Friday, December 10, 2010

A few morsels for you

Chloe and I were discussing privacy today.

"Chloe, if I tell you I'm going to take a shower, and go into the bathroom and shut the door, it means I need some privacy. I don't want you coming in unless it's an emergency."

"Like if I finish my apple and I really need a string cheese?"

No, not like that at all.

Addie and I were discussing Christmas presents.

"Mom, I really, really want Santa to bring me my big Ariel doll. I'm a really good girl. I'm so good, I'm so good I'm two girls!"

I wonder if both girls will fight over the one Ariel doll on Christmas morning?

Then there's Maggie. She likes to help lately. She picked up the tea set all by herself, as long as I said, "Yay!" every time she put something in. Then she dumped it all back out. Afterward, she moved onto the bathroom. I heard the toilet lid shut, and found she'd dipped my Swiffer duster in, and was merrily "cleaning" the bathroom with it. Those dusters hold a lot of water.

And finally, my win for the week. I was reposting an ad for my girls' bedding on craigslist. I didn't pay much attention as I uploaded the pictures because this is the umpteenth time I've reposted this ad (stupid, flaky people). When I got an email about the bedding a short time later, I was pretty excited until I read that she just wanted to let me know that the pictures attached to the ad were not of bedding but of this
When you hear CPS came by, you won't have to wonder why.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hello, Beautiful

I finally just couldn't stand it any longer. I could no longer resist the temptation. I needed to know the answer to a question that had been burning inside me for quite some time.

What would Addie look like with mascara on?

She's got these long, long lashes, but in true redhead style, they have almost no color. I just wanted to see what she would look like with lashes that showed. The answer is, stunning.

We started with cute, then moved on to other emotions, like surprise.
Self satisfied.
And finally, so freaking cute I just don't know what to do with myself.
I know, like all girls, she will resent and probably even hate me at times throughout her teenage years, but on the day when I let her start wearing makeup for reals, she will LOVE me.

Happy 60th Dad!

My dad celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday. My brother put together a collection of 60 memories for him, gathered from family. I didn't get to attend the surprise party where it was presented to him, but here's what we contributed.

Chloe loves Grandpa Geilman because he has Cassie and she loves to pet dogs. She loves when she slept at his house. Last year, when we made apple juice, Grandpa lifted her up so she could help. She loves him because he’s always nice, has a collection of glowing balls, and he’s fun to play with. Chloe talks about Grandpa Geilman all the time, and gets tears in her eyes when she talks about how much she misses him. Chloe would love to go fishing with Grandpa Geilman one day.

Addie loves Grandpa Geilman’s toys. She loves the piggies he makes (everything lately has to do with Piggies). Addie loves eating ice cream at Grandpa’s.

Maggie also loves Grandpa Geilman for his dog.

Bracken's memory of Wayne Geilman.

Asking your future father in-law for his first born daughter’s hand in marriage can be an interesting thing. I remember it quite vividly. I had never learned to drive a stick shift, and during a visit to Utah Ruth told me how good her father was at teaching people to drive a manual transmission. I had tried learning from my own Dad, but he was not very patient and explained how to drive a stick shift by saying, “you just do it”.

However, Wayne, knew just what to say and do. I felt the whole time that this would be my one opportunity to talk to Wayne about my intentions during our trip. Let’s just say I felt a little nervous and distracted trying to not stall the car and catch the gears in the right “spot”. Wayne talked about the intricacies of a manual transmissions, I tried to pay attention figuring out how to talk to him about Ruth and our futures together. The fact that Wayne is this big imposing guy (at least I felt that way at the time) added to my nervousness. After a while of driving around and lots of nice words of encouragement, it was decided to just make circles in a nearby church parking lot. Eventually Wayne decided to get out of the car and let me practice on my own.

At the time I thought he was done with me, but now I think he knew that I was nervous and that the best way I would learn would be on my own. None the less, after our driving lesson, we found ourselves walking back into the house. There were only a few more feet before the front door and we were no longer alone. My opportunity would be gone. I needed to talk to him alone. I don’t remember what I said but I just remember stopping him in the front of the house in the most awkward of places. I made my last ditch effort to mention to Wayne my intentions to marry Ruth and that I would soon be proposing to her in the coming months and that this would be my only opportunity to talk to him in person before that time.

I really don’t recall whatever excruciatingly awkward words emanated from my mouth. But I do remember what Wayne’s response was. Wayne paused for a moment (I think he was a bit surprised at what I was saying most likely because I hadn’t mentioned anything during the entire driving lesson) and said, “Bracken, we would love to have you as part of our family.” I immediately felt at ease. We entered the house and Ruth was fixing her hair in the bathroom or something. “How did the lesson go?” Wayne, made some casual banter and then we shared a knowing look unbeknownst to Ruth. The rest is as they say history.

I love you Wayne. Happy Birthday!

Your son-in-law,


And finally, me.

It’s really hard for me to sift through all my memories of Dad and come up with just a few to share.

My earliest memories of Dad are of him coming home from work, or school, when we lived in Wellsville, and playing airplane on the living room floor. Dan and I, and eventually, Sarah, would take our turn to fly, land, and then quickly run back around for more. In my memory, these sessions would last forever, but Dad would keep playing with us no matter now tired he was. And we are always accompanied by “Barbara Ann” and “Do Wa Diddy.”

Another significant memory I have of Dad actually involves what I don’t remember. We were living in Mississippi, and Dad was trying to speed through his doctorate. So, he was going to school full time, occasionally traveling out of town to consult, taking care of Mom when he was home, and serving at church. What I don’t remember is him being absent. I don’t know how he did it, but even with all that on his plate, he was always there. And I’ll never forget, when that dissertation was finally done, sitting around the kitchen table helping him assemble it. We had gotten our first computer while he was in school, but were still using an electric typewriter for the printer. Every line had to be measured to make sure it didn’t extend too far into the margin. Every graph had to be cut out, glued in placed, the edges taped over, and white out dabbed over the lines so that the seams wouldn’t show when it was copied. The smallest mistake could result in his dissertation getting rejected. But I still remember having fun as a family as we helped him.

I remember driving with Dad to early morning seminary in San Luis Obispo. As we drove around town, picking up various kids before we headed to the church, I’d often slip a tape into the tape deck of Toad Wort. The volume would usually be pretty low, and I could often barely hear the music. As far as Dad was concerned, it wasn’t even music. More than once he would ask us all to be quiet so he could hear better because he was sure the car was breaking down judging by the bad noises he thought were originating in the engine. In my defense, it was only U2’s Achtung Baby that usually caused him alarm.

Once we got to the church, Dad would work in his office while we were in class. Then we would all load back up and he would take us to school. If we happened to rest our eyes on the way, he would silently detour off of California Blvd. over to Pepper Street, and speed up a little. We sure woke up quickly when our heads hit the roof of the car as he caught air on that hill. And yet once I started driving, he wasn’t impressed when I told him how you couldn’t even feel the speed bumps in the school parking lot if you drove over them fast enough.

When I moved to Los Angeles after college, Dad followed a few weeks later with a trailer full of my stuff (sound familiar to anyone else?). When he arrived, he asked me to call the Elder’s Quorum President and ask him for help unloading the trailer. Having not hit it off well with the EQP, my response was, “Dad, I’m stronger than he is.” In retrospect, maybe Dad was inspired in wanting to enlist the help of my future husband, but somehow we managed to move a 500 hundred pound (give or take) desk up two flights of stairs and into my apartment all by ourselves.

Once Bracken and I had started dating, though, it was super important to me that I get Dad’s approval of him. Though my patriarchal blessing tells me to follow the advice of my parents, as always, I’d had to learn the hard way to follow that counsel. Though I wanted them to meet as soon as possible, I couldn’t convince Bracken to come to Utah the day after Christmas for Dad and Vicky’s wedding. So Dad and Vicky stopped by for dinner on their honeymoon. I still remember what I served that day, and I apologize. I have gotten much better in the kitchen.

The day after Bracken and I got married, we stopped by the house to pick up our gifts on the way to our honeymoon. As he did every school year, or at other significant times, Dad decided he needed to give us father’s blessings. Bracken’s dad is not a member of the church, but because we had been sealed in the temple, Dad could now give Bracken the first father’s blessing of his life. I felt so blessed to have a father who both honored his priesthood and felt impressed to share that power with my husband.

Finally, my most recent favorite memory of Dad came last Christmas. We were staying at his house for the holidays. It was Maggie’s, and Emma’s, first Christmas. We were all downstairs, trying to keep the girls as quiet as possible, for as long as possible, so as not to wake Dad and Vicky. Little did we know Dad was upstairs, eagerly listening for any sound, impatiently whispering to Vicky, “I think the girls are awake! I think they’re going to come upstairs soon!” I’m really not sure who was the most excited about Christmas that day.

I sure do love you, Dad. I’m so grateful for the example you’ve been to me, the love you’ve shown me, and the many ways you’ve blessed my life. I know I wouldn’t have found such a great husband if I hadn’t had your example to lead me. I’m a better parent because of your guidance. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you, but know I’m thinking about you from here.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Caramellow Crisps

You know how sometimes, a whole is greater than the sum of its parts? This is definitely the case
with these treats. Which I can eat a million of. Thankfully, I had completely forgotten they existed. That is, until a friend recently reminded me of them, and now I can think of little else. I have a half a bag of giant Campfire marshmallows calling to me. I'll let you know how they turn out after I reemerge from the sugar coma.

Read more about it at,1810,159188-226197,00.html
Content Copyright © 2010 - All rights reserved.

Caramello Crisps

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. butter
1 bag (8 oz.) caramels
1 bag (10 1/2 oz.) large marshmallows
5 c. Rice Krispies

Melt caramels, butter and sweetened condensed milk in top of double boiler. Dip large marshmallows into mixture (stabbing them with a fork helps, though you could also put a popsicle stick in each one and make a fancier treat) and roll in Rice Krispies. Store in the freezer for extra tastiness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A short tribute

Dear Maggie's Smile,

Thank you so much.


The final Halloween post

Picture heavy post--beware.

For starters, this is not a picture of Chloe's Halloween costume, but it is the only thing I sewed this year. I decided not to make Halloween costumes. I figured I had two that would fit the smaller girls, and Chloe had a pricey dance costume that had only been worn once. However, I did hook Chloe up with a sweet hippie costume for Red Ribbon week at school. What's a former costume designer to do? (But really, School, "Say Peace Out to Drugs?" Irony, much?)
A couple days before Halloween, we carved our pumpkins. Maggie thought this was awesome.
I thought both Chloe and Addie were enjoying it, too.
But something went very, very wrong for Addie.
She tried really hard to pull it back together, though.
Yeah, that's a real smile.
Maybe not. But this one sure is.
And I sure do see that mischievous smile a lot.
The girls had a great time designing their pumpkins. Addie's design got quite intricate and dense.
Chloe kept her face pretty simple, then filled the back of the pumpkin with hidden messages.
And I got to carve them all.
They turned out pretty cute, I think.What a shame we only managed to light them up once. We forgot to do it before heading out to the Trunkless Treat (trick or treating around the church building). And Bracken didn't want to do it Halloween night since we weren't going to be home and he didn't want to mislead trick or treaters and incur their wrath.

Halloween finally arrived! Or, at least, the night of the ward Trunkless Treat arrived. I left early to go decorate my room in the church building. Bracken wrangled the girls into their costumes, and tried to get a picture.

Isn't Maggie to young to be giving us this look when we put her in a silly costume?
Here's Minnie Mouse and Jet the pony. Sort of.
This would have been an awfully cute picture. If it were in focus.
And Maggie's thinking everyone looks a little silly.
And we can't see Addie's face.
They all cooperated for the shot where we can't see their faces.
And then it didn't quite work out when they turned around.

At this point Bracken gave up and brought the girls to the church. I didn't get to see him much--I was till decorating my room with Shauna. I'm awfully glad she signed up to decorate with me because she really had all the cool stuff. Black lights, red lights, skull candelabras, rats, crows. All I really had was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride music on repeat. But together, we made an awesome pirate's lair.
We made the kids dig for treasure, while warning them about the rats.
Here's me and my co-pirate. I'm so glad I have to many piratey items in my costume boxes. And tooth black in my make-up kit. Though I wish I had upped the resolution on my phone before taking pictures. Love our creepy eyes. Glittering with treasure lust perhaps?
And here's my whole family. Even Bracken dressed up. Can you guess what he is?
He's a liberal. IT'S FUNNY!
And to round out the Halloween crazy, here are a few shots taken in negative mode on my phone.

Methinks we should do more teeth brushing after eating all that candy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

True Story

In honor of Halloween and freak accidents, we're now going to play a game of Two Truths and a Lie. Let's see if you can figure out which of these things did not happen to me this week.
  • On Friday, as I bent down to get something out of a low cupboard, the power cord that plugs into the Dustbuster brushed my eye. As it is supposed to do, my eye quickly blinked shut. As it was not supposed to do, my eye blinked shut with the plug inside it. Time seemed to stop for a couple seconds as lights started to flash and my eye started to twitch. I couldn't move fast enough to pull that sucker away. There was no lasting damage, other than I kept shaking my head, wondering how that could have happened.
  • On Sunday, we had dinner with some friends. I turned to throw away some trash Maggie was snacking on, and accidentally tripped over Maggie who had shifted position right under my feet. As I attempted to regain my balance without doing further injury to my child, I started to fall. I caught hold of the wall, but not before I cracked the bridge of my nose and my left cheekbone on the edge of the bar. It didn't turn into a major shiner--I just look like I'm really, really tired in my left eye. And have jaundice across the bridge of my nose.
  • And then this morning, I lay in bed, trying to get the motivation to get up and deal with the canning mess I'd left in the kitchen last night (One jar lost its bottom, and another lid came completely unscrewed and spilled all its contents in the canner. How does that happen?). I was also trying to process a dream I'd had where I'd voted for Harry Reid and Bracken came unglued, and I was like, 'But you were the one who marked the sample ballot.' And then, the metal candle holder mounted on the wall above the bed decided that it had had enough of being ignored. It crashed into my right cheekbone. I look forward to watching this new bruise develop--I hope I can now look as tired in my right eye as I do in my left.
We were supposed to have family pictures taken this weekend. I was praying for the scabs on two of my daughter's noses to heal in time. But given my recent lack of gracefulness, I'm glad we had to cancel.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Say what?

Here's a few of my favorite things the kids have said lately.

Addie replaces some of her h's with c's. As in, "Mom, we're all cumin beings."
At least we're well seasoned.

Chloe said to me at the table yesterday,"Mom, there are two testaments."
"Yes, there are, in the Bible."
"No, Mom. In our bodies. There are two testaments. The small one, and the large one. For digesting our food."

And Maggie, not to be left behind, has added Addie's name to her vocabulary. The other day she woke up from her nap before Addie, then ran down the hall calling, "Add-nn, Add-nn!" It was pretty cute, and a welcome relief from her enthusiastically inflected, "Uhhhuhuuuhhhuhh," and my personal favorite, "AH AH AH AHH AHHH AHHH!"


Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so . . . well, ever present. No matter what I tried, I just couldn't get ahead of my problems. Or, rather, my children.

At 6:30 when I rolled out of my bed, awake all on my own without the help of tears or doors slamming or my name being called loudly, I hoped it was a sign of good things to come. I even had time to say my prayers on my knees before the first of the girls came trotting out to greet me. Maggie didn't wake up until 7:30! We read books for an hour, I made the big girls' beds, I did all the dishes, I really felt good about my day. I didn't even let the "train" of cars, chairs and luggage strewn across my kitchen bother me. I took a shower, got dressed, did all the grooming, got the kids dressed, teeth brushed.

And then, as I stood there, turning in circles, trying to remember what the next needful thing I should be doing was, Maggie brought me her diaper. Full of poop. While I started attempting to clean up that mess before she made it bigger, Chloe burst into tears. She had been eating an apple and knocked her wiggly tooth a bit looser, causing it to bleed. She was inconsolable, with huge crocodile tears pouring down her cheeks and pinkish drool dripping from her mouth.

We got her calmed down, and then I attempted to print up my coupons for the shopping trip I had planned during kindergarten that day. The computer froze up. The computer froze up. The computer froze up. I gave up. I loaded the kids in the car, and then Chloe exclaimed, "Mom! We didn't do my homework!"

I got her out of the car. We did all the handwriting stuff at the table, then I loaded her back in the car with a lap desk and she completed the coloring and glueing as we drove, as Addie yelled, "When are we going to Errands?" repeatedly. Chloe finished her homework in the school parking lot, we found some spare sunglasses for Sunglasses Day, and I sent her in as the bell rang.

I went back home, fed Addie and Maggie, printed my coupons and headed out. Except that I had to stop in the driveway and run back into the house for 1 sympathy card, 1 birthday card, and three thank you cards, plus stamps and addresses. Except I only had 1 thank you card in the house so I added those to the list. We made our first stop, oil change for the car. While we waited, the girls repeatedly emptied the diaper bag while I tried to fill out my cards. We finished the change, I collected the mess and we went to the next stop.

The drugstore was like wrestling buttered monkeys. Addie could not make herself stop grabbing things. Maggie repeatedly attempted to leap out of the cart. I called the shopping trip short and headed for checkout. The cashier thought Maggie was the cutest thing as she emptied the cart, all products now crushed and dented, onto the belt. Then, before the cashier could scan it, Maggie put it all back in the cart. I took it out again, pulled out my coupons, then picked them all back up off the floor after Maggie swiped them to the ground. This repeated several times, though that didn't stop the cashier from spreading them all out in front of Maggie every time.

Meanwhile, Addie found gum. Found gooey, chewed gum stuck to the side of the register and stretched it all over her hands. The cashier noticed and encouraged her to put it back in her mouth. I said it wasn't hers. I cleaned her up, we moved on. The one ray of light was that the cashier couldn't believe I had three kids, and wasn't even thirty. Then again, this was the same cashier who didn't see the big chunk of gum stuck to her register.

We stopped for ice cream which we ate in the car. I had both the girls sit down, gave them each a spoon, and they both decided at the same time to feed me. I immediately had two spoons flying at my mouth at alternating intervals, neither giving me time to swallow or stop the process. Eventually Addie tried to shove a giant glob of neon blue cotton candy ice cream into my mouth and missed. The glob hit my arm, her dress, her leg, her shoe, and then the carpet of the van. Fantastic. Then she decided she no longer wanted to eat her ice cream--she only wanted to eat mine. I then noticed Maggie had some of Addie's special gum all over her spoon. How that happened, I have no idea, but I decided we were all done with ice cream at that point. I buckled them in, then sat in the car and filled out the new cards I had just purchased. By the time we made it to the post office down the street, both Maggie and Addie were asleep. Dang it.

We went to the school and I left the girls in the car while I grabbed Chloe from kindergarten. When I opened the door to let Chloe in, Addie woke up. By the time we got home, Maggie woke up. So that's 15 minutes of nap for Addie, 25 for Maggie. None for me.

Chloe then opened her homework folder to show me the homework notice she'd received. Because after all that rushing, I had neglected to sign one piece of her homework. Stupid rules. I'm going to have to teach her how to sign my name sooner than I'd thought.

I started cooking dinner as my children alternately fought and cried. Dinner ready, our guests called to say they'd be late. Dinner overcooked, we made our guests laugh with stories of our day. Guests left, kids bathed and in bed by 7. I sat on the couch and did this. At 7:45 I got up and got in bed. I was asleep by 9.

Today has been more of the same. More crying, more bleeding, more touching, more fighting. Bring it on.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching up

I have been a bad family historian. I was going to say I'd been a bad blogger, but I've been fairly regular on that. What I haven't kept up on is the day to day happenings in our family. Which is not that important to people outside of our family, but it is important to me since I don't scrapbook, this is the only journaling I do, and my memory is getting ever less reliable. So I'm going to try to improve. So, there may be some random, out of chronological order posts showing up here in the next little while. At least until I lose my motivation again.

And so, here is a random collection of pictures. I will caption them, but I will not try to make them cohesive.

This picture seems wrong to me. Everything is green and lush, and then there are pumpkins. Three on the table, and one in the chair. Could her hair be more orange? I have been physically craving this fall, and yet it has not yet been fall. Until today (hooray, rain!)
I set these pumpkins out for decoration, and Addie immediately found them (in her Ariel nightgown) and started acting out some little scenario with them. There is always something going on in that brain of hers.

Unfortunately, for the last couple months, that brain has been set to "Whine." It's like she's totally forgotten there is any other way to talk. And I have not been nearly patient enough with her. Occasionally we see glimpses into a world of sweetness, where she thanks me for making dinner as I sit down to the table, and says cute little prayers without prompting. I just have to hold onto those moments and ride out this 3 year old year.

Here are a couple more pictures from our anniversary trip. We went up to Squaw Valley, and got massages and holed up in our hotel. It was delightful. I loved the rain, and the giant rainbow we saw, but it did put a damper on our plans to visit Tahoe's beaches.

Chloe had a kindergarten hoe-down at school. It was quite the event. There were 8 stations the kids rotated through. I manned the "Dramatic Reading" station where I read the same book for 2 hours straight. But the kids had fun. I have to admit, I've had a hard time adjusting to the whole kindergarten, helicopter parenting thing. I'm not alone, though. The kindergarten teachers had to take a moment to request that parents stay at their assigned stations and not follow their kids from place to place.

Because I was reading Big Pumpkin for hours, I didn't get the chance to snap a picture of Chloe until after she'd been painted like a witch. But I assure you, she was an awfully cute cowgirl.
Here's part of the crowd.
I can't believe this grown up girl is mine.
This one is mine, too.
What a little poser.
Who has mastered the cheesy grin.
But even she realizes it's over the top sometimes.
This girl loves her daddy.
That, my friends, is adoration.