In fact, it's a hell of a lot of work.  Lets talk about what it's REALLY like traveling with a toddler.

Packing and prepping for the trip is a feat in and of itself.  Not only do you have to pack enough clothes for 5 days, but you have to pack diapers (regular, overnight and swim diapers), wipes, diaper rash cream.  You have to pack toys, books, monitors, bibs, sippy cups, etc.  Then there is the gear.  Carseats and strollers.  It's just a lot of stuff.  The airport is tough but luckily the staff are pretty accommodating and helpful to us crazy people traveling with kids. Millie had a complete meltdown at security because her "gimmie" had to be put through the security scanner.  Huge crocodile tears, biggest frown in the world because she was parted for 30 seconds from her beloved gimmie. Then of course was the moment at the gate where she crawled under one of the chairs and informed us she was pooping. Yes, I have that kid that tells me when she is messing her diaper but absolutely refuses to go on the toilet.  Although she does tell me, "Momma!  If you go poop on the potty I will give you a really neat present!"  So of course we stunk out the people around us and Seth hurried her off to change her diaper while our plane was  boarding.  Minutes pass and I wonder where they are - apparently she is still terrified of public restroom changing tables.  Seth had to change her diaper on the FLOOR of the airport bathroom while she screamed bloody murder.  Let me say this again, she was changed without a changing pad on the floor of a public restroom (shudder).  We made it but we were the last on the plane.

One of life's biggest luxuries as a parent is flying alone.  You know, coffee in hand, trashy celebrity magazine ready to be consumed, and maybe even a nap to be taken?  I love and miss flying alone.  Flying with a toddler is a whole other story. Millie actually did pretty great on the airplane.  Other than free-blowing her nose about 20 times (and me diving for yet another wipe) she was pretty good.  It took a lot of coordination to keep her entertained but there were no meltdowns.  She charmed everyone around her.  She watched "Wizard of Oz" on my laptop and ate pretzels.  All in all, a cool thing.

Once we arrived we were thrilled to have Seth's dad and his girlfriend Shelley pick us up at the airport. And we were LUCKY to have them to help the whole trip. On the drive from the airport I knew I had to keep Millie awake or that would mean no nap.  What is it about kids and falling asleep for 5 minutes in the car - and the ability to ruin an entire nap? I wasn't willing to let that happen. So I entertained her with my iPhone as much as possible. We arrived at the house, found something to feed her and she napped for nearly 2 hours.  This was a great sign, I thought.  She was going to sleep well on the trip.

Once again, my optimism was wrong.

Millie got a cold.  Of course she did.  Cause the only thing worse than having a sick kid is having a sick kid on vacation.  When you are out of your element and have no supplies.  So throughout the trip she was up 1-2 times a night coughing and coughing.  Unfortunately you can't give a 2-year-old cough medicine so we had to keep going in with water, and Vicks to try and help.  And then she woke up every morning between 5:30am-5:45am.  Ah, nothing like waking up when it's still dark and dragging yourself downstairs to watch Dora (the most annoying kid's show in the world) while on your relaxing vacation.  Seth and I each took turns waking up early with her so the other could sleep in until 7:30 or 8:00.  She also napped horribly. If we went anywhere between 10-12:30 she would fall asleep.  Her normally 3 hour naps on this trip were maybe 40 minutes in the stroller, or the car.

The saving grace of this trip was that we knew Millie loved the beach.  I mean, remember last year?


This girl was clearly on her way to being a full blown beach bum.

This year?  Not so much.  She HATED it.  Hated the water.  The first day we went she got in willingly with Seth.  One wave splashed her in the face and that was it.  She was over it.  She wouldn't go near the water.  The first day she insisted we hold her, or have her on our laps while she played in the sand...up the beach...completely away from the water.  The next day she got a bit more brave and moved closer.  As the tide got higher there was one moment where the water just barely touched her toes. She stood up, screaming and crying and took off up the beach and away from the water.  I couldn't help but laugh because all the people around us were just dying.  It was quite funny.  But she never warmed to it.  Hopefully this is a phase and she'll be back to her old self next time we go.  So much for our dream vacation of playing for hours on the beach with our sweet Millie.  Ha!

One day I decided - lets bag just going to the beach.  Lets go for a day trip to Santa Monica pier! I'd never been and I knew she would get a kick out of it.

She of course fell asleep in the car on the way there.  We got to the pier and took her into the old fashioned merry-go-round.  She loves the merry-go-round at the zoo so I figured she would love it.  She refused to ride on anything that moved.  So we sat together in one of the carriages.

Don't let that smiling face fool you.  She was a toad.  She was spitting at us, being really mean and whining.  (I blame the cold she had, that is not normal Millie behavior). We kept telling her she had to be nice or we would leave.  And it got worse and worse.  About 15 minutes into our day trip she started to get mad about something (I don't remember what) and we told her we were leaving.  Enough was enough.  She couldn't be mean to mom and dad.  So we were those parents physically wrestling with our child who was screaming "PUT ME DOOOWN!" and taking her away from Santa Monica pier.  We had to call and interrupt David and Shelley's plans to come and pick us back up again.  Abort abort!

That was it.  That was the moment where I thought, "What in the hell were we thinking?  This isn't fun!  This is miserable!  Why are we spending the money and taking vacation days to deal with a 2-year-old and her tantrums!? We could have left her with Grandma and had a lovely vacation together.  A real vacation."

That was really depressing.  But I got over it.  We went home and David and Shelley were nice enough to put her to bed so Seth and I could go out to dinner.  And boy it felt great.

Then they were nice enough to watch her again the next morning so we could go alone on a 3 hour whale watching tour.  According to David and Shelley - she was a total dream.  Of course she was.

That afternoon she took a nearly 3 hour nap.  I told David, "Wow, today has been the best day of the trip!  Of course, we have spent only 2 hours with Millie so that's kind of sad."  And then we laughed and laughed.

I was so ready to come home.  I was ready to get back to our routine, to our own beds and yes...ready to get back to work.  Who says that?  Who says "Wow I wish this trip was over so I could get back to work!"?!

So why do we do it?  Why do we travel with kids?  We do it because there are really some magical moments.  We do it because we can't stop doing everything when we have kids.  We do it to make memories.

But damn I would KILL for a 3-day weekend away...without her.

That's the thing about social media.  We only post the best parts of our lives and our vacations.  You see the shining moments, the smiles, the laughter.  Because those moments do exist.  But in my experience they are the rare moments on your family trips.  So here's to keeping it real.  To really talk about how hard and how not fun these trips can be at times.

Here's hoping it gets more fun and much easier as they get older!

Yes, We Are Boring Parents

Before I became a parent I had a really good idea of what kind of parent I would be.  I expected Seth and I to just incorporate our children into our lives as easily as possible.  We would be the cool parents that did everything with their kids.  Our lives didn't need to change completely just because we were having kids!  Sure I expected routine to be an important part of their lives, but if we wanted to hang out at a friend's late - the kids could just stay up longer than usual!  I envisioned us going to dinner with our gorgeous and well-behaved children in tow.  We would frequent festivals, and cultural events. Anything was possible (except movies - I knew I would never drag my baby to a movie).  We would have friends over to our house and stay awake late.  We could do that still!  Our lives didn't need to change completely. We were going to be cool.  We were going to be the parents that people looked up to.  We were going to be rad parents.

And then reality hit...

Suddenly we had this little tiny human that required every ounce of energy we had.  We stayed awake for hours on end those first months.  We daydreamed of a night where we could sleep for 5 hours without being interrupted.  Our whole world began to revolve around keeping little Millie happy.  We spent evenings bouncing and pacing with her.  We ate with one hand, standing up,  because anytime we put her down she would cry.  We would reluctantly put her to bed for the night and JUST start to get comfy on the couch when the inevitable scream could be heard over the baby monitor.  Nothing can prepare you for that first baby and those first ridiculously hard months with the baby.  But yet, as time went on, things got easier. She was still up at night but if we were lucky it was just 1-2 times.  She would go to sleep at 7pm and usually wouldn't wake up until 1am or so.  Our evenings were once again our own.  And we settled into our boring "we have kids" routine.  We watched TV and we went to bed early.  That was our only option.  Because we were 100% exhausted.  Seth and I were both working full-time and trying to juggle this new responsibility.  A responsibility that we were completely smitten with but still a new responsibility.  I know we had friends over those early months.  We could barely carry on a conversation.  We were always distracted.  And if we watched a movie - I guarantee we were both asleep within minutes.  You are really on survival mode those early months.

Then things got even easier.  Millie started sleeping through the night.  But then she started waking up every. single. morning. at 6am.  I have never been someone that "sleeps in" much.  To me, sleeping in late was 10am.  Sleeping in was usually 8 or 9. I've never understood how people can stay in bed until noon or later.  Yet, six in the morning was early.  And it still is early although it is getting easier to wake up in those early hours before the sun comes out.  Thus began our second round of adjustments - you can stay up as late as you want now - but you will wake up every day of your life at 6am now.  Sadly, if we stay up until midnight it's not like you can catch up on sleep later.  If we are lucky we can nap when the baby does.  But that's when you shower, eat, clean, read, etc.  Those hours of sleep are also lost.  You never get them back.  Sure we can stay up late, but is it worth being tired and cranky the entire next day?  It rarely is.

Millie has never been a girl that will sleep wherever we put her.  She sleeps best in her crib.  We have tried putting her down other places and it just doesn't work.  She's screaming, we are stressed, and hell, it just isn't worth it.  So 99% of the time we are home by 7:30 or so to maintain bedtime. And I am fully aware how annoying this is to people (especially our friends that don't have kids).  Honestly, I wouldn't trade those precious 2-3 hours of time without Millie for anything.  I relish those hours at night when after working for 13-14 hours straight, I can sit down, eat my dinner, watch a show and go to bed by 10:00pm.  It's 2-3 hours a day that I am lucky to have to myself.  Sure I spend some of those nights cleaning, doing laundry, dishes, etc, but at least I am doing them without another distraction.

Yes, Seth and I are boring parents.  We are.  It's the only way we are surviving working, keeping up a house, maintaining what we can of our friendships, and raising a kid.  Not to mention being pregnant and even more exhausted than normal.  I never understood how completely exhausting (and wonderful) it would be to be a parent. It's all-consuming.  It's like working an 80+ hour work week every single week of your life.  And sure we get a break.  Maybe we get a night out for 3-4 hours a couple times a month.  Maybe we go on a vacation without our kid once a year for 2 nights (because anything more than 2 nights really puts other people out).  But for now, that's about it.

I've noticed that it is getting harder and harder to relate to our friends that don't have kids.  Trust me, I hate this. I really really hate this.  I remember judging my friends with kids, before I had kids of my own.  Sorry Sally and Blake but I never understood why you didn't hang out more. I didn't understand how you could possibly have NOT SEEN the newest Harry Potter!  I didn't understand why we couldn't just come hang out at your house more often when the kids were in bed.  I'm sorry.  I didn't get it.  Now I totally get it.  People don't really understand that starting a 2+hour movie after 8:30pm is too late.  Because that sounds absurd! Especially on a weekend!  But we do it because we will fall asleep. But we can't help it. We want to stay awake. We try. We really try. We fall asleep most nights on the couch at 9pm. We are boring parents.

Babysitters are expensive.  I also have a job that requires a lot of after-hour events.  So when it comes to looking at how often I can afford/find a babysitter in a month - sometimes movies or going out to dinner are the last items on the agenda.  It's hard finding someone to watch your kid. It's hard spending $40 on a baby sitter on top of everything else you will spend money on in an evening.  Trust me, I would have a sitter every single weekend if I could.  I love/cherish/relish in our "date nights".  It just isn't always something that works out.

I also don't like bringing my kid to a restaurant.  MOST of the time it isn't worth it.  It's just not.  It's wrestling/entertaining/diverting during a meal.  We don't enjoy the meal, we know our friends don't enjoy the meal, and the people in surrounding tables don't enjoy it either.  So nope, most nights we just choose to not go to dinner. Maybe in a couple of years we will. Maybe our next kid will be a complete angel at restaurants. But dinner with a toddler is not fun.  That's why we tend to stick to take-out at our place. Again, another total expectation of myself that I have failed at.

Even doing things that I know Millie will enjoy such as festivals, aren't that great at this point. I took Millie to Craft Lake City and spent most of my time just following her in a 30-yard-radius of the festival.  Because she didn't want to go see the booths.  She just wanted to play by the water.  Again, I could bring her to those things, but I am mostly going to want to leave her with someone else.  Not to mention the amount of time and energy it takes to prep for such an outing.  I had no idea.  Pre-kid me thought I was going to be a total pro at this.  Turns out, I'm just not.  For now our outings are all children based.  We can do Red Butte Garden, the Zoo, the Park and a children's museum like pros. We are really good at those outings.

There are parents out there that kick ass at this stuff.  They bring and do everything they want with their kids. They camp/backpack/travel with them.  I just am not that parent.  When I do try those things (such as camping) it is so much work and usually not that fun.  I am surviving this phase of my life in the way I know how.  By being home.  We don't go out, we don't do much , we go to bed early. We watch a lot of TV shows.  And that is our life right now.  It's just a phase.  I know time goes quickly and before we know it our kids will be older than 5 and we will be those parents that go and do whatever they want with their kids.  I know someday I'll look back on this time and wish I had one night at home to watch TV.  :)

Friends without kids - please be patient with us.  This is just the reality we are in now. It's survival mode. This is how we cope.  We won't always be this lame.  Our old selves are still here, somewhere. They will reemerge someday.

Now go, do all those things you get to do.  Travel, go out every night, see every movie in the theater that you want, stay out all night and sleep all day.  Do it because you can.  And we envy you for it.

Life With A 2-Year-Old

I'm convinced I have the funniest kid on the planet. Every single day is an adventure with my Millie.  People keep asking me if I am "writing this stuff down" as I relay story after story about Millie.  Of course I'm not.  So this blog is to help remedy that.  Here's a breakdown of life with a 2-year-old.

Dress Up
A few weeks ago we were in Costco when we came across the Halloween costumes.  Millie squealed when she saw an Elsa dress.  Although we are not going to dress her up in as Elsa for Halloween we decided to buy it anyway.  Thus began her obsession.  Her dress was about 2 sizes too big but she doesn't mind.  She loves it.  On this particular morning she had found my InStyle magazine and had climbed into her chair to read it.

Remember last year?  We dressed Millie up as Dorothy for Halloween and it was maybe the cutest thing in the world. 

The other night Seth got the dress out again.  Lets just say that it has barely left her body since.  The other morning she woke up at 5:45.  As soon as I walked into her room she said, "Can I put on my Dorothy dress now!?"  If you see Millie now I guarantee she will tell you, "I have a Dorothy dress!"  I usually don't let her wear it outside of the house but due to the complete meltdowns that occur when I ask her to take it off - lets just say she is getting away with wearing it all the time now.  

Part of this phase includes wearing my shoes, my belts, Seth's helmet, Seth's hat, etc.  The other day she came out in only a t-shirt and rainboots.  No underwear or pants.  This kid cracks me up.

Seth discovered that Millie loves a song from Tangled.  Not one from the movie, the one that they play in the credits.  She's crazy about it.  We have been known to listen to it 7-8 times in a row on car rides.  It's totally her and her daddy's song.


I'm lucky that Millie also loves Sara favorite artist.  There is a song where part of the lyrics are "it's just like heaven."  Millie's version is, "JUST LIKE KEVIN!"  It's adorable.  She'll sing at the top of her lungs.  But really any Sara B will do.


She also loves to dance.  Especially to some great disco with Grandma.


Overall it's quite cute.  What's not so cute about this phase? When she wakes up at 2am and starts singing "Happy birthday to gram!" at the top of her lungs.

Baby Everything
Millie is super into babies.  Her transvestite looking Dorothy doll is by far her favorite "little baby".  She plays with her constantly but most of her "playing" consists of pretending the baby is crying.  It's normally a high-pitched squeal of sorts but now it's turned into this...and it's hilarious.


Everything is a baby. "Oh it's just a little baby nutcracky" or "the baby crayon is crying.  He's just a sad little crayon."  I think it's hilarious.  She likes to put the babies to bed.  Rock them, give them bottles and pat their backs.  Seriously this kid is all girl.

Interest in Anatomy
Parents seem to be mortified by this but we aren't.  Millie is super curious about her body.  And our body's.  In the morning it's not rare for her to see Seth and I partially dressed.  She'll point to various parts and ask "What's that?"  So she knows all about the penis, the vagina, mom's boobs, etc.  The other day Seth took her swimming.  After while getting dressed in the family dressing room she exclaims at the top of her lungs, "Dad!  When I grow up I'm gonna have a BIG ball penis!"  She also tells me that when she gets big she is going to have big boobs like me.  We have also had to start establishing some boundaries and rules about our "private parts".  Ah, good times.

The other night while rocking Millie she very seriously says to me, "Mom I need to tell you something ok?  Santa Clause will come tomorrow.  He will bring me presents!"  This was funny because we don't talk about Santa much.  So we had a conversation about how Santa will come - but not until it's cold and snowy outside.  We also explained that first we need to have Halloween.  Every day she says something.  The other morning I went to get her out of her crib and she exclaims, "Mom! I'm ready to go trick-or-treating.  But I can't eat too much candy cause it'll make me sick!"  I can't wait until Halloween and Christmas this year.  She's going to have an absolute blast.

Little Mimic
Millie has always been the ultimate mimic.  I think that's why she was able to learn to speak so quickly and so well. She will copy what I say constantly.  Or what I read to her. A couple of weeks ago we had a book from the library that she loved.  We read it probably 100 times.  There was a part in the book where the mom would say, "stop pestering me."  Of course while rocking before bed one night she grabbed my face and very intensely said, "Momma, look at me, look into my eyes.  Stop pestering me ok?"  She also loves to mimic her cousin Sam.  Sam doesn't talk much yet but he has this really cute sound he makes when he is excited. Millie loves to imitate this.  In fact, she did at church the other day for my nephew's farewell.  I looked back a few rows to Jenna and we both mouth to each other, "She's being Sam!"  She loves playing with Sam.  It was a rough road initially but they are pretty good buddies now.

Part of the mimic backfires however.  I have to watch what I say.  The other day I was getting really frustrated with her while wrestling to put a diaper on her. I did that frustrated sigh/growl noise.  Sure enough she now growls when she is mad.  Or if her teacher at school tells her to be nice she will quickly retort, "You be nice Miss Pita.  You be nice to me ok!?"

Little Miss Manners
Our kid has pretty remarkable manners for a 2-year-old.  We have taught her that rather than screaming, or saying no when she doesn't want something, that it is more polite to say, "No thank you."  If she doesn't want a kiss from Pop we try and get her to say, "No thank you Pop, I don't want a kiss."  We have to remind her now and then but overall she does really well with this.  Of course it backfires.  I'll make her dinner and ask her to come and sit in her highchair and of course she'll reply, "No thank you momma.  I don't want dinner."  And simply because she was polite she assumes she will get away with it.  She is appreciative though.  I often hear things such as, "Thank you for cutting the peach for me momma.  That was REALLY nice of you."

She continues to be the quirkiest kid I know.  She still loves her nutcrackers.  The other day she asked me if I could draw a red beard on her so she could be a nutcracker.  She still is obsessed with Mr. Big Guy and we try and stop by to see one every couple of weeks.  I spend much of my day talking to her friends - or rather - doing various voices for her horsey, Gabba friends, nutcrackers and Dorothy.  Every night before bed I ask if I can sing her a song and she will only ever let me sing "Baby Mine."  She refers to her farts at "tooty-balootys" and her toes as "piggys".  She tells me every time I change her diaper, "oh that's a cute bum!" or "that's a raisin poop!"  Every day is a struggle to tame her hair.  And she would watch TV all day, every day if I let her.  She has her set of tantrums, but they are usually quite minor.  She's just a really good kid and we love her to death!

Checking in on Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions.  Remember those?  As we are nearing the last 1/3 of the year (also the greatest 1/3 of the year) I realized that I need to refocus.  Life is improving with Seth's new job.  Fall is upon us and life feels great.  After emerging from a bit of a haze I thought a good check-in on my resolutions was needed.

My 2014 resolution post.

1. Be more present.  
Big fat fail. I did so well for a couple of months. I had Facebook blocked at work, I wasn't checking it on my phone when Millie was around.  It felt great.  And then somehow my computer started letting me access Facebook again and it came in and took over again.  This morning I noticed Millie was acting out.  I realized I just wasn't giving her my full attention.  This needs to change.  I am so tired of being a slave to the phone. I am tired of going out to dinner with friends, or having people over and people are on their phones the whole time.  What is wrong with us!?  That's it.  I am deleting the Facebook app from my phone.
2. Stay Active
Mostly successful.  I haven't been able to get into the workout groove I was in last summer.  Last summer at this time I was just a few weeks away from my 1/2 marathon.  I did get very into yoga during the winter.  Then sickness after sickness hit.  And depression hit.  I started running - and I hurt my back.  Now I am struggling because of Seth's work schedule.  He leaves so early that I can't workout before him.  Yadda yadda yadda.  It's not for lack of desire but it hasn't been working out quite as well.  Tomorrow morning I will run.  Gotta get back into it a bit more right now.  I have to take Millie with me more often.  She loves it.

3. Simplify
Success!  I went through my entire house - room by room - cabinet by cabinet - closet by closet- and de-clutterred.  We had a giant yard sale in May and made over $1k.  However, as you all know, it's hard to keep it up.  Especially with kids.  It's a constant battle to get rid of things and put away clothes that no longer fit.  I have to go through her stuff every 2-3 months. It's pretty incredible what we accumulate.  We still have a ways to go.  I have a bin of stuff I need to sell online.  I need to stay organized and need to stop buying things I don't need.  I definitely consider this resolution a win.

4. Budget
HA!  Fail again.  While I do feel like I am finally starting to take control of my spending, I still haven't made and stuck to a budget.  Nope.  It's completely overwhelming to me.  I realize I make it sound like I am thousands of dollars in debt.  I'm not.  But I do consistently overspend.  A few weeks ago I made a goal to not spent $1 for a week.  And I didn't.  It was pretty amazing.  You know how it stop by the grocery store because you need milk and end up dropping $50 on groceries you didn't really need.  You run and pick up lunch because you don't want the frozen food you brought. It was actually really great to reel things in.  I want to start implementing that week of no spending once a month.  I have made progress. I closed my Loft card and my Banana Republic card.  I'm paying of my AMEX.  I'll get there.  Still need to work on this though.  How hilarious is this picture? I had to include it.

5. Being Critical
Actually, while I don't think I was doing too well on this a month or two ago, I do think I am doing much better now.  This is always a battle.  I think just being conscious of this is important.  It's so easy to think critically about others and yourself.  A couple months ago a coworker forwarded all of the women in my office a quiz that was supposed to determine your confidence level.  I took it and the results were "low confidence".  I was shocked.  I have usually had a pretty decent amount of confidence but during that time I was feeling pretty down.  This bothered me a lot.  The thing I have learned is that you have to fake it.  You have to fake confidence to eventually gain it.

6. Blog
I have blogged a lot more this year.  July I failed my "blog twice a month" goal.  It's ok though, overall I am writing much more.  I am hoping this "not so creative" blog today will help inspire more blogging.

7. New Hobbies
Does one new hobby count?  I have a garden!  It's true.  I do.  Seth would love to tell you all that I suck at gardening (I kind of do) but we have a garden.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, arugula, carrots, peas are all doing well.  I'm not great at maintaining it. Yet I am happy that I have a garden at all.  Ok I think baking bread is next. Fall is the perfect time for that.  Done.  I'm on it!

8. Hair
I haven't cut my hair. It's the longest it's ever been.  I am extremely proud of myself.  And I don't have the desire to cut it.  I want to hang in there at least another year.

9. Plan ahead
Hmmmmm, well, I haven't been tested too much with this yet.  September - December is where life gets crazy.  I have already started thinking of gifts for Christmas.  A couple are hand-made items and I plan on starting those in September.  Also, for Millie I think Santa may be bringing her a dollhouse.  Handmade from Seth and I.  That will take some serious time.  Gotta get going.  I feel good about this overall.

10. Enjoy the ride
I am now.  Right now life feels pretty good.  Life was not so good for a few months earlier this year.  But things are heading in that right direction.

Overall I think I'm doing ok.  I really need to refocus on a few things but I feel good about life in general.  So that's something.

My Name is Becky, and I am an Addict

This is a very serious blog post.  It's something I don't willingly admit or talk about openly.  But I am an addict.  I don't mean to be, I have tried to quit many times, but it keeps coming back.  It starts most evenings before bed. I wash my face, brush my teeth and then I am powerless to withstand the temptation. Just a little bit won't hurt right? I just need two tiny hits.  Two little hits will help me sleep.  Two little hits won't hurt right?

I never intended this to happen. I don't see myself as having an addictive personality.  But a few times a year it happens.  Just when I think I have kicked this nasty habit it rears its ugly head. I have to have it. I have to.  I absolutely need it, this vice of all vices.

Yes ladies and gentleman, my name is Becky and I am addicted to nose spray.  Afrin.  The devil spray that clears up even the nastiest of stuffy noses.  I love it.  And I hate it.  I love that I can be horribly sick and it will always clear up the worst congestion. Within minutes I am breathing like a champion and can sleep.  Yet, for those of you who don't know, it worsens said congestion if you use it for more than 3 days.

3 days?  Try using it for 30, 40 days in a row.  Yep.  That's me.  I have struggled with this for years.  I am convinced that it is an inherited fault.  My dad has used nose spray his entire life. He uses it every single night.  He even had surgery 30 years ago to clear out the problems it caused.  And he was right back to using it.  I have been off and on it since I was a teenager. I get addicted and then I have to wean myself off. It makes for a few bad nights in a row.  Not quite the shakes, but certainly it's a struggle. I use Sudafed, saline spray, prop my head up, humidifiers, etc.  My doctor has often prescribed me Flonase to wean me off.  It's the only thing that really works for me.

Every time I get addicted I tell myself this is the last time.  I won't use it ever again! It's not worth the pain.  But then a cold/flu rolls around and among all of the symptoms I can't control - I know I can control the stuffy nose and I give in.

I grew up in a family that if you had a really stuffy nose we were given nose spray. I never really learned how to breathe through my mouth at night.  This last month I was really sick. I struggled with a bad case of allergies and then a terrible cold. One of the worst colds of my life. I felt awful and I couldn't breathe at all.  Of course, night would roll around and I couldn't wait. I couldn't wait to have some relief that that only that small, beautiful, white bottle can bring. I started using it.  And I couldn't stop.

Being married to a Physician Assistant has its perks. It also has it's struggles.  I sheepishly admitted to Seth last month that I had been using nose spray.  For a good month straight.  This was not good news for him. He was very stern with me and told me I had to stop.  It was making my cold worse!  My congestion was awful because of it.  In fact, this whole "cold" was probably not a cold at all, but really just a symptom of my horrible, terrible addiction.  He got after me at 5:45am one morning.  I was in bed, feeling miserable and being lectured for my nose spray addiction.  He left for work and quickly removed all Afrin from the home.  I survived the day, I only use it at night.  That night after he got home from work, he felt guilty for getting after me and brought back the spray.  He pleaded with me to not use it.  I told him I wouldn't.

And I tried. I swear I tried.

I took extra-strength Sudafed. I used my Flonase. I put Vicks on my chest and started the humidifier.  And then I tried to go to sleep. I couldn't breath at all.  "Breathe through your mouth Becky!  That's what other humans do! It's not that hard."  I tried. I swear I did! I tried for nearly 2 hours to fall asleep and I just couldn't.

So I did an awful thing. I snuck out of bed and found the bottle and took a quick sniff in each nostril. I couldn't help it.  As sick as I was, I needed sleep more than anything right? So I used it and slept like a champ.

The next morning Seth was very proud of me.  "See honey! You did it! You didn't use the spray!" And I totally lied.  I lied through my teeth. I told him I didn't use it.  Honestly Seth doesn't understand the power of the spray.  I continued to use it for the next 4-5 nights.  And eventually, like always, I was able to wean myself off of it.

My name is Becky and I am addicted to nose spray.  The last time I used was 15 days ago.

I swear I'm gonna stay off of it this time.  I even went to throw it away, determined that I would never fall prey to its addictive powers.  But I couldn't do it.  We have a love/hate relationship me and Afrin.  I know it's bad for me, but it's just so good to me too.

This post is for all of you spray addicts.  You know who you are.  This is a safe place to talk about your addiction. I understand your pain.  Lets form a group - the NSAA (Nose Spray Addicts Anonymous).  What do you say?

Taking Stock

Life has been throwing me for a loop lately. I've been fighting pretty heavily with depression, anxiety and just a basic feeling of being completely overwhelmed.  Many times I have sat down to write a blog and express these feelings.  Today I saw this on a blog I follow and I loved it.  So today is just about taking stock. 

Making:  An obscene amount of to-do lists.
Cooking:  Separate meals for Millie.  Still.
Drinking:  A lot more wine than I usually do.
Reading:   "Beneath the Wide & Starry Sky" 
Wanting:   Peace, fun and time
Looking:   Across the Salt Lake valley on this beautiful summer morning
Playing:    Snowmonster with Millie
Wasting:  Time on Facebook
Wishing:   For strength
Missing:   Biking and yoga 
Enjoying:  My lovely backyard
Waiting:   For Seth's work schedule to feel easier.
Liking:  Bright lipstick, gardening and bad TV
Wondering: Can I handle a second kid?
Loving:  My daughter more than anything in the world
Hoping:  I am a better mom than I give myself credit for
Marveling:  At Millie.  
Needing:   A vacation away with Seth
Smelling:   Office coffee
Wearing:   Summer dresses and high heels
Following:  The lives of everyone and comparing too much
Noticing:    How exercise changes the way I feel in general
Knowing:   Things are going to be just fine
Thinking:   Too much.  Always thinking
Giggling:   At the brilliant things my daughter says
Feeling:   Antsy and sad but hopeful

Pick A Little, Talk A Little

Oh marriage.  What a difficult thing you can be sometimes.  Seth and I are very opposite in many ways.  People often say to us, "You really compliment each other beautifully!"  You know what they say about opposites attract. This is true but it also makes things quite hard.  

He has ADD which means he is often all over the place.  He starts one thing and gets easily distracted by something else.  He loses track of time.  He hates schedule, routine and traditions.  I, on the other hand, am a creature of habit.  I love making lists.  I stay on task. I love planning ahead. I love traditions.  I'm not spontaneous.  The difference that has been most apparent lately is "talking".  

I come from a family that aren't big talkers.  I mean, we are social, we talk, we have friends, etc. But we are not the family who sits down with each other and really digs deep into issues.  We surface talk much of the time.  Family dinners with my family are pretty mellow.  It's not rare to see people sitting on couches and checking out their phones.  We are close but we aren't always completely up-front with each other.  We beat around the bush at times.  

I remember the first time I went to a Youkstetter gathering. I was shocked at how loud and open his family was.  I actually told Seth after we left, "Your family argues a lot!" and he looked at me like I was crazy.  "We don't argue! We were just talking."  Things are out on the table at a Youkstetter gathering.  They get loud, they talk over each other in order to get their point across.  They interrupt and they say exactly what they are thinking.  It was quite shocking initially.  Yet, the way they communicate grew on me. 

Every summer we go on a family vacation with the Youkstetter family.  Part of that vacation is an "expression session."  I admit, we all poked fun at Patty and David for wanting to implement this's basically a "testimony meeting" (for you Mormon readers).  Or, a time when we gather in a circle and everyone gets a chance to talk.  We have a timer and the topic is yours.  Interestingly enough it's a time when people can discuss their fears, their hopes, their love for their family, etc.  The best part is that no one can respond.  Once your time is up, the next person talks.  And a really beautiful thing happens: we learn from each other, we cry together, we laugh together and we create a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.  

It's a really beautiful and wonderful thing that I look forward to.  I have found myself wishing that my family would do the same thing.  We have so much to learn from each other.  

Well, back to the marriage issues.  Seth is a huge talker.  If he's stressed, he wants to talk about it.  If he's upset with me, he'll tell me about it.  He's brutally honest (a whole other blog topic).  If he is having a hard time with a decision, he wants to talk about it.  Had a rough day at work?  Lets talk about it.  Starts freaking out about us, or Millie -  better talk it through.  He is this way because he comes from a big family of talkers.  If someone is struggling they hash through it.  They get loud, they sometimes say mean things to each other.  Yet they know where they all stand.  

I admit, I kind of hate this.  I am an open person (duh - look at this blog).  My coworkers and friends know a lot about me.  Yet, when it comes to confrontation, or issues - no thanks.  When I'm stressed, I want to take a nap.  When I've had a bad day at work - leave me the hell alone and let me read.  If Seth is driving me crazy- nah, I'll just hold onto it and resent the hell out of him. 

Can you see where this becomes problematic?

I had a harsh reality smack me in the face last fall. I was at my parent's house going through my boxes of storage stuff.  I ran across my "Jason box". Mission letters, gifts, wedding album, our anniversary box, etc.  I made the mistake of going through some of the stuff.  Soon I was crying.  I wasn't crying because I was upset that we weren't together. I was crying because I just felt so bad that we had to go through that.  I cried because of how poorly I handled our marriage and our divorce. I read a letter he wrote me right before the divorce was final.  Basically it was his goodbye letter.  I haven't read it for 10 years or so.  It was incredibly painful to read.  It was painful because it became very clear that I allowed Jason to take the fall for our failed marriage. And he willingly did and gracefully so. I was young and I was stupid and I didn't want to pin any blame on myself. His letter spelled out his issues with me.  Issues that I shoved under the rug and forgot about. I didn't want to face them. What was the most heart-wrenching was seeing that many of the issues Jason had with me - Seth has with me now.  I haven't changed in many ways.  I'm still closed off. I still have too high of expectations, etc.  And frankly it made me very sad.  

That's the thing about marriage.  Changing partners doesn't always solve everything because the problems often lie within ourselves.  Marriage challenges every part of yourself and the only way to truly make it as a couple, is to see yourself clearly and to be honest with yourself. Trust me, this isn't easy.  

I need to learn to talk more, but more importantly I need to learn to listen to Seth. I am a terrible listener. I'm impatient, I judge, I take things personally.  If Seth can't talk to me, who can he talk to? I don't want to push him away.  I want him to be able to come to me. I am vowing to work on it.  Because he deserves it. We deserve it.  

I'm going to implement a daily expression session. A time where we each get 10 minutes to talk about whatever we want - without interruption.  Seth will hate that I have to "schedule" a time to listen but I know I am not capable of doing it well without a bit of structure. I think we can each learn a lot about each other, about our hopes and fears and frustrations.  I hope this will help bridge a bit of the gap we feel now.  

Oh marriage.  Why are you so stinking hard?  

I sure love him though.  Handsome bloke.