Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Highlight Reel

2014 has been full of change for our little family of four (yes, four. We have had one more child since the last time I updated this blog. I am just a little behind.). And during the Christmas season we received several holiday letters from friends and family and really enjoyed reading them. I thought I would do a digital version here so that in a few weeks when we are off our holiday break and back to running around like crazy people, I can remember what happened.

Family photo during a fun little summer trip to Durango, CO.

A New Old House
The biggest change this year was we sold our beloved brick bungalow downtown and moved to the 'burbs. I can't believe it either. We adored our 100+ year old Craftsman bungalow and our dear neighbors more than words but realized that we had officially outgrown the house and were looking for our next house adventure. We purchased that house when we were newlyweds, just out of college. We had absolutely no idea what we were in for when we decided to buy the completely run-down house and "fix it up," which is probably the only way to do that sort of thing. In my mind, "fixing it up" included dusting off the drapes, putting on a fresh coat of paint and opening the windows so Cinderella's darling bird friends could fly in, sashes and ribbons in-beak. That wasn't exactly how it works, though, no matter how many remodeling shows you watch on HGTV. Twelve years and countless trips to Home Depot later, the formerly sad little house was our happy home we bittersweetly passed along to a new family.

Our last photo on our beloved front porch, taken while we were moving out. :'(

We (again) bought a new-to-us, sad house but this time with killer views. We gave up our walkable, diverse downtown 'hood for a quiet suburban neighborhood. We bought the worst house on the street and have been working hard to make it less of an embarrassment to our very nice neighbors. This neighborhood is the exact opposite of where we lived before but we are learning to love it.

The view from our new back yard. Not too shabby.

We bought a 1960s home, with vaulted ceilings and a giant beam that runs through the living room. It came with acres of old, dingy carpet, dirty cottage cheese ceilings and an entire civilization of dead rodents under the roof (their corpses have since been removed, thankfully). We have been in the house almost six months (what?!) and in that time have done some pretty serious work, including removing three huge dumpsters of yard waste (nobody had even mowed the lawn here for years), took out the ceiling on the main floor and replaced it, removed all of the old floor and most of the subfloor, installed hard woods throughout, removed a wall on the main floor, removed all of the former kitchen and put in a new one, installed a new furnace and A/C unit and much, much more! I will hopefully be posting more about the house renovation process. Z has been a busy, busy man. We have a lot more to do and are looking forward to making lots more memories in our new place, the house is already so much happier to have a family who is taking care of it, I can tell.

Houston, we have a Kindergartener!
Anthony started Kindergarten this year at the elementary school that is just a five-minute walk from our new house's front door to his classroom. It is very convenient for those days we're running late (which is every day, just for the record). He loves his class and thinks his school has an awesome playground, which is very important, you know. Anthony is the tallest kid in his class by more than one head and firmly believes it's because he loves to eat vegetables. He may have a point. We're all glad that he has made some great new friends in our neighborhood.

The daily walks to and from school are full of excitement: including the spotting of this giant slug. 

I Started Business School
In August, I decided life wasn't busy enough with two little boys, a busy job and everything else and decided to go to grad school to get my MBA in an executive program. Although it is so hard, (I had a moment the night before my corporate financial reporting class final where I thought seriously that if I had the choice to take my final or go through childbirth I would have chosen childbirth. Not a good sign.), I really am enjoying it. My classmates are awesome--all very smart and accomplished. I am learning so much from them. I am one of six women in the program of 70 people and am lucky enough to have one of my close friends in the program with me. I am also very lucky to have the best husband in this universe who has picked up my slack at home so I can get through school.

Z is Coaching
In addition to taking care of the boys all day and renovating our house, Z is the head coach of a local Catholic high school's baseball team. He is doing a great job and loves working with the players and their families. It's been a nice way for him to share his love and knowledge of the game that has meant a lot to him. The kids and I love going to the games, cheering on the team and eating lots of baseball snacks.

My Job Continues to be Amazing
I have the best job of all time. I am on my third year of working for an incredible nonprofit that helps children's hospitals and I get to meet dozens of kids and their families each year who are so beyond inspiring it blows my mind. Because of some of our awareness initiatives I was able to do some pretty memorable things this year, one highlight included another successful White House event where I got to present a gift to the First Lady. My job has taught me the importance of team work, solid planning and perspective.

Much to be Thankful For
This year we are very thankful for all of the things I mentioned above and especially to have celebrated the first birthday of our little Robby, he has a huge personality and is such a joy. A noisy, always-dirty, loves-to-climb-on and jump-off-everything joy. He has started 'talking' a lot recently and makes us laugh so hard every single day. He adores his big brother, who adores him right back. He is obsessed and so gentle with our dog, Sydney, calling her "Ishi." He has big brown eyes and the smooshiest cheeks that are perfect for kissing hundreds of times of a day.

As the second child, Robby enjoys only the finest toys, including dog chew bones.


We had a traumatic incident in April and are very thankful for the way it turned out. It was a weekday morning, Anthony had a fever and was resting on the couch, watching TV. He acted totally fine other than the fever. I left for work (which was then just a five-minute drive) and Z was home with the boys. Soon after I arrived at work, I had a panicked call from Z asking me to come home right away. Anthony was unconscious and not breathing. It was terrifying, but Z (Father of the Year. Seriously!) had fortunately stopped to check on Anthony, who was then sleeping on the couch, before getting in the shower.

Unknown to Z, Anthony had experienced a febrile seizure (it was the first time he had ever had one, we have since learned these are brought on by fever and are not uncommon in kids under age seven, these seizures are often 'silent'--not necessarily the kind of violent movements you might expect) and his head had turned so his face was somewhat pushed into our leather couch. He couldn't breathe and was unconscious when Z checked on him. Z immediately started CPR, doing chest compressions for some time before he was able to reach his phone and call 911. Anthony started breathing after a couple of minutes and was semi-alert when the paramedics arrived. I got home just after the paramedics and Anthony and I rode to the hospital together in the ambulance. It was an unusual moment, as I spend all day every day working on behalf of children's hospitals--it was surreal to be on the patient side. Thankfully Anthony had no complications from the ordeal, although for years we will have to constantly monitor him when he has a fever.

I am telling you this story as a reminder to take a CPR class if you haven't recently. It is so easy for us to think nothing would ever happen to us or our family/friends. I can tell you I worry about my kids nonstop but I had never felt like they were more safe than that day leaving for work, knowing my child was safely resting on our sofa. And that's when we had our emergency, when we least expected it.

It is also easy to think you would just call 911 if you ever needed help. It is so important to immediately know what to do, time is not on your side in an emergency and many of us don't always know where we last put our cell phone--you don't want to be running around searching for your phone (and praying for good cell reception) because you're not sure what you need to do.

I am so grateful my amazing husband was paying such close attention and was able to think quickly to save our son's life. Did I mention you should take a CPR class?

That was one of many lessons we learned in 2014. What an incredible year for our family.

I hope 2015 is absolutely wonderful to you.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Escape to Buffalo Island

One of my goals for this year was to enjoy more of our surroundings. I travel a lot for work and when I meet other people who find out I live in Utah they always comment on how beautiful this state is. That, and how weird our liquor laws are. But, back to the beautiful state: I usually agree with them and then think to myself, 'I really ought to see how beautiful our state is for myself one of these days.' So, Z & I have been trying to check out more local attractions (you may remember how well one of our last outings went). A couple weeks ago we set off on a Sunday adventure, heading North! To Buffalo Island! as Little A calls The Great Salt Lake's Antelope Island. And I have to say, he has a good point there. We saw dozens of buffalo but only one antelope.

Holy cow, er, buffalo. That place is gorgeous.

And offers lots of fun photo opps. Luckily, we got this elusive albino buffalo to stand still.

Because of the rolling hills, big sky, lots of water making up this one-of-a-kind landscape, it apparently used to be quite the filming location back in the day (like, wayyyyyyyy back), as this sign commemorating a 1923 film shoot shows.

We drove around the island, admiring the views and all of the incredible buffalo that are just feet. from. your. car. and then stopped at a ranch on which the state's oldest house still standing on its original foundation sits.

There is an amazing picnic area with giant old Cottonwood trees, lots of grass and tables. Since we're from the inner city, we preferred to eat OP style (original picnic) and use a blanket.

We stopped to take a few timed photos.

Before the camera tipped sideways.

We spotted a herd of deer in the distance.

And more beautiful scenery. Did I mention it's beautiful here?

We loved walking around around the ranch. 

And then headed up to a look-out point. Little A was elated when he saw his favorite thing: a dumpster. The child is OBSESSED with anything to do with garbage. Trucks, cans, dumpsters, you name it, if it has to do with waste, he loves it.

We got to the viewing area just before the sun started to set.  The view was on par with the most stunning I have seen anywhere in the world.

I am so glad we took this little day trip. We had a great time together as a family and now when people tell me our state is so beautiful, I'll be able to say with confidence,

it sure is.

But liquor laws, you're on your own.



Antelope Island, Salt Lake City attractions, Salt Lake kids activities

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Chapter


Since the last time I updated this a lot has changed.

We made the hard, but for-the-best, decision to close the restaurant. Just about four hours after we officially decided to close, I got the call that the job I wanted ( I'd been interviewing for it for weeks and weeks) was mine. I had described it to family and friends as the job of my dreams and now that I'm about eight months into it I still agree with that. It's been incredible.

Z is excelling in his new role as a full-time stay-at-home dad. This has been such a benefit to us as I am getting settled into my new position. Previously he and I were taking turns during the weekdays to be home with Little A and then he headed to the pizza shop every night and all weekend. Every weekend. Looking back at it now it really was just too much for us in every way.

And, so far, we're welcoming such exciting plot twists as--for the first time in our lives together--weekends at home (all of us! under the same roof! all weekend!), evening dinner together (all of us! at the same table! every night!) and the ability to make plans for previously unthinkable things like vacations.

There are still some unknowns as we figure out what's in store for us but we're looking forward to the next part of our story.

The lovely photo above is "Vintage Books," a print available for purchase, from butterflyfood on etsy. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Lovely: To the Sky

As a kid I was a little bit infatuated with Amelia Earhart and ordered multiple books about her from our elementary school book orders. This was pre-Google. (Do you remember ordering books? You'd fill out what you want on the thin, crinkly paper and then wait for the books to get there and it was like Christmas? At least it was for me... Best day ever.)

I used to imagine what happened to her and in my more positive thoughts she was living it up on a deserted island with some fun, castaway friends in cool Swiss Family Robinson-style treehouses.

This new-to-me online magazine Matchbook did a fun feature on Amelia-inspired style. I loved all of the items included, especially the photo of our heroine and her adorable pixie haircut and awesome airplane in the background.


Friday, June 3, 2011

That's like 80 in dog years

This week Z & I celebrated 10 years of wedded adventure. I can't believe it's been that long.

The photo above is beautiful isn't it? It's from this wonderful blog. And it's a photo of peonies. My favorite flower. Of all the details, big and small, from that day, I remember a few things extra clear, allllllllllll these years later. One of them is the peonies I used to decorate the church and some parts of our reception. They were from my grandmother's garden and serendipitously bloomed just about a day before our wedding. They were bright pink and so cheerful.

I'm taking the fact that they made a magical appearance for our big day as a sign of good luck.

Here's to another decade.

Photo by Oh Happy Day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Owl Righty Then

These beauties and their impressive color were but a mere distraction 
to Little A until we could get to the owls.

Little A and I spent most of the early afternoon at the local aviary. We had a blast. 

When I told him this morning we were going to the aviary to see the birds he immediately started with the questions. His queries led me to understand he has inexplicably (and overnight) become owl-obsessed. "Are we going to see an owl?" "I want to see an owl and a baby owl." "Where do baby owls come from?" "What color are owls?" "Are the owls there the ones from Aunt Suzi's house?" "Owls say 'hooo hooo' just like a dove. But they are not doves." "I reallllllllly want to hold a baby owl. Baby owl feathers are SO soft!"

We had to run a couple of errands and then finally got to the aviary. We were checking in at the front desk and the college-age guy working was cute with Little A, asking him if he was excited to see the birds. "Yes, I want to see the owls. Do you have owls? Do owls live here?"

The guy assured him that owls do, in fact live there. But, just as our luck would have it, the brand new super impressive extra fun and exciting Owl Forest of all Owl Forests was opening for the first time -- tomorrow. We missed it by one day.

However, he said we could still see the owls from the sidewalk. I was relieved. And Little A's head was about to explode from pure happiness. Then the guy gave us a map of the grounds that had an OWL ON THE COVER and it almost put him over the edge.

We trekked around the aviary, looking at flamingos, eagles bald and golden and some unfortunate looking vultures (poor guys). "Where are the owls???"

Finally, we got to the owls. I lifted A up so he could get a good look and as a large barn owl turned toward him -- I grinned in anticipation of how excited he was going to be -- he mumbled "Oh, there's one." 

And then immediately turned his attention, and excitement, towards a pair of ducks that just poo'd on the sidewalk.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Lovely: Conversations

Little A & Z yesterday at the Living Traditions festival.

Little A: Goodbye, Mama! You are going to work?

Me: Yes, honey, I am. I will see you later. Have fun with Daddy today!

Little A: My cookie monster has a hole.  He has a tear.

Me: Oh no! I can fix it. I will sew him up later when I get home.

Little A: You will?! Oh, Mama. You are the most beautiful mama in the world!

Me: Thank you! I love you so much.

Little A: I love you, too. Can I have a hug? I love your kisses.