Monday, August 29, 2011

He Speaks

I swear Eli talks. Even though sometimes it's his own language that only half sounds like English. But luckily I'm learning his language with him. So I thought I'd document his cute first words. For the past three days I've been chasing Eli around the house with a camera waiting for anything resembling a word to escape his mouth. Luckily I got most of his vocabulary documented. Except of course mama. Which he only uses in extreme circumstances. So I guess I'll count my blessings that we had no extreme circumstances occur in the last three days.

Anyway, enjoy the video. I wrote the words in the lower right-hand corner of the screen since I'm assuming you're not fluent in Elish.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Clean the House Day

Before I had Eli I heard several people say it takes twice as long to do anything with a kid. I quickly found this to be true. And I have recently found that the older the kid gets, the less they sleep, and the more they want to help. Making minor chores an all day event.

Because when I was cleaning the bathroom, Eli was unrolling the toilet paper.
When I was vacuuming, Eli was inconveniently always standing right in front of me, unplugging the vacuum, or stealing parts in a darling but time consuming effort to imitate me.
I cleaned up toys and Eli distracted me with his smiles.
I cooked cinnamon rolls and Eli ran off with my oven mitt.
I put the laundry in the dryer only slightly faster than Eli could pull it back out.
I got the settings ready, Eli changed them.
I tried to shut the washer, but someone was in my way. These laundry pictures are a little deceiving as it truly looks like I put him to work. But let me assure you -- his work was counterproductive.
I tried to fold laundry. A little mister couldn't stand to let a pile of clothes peacefully sit without being knocked over.
Whew. It's been a long day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - Our First Christmas

The Christmas season split our budding love for a few weeks as I went up to my parents' house and Jeff stayed in Cedar. We texted during our time apart except for one day. Christmas.

Because on Christmas, Jeff chose to call instead of text. And then I knew we were getting serious. Because he called knowing we were in opposite parts of the state. He called with nothing more on his agenda than to talk. To wish me a merry Christmas. To be my boyfriend figure.

He probably didn't look at it that way, but of course that's how I analyzed the situation.

I saw the incoming call and I ran up to my room to soak up my potential boyfriend's Christmas wishes in peace. We talked briefly about how our day had been. Then he asked me what I was doing the rest of the night.

In all my girl-about-to-be-in-love stupidity, I responded I was going to watch the latest Batman movie.

Jeff seemed mildly impressed.

I had this weird thing when I was single where I thought guys would love me if they knew I enjoyed a good guy movie every once in a while. So I all too often made a scene of the few times I would watch these movies. In fact, I purposely brought action movies I don't really care about to college for the sole reason of peaking a guy's interest.

In hindsight it's really quite embarrassing, but at the time it made perfect sense.

I strategically told Jeff I was going to watch the Batman movie because I knew it was one of his favorites. What he didn't know is that I had tried to watch the movie several times before this Christmas and I had fallen asleep early into each attempt. Like previews early.

But I was determined to finish it this time because in my naive single girl mind, this was a critical part of my future with Jeff. He would never like me if I didn't like the same movies as him. How could he?

As I was patting myself on the back for slipping my movie choice of the night into our conversation, Jeff had already moved onto talking about our upcoming New Year's celebrations.

Jeff had just moved into his first apartment. He and his roommates were throwing the party of the night. He invited me down.

Wow. New Year's together? Was this my kiss moment? A New Year's kiss? Do I want that? This is probably because I told him I like watching Batman in my free time. I can't go to Cedar. I'll be down there for a whole extra week doing nothing. I don't get to see my family very much and I'll have to leave early. But my much anticipated kiss could be waiting for me in that house on New Year's...

I told him I'd have to think about it.

We somehow ended our conversation by talking about my life list. Which is a list I was forced to write my senior year of high school consisting of 100 things I want to accomplish in my life. Sadly, my highest aspirations were to pet a lion and paint my son's fingernails (watch out Eli). But it has been fun to see some of the unexpected ones -- like be in a movie -- actually happen.

As much as I hated writing my life list, I do love looking back at it. Which is why I encouraged Jeff to make one that Christmas break. He accepted my homework assignment.

We eventually hung up the phone.

Then I went to my computer to start watching the dreaded Batman. And I fell asleep 15 minutes into it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Slumber Party

Who says you can't have a sleepover when you're old, married and have a baby? Not me. So Leslie trekked up to my house for the evening. And oh what an evening it was.
Kenz joined us for dinner and late night girl talk. She didn't sleep over. And I think by the end of this post she'll see what a smart decision she made.
One of the first things I learned while being Leslie's roommate is to never leave my camera unsupervised around her. Because this happens.

Of course we had to get a photo shoot of Eli and Izzy being darling together. They'll thank us later when they're putting together their wedding video and we have these adorable pictures of their love blossoming. Yes there are a million of these posted. I couldn't stop. And yes I only posted a small portion of the pictures we took of them.

At one point we tried to stage a kiss but they were a little camera shy.
We love pictures. And we love sleepovers. And we love Stadium Way 49.
And we love Kenz's deformed thumb.

And we love when Jeff comes home from work so he can take even more pictures of us.
Here's the part where I'll embarrass myself by posting these pictures. Face masks + Bachelor Pad + Sleeping Babies = Best Slumber Party Ever.
That face mask gave me a close encounter with hives.
When morning came Izzy watched an Eli tantrum unfold. I hope it didn't give her cold feet for the wedding.
I love when husbands work late at the same time so wives can sneak off together. It was fun to have some late night company!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh, The Irony

Someone should have told Jeff back when he was willing out garden death wishes that the best way to kill a garden is to throw it in the middle of a wild wind, thunder, rain and lighting storm. A successful death wish earlier in the season would have helped along our garden's inevitable fate.

Our corn died a violent death last night and our tomatoes are barely hanging on. Mother nature couldn't let me get away with my last post.
We were laying in bed when our garden was slashed. Obliviously enjoying the excitement of the thunderstorm as we listened to the rain pound against the window. Until Jeff blurted out, "Oh no! The garden!" We both ran down to the kitchen to stare out our rain-smeared window only to see the faint outline of our fallen cornstalks revealed with each flash of lightning.
We were finally getting attached to our darn veggies and they had to go and pull a stunt like this.
*Moment of silence*
On a happier note, here's the requested picture of the star from my last "Stories of Jeff Excell" post.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Miraculous Moments

A miracle happened in our house on Friday. Something even more miraculous than my ability to save Eli's life from a piece of Wheat Thin caught in his throat earlier in the day. His face turned blue and everything. I'm going to chalk that save up to the baby class we took at the hospital while I was pregnant. I felt silly at the time holding a doll upside down and smacking its back with everyone yelling at me to smack it harder and harder. But man. It turns out the tactic really is effective. That Wheat Thin didn't stand a chance.
Perhaps it was the trauma from his near-death experience, but for basically the first time in Eli's life...
he fell asleep in my arms. I don't even know how it happened. His eyes were just suddenly closed. Then I sat and stared at him in disbelief. Then I didn't dare move for fear of waking him up. So I sat. Silent and perfectly still. Just soaking up the rare moment as I waited for Jeff to walk by so I could motion to him to get the camera.
Then we had another miracle happen in the form of a garden.

It grew.

Jeff half-heartedly planted this garden. And after about two weeks of watering it every night and busy season lurking in his future, Jeff decided he'd had it with his garden.

On our way down to Cedar one weekend Jeff said, "I hope it's really hot and dry the whole time we're gone." Confused, I asked why on earth he cared what the weather would be like in a city we were driving away from. He answered, "Because then my garden will die."

Despite Jeff's death wishes, his garden survived.
Eli and my new after dinner ritual is to go outside so I can water the neglected garden and Eli can run free.
 His clothes usually don't make it through dinner. Hence the bare-skinned baby.

After I told Jeff I had been secretly saving his garden from its death, Jeff went out to give his garden a second chance. As we were looking around, to our amazement and shock...
We found a few green tomatoes there, encouraging us to stick with this whole garden scene.
Now who says there aren't modern day miracles?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - A Date to Remember

It would take me years of being married (three to be exact) to discover how rarely men recognize an awkward situation and to fully understand the undeniable persuasiveness of my batting eyelashes. Thank goodness I had at least that going for me at our cringing ward prayer interaction.

Because I believe I owe it to my fluttering lashes for the phone call I received later that week. It was my first real phone call from the suave Jeff Excell, and, as he put it, he was calling to ask me out on our fifth date.

Oh that Jeff Excell. Such a jokester. Wait, he was joking, wasn't he? Is he just trying the old TV line of pretending we've been on more dates than we really had so he could kiss me on our first date? Oh my gosh. Was I going to kiss Jeff Excell? Or was he just trying to rid us of the nervousness associated with a first date by labeling it a fifth date? Either way, his wording left me wondering if he would be expecting a kiss, and I geared up for the big moment as I got ready for our date.

He picked me up right on time. I love when a guy gets you right on time. Even a little early is cute. Like they're not ashamed to let you know how anxious they are to see you.

We drove over to campus and walked around. Okay. So we may or may not have found a way into the secret underground tunnels of campus, but I don't want the cops showing up at our door, so I'll just call it walking around (and under) campus.

We talked about our families' Christmas traditions. When I found out our families both did a Christmas talent show, I knew we were meant to be. I love asking people what they do for Christmas because I strangely think it tells a lot about a person. And I was liking what Jeff told me about him.

We then went over to Jeff's parents' house to play Sudoku. We sat on the floor on opposite sides of a coffee table and raced to complete the puzzles. It was nerdily romantic.

Before long, Jeff's family came walking in the door and they all casually huddled around to view our "fifth date" Sudoku spectacle. I remember thinking they were really funny as they joked about riding around town singing Christmas carols on the back of a trailer filled with hay. I think at one point I was invited on the hypothetical hay trailer Christmas caroling ride to which Jeff ushered me out of the house and apologized, worried I may have been embarrassed. I wasn't. And I thought his family was hilarious, perfectly matching the image I had of them based on what Jeff had shared with me earlier about their Christmases together.

We made our way to my apartment. Just before we got out of the car, Jeff told me he had something for me. He leaned into the back of his truck, rustled around a little bit until his hand reappeared with a neatly wrapped gift. I am sure I looked confused. And happy. And excited. And shocked. A little hesitant, I tore through the paper to find my dream Christmas present just beneath the wrapping -- a My Little Pony.

I melted. His gift reassured me our awkward interaction from the Sunday before wasn't quite as catastrophic as I had led myself to believe. It was just what I needed. It was nice to know he could mend my awkwardness by transforming it into a cute sentiment. It was sweet to see he didn't judge me for what I said, but valued my opinion no matter how nonsensical and immature. Pony and all. My dream man. And it was only our first date. Or was it our fifth date? I didn't care. I was in heaven.

As my giddiness quickly escalated with the gift of my brand new pony, I had to contain myself by shifting our attention to an inevitable round of Super Smash Brothers on the Nintendo64. Our knees touched mid-game, causing a tornado of butterflies to spiral in a wild fury in my stomach. The game ended. It was late. But Jeff Excell was not leaving. Which didn't bother me one bit.

One way or another, we both ended up chatting on the floor under the same blanket. I didn't know this then, but Jeff has this weird thing about loving to talk in the wee hours of the morning. It's a little bit of an adjustment being married to a nocturnal animal who will sit in the same room with you for three hours without saying a word until the clock strikes twelve. Because only when my body is utterly tired and ready to succumb to sleep does Jeff decide he wants to pour his heart out to me.

He was the same then as he is now. Not that we weren't talking our whole date, but the later it got, the more he was willing to share. We talked about hopes and dreams, our childhoods, and even his fear of women's issues. It was so much fun.

All the while I kept my lips puckered, waiting for that fifth date kiss that was bound to hit me at any moment.

I was sure the moment had arrived when conversation shifted to first kisses. That was my tell-tale sign a guy was going to kiss you. If they start talking about kissing, it's because kissing is on their brain. I prepared myself for the best first kiss of my life.

Eyes closed, lips glossed, perfectly puckered, breath held in excited suspense and anticipation -- only to hear Jeff shuffling around, standing up and telling me it was probably time for him to go.

I put my kiss-face away and felt surprised by the outcome of the night. Not necessarily a bad surprise though. It was kind of a relief to not kiss Jeff on our first and/or fifth date. Kind of gentlemanly of him. I knew we both had a good time, and I was sure the date was a success. I mean, the guy bought me a pony for Pete's sake. It was refreshing to have a boy interested in more than a kiss. We hugged and Jeff walked out the door. I closed the door and squealed. What a perfect first date.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - Ward Prayer

There was an awkward time in our relationship as we rested on the verge of being flirty friends and dating. So there we were. Stuck on the verge.

Despite our many run-ins, we still hadn't been on a real date. And sure, Jeff had frequently joked that we'd already had several dates, but the reality left us stuck without a single date together under our belts.

I found myself one Sunday at the ever familiar singles ward mixer --  ward prayer -- on a mission to assure Jeff I was ready to overcome the verge and go on an official date with him. I walked in and meandered over to Jeff, beaming at the sight of an available seat next to him. I stole the seat -- a bold move for timid me -- and tried to strike up a conversation.

The verge of dating was especially awkward for me because once I realized how much I liked Jeff, I could no longer act normal around him. My brain would freeze. My eyes would widen. My body became tense. My eyebrows furrowed. I would sweat. Profusely. It's not pretty. And it really tests a man on the verge.

In my awkward state, I attempted to flirt by asking him with my widened eyes batting what he wanted for Christmas. He said he didn't know. Then we sat in silence and soaked up the awkwardness of the verge. Strike one. I should have come prepared with more material.

But it seems like the harder you try to come up with something to say, the harder it is to come up with something to say. So anything that does come out is obviously forced and painful for every member of the conversation. And that's exactly what happened. I cringed at the conversation I was forcing upon us.

After trudging through far too much uninteresting small talk, Jeff took the reigns and asked me what I wanted for Christmas. In all my awkward glory, I said a pony. Strike two.

A pony. What? It was my sad attempt to be funny as I imitated every 5-year old girl's Christmas wish. Jeff didn't seem amused. I needed to get out of there. And fast. I couldn't bear to give myself the opportunity for a third strike.

I excused myself from our misery and made my way to the refreshments table. I shoved a brownie in my mouth, signaled to my roommates we needed to jet and I left the church that night confident my relationship with Jeff Excell was over.

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Chick-Fil-A Anniversary

There are certain realities the wife of an accountant must face. Like spending your anniversary alone. For every foreseeable year. As long as your husband is still an accountant. So here is my first lonely anniversary. Which actually ended up being quite nice. But still quite husbandless.
Jeff managed to slip away from work for a quick lunch at the romantic Chick-Fil-A.
See. I told you it was romantic.
The familiar crunch of a freshly greased waffle fry sent me back to my Georgian childhood. We loved going to Chick-Fil-A in Georgia. It was actually one of the things I missed most after moving to Utah.
I was in heaven.
Eli enjoyed his first waffle fry experience. He was such a good boy at lunch!

I kissed Jeff goodbye and he was back to the grindstone.
I went home and read a book while Eli took his afternoon nap. Then I decided to try a recipe my sister had shared with me. She has been our dinner source for the last few meals. She has even got me cooking with onions, garlic and cranberries, oh my!
Eli woke up mid-cooking. So he had his way with the bottom kitchen drawer filled with towels.
The kitchen was a disaster. And it was about this time I was feeling really sorry for my mom because her whole house looked about like this the last time I saw it with the entire family in town.
I thought it would be fun to let Eli roam around in our backyard while I did some much needed weed pulling. Eli kept himself busy by shoving handfuls of dirt into his mouth as soon as I'd look away. And just after my Grandma warned me about worms.

I probably could have wiped the dirt off his face after I got that first picture, but I kind of got used to it there. After our yard grooming and eating we paced the sidewalk, enjoying the fresh air.

It was a relaxing day for me. Happy Anniversary to us!