Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Walker Baby

SCENE:  I'm home alone with the kids right before bed time.  We hear a noise downstairs.
Eli: "Did you hear that?"
Mom: "Yeah, I think that's probably the water heater."
Eli: "No, that's The Walker Baby."

SCENE: Eli has been in bed for half an hour, hoping to be awake when Daddy gets home.  I hear banging on his walls.
Mom: "Eli, bud, whatcha doing to the wall?"
Eli: "It wasn't me Mom!  It was The Walker Baby.  He's naughty sometimes."
SCENE: I'm dressing Eli in his jammies and notice a scratch on his leg from playing outside.
Mom: "Hey Eli your scratch is looking better!  It's almost all healed up!"
Eli: "Yeah, that's just from The Walker Baby.  The Walker Baby has long long LONG nails."


From left to right: Porter, The Walker Baby, Eli, Mom and Dad
I felt, when The Walker Baby was first introduced into our lives, that Eli had chosen his imaginary friend poorly.  No mother with a husband who works most evenings needs that kind of influence in her life.  But now, luckily, The Walker Baby has evolved into a slightly less terrifying character.  According to what I can glean from Eli:

- Sometimes it's a girl, sometimes a boy
- It has long green hair
- It will be having a castle birthday party
- It lives in Elko in a house
- It has 5 brothers and sisters, one of which is a baby boy
- It's world is cloudy
- It has lots of dandelions, and they taste like art
- It is currently sick, and is sneezing a lot
- IT likes to play with her monster toys

Essentially harmless, right? 
BUT.  If we happen to disappear mysteriously, you know who to blame.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A week in Provo Paradise

After nearly two years, we often comment that Elko is actually pretty nice, and we don't mind living here at all.  We like our house, our yard, our ward, and we have nice neighbors and friends.  Aside from Zach's CRAZY work schedule, its a piece of cake.

BUT.  Then we go to Utah to visit our family and we are immediately aware of all the things we're missing out on in Elko: food, family, friends, more food, cool places to take the kids/adults, reliable internet, actual scenery, and shopping opportunities to name a few.  (Sigh)  So, when we were invited to attend my mom's graduation in Provo we jumped at the chance, even if it was on the tail-end of a very long, wild trip to New Mexico.

Zach and I had been wanting to take Eli on a "date" to his first movie for awhile, and this was our chance.  He loved the theater experience, and then cruising the mall afterwards.
There was a genius kiosk in the mall selling rides on go-kart-ish zoo animals, and it was a huge hit.  Not super fast, but very fun!

After our date, Zach had to head back to Elko to start what has been 3 weeks and counting of straight work.  Everyday.  The kids and I were happy to stay at Grandma's for just a few more days before heading back into the war zone.  Porter, as you can see below, had no problems kicking Zach out.
The day after Zach left the kids and I were once again at the mall, and Eli was seriously enjoying his job as the Porter chauffer.  Sadly, he had not quite mastered the vehicle, and once the stroller was empty his strength and speed were too much for the wheels and Eli ended up face-planting on the tile floor.

This unhappy (and somewhat bloody) incident resulted in Baby's First Stitches.  It was rough, but he took it like a champ.  A terrified (understandably), screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs champ.

Once the procedure was over he thought he was HOT STUFF with his stitches, and loved showing them to everyone while relating his tragic tale.

The pictures below portray my very favorite reason for coming to Provo: hanging out with our family.  I love watching everyone love my kids, and watching my kids build relationships with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  It's simply the best, and it's what we miss the most when we're gone.

At the end of our stay we had the graduation hoopla, where my mom graduated (again) with her (second) Master's degree from BYU.  I am so proud of her and the work that she has put into her education and career!  It was fun to watch my Dad award her the diploma, and witness the cheesy kiss they had while he did so. 

After all the fun and games it was still good to come home to Elko, but we are always looking forward to our next trip to paradise.
You stay classy, Provo.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Crazy Overambitious Roadtrip

Once upon a PharmD graduation Zach was slated to work for Kmart in Hobbs, New Mexico.  Not wanting to be alone in the wilderness, we convinced our favorite pharmacy school buddies, the Cowarts, to take the Kmart in Roswell so that we could be neighbors.  A few weeks after we all accepted the jobs the Kmart in Hobbs closed down and the one in Elko opened up, but the Cowarts were still committed to Roswell.  We promised to visit them (out of pity) and this was the month our promissory note came due.
I've decided that it is only the truest of friendship (or craziness) that prompts you to drive 16 hours to a remote corner of the Southwestern desert, but by golly we did it.  We split up the drive with a stay in Farmington, NM and there Eli and Porter discovered their great love of hotels, and I discovered my great love of chubby babies in speedos.

When we finally arrived at the Cowarts the next day we were greeted by a slew of children that were more than happy to play with Eli and tolerate Porter.  They had Iron Man paraphernalia galore, so Eli was pretty much in heaven. 

We adults were in heaven after all the kids were asleep, when there was nothing to impede hours and hours of board game mania and seeing who could scare who more with Sami the creepy doll.  That's right.  We party hard. 

Since we had driven all that way, we HAD to visit the Roswell International UFO museum.  It was pretty ridiculous, slightly tacky, and lots of fun.

While we were in the alien spirit, the Roswell McDonalds did not disappoint:

Aside from eating green chile in every possible form, the only other thing on our New Mexico checklist was the Carlsbad Caverns.

I am so glad that we made the drive, because the caverns were the highlight of our trip.  It's difficult to communicate the scale of these caves, or the surreal scenery.  It's like a strange dream that wanders into nightmare territory when you realize you have the only crying children in the entire place.

We made the 1.25 mile hike down down down while carrying both kids (Eli's legs mysteriously stopped working after only a few hundred yards) and then explored around the bottom.  By this point Eli declared he couldn't walk because he was hungry and had to go potty, but even after a trip to the restaurant at the bottom of the cave and the restrooms he STILL couldn't walk.  Since the elevators were out of commission Zach manfullly carried him all the way back up again.  What a stud.

From Roswell we swung over through Arizona to visit my grandparents in Pima.  It was so fun to introduce them to Porter, and Porter was so thrilled with them that he decided to start crawling for reals right there in their living room.

From Pima we went on to Phoenix, where we met with Zach's Aunt Ana and Uncle Kim.  These wonderful people are the sole reason I was able to do an internship in Washington DC the summer after we got married as they let us live in their basement rent-free.  Needless to say, we adore them.

By this point we had driven 1800 miles and spent over 28 hours in the car.  The Cowarts had given us a parting gift of a stomach bug and we were all TOTALLY EXHAUSTED.

Finally, finally, FINALLY, after yet another long day in the car (by now I had questioned the sanity of this trip several times) we made it to an oasis: St. George.  My (other) wonderful grandparents let us sleep as much as possible over the next few days and everyone loved it.

We made it back to Provo after traveling a grand total of 2500 miles through 5 states and spending over 45 hours in the car during a nine day period. 
Never again. 
But good memories!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

DTR: A Girlfriend Update

Eli was going steady with one Miss Gwendolyn all last summer, but tragedy struck when Gwen's family relocated to Idaho just after Porter was born, a whole four hours away.  They tried to keep their relationship alive by mailing drawings attached to (rather incoherent) letters, but it just wasn't enough.  Eli decided he MUST make the trip up to Boise to see her, parents and new wing-man in tow.

Upon his arrival, everyone was pleasantly surprised to find that their relationship had, if anything, blossomed into something even better than before, with less immature spats about who had what toy and more collaboration in drawing on tables and waking up at insanely early hours.  Eli splurged (or least somebody splurged) on a date to the Boise Zoo, where they enjoyed approximately 20 minutes of looking at animals before moving on to climbing on every possible surface.


 Meanwhile, Porter and Gwen's new little brother Freddie, became fast friends in the way only totally disinterested babies can.  Their relationship is pretty chill.


After only a few days at her house, it was heart-breaking to leave his Lady Love, but Eli saw Gwen again just a few weeks later for her birthday.  After the party they once again parted with hugs and kisses and declarations of love.

Eli remains true, talks of her constantly, and makes her pretend cakes all over the house.  BUT, rumor has it Gwen has moved on to a kid with wheels...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Eastering 2016

Nurturing the blob of the a baby that Eli was is finally starting to pay off.  Don't get me wrong, I love my babies, but this toddler thing is so much more interactive and fun!  All the things you picture when you idealize your child's life can now happen.  Especially holidays.  In this case, Easter.

Eli loved getting ready for Easter- dyeing eggs, picking out his basket, and learning the story behind why we celebrate this particular holiday.  When I proudly told him to tell Daddy the story I taught him, I learned that something was lost in translation: Eli's version involved Jesus and his disciples hiding in the bushes from the leopards. Wha?

Easter morning was fun for everyone, with candy to spare, until....

...until the Evil Mother tried to squeeze her wailing younglings into adorable matching Easter outfits and somehow get them to smile at the same time.  I didn't even make them wear the ties and it still didn't really work. 

After church we had our neighbors over for the traditional bunny cake (I can not emphasize enough that cake decorating is not my thing- I know, I know.  It looks like some bizarre long-eared mouse) and egg hunt.

The kids were in a wild frenzy while they waited for their somewhat disorganized Easter Bunny to hop on back down the street after leaving eggs in our yard.  Luckily for everyone involved, Eli has calmed down since last year and there was less carnage during the hunt. We made it through the whole thing without any tears.

The Easter Bunny brought Eli a Batman kite in his basket and it was a pretty popular entertainment item.  Zach did a marvelous job flying it, considering it was his first time.  I believe it only nose-dived twice.

I appreciated the #Hallelujah video that our church put out this year, and was grateful for the reminder as I spent the day with my forever family.  He lives!