Sunday, December 19, 2010

tri tri again

I have a secret. Oh, don't worry. It's not as embarrassing as it is just plain frustrating. See, I love to compete. And I'm pretty good at it, too. Not really at winning things, but more at turning things into a competition. As this drive has no positive use in my daily life (besides drag racing old ladies through my neighborhood [unbeknownst to them]) I try to ignore it. But every once in a while it comes out. Playing a friendly game of cards with neighbors turns into a nail-biting, trash-talking battle of wills/skills/luck. Even playing K at Donkey Kong Country on the old Super Nintendo at my parent's cabin can result in either a few smug "IN YOUR FACE!"s or quite a bit of pouting, depending on how I fare. To me that whole, "It isn't whether you win or lose, but how you play the game" adage just sounds like something that losers say. Like I said, I try to keep a lid on the crazy, but sometimes I scheme up ways to let it out. I usually regret them. 
This weekend I registered for a race. The first race that I will attempt since a 5k I ran with my (hot) mama on the Fourth of July FIVE years ago. But I didn't register for a 5k. Nope. I signed myself up for a sprint triathlon. ... I know. I think I've really lost it this time. I have always wanted to race a triathlon, and recently a few amazing people have come into my life who have accomplished this feat. One of them has even taken me under her wing and sworn to me that I can do this! And I believe her. ...Totally lost it.
So. I swim, bike and/or run five days a week. I spend my free time reading up on wetsuits and power gels. I have dreams (and nightmares) about crossing the finish line (more often about drowning. Crashing. Burning). I have Googled the words "non-hideous bike shorts" (apparently they don't exist) and have even been seen in public in a rubber swim cap thingy many times (not cute, my friends. Not. Cute.) 
My trainer/friend has made me promise that for every time I tell myself I can't do this, I will tell one person about my race. And since I have had  a hundred negative thoughts this weekend alone, I figured I would count publishing my terrifying and embarrassing goals here for all to see and call it good. So, April 16th (the weekend I finish my first semester back in school! I have lost my mind!!). 7 am. Vegas. Lake Mead. Heaven help me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yo Mama

Mother knows best. You know it's true. Back when your bike always had air in its tires and your bed magically made itself each morning, mom knew everything. From how to make boo-boos better to explain why popcorn pops (or, nowadays, why Edward is obviously much more sensitive and mature than Jacob), her no nonsense take on life made the boogeyman recede into the dark, dusty corner of your imagination where he belonged and gave you no doubts as to what was really important in life. But in today's world I am no longer convinced that "Mom" has the answers, and am left desperately wondering where the next generation are going to get their inner compasses tuned, since an hour of Sesame Street per day doesn't seem to be cutting it.

We live in the "She started it!" generation. Throw a rock in any direction and you will hit someone trying to blame, sue, exploit or burden someone else for all of life's problems and inconveniences (note to readers: Please don't literally throw a rock. You will most likely hit someone with his lawyer on speed-dial.) Responsibility is something that is someone else's problem. Politicians blame yesterday's leaders for today's headaches and tomorrow's uncertainty without blinking an eye. Parents blame teachers, government, sugar, music, friends, Happy Meals, lead-based paint, corporate greed, temperature changes, doctors, text messaging, movie stars, breakfast cereal (do you see where I am going with this?), and each other for their neglect and their children's complete disrespect for the way things (should) work. "Someone gave him drugs! It's not my/his/anyone-but-your fault!" gives way just as easily to, "What am I supposed to do? YOU should have medicated him!" My personal favorite (sarcasm for the parents I would most like to punch in the teeth) are they that blame French fries and Hostess cakes for their Elementary-age children's obesity. Are you kidding me?! They eat their meals with you! You are providing them with a never-ending supply of Oreos and that oh-so-healthy pattern of starving, bingeing, and late-night snacking! What are they supposed to do? Oh, I'm sorry. You're right. It must be the school's fault for having Cheetos on the menu.

The more I look at the headlines of the day, the more I wonder if the logical solution of personal responsibility and problem-resolution will ever be heard. It would seem that everyone loves a good fight too much to care about the solution. With more people today involved in the he-said, she-said politics of this country than in the last few decades combined, the time for real conversations about the problems our country is facing (more value-related than policy-based) is now, yet conversation has been replaced by name-calling and hair-pulling. Even so-called news shows have become more talk show than cold, hard fact. I am no longer surprised to turn on major news networks and find celebrities (known more for sex tapes and partying than work in legitimate film and music careers) weighing in on issues and promoting their latest line of hair extensions in the same breath. And you thought terrorists were scary.

For this finger-pointing plague I have a solution that, to some (idiots), is going to sound old-fashioned. Let's take an episode out of our Leave It to Beaver past and get back to the idea that Mother actually does know best. You know, before Mother was a Desperate Housewife or a Scotch-wielding stage mom. I believe that if moms ran this country, real moms whose lives consist of bake sales and scraped knees, we might be able to get this whole mess straightened out. It would take some discipline and sacrifice (dirty words to many), but following yesterday's Mom's example is just the thing to get us pointed in the right direction today. Let's teach things like personal responsibility ("You made this mess, you clean it up."), individuality ("If Kim Kardashian jumped off of a bridge, would you too?"), problem-solving ("I don't care who started it, figure it out."), and accountability ("Did you do your homework? Take out the trash? Do the dishes?").

 If we leave the task of teaching values to someone else, kids will only learn what the cast of The Real World has to offer them- real skills like how to binge drink and take group showers. And if we don't hold them accountable for their actions, we will only breed a new generation of finger-pointing hypocrites who can play Halo all night long but can't keep a job and are looking for someone else to pick up their tab. No one else is going to do this for us. No one else is to blame. Life can be hard and that's okay. We can't insulate our families against all of the horrible things out there, against those who would hurt them, or the crap that happens. We can only teach them to be the best they can be, to rely on themselves and their Creator, to not look for hand-outs or cop-outs or the easy way out and to keep their faith strong. And I just don't think Elmo can get all of that across AND teach our kids about hand-washing and the letter K in his 10am time slot. Perhaps once his album drops.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

growing, growing, gone

My little girl is getting so big! I'm starting to freak out juuuust a little bit. But wouldn't you? I mean, she no longer needs my help. Ever. Even when she absolutely can't do something on her own, she asks me for some privacy! Soon she'll start hushing her conversations when I walk into the room and locking her journal!! I mean, as soon as she has a journal. And can write. And read. But all of that stuff is right around the corner!! Sorry, I'll stop my hysterics. Here are her school and soccer pictures. If she isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen tilting over a soccer ball, then you have seen some pretty crazy stuff.

decade

My dad was asked by the woman who teaches newspaper and yearbook at my old high school (he is a teacher there) to ask me to write a little something about what I am up to nowadays. Ten years ago this coming Spring Coronado HS opened and I guess she's putting a page in the yearbook with updates from the first graduating class of CHS. I'm paring this down a ton (like, to a paragraph)' but I thought I'd post what I wrote originally here. You know, in case you were bored.

Ten years ago I was a Junior joining a relatively small group that would become the first graduating class of the Coronado High School. That year I played first chair cello in orchestra, joined the Las Vegas Youth Philharmonic (barely scraping by in last chair), and played CHS soccer, finishing a nearly-undefeated season as keeper. I also got my first ticket, nearly flunked my math class, had more than one ridiculous crush and tried desperately to pretend that I was cool (I didn't fool many). During my time at CHS I had amazing opportunities to make friends, mistakes, memories and, in the process, was able to learn some things that I have found useful in the past decade, including how to fool a few more people into thinking I'm cool. Suckers. 

I'm not sure that my accomplishments thus far are terribly impressive, but I have tried to jump into life with both feet. I have been married for six years to a super cute guy with lots of dreams and a weird last name. We both work at a business that we own (which has tripled in size in the past year!) managing properties, including three of our own duplexes. We are also (slowly!) working toward degrees, mine in English, his in French (unfortunately that whole sucking at math thing still applies). We have a four year old little girl named Avery who is healthy and bright and beautiful beyond all reason. We were lucky enough to have another little girl last summer, Carter, who is a living doll and her big sister's number one fan.
   
As I left for college  my dad gave me some advice that I tried to follow and love to repeat. He told me, "Now is the time for you to be selfish. It might be your only chance to figure out who you are and what you want." Taking that advice has made all of the difference to me. I realized what was important to me and have been able to pursue those talents, values and dreams ever since. I have not followed a typical path or made all the right moves, but I know who I am and what I want. This Fall I signed Avery up for Pee Wee soccer, which she enjoyed more for the treats and high fives at the end of the game than she did the running and kicking. But whether she takes to sports or music, or simply aspires to be a world class mom or employee or friend, I hope she'll do it with all of her heart. Whatever you decide is important to you, I hope you'll do the same.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

absentee

I miss you Blog! Without an easy camera-to-iPad connection I have felt less inclined to post about our amazing Halloween, my dreamy birthday/anniversary trip to Portland or Thanksgiving. I know that's an awful excuse. We are all doing really well here, rest assured. Here is a quick update (I know you're dying for one, dear Blog!)
Avery is playing Pee Wee soccer and really only puts up with it for the treats and high fives at the end of the game. She still loves preschool and is the most beautiful and imaginative kid ever!! ...no, I am absolutely not biased. Why would you ask? Anyway, she is a pro at playing pretend and making up stories. And her logic is completely impenetrable! Example: Avery loves play food and is always inviting me to picnics in her room where she serves soup. Always soup. I have never heard of anyone serving soup at a picnic, but that is beside the point. She also follows me around with a mini suitcase full of play food in case of an emergency picnic. So, this morning when she came up to me with both hand pressing her case closed, she asked me to help close her "soup-case"! How can you argue with that?
Carter is nearly six months old and is getting so big! She rolls around like a little log and is so sweet and happy. Any day now she'll be crawling around and then walking and then driving. I'm just trying to hold on for dear life and enjoy the ride.
Klayton is finishing his latest semester of school, keeping our business running nearly single-handedly and doing wonderfully. Next month I am starting school to (finally!) finish my degree up at BYUI. I don't know how I have the nerve to add one more thing to our crazy schedule, but I am so excited to be able to earn my degree! I have been called as the Assistant Webelos leader (Cub Scouts! ...gulp) in my ward, have joined a women's organization for furthering education and am loving spending time with my family. I've also been writing a lot lately, so sorry if I post a lot of random stuff on you, little blog. We are all getting ready for a wonderful Christmas and I promise to keep in touch more often! Until next time...

Monday, October 25, 2010

two zero

Remember this quote from President Uchtdorf in April General Conference? I get what this lady is saying.

“One woman... said through her tears, ‘I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much, and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.’”

photog

Avery has a new hobby: stealing my camera and taking pictures. She loves it. Every time I pick up my camera (from wherever she has hidden it) there are new treasures on it for me. Here are a few of her shots.

Friday, October 22, 2010

u-pick

Avery is in preschool!! I can't believe she's old enough to ever leave my side (I was hoping we wouldn't reach this point until she's, like, twenty-five-ish), but she is definitely loving life. In fact, when I went to pick her up on her first day I found her coloring a picture with her teacher. When she spotted me she looked back down and said, "Mommy, can you go? Can I stay here?" haha A few days ago her class took a field trip to the U-Pick Pumpkin Barn in town to pick out pumpkins and check out how plants grow.

uncle zach

Avery is obsessed with her uncles! I don't blame her, they are pretty dang amazing. She especially loves it when her Uncle Zach visits. They get together and giggle and dance and swim and cause all sorts of mischief. Zach was called to serve a mission to Equador a few months ago, and it seems like the time has flown. This last month we were lucky enough to be able to go to Las Vegas to attend his mission farewell and then again a few weeks later we met up with my family in Provo, UT to say goodbye to him outside of the doors of the Missionary Training Center. He is such a great brother and I know he is a great missionary already. I'm really really really proud of him. And Avery remembers him in every single prayer she says. Here are a few pictures of our recent road trips.

Monday, October 4, 2010

here's looking at you, kid

Rant alert:
I saw a news segment last month that made me laugh (derisively, but it still counts) out loud. Apparently there is a movement to create "Family Sections" on airplanes and even in restaurants. These sections would corral families with babies and young children who have the potential to disturb other diners/fliers. This story was led with the story of a woman who claimed to have gone deaf on a plane before takeoff (she de-boarded) because of a three-year-old's screaming tantrum behind her. To this woman, and others (recently a price-comparison site called Skyscanner polled 2,000 people and found that about 60% of them would love to see Family Flying sections on airplanes) who hope to see this asinine plan come to fruition by making segregated sections in restaurants and airplanes like children are the equivalent to cigarettes or lepers, I say You have got to be kidding me.
First of all, let's just get this out there right now. You were once a child. Yes, even you. No, not you (well, yes, you too), that crotchety old lady with the professional-grade dirty looks making the disgusted "eccchhhh" noises behind you. Ma'am, you were once a child. A baby, even. And I'd stake my life on the fact that at least once (a day) you embarrassed and annoyed your mother with tantrums, crying fits or smelly diapers in public places. I know, it's really hard to believe. Especially now that you never would leave home without your snazzy old lady suit (Shoulder pads? Check. Elastic banded pants? Check. Sensible shoes? Check Check.) and your neatly done (and weekly-dyed) hair. That's fine. Thank you for being an upstanding citizen. I just need to put out there that you did start out as a sweet, smiling infant. And, for your sake and hers, I really hope that your mother took you out of the house every once in a while despite your tendency to cry.
Now, I am not arguing with the fact that it is awful to listen to someone cry and scream. I have been annoyed by someone else's children before, to say nothing of my own two kids. It is just not fun to listen to crying. Ever. I am a rational being, however, and I absolutely cannot imagine the lack of maturity and compassion of those who are offended by the noise that accompanies having little children. I have flown many (many many many) times with my kids, including a cross-country and cross-Atlantic flight from Salt Lake City to Paris, France with my then-one-and-a-half year old daughter. And while I have tried my very best to parent my children well and to be cognizant of those around me, I have had some bad moments with screeching kids on airplanes. And I have been on the receiving end of more than one dirty look from the woman (and her husband, and her 30-something year old daughter with a her power suit and holier-than-thou stare and ice-cold ovaries) described above. At times I have shrugged it off, at others I have panicked and absolutely sweated and scrambled my way through making a bottle/changing a diaper/finding the right toy. Once I even had the nerve to shout, "What are you looking at?!!" ...Not my finest moment, I'll admit. Truly, though, I cannot fathom these people's lack of empathy. If nothing else, I don't think it takes that much effort to put in your earbuds and tune out the noise. Put on your Big Girl pants and deal with it (yeah, that's right. I said it. Someone had to).
Having kids from diapers to adulthood wasn't an eighteen-year sentence to a life stuck at home doing laundry and picking them up from soccer practice! It should not make you a social pariah. It is absolutely ridiculous for an adult of sound mind to let a child's cries ruin their day (*caveat: this really only applies in situations where there is no where else to go. There is just no excuse for parents who think that others should suffer while their children scream when they could easily remove them from the room). In my most desperate moments, I have so appreciated kind words and looks from strangers that say "I know what you're going through" at the airport. I have appreciated even more those who have put aside feelings of anger and annoyance to reach out a helping hand. One kind fifty-something woman on a plane once even offered to hold my infant so I could make her a bottle, and then took that bottle from me (I am pretty sure that after traversing airport security alone with a baby, two carry-ons, a car seat, and a stroller I must have looked about one spit-up away from landing myself in a mental health facility), fed and burped her. Did it make her day to help out a struggling mother and hold a sweet little baby? Maybe. Did it make mine? Absolutely. I have no patience for people who only think of themselves.
The most ridiculous thing about this idea is that it won't work. Have you ever been in an enclosed space with a smoker? Even if they were 25 feet away from you, were you not eventually surrounded by a noxious cloud of smoke? Sound travels similarly. This is not the Splash Zone at Sea World. What about the people who buy their tickets last minute and get stuck in the very last row before the Kiddie Corral? What if they run out of seats in the Family Section? Will families be bumped because of their lower-class status to have the nerve to travel with children? It is just plain old insanity. But, then again, when I think of the struggling airline industry with its $25 carry-on baggage charges and Postal Service-worthy flight attendants, perhaps this is just the thing they need to get business booming.

Monday, September 20, 2010

we're off on a mission

Tonight for Family Home Evening we decided to make up a Family Mission Statement! And, let me tell you, it was awesome! It's something I've been thinking about since our Bishop mentioned it in January! Needless to say, I probably should have mentioned something about not procrastinating in there. Oh well. Anyway, first we had an Avery-age lesson about following the prophet (gearing up for General Conference!! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out mormon.org) we sat down and wrote out all of the ways we want to be described by others and the values that we want to have and the things that are important to us (we got ideas from FranklinCovey.com) and things like that. We even decided to choose and incorporate a Family Scripture (you know, like missionaries do on their mission plaques?!) Then Klayton sat down with all of our ideas and started to write it out. He decided to go for a Declaration of Independence theme, which I laughed at at first, but wound up loving!! It's definitely a work in progress (aren't we all? haha), but I thought I'd share it. Let me know what you think!

Tietjen Family Mission Statement

We, the members of the Tietjen Family, in order to create a more perfect home, set forth our values and traditions: 

We recognize God's hand in every part of our lives. We seek His will through humble prayer and careful scripture study. 
We love Jesus Christ. As Nephi did, we "talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, and preach of Christ, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins" (2 Nephi 25:26). We show our belief in His gospel by eschewing sin, selfishness and contention. We give all that we have in service to those in need.
We seek the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We ensure its presence by propriety in our thoughts, speech, and actions.  
We love each other. We build our home every day through honesty, respect and humility. We are friendly, healthy, hard-working, economical and reflective. We share our time, our feelings, our ideas and our happiness within the safety of these walls. 

Through faith, repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our family will be together forever in love, work and play.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

everything will be alright

However cheesy it may be, I have always felt like my life runs on a kind of soundtrack. Whether it is the music that I am listening to that fills in my memories and shapes my life around it, or my current mood and circumstances that provide the songs and lyrics that help me deal with the day, music seems to add color and substance to my experiences and helps me express things that someone as uncreative as I would otherwise have no hope of expressing.
My dad doesn't seem to experience music in this way, so maybe I'm crazy. He loves all kinds of music and, for as far back as I can remember, has been up for listening to whatever he draws out of the cup to listen to that week. Literally. He has this awesome systematic way of going through all of his albums (he is working on filling his THIRD 80GB IPOD right now) so that they each get their fair share of play-time. It's awesome (and juuust a little bit mad-scientist-y).
I just can't do that. I don't love all albums equally at all times. I rifle through my IPOD every time I turn it on for the perfect tunes to fit my mood or the setting or even the weather. And whether or not I'm using my music collection correctly, lately my playlist has been a cathartic mix of downers and uppers so confusing and emotional it almost makes me feel normal! ...That sort of didn't sound like a good thing. But, I swear, it is. One day it's bright and hopeful: "Here comes the Sun (doo-in doo doo) Here comes the Sun and I say, 'It's alright'" The next it's dark and dooms-day-ish; "Change everything you are and everything you were. Your number has been called."
How's your Fall 2010 Playlist shaping up?

Friday, August 27, 2010



Check my new (to me) 2004 Chevy Trailblazer! I used to drive a 2005 Toyota Corolla and It was definitely time for a change! My Trailblazer has a bunch more miles than the Toyota so the car dealership traded us for it! That probably sounds crazy, but I'm definitely an SUV kinda girl. And it's all black! It's sooo nice for the girls and I to have more room. And I needed a change. What do you think?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

lunch packed up, shoes tied tight

I love this time of year. Summer is winding down. Kids (and adults, somehow more reluctant than their youthful counterparts) are going back to school. It always reminds me of You've Got Mail when Tom Hanks writes to Meg Ryan, "Don't you love... the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies." Apparently it made her want to buy a truck-load of botox, but that's beside the point. I see all of these families out back-to-school shopping and it makes me wish that someone would send me a "bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils." haha
It really does feel like a time for new beginnings, though. In fact, I've never understood why we make resolutions in January. January is dull and cold and depressing. The high from the holidays has worn off and I'm just plain tired and bummed (winter here lasts about 4 months after January first. You'd be depressed too.) September first. That's my "new year". There is always something so hopeful about making new resolutions. At least until you give in and eat that doughnut or get frustrated with your toddler for taking too long to climb into the car when you're already late (honestly, why must she do everything herself!? I was never that head-strong and obstinate [this very moment my mother is rolling her eyes somewhere far from where I type this]). Fall just seems to radiate happiness now and hope of a brighter future. I'm not sure why, with the long, warm summer days ending and an endless winter encroaching. I'm sure this feeling is just a product of 15 years of school. Regardless, I've come up with a few resolutions already, namely losing the last 6 pounds of baby weight (and then some! [If there is anyone within the sound of my voice who has ever had or even contemplated having children and some version of this goal isn't on your list, I envy you]), improve my relationships (with a bunch of specifics peppered in there, like doing more things for others and cutting out the whole, "Avery, don't make me come in there!" speech), and re-apply for school (I'm going to finish that degree! ...I hope). Does anyone else feel like this right now?
PS Thank you to everyone who has checked in on me (via phone calls and emails and the like) since my last post. Didn't mean to make anyone worry. I am so grateful to have good friends like you, though. I have been reading a lot of things like this talk by Elder Holland. And I am so glad to have the knowledge that I do. That, like Elder Holland said, "because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so." Whatever trials I or anyone else may face, we have each other. And when we fail each other, or there is nothing anyone else can do, we have the Savior who suffered all things so we never have to be alone.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

another song

We are still alive. Just in case you were wondering.

It can be absolutely heartbreaking at times to sit and take stock of your life. I guess the worst thing is that it's easiest to do that at your lowest moments. There are inevitably so many things that you would never ever wish away. Things that you could never have imagined for yourself. Things that make your life meaningful, even in the face of disappointment and adversity. And then there are those unrealized dreams. The people who have let you down, in either mundane or absolutely devasting ways. The things about yourself that you never wanted to take root staring back at you. The only comfort that I can take in the hard and horrible things that life gives us sometimes is the satisfaction we can have when we are doing all that we can. And when we fall short, which is inevitable, the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is there to buoy us up when we are victimized and heal our wounds as we repent and forgive. Even when the destination in this life is uncertain, He at least provides us path. That knowledge is like a life raft. Always there. Ready to save you from drowning in sorrow or anger or hurt or sin or despair. Or a tidal wave of all of those things.

I will be strong enough to hold on tight and ride this out.

Friday, July 9, 2010

chop and change

After much deliberation (why is everyone's schedule so crazy!?!? ...What? Not everyone is tied to their house by two young kids, a full-time job, and running their own business!? People are VACATIONING this summer!?!? ...jerks) we have decided to bless Carter on Sunday, August 1st in the Idaho Falls 4th Ward. I am scrambling to get some pictures taken of the bebe to send out a birth announcement. Wish me luck.

So... It's embarrassing story time. But, first, some background:
I have been getting tired of the sideways glances that I get every time I tell someone Carter's name. It goes something like this. "Aww! Cute baby! What's it's name?" (Peeve: SHE IS IN A PINK BLANKIE. I'm pretty sure that if you just went right ahead and assumed that she was a girl that you'd most-likely be right. But way to err on the side of caution.)
"Her name is Carter."
"...Oh. Wow. I love that name. (Audible Inner Monologue [okay, I can't actually hear it, but it's written all over their face]: For a boy.)

And if you think I'm being paranoid, when my own grandmother heard what we were naming Carter the phone went really quiet for a few looong seconds, then she said, "Oh. That's interesting ...I know a little boy named Carter. What about Carlie?" I am not kidding.

Anyway, here's where the embarrassing part comes in. I did not come up with trying to single-handedly change the gender orientation for this name. I promise. I actually heard it on a movie last summer before I was pregnant with Carter. Avery and I watched a lot of Disney Channel back then, and one lonely Friday night a made-for-TV movie came on called Princess Protection Program. I would like to blame the fact that we watched the whole thing on my princess-obsessed toddler, but, sadly, I had the remote. And I'm pretty sure about 5 minutes in she started playing with her toys on the floor.

So... yeah. Selena Gomez's character's name was Carter. And Selena Gomez is a girl. I thought it was so cute (Not the movie; that was pretty dumb. The name... and Selena. She's gorgeous. ...Man. Have you ever realized that you're a tad bit jealous of a twelve year old and sort of wanted to veer into oncoming traffic?... but that's beside the point) that I remember telling Klayton about it that night. And I've wanted to name this baby Carter ever since we found out "it" was a "she". Sorry if you still think I'm a lunatic. Honestly, if you didn't think that before reading this post then I don't see why further proof would tip the scale.

Still, it took us a couple of days to definitely decide on Carter. K wasn't convinced and, really, believe it or not babies have such distinct personalities when they come out. We wanted to get to know her a bit and make sure she is a Carter. I'm glad we did. The name absolutely fits her, I think. The craziest part is that after my c-section, K and I were holding our new baby and debating about names, trying to throw some other options out there. Well, we were also flipping through TV channels and guess what was playing on the Disney Channel?! No joke, not one hour after Carter was born, while we were discussing names, the same silly movie was on.

Do you believe in fate?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

suck fest

Oh dear... I have never seen one of these parody movies before, but I juuust might have to check this one out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

├ęclipse totale

I'm all alone at home with my girls now... well, unless you count Klayton, which is hard to do because he's always working. :) This is going to be a great summer! In a couple of weeks we head to Vegas for a few days to meet our friends, the Hourdiers, who are flying in from France to spend a month here! I love these guys soooo much. They hooked us up big time when we were in France and they are pretty much some of the nicest people I have ever met.
I can't wait to see them again and make sure their trip here is as wonderful as ours was there. We are going to have tons of fun and I'm going to practice my French on the girls by making sure that they are all Team Edward (they have all become big-time Twilight fans since I last saw them), as every sane person is. I expect they will practice their English telling me how every good pre-teen girl is Team Jacob because his six-pack is better (I wonder how you say "six-pack" in French. Note to self: must look that up) than Edward's. I should get a lot of mileage in that argument, though, by using the phrase "chien puant" (smelly dog).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

heavy in your arms




Life with Carter has been pure bliss so far! Avery is a great big sister and my family have all come up to help at one point or another. My Grandma Clark leaves us tomorrow night (after being here for 10 days cooking and doing laundry and dishes and helping me potty train Avery! She is amazing), so we'll see how I handle things on my own after she goes. I'm a bit nervous, but we'll figure it out! Carter has had a few follow up visits and blood tests and has now been pronounced good to go! No more doctor appointments than normal from here on out! She is two weeks old and already 6 lbs 9 oz!! I'm not used to a baby who grows normally! haha At this rate she will definitely pass Avery in size by the time she's two!
My parents flew to England this morning where my little sister, Mallory, is set to have her baby any moment now! She also graduates from college on Wednesday! She is Super Woman! I wish I could be there with her. She is naming her little boy Giles (I call him Sir Giles) and I can't wait to see him. He's going to be a proper British baby in knickers and nappies and what-not.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

at last

We are home! Everyone is healthy and well! Finally!!
PS Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband and now father of two, Klayton! Your girls all love you so much. Thanks for being a great dad!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

on the day you were born

This last week has gone pretty smoothly. I had a (pretty hefty) list of things that I wanted to get done around the house, I have been preparing Avery to be a Big Sister and to change her routine up, and pretty much just trying to think of everything and anything I could do to get ready for a baby!! Some people may think that having your delivery scheduled is awesome! I would mostly agree. Knowing the day and the hour that I could expect my baby to come was nice. However, since I can't seem to have anything to do with delivering a baby without a huge slice of DRAMA on top, things didn't go exactly as planned. Here's how Thursday morning went...Klayton and I got to the hospital (after handing Avery over to Grandparents and packing our bags) right at 10am. My surgery was scheduled for noon, so they wanted us in to prep for surgery and check out the baby before it was time to dig in. Here is the last prego picture of me waiting for the nurse to come in and start my IV. Anyway, they hook up the baby monitoring system and start getting my IV in. Klayton was on my left holding my hand and teasing me about being afraid of needles, when the baby's heartbeat goes from about 140 (completely normal) to about 50 (sooo not good). Alarms start blaring. The nurse starts making fun of me. No joke. She says, "Wow. Calm down! An IV is nothing to stress about. That's just the baby reacting to your stress and a drop in your heart rate... probably."Well, besides sort of wanting to punch my nurse, I am now actually freaking out (despite disliking needles and any kind of pain intensely, I certainly was not panicking about a stupid IV. Psh. I'm not THAT big of a wuss). Well, when she's just about done placing and taping up the IV, it happens again. The baby's heart rate drops like crazy for about 30 seconds. Then it comes back to normal. I am now super freaking out but trying to be calm, in case I really am causing it. I don't know if it makes sense why I was freaking out, but seriously, I have been coming into the hospital to have the baby monitored (in what they call non-stress tests) twice a week for the last three months! I am used to hearing the rapid ba-boom ba-boom of her heart. I have even heard her having hiccups and kicking the monitors quite often. But I have NEVER heard her heartbeat slow to a near-stop! Nightmare.So, I tell the nurse I'm not THAT nervous about a stupid IV, but that hearing my kid sound like she's dying was sure making me nervous. She went to get a second opinion, and when she came back with another nurse or two and the baby did it again (!!!) they went into turbo mode. Called my doc. Called the anesthesiologist. Gave Klayton his surgery scrubs. Started having me sign my life away. Etc. My doc rushed in and said that baby wasn't sounding so good (oh, really?) and that we were going to bump up my surgery to as soon as possible. We rushed through the rest of surgery prep (the entire time of which I was violently shaking from head to toe. They piled me with blankets, but, looking back, I'm pretty sure I was just MAJORLY FREAKING OUT!), got my spinal block going (ick), got my belly all swabbed up and went to work! All I can say at this point is thank heaven for amazing nurses (the one that took over for Mrs. "Geez stop killing your baby because you're afraid of a needle" was an angel), doctors, hospitals, baby monitoring technology, etc. Klayton held my hand while they pulled out my little radish (Klayton's nickname for Carter since she came out so round and red: I LOVE this picture! It's so weird and awesome)and when I heard that beautiful little cry on the other side of the paper divider (the one they put up so I can't see anything they are doing, though, because of the spinal block, I could certainly feel all of the touching and tugging going on down there... *shudder*) and they held up our beautiful girl so I could see her, I felt exactly like the Grinch. It's like you can literally FEEL your heart grow 3 sizes. It's amazing.So, all babies are miracles, but, like her older sister, this one feels especially miraculous. If we hadn't been scheduled to go in that morning, who knows how long she would have been in distress before I got her checked out?! I'd just like to insert here that I truly believe in the power of prayer and the Priesthood- My bishop and father-in-law came over on Wednesday night to participate in a blessing that Klayton gave me and the baby. During the promises of comfort and peace, I felt the Spirit confirm that the Lord was watching over us and would bless us. It's an amazing feeling to know that God knows I exist, and He loves me and my family. I am so grateful. So... It turns out that our little girl was completely out of room, breech, and tangled up in her umbilical cord (it was wrapped around her middle and half-way around her neck!!), hence the heart rate drops. Poor kid. I'm so glad she toughed it out! She is an angel. She was born at 11:15am, 6 lbs. 3 oz., 19 3/4 inches. They swept her straight into the Newborn ICU to make sure she was stable, cleaned her off and sent her right back into the operating room so Klayton could hold her and I could hold her hand while they closed me up. She is going to be so sweet and curious! She refused to close her eyes for the first few hours of her life. And ten minutes after she came out she was looking for food! It's the craziest thing- it took Avery two months to figure out her sucking reflex and feed herself! Having a term baby, no matter how crazy D Day was, is so amazing. She's eating well and looking really good. On Thursday evening, after repeated testing, her blood sugar was dropping way too low between meals. They took her out of our room and into the NICU. They have been monitoring her there ever since and giving her IV fluids to regulate her blood sugar. She is doing well now, and, hopefully, will be able to leave the hospital tomorrow when I get to go home. The neonatologist asked about our family history and diabetes and whether I passed my glucose test at 28 weeks (I did!). Since it doesn't seem to have been caused by either of those things, he says that since the last few months of my pregnancy have been stressful and my blood pressure has been anything but stable, my blood sugar naturally rose to combat all of that stuff. So the baby had to get used to a higher blood sugar level, meaning her body now makes a bit too much insulin. Not the most uncommon thing in the world, apparently, but still dangerous. I'm so glad that they are able to help her and hopefully her body will start producing a normal amount of insulin soon! Craziness, huh?My mom flew in on Thursday afternoon, just after we had the baby. She picked up Avery from my in-laws and has been staying with her ever since. And boy is Avery getting spoiled! Lots of candy and presents, staying up half the night, going to the zoo and Toy Story 3 and all over... She is fine if I stay in the hospital indefinitely as long as Grandma sticks around. haha. I am so glad my mom was able to come. She is the best. A little later this week my dad and brother, Zach, are coming up for a few days, and then my Grandma Clark is coming for 10 whole days!! I'm so spoiled, too! I feel so blessed to have so many good friends and my doting family. It has been amazingly easy to not worry too much when I know that everything and everyone is in good hands.Speaking of good hands, I also have to brag on my husband, who has been sleeping in a recliner next to me for the last couple of nights through endless middle-of-the-night nurse checks and "Klayton, will you help me get up?"'s and everything, and he'll be here again tonight. He is an amazing father and the best spouse. Again, I am so blessed. Sorry to go on and on, but if counting my blessings is wrong when my heart is this full then I don't want to be right. :)We have spent the first two days of this baby's life trying to make sure the name we picked out for her fits, and we have finally decided. Her name is Carter Tietjen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

tick tock

In less than one week I will be a mother of two! Wahoo!! I can't wait to meet this little kid and ask her why she would want to hang out inside of me for 9 whole months! She already has more patience than her sister and me. Probably combined. I am trying not to think about doing the whole c-section thing again. It's quite scary. But Avery had to get shots at her three-year-old check up a couple of weeks ago, and to soothe her I told her that I had to get a BIG shot in my back when the baby comes. The little stinker, it totally made her feel better. But now she brings it up when we talk about the baby! *Gulp* I also told her the baby will need a shot, to which she replied, "The baby is going to cry. And throw up." which was Avery's reaction to her shots. haha Well, we'll see.
I'm scheduled to be in surgery at noon this Thursday! And all I can remember is how you can't walk for forever after surgery and how you even need help in the shower and how gross a catheter is and how badly I wanted to punch Klayton while they were operating on me with Avery because he kept saying, "Whoa! Do you want to know what they are doing?" and I was like "NO YOU PSYCHO!!!" (haha) and how bad the incision burns once the meds wear off! Wow, I'm a ray of sunshine, huh? But did I mention that I'm seriously SO EXCITED to meet this baby!? I just need to focus on that!
Sorry if you are so sick of blog posts in this vein. Honestly, I am sick of thinking about all of this constantly. After this Thursday perhaps I can FINALLY focus on something (ANYTHING!) other than this pregnancy! Yay! Until then your prayers are appreciated!! I just might need 'em.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

disgruntled

I am sorry to say that I must stand by my original feelings as expressed here about the latest Stephenie Meyer novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, which came out on Friday (you can see more, less hostile, thoughts that I had about the whole thing here, but I officially rescind any credit I was trying to give our Stephenie. Sorry). I hemmed and hawed and tried to pretend like I wasn't going to buy it because I think the whole idea is ridiculous, but yesterday I broke down and purchased a copy. 180ish pages later and I definitely wish that my self control was better where Edward is concerned. It's not a horrible story, it's just SO not essential/interesting/novel(lla)-worthy. Ugh. Steph, this is not cool. I am SO not naming my child after you anymore (haha just kidding... mostly).

Friday, June 4, 2010

wishing well

I am in shock that any person can get this huge!! I'm so glad to know that I can carry a baby to term, but I also really really (really really really) want to send this kid an eviction notice, pronto. No "three days to vacate" either. She needs to pack up and get out. haha I've been feeling pretty darn good despite all of my complaining and waddling, but I'm going a little bit crazy some days thinking of all of the things that I am dying to do once this baby comes out! I guess it's my own fault: a huge part of me just expected to have lots of complications. Expected this baby to be a month or two early. It's the only way I've ever known! So I feel like I've been pregnant WAAAAY too long. My fault. But maybe if I write down some of my daily fantasies they will stop haunting my every thought!! Here I go.
  • Work out. Seriously, I know it's nerdy and if I had been a little less cautious with this pregnancy I could at least sit down and stand up without sounding like a 90 year old man, but I am going to hit the gym SO HARD in a couple of months! I dream about it. Literally, I do. Sweating and lifting weights and running sound like just about the best things ever invented right now, even if I'll have to do it in a parka until January to keep people from seeing my awesome post-pregnancy body.
  • Get out of town. I am willing to go anywhere. ANYWHERE. I just need to get out of Idaho for a bit. I'm bummed to miss my family's annual beach trip in a couple of weeks, not to mention my baby brother's high school graduation and my mom's [50th! Shhh Don't tell her I told you] birthday, but I can deal if I just focus on going somewhere in a few months. Anywhere. But. Here.
  • Tie my own shoes.
  • Kidding about the last one.
  • Sort of.
  • Hold this baby in my arms (if I can ever get her to leave my rib cage). This is definitely number one on my list! I can't wait to hold her and name her and feed her and put all of the cute clothes that are just waiting in her closet on her!! My friend, Jessica, came by with her 3 week old baby a few days ago and she was so teeny and cute! And Avery was sooooo sweet to her. It made me melt. I am so excited to make Avery a big sister. She is going to be a darn good one.

I can make it. Just a couple more weeks...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

baby mama

Oh, dear. This picture is awful. I was playing around yesterday at the park and Klayton got this little gem on camera. Here I am, 37 weeks along and dying to go!! My doc wants me to have another c-section. It's scheduled for the 17th, but if anyone out there has some legit go-into-labor-right-this-second tips, please feel free to share. Until then, I'll be here... growing... Scary, huh?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

it's a party, it's a party for Avery!

Last Saturday we threw Avery's third birthday party in our backyard! I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out. I mean, usually this sort of thing is my favorite! But at 35 weeks pregnant, technically still on bed rest, waddling around after 10 kids and trying to cook and bake and all of that stuff really wasn't going to happen. So this year we scaled it down a little, inviting only family and a few close friends, and I let Baskin Robbins to the baking. Doing that, along with my saint of a mother coming from Las Vegas for the weekend and taking over just about everything else, made the party a huge success! ...Oh, and one other thing. Klayton got the idea about a month ago to my super talented LP, Ashley, and asked her to help him make a DJ Lance Rock costume! Without telling me! I knew he was up to something, but I seriously had NO IDEA what! When he showed up dressed as DJ Lance I thought Avery was going to faint! The best part (besides the perfection of the costume! Seriously, they went all-out!) was that Avery had no idea it was her dad, even though DJ Lance looks like this:

and Klayton looks like this:

Klayton and Ashley's surprise made it the coolest third birthday that any kid could ask for! There was a pinata shaped like DJ Lance's Boom Box, lunch, cake, presents (including an amazing new swing set from Grandma and Grandpa Clark! Avery is obsessed), games, Dancey-Dance Time... the works! Avery had an amazing time, and so did her cousins. I can't believe she's three!!! Here are some more pictures from the party. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

you complete me

I printed these collages out and hung them up at Avery's birthday party yesterday. I can't believe my little 2 pound baby is three years old today!! One thing is for sure, I can't imagine life without her. I'm so grateful to be her mom!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

sneak peak

I'm going to sit down and write a big old post about Avery's 3rd birthday party soon, but until then I'll leave you with this little sneak peak... Happy Birthday my baby girl!!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

and i'm feelin good

Last weekend, hospital. This weekend, heaven! I'm feeling so good. My BP has levelled out so the doc has turned off my fasten seat belt sign and I'm now free to roam about the cabin (airline humor! That's how good I'm feeling! haha), meaning that I am off of strict bed rest but still supposed to be taking it easy. So Avery and I have mostly been hanging out at home, which is nice. I love still being able to take care of her and myself and this baby and Klayton (though the poor guy is still eating frozen meals and take out 90% of the time). But a few weeks more and we'll have a new baby! It's insane to think about!!
I promise I have been taking it easy. And I do feel great. So this weekend I have loosened my leash a little bit, and it has been the best Mother's Day weekend a girl could ask for! So far I:
Saw this. Last night some friends of ours invited us to go to Iron Man 2 with them (and it's great! I mean, you know, not Academy Award great. Fun! great). They even provided a babysitter (his sister) to come over to our house while Avery and their little boy were sleeping!
Ate this. Klayton took me out for Mother's Day breakfast this morning. And it was delish. And while we were there I...
Got this(!!!!). K and I are horrible at waiting to give/receive gifts. haha. We almost always give one another too many hints or just give up and give presents early. We get too excited (K) and nosy (me). Anyway, this wrapped box has been sitting in our house for three whole days so we both decided I should open it this morning at breakfast (it's only one day early! This is good... for us). Klayton and I watched The Blind Side this week (also an excellent movie) and I wouldn't shut up about Sandra Bullock's watch in it. So, being the brilliant guy that he is, he listened to me and picked this out for me for Mother's Day. It's a Tissot and it's beautiful and I love it!!!
Went here. The Idaho Falls Farmer's Market is my favorite place ever! They do it every Saturday from May to October and it's teensy and quaint but I absolutely love it. Especially when I get to go there with Klayton and Avery. She chases down every dog there and asks to pet them. He listens to me go on and on about which (delicious) artisan bread to get or what type of produce to bring home while eyeing the marshmallow guns and PVC pipe bow and arrows ("for Avery!" [Yeah... Right...]). I try not to spend all of my grocery budget and look like a total dork smiling at everyone and tasting everything.
Got this. Waiting in the mailbox for me when I got home was this super sweet gift from Kristine and Jane, two of my beautiful, super thoughtful college roomies. They are the two most stylish and creative people I know and it was so nice of them to think of us! Thank you both so much! This is one of the first baby gifts that I've received this time around (and you so didn't have to! Especially not after making me my diaper bag last time, Kristine! And coming to the hospital when Avery was in the NICU, Jane! I love you guys) and it topped off a perfect morning! PS Jane, is it weird to say that I have been loving your Seattle posts so much that I really really seriously had a dream about going there with you and learning everything I could from you and your awesome mom? haha. I'm sorry. My prego dreams are super random and detailed. That's prob creepy but I swear, I want to be a Metcalf. Just for a day. Maybe a week. It was a really good dream. :) haha
After a late night and a few eventful hours this morning, I promptly came home and fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up Klayton had snuck off to work and Avery was running around the house naked. It's already been a perfect day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

up to the highest height


It's been so windy for so long!! But today I've been feeling great (and my BP is looking pretty darn good, too!) so I snuck outside with Klayton and Avery to take a few pictures while they flew Avery's kite! She had a blast. I love seeing her discover new things. At first she was so upset because she thought her kite was flying away! Then she figured out that that's the point. haha.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

bed bound

Universal Truths:

Toxemia blows. It is the lamest.

Spending the weekend in the hospital is a good way to A) realize that TV sucks B) become more thankful for your health, family and friends C) miss your nearly-three-year-old like crazy and D) acknowledge that if you never had another needle poked into you in your entire life you would probably die happy.

Hospital food sucks.

Being sent home on bed rest sucks worse.

I have no way to prove this (YET), but I'm pretty sure that high doses of boredom are lethal.

Not being allowed to chase your toddler/do the laundry and dishes/be on your feet for more than 5 minutes at a time/take care of your family sucks the worstest.

haha. Wow, now that I'm done complaining... sorry about that. I'm so grateful to be home (even if the whole bedrest/boredom thing does kill me). I'm so grateful for the help from family and friends who watched Avery this weekend. I'm so grateful that this baby seems to be perfectly healthy even if she is making me a bit sick. I'm so grateful that nothing this intimidating and stressful can last forever! Wish me luck!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

humble pie

Okay, am I the only one who felt bad about my feelings here after reading Stephenie Meyer's post on March 30th about why she is releasing her stupid novella (okay, I don't feel that bad)? I guess it sort of happened by accident, the whole writing the story in the first place thing. And I guess that it's pretty cool that you can get the story for free online (though Stephenie and her publisher [whom I picture as a lady villain- the girl-equivalent of the guy in the three-piece suit with an oily mustache counting stacks money in his NYC office and laughing maniacally and pushing orphans and stuff] both know that we are all going to buy it). And I guess it's almost cool that she's giving one whole dollar (yes, that is sarcasm) of each book sale to the Red Cross.

But, Steph (we already established that I can call you Steph, right?), I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that you really need to FINISH MIDNIGHT SUN!! Either accidentally or on purpose! (See?? We aren't unreasonable.)

Also, if Edward turned out to be a real person and you had him chained up in your basement, I wouldn't be mad at you. Just sayin.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

brand new

Thinking about entering my 8th month of pregnancy a lot today. I know it's wrong of me to look forward to the end of this pregnancy so anxiously when all I should be feeling is blessed that I've made it this far! And I do feel blessed... tired and enormous... and blessed. I'm nearly 32 weeks along and I only made it to 28 with Avery (above with Klayton the day after she was born)!! So, despite the mood swings and the three-a-week doctor visits and the getting up off of the couch hips-first and did I mention the enormousness??... Anyway, despite all of that I am very grateful to still be cooking this little one. Did I mention that I'm 99% sure we have a name picked out? For that you will have to wait and wonder. :)