Friday, April 17, 2015

Conversations with Four-Year Olds

Micah: Look! I'm using the force! Aaaaaargh! Wow!
Me: Okay. Cool. You should use the force to actually do something, though.
Micah: I did. I picked up our car. Weren't you watching?

Me: Life is a highway!
Grey: NO! Life is not a highway. Don't say that!
Me: What is Life then?
Grey: Life is in people and cereal.

Micah: Where's my dad?
Grey: He's eating dinner.
Micah: No. He's eating poop.
Grey: NO! Don't say that. That is a lie.
Micah: That's not a lie, it's a funny joke!

Travis: We'll drive to Reno.
Micah: Is Reno in this world or outer space? Like, is it on the moon?

Grey: We need to follow directions.
Me: Directions to where?
Grey: You know, like on car seats or Legos.

Micah: Why are you wrecking that?
Me: I don't think he's wrecking it. I think he's working on it.
Grey: I am wrecking it.
Me: Oh! Well, what do I know?
Grey: You know nothing.
Micah: NOTHING, I say!

Me: I don't know where we are going.
Micah: Maybe to Claire Johnsons.
Me: Who is Claire Johnson?
Grey: He is a robot made of jellybeans.

Me: Please help me clean up.
Micah: I'm Superman and you are Superman's mom. Does Superman listen to his mom?
Grey: I'm Batman and I always listen to my dead mom, who can talk somehow. Probably because she's a ghost.

Micah: I got an owie washing my hands.
Grey: That's crazy! Water can't hurt you, it's just made of soap and leaves and water.

**Listening to rap**
Micah: Is this Mr. Rhymes?
Travis: It's BUSTA Rhymes.
Micah: Hmm. I don't know.

Me: You need to go to sleep right now.
Grey: Then I'll go to sleep and dream about how you never let me DO ANYTHING.

Grey: I'm so angry, I'm going to walk away from home. I'll go on a long walk by myself and then, I'll just find my own way back.

Travis: Hey, August! No biting!
Grey: Oh, Dad. It's okay.  August is still learning.

Micah: Hey! This sucker has gum in it! Did you put it there for a surprise for me?

Grandpa: I have an extra vertebrae. Like an alien!
Micah: Aliens have heads on their butts. Your head is not on your butt, so you're not really an alien.

Micah: Mom, you're the favorite weirdo I love.

Me: Why do you think it's important to have a map or a compass in the wilderness?
Grey: It isn't important. You just need an iPhone.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 15

It's been a long week, packing, camping, and now visiting my parents for the next week and a half. And like all super old people (they are grandparents, after all), they have an unbearably slow computer that is a huge pain to edit pictures and write blog posts on. So I'm sorry to say, there probably won't be a lot of blogs- even though I have cool pictures and things to share.
But I can start with this:
A few days late, but better late than never, as they say...


 Watching his uncle Jack fight his brother with a Light Saber is obviously delightful


 Micah helped me gather lilacs in our grey, rainy yard before we came.


Just the world's most pleasant baby, on a hot hike in southern Utah.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 14

Spring is in the air! It's been so warm and beautiful that I even decided to move my tomato plants outside. They were getting pretty pathetic in their little yogurt cup planters. And the next day... IT SNOWED! You betrayed me, Utah! 
I actually haven't gone out to check on my plants yet this morning. I did cover the tomato trellis-things in plastic garbage bags to protect them from the boisterous wind, so maybe they're doing okay out there? I don't have high hopes, though. And I'm starting to feel like they won't survive at all- since we are leaving for about a month at the end of this week. Camping trip in Southern Utah, followed by a visit to my mom in Nevada, then to a wedding in Oregon, and then on down to a little getaway/work trip in California and driving all the way! My poor baby! (but it's a pretty good way to break in the new car).
I'm having little panic attacks about it, since I hate packing for one trip (hate it more for two in a row, but for many trips?) and I hate leaving our house messy before a trip, but I don't know if I'll have time to give the house the deep clean I need- or use up all the produce packing our fridge. Hmm. I maybe should have thought ahead a bit more before buying the 100 lb bag of organic carrots at the store. 
Easter was, of course, quite perfect. Except that I sent the assistant Easter bunny out to buy a little box of Sweet Tarts and he came home with a grocery bag bursting with jelly beans, Robins Eggs,  and every other kind of non-Sweet Tart candy imaginable. 
Yikes, bunny! Don't you realize that this nonsense is headed into the children? It will turn them into monsters! And, they are actually as satisfied with a few pieces of candy as with a million- unless of course, they know there are a million pieces hidden around the house!
So besides the candy, Easter was good. We watched General Conference and felt uplifted and encouraged, and resolved to do better and be better. And all of these pictures are actually from yesterday. Only as I uploaded this week's pictures this morning did I realize how little I've actually photographed this week! I vow to do better! I didn't even get a good picture of dying eggs and we dyed eggs multiple times.  
Happy April! Happy Easter! Happy Springtime!


What am I going to do when their big teeth come in and they don't have these gappy little smiles? 
(Answer: cry.)


 A little spider in a spider web (wearing his new favorite shoes: Batman Converse. I tried so hard to escape superhero clothes and shoes, but sometimes I just can't say no! Especially when he finds them for seven dollars in a second-hand store and I know they'll bring him endless joy.)


Speaking of saying no... August ate cake. And let's just say, it was not his first piece of cake, nor was his second helping his second piece of cake.
I can't help it! I want to give him everything! Okay. Homemade cake seems alright. It had fruit in it!
At least I didn't give him any jelly beans! (Ahem. Somebody gave him jelly beans against my wishes. I won't name names - because it was EVERYONE.)

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Because He Lives

Happy Good Friday, my friends.
Have you seen this video yet? Travis' company The Good Line contributed to some of the amazing shots in this video (not the one's of Jesus, FYI, mostly shots of people in other countries) and I love it so much. It's a good way to get in the Easter spirit.

Another beautiful Easter video is this short Bible video. Our family has watched this several times over the last few weeks as we try to explain to our children what this beautiful Easter holiday is about. It isn't about the death of Christ- not really! The death of Christ wouldn't be any different than any other death before it or after it if it weren't for what happened afterward. Easter is the celebration of Christ's resurrection.  His return, His life, and the redemption that came for each of us because of Him!

Today, in addition to being the day before Easter weekend, is also the day before General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Twice a year (in April and October), all members of the Mormon faith try to gather together (even just in families or as friends) and watch or listen to the prophets, apostles, and leaders of the church. There are two days of uplifting talks and speeches about the simple doctrine of Christ, how to love your family and others better, how to be your best self, and always- how to grow closer to God. I encourage everyone to tune in, even if you only have enough time to listen to a single talk, even if you're not Christian or Mormon.
{Click Here} to find out how to view or listen online.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Conversations with Four-Year Olds

Sitting outside, I asked Micah "Will you please tell me a story?"
"No," he said, "All the stories I know are too long. I want to say something short."
"Okay, could you tell me a poem then? Maybe, a poem about the grass?"
After a few seconds, Micah began and recited this, the greatest poem every written:
The grass has no idea.
It stays in the ground. 
And when we fall on it
We get hurt, hurt, hurt.

(He walked away to play, and then came back to tell me the rest of his poem.)

Now the grass has an idea.
It decides to grow.
We don't get hurt, hurt, hurt
When we fall on the grass now.

Travis was playing a "finish this story" game with the boys, at one point he said, "Then he met someone, who was..."
Grey: His cousin!
Travis: So they decided to
Micah: Get Married!
Travis: But it's not easy to marry your cousin, so they...
Grey: Went to the temple!
Micah: To get married!

In an interview with their Aunt Tessa (for a college pysch class), they also answered some questions.
What is your biggest regret?
Micah: I haven't played enough with my Daddy, because I love to play with him all the time.
What are you looking forward to the most?
Grey: Getting baptized, because I haven't been baptized yet!
What do you like the least? What's the worst thing that could happen to you?
Micah: Being alone and by myself is the very worst thing.

Grey: Robin and the Joker are getting married.
Micah: Robin can't marry the Joker!
Grey: They have to, Micah! I can't find any girls!
Micah: No! The Joker is too scary for Robin.

Micah: Ooh, this polish is very sparklish!

Me: We always need to put our toys away when we are done playing with them.
Grey: So no bad guys come and steal them?
Me: No, I don't think bad guys want your toys. We do it to keep our home pleasant and clean.
Grey: That's dumb.
Me: That's not dumb, Grey! It's important to have a clean house so-
Grey: No! I mean, bad guys are dumb if they don't want our toys. Our toys are awesome.

**Micah holds up a unopened bill**
Micah: Mom, you didn't read your letter yet.
Me: Can you read it to me?
Micah: Yes. Dear Becky Pitcher, Be cheerful and have a good time. Grey and Micah are the best. The end.
Me: Who's it from?
Micah: Max and Maddalie.

Micah: Why are you here? Are you teachers or missionaries?

Grey: Once upon a time, there was a poor brother and sister who lived in the woods.
Me: What were their names?
Grey: I'm not sure. I'll spell them and you tell me. The girl's name was D-R-E-R-J-H.
Me: So, um, that spells ...
Grey: Sally.
Me: Oh, really?
Grey:Yes, the boys name is H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P. And that spells Morgan. Their names were Sally and Morgan.

Elanor: Let's play that you are Jesus and you are dying, and I am your friend and I cry because I'm so sad. And then, you come back and say, "Don't cry! I'm alive!"
Micah: No. No. No. I do not want to play that game. I don't want to be Jesus dying.
Elanor: You only die for a minute, and then you come back alive.
Micah: But Elanor, Jesus is my real friend and he is in heaven and I don't want to pretend to be Jesus and die. He is my real friend and it might make him sad.

Grey: What time is it?
Micah: My wrist says its 4 o'clock.

Grey: MOM! August said a word!
Me: Oh, really? What did he say?
Grey: He said BATMAN! Now, August, can you say "Gotham City? GOTH-AM CIT-EEE." He is trying so hard to say it!

Me: On April Fools Day we try to trick people. So, I always call and tell your grandpa that I'm pregnant on April Fools Day- even though I'm not really.
Micah: I'm going to tell my dad that I am pregnant on April Fools Day, too! He will think, WHAT?! And I will say, "I tricked you!"

Me: We listen to General Conference twice a year, and the prophet and apostles get to talk to us and tell us about Jesus and remind us to make good choices.
Micah: Then I guess I don't have to listen, since I know all about Jesus and always make good choices.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lion Hearted Boy

A few weeks ago the boys and I were on a walk. We passed a squat little tree with low, thick branches.
"Can I climb this tree?"
The boys have never really climbed trees. They've hung from trees and been set in lower branches.
I set the boys in the tree, assuming they'd just sit in the crotch of the branches, maybe scoot around a little.
Fifteen minutes later, I was pretty much begging them to climb back down towards me so we could go home.
And that was the beginning of the love affair with tree climbing.
Grey loves climbing trees. Both boys enjoy it and frequently ask for a boost on to the lowest branch in our big Maple tree, but in the last two weeks- I think Grey has actually spent over an hour a day climbing.
He climbs up, around, over and under branches. He scoots out to the very tips of branches. He lies down on branches and watches us move around the yard underneath him. He shouts (constantly) to the neighbors over the fence "Hey! What are you doing?!" and they constantly shout back, "OH MY GOSH, BE CAREFUL! WHERE'S YOUR MOM?"
It's extremely terrifying for adults to watch him climb.
The first few times, it stressed me out and I paced under the tree while he climbed, hoping that I could catch him if he fell.
Now, I pay him no mind. Grey climbs and we play.
He knows every branch on the tree, and when other kids climb up to join him, he'll even direct their climbing. ("Try to put your foot on that branch and pull yourself over here.")
I remember loving climbing trees, and feeling so confident and sure footed. I never fell out of tree as a kid, and have high hopes that Grey won't either because holycrap that's a long fall.

I love this boy. I love watching him think and work, quietly maneuvering and zoning out into his own little world. I love that he is so confident and brave, but also very careful. He isn't up there being careless or goofing around- he climbs up a tree and concentrates on what he's doing. He is my little brave heart.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 13

Spring is in the air! and my children are cute!
I don't actually have a lot to add to that today, because my baby is sleeping and my boys are happily engaged in books on the couch- so it's time for Mama to get some work done! (By which I mean, write or sew or something, because I am dying for some creative me-time.) But until my next post (probably tomorrow) here are some pictures of small blond Pitchers.


Grey likes butter! And he likes it so much, that sometimes we have to pick all the dandelions we pass on our walks and hold them under our chins to check to see who likes butter.
(Do you guys do that too? When you hold a dandelion under your chin it reflects on to your skin. If your skins turns yellow- you like butter. If you are four, you also probably rub some pollen on your chin so you like butter even more.)


Micah likes diggers! When we moved into this house (almost) three years ago, the sandbox was full of sand. Now it has a minimal amount of sand and about 14 diggers and dump trucks.


 August likes everybody and everything and is the happiest boy in all the land! Truth.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

11 Months!

August is 11 months old, and has tumbled into boyhood in the muddy footprints of his brothers. He loves playing in the sand and dirt of our yard, is fascinated and interested in animals, collects cars and trucks from around the house and drives them while humming and vroooming.
Only two days after his ten month update, August started walking and talking! He now definitely says Mama, Dada, and Ni-night! And I'm pretty sure that he also says Hi, Bye-Bye and Outside ("Hide! Hide!")
He also makes lots of baby-sounds, especially when holding a phone to his ear!  

August has also started walking, and can walk across the room with slow, deliberate steps- but he still prefers crawling if he has somewhere to go in a hurry. 
He eats  so much (and has 6 teeth to help him do it), and I feel like he's really fat for my babies! But at his last check up, he was in the 20th percentile for weight (at a little over 20 lbs) and the 75th for height. (Big head boy was also in the 85th for head size.) 
He can go up and down stairs by himself, and even scoots off of furniture (like the bed) in a pinch. Sometimes I leave him on the bed when I go to the bathroom, because I know he won't crawl off the edge so he is basically trapped for a few minutes, except that he has figured out that he can slide off backwards- just like going down stairs. So I've lost that ability! He can get on and off the couch, and even piles up the pillows and blankets in his crib to stand on and try to escape- so it's probably only a matter of time before he's uncontainable anywhere. 

In the left picture, August is waving to Grey who is perched in a tree. The the right, he is trying to shut the gas cap on his Cozy Coup. 

August loves people, and I get about 1 million hugs a day. He wraps his arms around my neck so tightly, and buries his face in my shoulder, humming in contentment. He will lie his head on people's laps (even strangers) and close his eyes, so they can't help but stroke his little face and hair- which he loves.  August says Mama and Dada when he sees Travis and I, especially if he sees us and screams in delight, and no one picks him up immediately. Then he's accusatory. MAMA! How could you?!
He can't say Grey, Micah, Brothers or anything of the sort- but will start laughing hysterically and yelling "Hi hi hi!" when he sees them after a nap or something.
August also has mostly stopped giving kisses, but loves to receive kisses. If you hum, he will laugh excitedly and push his forehead into your face for kisses. We always hum when we kiss him, so it's a sweet little game. And likewise, when he snuggles with us, he often hums as he nestles in.

He is a pretty quiet baby, and never screams unless he is hurt or neglected. If we are holding him, even if it's three hours past his naptime and he hasn't nursed since the day before- he doesn't scream or cry. He just gets antsy and frustrated, grumbling and refusing to be set down. He only makes three noises: laugher, baby talk, and a humming/buzzing/singing that is just a long drawn out note.
He is so pleasant. He will cry in his crib or carseat, or if we take him out of the bathroom (his favorite room in the house), but always settles down by himself within minutes. He sleeps from 7:30-5:30 every night, and only nurses about 4 times most days. He eats anything and everything that we eat, and is currently really into Cheerios and roasted sweet potatoes. He loves to drink out of cups and suck on ice, and when he is hurt- I offer him a drink of my ice water and he'll cheer up.
His favorite toys are Mega Blocks (like giant Legos) and cars, which he drives around the house happily, and toothbrushes- which he loves to hold and suck on.
We love this little boy and cannot get enough of him. I didn't know they made babies so nice, and can suddenly understand why youngest children are spoiled. I want to give this sweet baby everything and more and never want him to cry or be sad!  Luckily for us, he almost never cries and is never sad for long.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales"

Lately my kids have fallen completely in love with reading. It's the greatest thing ever, and as far as I'm concerned- I've succeeded as a mother and accomplished almost all of my parenting goals. (Now that I'm done raising my children, I'm looking for some new hobbies.)

The boys each got a big, fat book of fairy tales for Valentine's Day this year (books for Valentine's Day is one of my favorite family traditions.) and I've loved reading them together. (This one and this one.)
The boys will ask to hear new stories and we will read them together, and then they'll ask me to retell them whenever we're in the car or somewhere else without their books.
I've been trying to get the boys to tell the stories to me, but they were so half-hearted! ("Okay, a princess comes to a castle in the rain and sleeps in a bed with a pea. She can feel the pea, so she's a princess. The End.")

Until I had an epiphany! I actually wrote down- word for exact, brilliant word- my kids' versions of their favorite stories. Now we can read their versions of the books instead of Hans Christian Andersen's or The Brothers Grimm. Grey and Micah are so proud of their stories and so am I!

I am amazed by all the little literary phrases Grey put in (like he was reciting from an actual book!), like "a tear ran down the frog's face." And I love the way Micah clarifies through out his story- like when he explains to the reader that the witch has a wood burning stove, and that's why she could be pushed into it and cooked.
So, here you go. Here are some real children's stories for your enjoyment.

The Princess and The Frog, retold by Grey:

Once there was a Princess, and her was playing catch and her dropped it in the water.
A frog appeared and said, "If you let me come to your palace last year, I can get it."
So the frog got the golden ball, and the princess ran away.
There was a knock at the castle door. It was the frog!
The frog was hungry and decided to ate on her plate.
It was dark and the princess jumped on her bed and the frog hopped on her bed too. The Princess throwed the frog at the wall, and a tear ran down his face.
"Give me a kiss!" he said.
"No! You are gross, and I am afraid to turn into a frog!"
"Okay. I will."
So the Princess kissed the top of of his head and PAWALOOP! the wicked spell was broked and the frog was a handsome prince. They happily lived ever after and she married the frog prince, but he wasn't a frog anymore!

And Hansel and Gretel, retold by Micah

Once there was a brother and sister, and the mean stepmother decided to put them in the woods and kill them!
But Hansel put little white stones on the floor and followed it back to their house. But then they followed it to a house made of candy!
"Who's nibbling on my house?" It was a grandma.
But the Grandma was very a witch!*
She put Hansel in a cage. The witch wanted to eat him! She wanted to feel how fat a hand he was getting, so Hansel sticked out a chicken bone (because she ate a chicken.)
She felt how skinny the chicken bone was.
The witch decided to eat him right now! She told the sister to stick her head in the fire and feel how hot it was. Then Gretel pushed the witch in! She had a fire-oven with a chimney!
Gretel got Hansel out by a key by the witch's pocket. And they had gold and candy for them to eat. They got back to the house after that.
The end.

*Micah uses very and really interchangeably, which is adorable. It makes sense to say "I'm very/really hungry!" but less sense when he tells me, "I am very Luke Skywalker!"

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 12 (+ writing)

In the springtime, I remember poetry.
I remember that I love it. I start reading it aloud to my kids. I start sitting out under the blossoms of our apricot tree, hacking blooming branches off our wormy plum tree and displaying them in mason jars around the house. And I sit by them, breathing them in, reading and writing poetry.
And apparently, it's just one small step from reading Mary Oliver aloud to getting up at 5 am to work on writing a book.
The self-same book. The book I've written for six years (though to be fair,  I've taken two two-year long "breaks" each time I've been pregnant.) But now it is spring.
Spring is the time of year for writing and resolutions.
My book is almost complete and I've made a goal for myself to have it finished by my birthday (in three weeks). And I have other books, other chapters, other characters that I've met with my pen in hand- and I'm excited to return to them, too.
But it's hard to write without a writing group (or at least, a critique partner) to hold me accountable, and sometimes tell me that what I'm writing is garbage (or occasionally, that it's not garbage).

I never settled myself into a group in Salt Lake. After moving from Provo, I tried to keep up with my old writing group, but the forty plus minute drive was soon dreary, and Skyping into a room full of people who were actually together was kind of the worst.
But it's really hard to say to people, "I write middle grade books," when you haven't published anything, because then- somehow- you aren't really a writer.
And if you haven't even been published, how good could you be? I mean, Stephanie Meyer and John Green are probably the most famous YA authors around right now, and their books are mostly unbearable.
So telling people that you're an unpublished YA writer sometimes feels like an admission of an ugly addiction you just can't break.
But, turns out, I can't break it.
And I really, really want a writing group.

I've thought of two possible scenarios that I think would work.
The first, is that I find a group of writers (3-4 people?) who live in or around the Salt Lake area and we can physically get together and meet (I'll provide the cookies, and the anecdotes about baby spit up), and talk about our writing. We critique each others work, we have deadlines and expectations for each other. We take blood oaths to write every day, even just two words.  And we become best friends and all get published and our babies grow up and marry each other and etc. You know, normal writing group stuff.

The second scenario is exactly the same, minus the cookies, blood oaths, and actually hang-out sessions. Because I think I could actually bear a long-distance writing group if all of us lived long-distance. If we got together on Google Hangout and talked about what we're working on and read each other's books, and were best friends in different places, and none of you ever got together without me, because I suffer from a pretty serious case of FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out.)
The longer I've had this blog, the less strange these long-distance friendships seem. I have good friends on both coasts and around the world- people I've never met but text with, email, and occasionally get real-life letters from.
It's pretty amazing, and I think it could make an amazing group of like-minded writers.

So here it is, here is my admission and my plea:
I write. In addition to this blog, I write poetry and short stories. But mostly I write books for that age that no one writes for anymore. Those girls who are twelve or thirteen and have moved on from talking animal books, but aren't quite to heart-sick Romeo and Juliet style love stories where one person dies, probably right after they finish losing their virginity.  (Because those books are the. worst.)
And I want friends who write, and preferably write well. (Pretty picky of me, I know, but I love having a better writer than me critique my work.)
So write me an email.
Let's do this.

And now, because, who am I kidding? I'm not writing ANOTHER blogpost today:
Here are pictures of my youths.


Helping gather plum blossoms, while he may.


Because a love of chocolate frosting is something Micah and I have in common.


I don't remember, but I suspect he was watching Lady Gaga strutting around the yard. He's very fascinated by her strange appearance.

(Lady Gaga is a chicken.)

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