Sunday, June 10, 2012

I now present, Summer.

Summer. It is a beautiful thing. So far ours has been filled to the brim with adventures. We left Minnesota and traveled through the fly through states down to Knoxville, Tennessee. Trip and destination - both quite the adventure.

Claire wasn't fond of the view.

On our way down, we got to stop in Chicago and were able to visit Isaiah's sister Alexandra. It was my first time in the windy city, and I loved it!

Alexandra, Isaiah, and Claire

My two loves

We unloaded our crazy load in Knoxville and then headed straight down to Grayson, GA. As a graduation present from undergrad at BYU, my parents got Isaiah and I a cruise! We graduated exactly a year ago, but that is the same week we had Claire - therefore we postponed our cruise for a time when Claire could stay with grandma and grandpa, and oh had that time arrived. The trip got an extra flare of drama when we realized we did not have Isaiah's passport where we thought it was --- after some tricky engineering and multiple plans, Isaiah's sister came through in the clutch and faxed Isaiah's birth certificate from the Utah department of Health to the port in Miami. Close call, but it made it that much sweeter to sail off into the deep blue --

We even got to see the famed Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. We determined we will be back again one day. Some day. 

Meanwhile, Claire ruled the roost at Nana and Grandpa's. 

I'm incredibly grateful for the thoughtful gift and the opportunity I had to spend with Isaiah seeing the Carribean. 

And from that relaxing beginning, summer has continued to smile down on us here in Knoxville, TN. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Claire's First Birthday

It has been quite busy around here and it is only getting busier. The countdown to Knoxville is two and a half weeks! But, before the future zooms up anymore, I'd like to take a moment and share a monumental occurrence in our household.

 The star of our home shows...

...who me?...

....of course me...

has recently turned one. April 14th Claire sprung into this world a whole month and a half early. Little did we know how fitting that would be for her. Her first birthday began much like any other day, eating grahams.

Due to the sad, but peaceful passing of my grandpa Jack, Claire spent her birthday in her birth state, Utah, so we could attend the funeral. Since the funeral was on her birthday, it was a celebration of life day, really - I'm sure these two spirited characters wouldn't mind sharing such a day. 

Since I failed to bring Claire's bib down to breakfast, grandpa Tom suited her up with a nice cowgirl napkin to protect those little whale pajamas. 

It was much needed. 

While it may have been a bummer to have your first birthday on a funeral day, it was actually very sweet. The whole extended family was there to celebrate with Miss Claire, complete with a couple different kinds of cake thanks to the kind ladies who put together the funeral luncheon. (If you can make it through my loud birthday singing, Claire's face is priceless when Isaiah goes to blow out the candle...)

Then came cake time - a chocolate delight and a green jello cool-whip kind. It was messy and wonderful, a day that is sure to bring fond memories to her the rest of her life. 

And now our little toddler is just so grown up. Luckily, I am not worried that she will always remain a kid at heart haha. 

Other things of note: 

In Utah, I got to see my BFF for life for the first time since I dropped her off at the MTC. I was oh so happy. I am also oh so happy that she is dating my cousin. Potential family - !!!!! Haha. Just kidding. But really.

And lastly, but not leastly, the newest issue of SquareTwo is now live! 

Enlighten your mind, challenge your assumptions. Or, if you are bored, just take a peek. (:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Fool of April

Ah, so much better is it not? Many thanks to my dear sister for sprucing this bad boy up.

Our trip to Georgia was wonderful - it started off with a biscoff cookie adventure on the airplane. Claire doesn't like to be confined, so Isaiah and I had our hands full. Literally. The well-meaning flight attendant gave us a handful of biscoff cookies to keep Claire entertained. She was hooked with the first one...soon gooey brown stickiness coated her hands and face. I tried to keep her at an arms length as I held her, but really, an arms length is nigh impossible on an airplane. Isaiah discovered that if he could get Claire to clap, large chunks of biscoff goo would land on me. Pretty soon her excitement turned into knocking my drink into the diaper bag. Isaiah was laughing so hard there was tears. But I guess better him than Claire eh? As we got off the plane, I pulled the window shade down to find a brown streak of dried cookie goo left by little fingers. Classic.

Georgia was wonderful - Claire loves to be with nana and grandpa. She even got to live it up at the world of Coke.

She's a natural. Claire also got an extra kick out of Bexley and London arriving. She loved to scramble up to Bexley in the bouncer and say "HIIIIIIIIIIIII." Startled the little sweet sweets everytime. You just can't squelch enthusiasm at such a young age though ya know?

The flight back was great as well - Claire's best flight yet I'd say. We got to sit next to a pilot on the plane - not just any pilot, but the first young, female pilot I have ever witnessed. It was an honor. Haha. She told me about a group of pilots who are moms with babies so they pump while they fly. Now THAT is a story for le leche league. I thought that was awesome. Can you imagine?

As far as the title of this blog goes, I must confess how I got my brother this year. Since Max is serving a mission for our church in Armenia right now, I write him once a week - usually Sunday night - so when he is able to respond to his emails on Monday I get a quick response. Well, lo and behold Sunday night came and I had yet to pull any big April Fools jokes. I reread what he had written me the week before, laughing when he randomly asked when the next zirkle junior would be in the works. I knew I had him. So I wrote back "Max!! That is so crazy, I don't know how you knew but...I'M PREGNANT!! We haven't told anyone yet, but I figure since you're in Armenia it wouldn't hurt to let you know..." yadayadayada...tried to make it believeable. Then I wrote the rest of my letter and ended it - and several spaces below that i added P.S. - April Fools! I am NOT pregnant. (Seriously for those reading, I repeat, I am NOT PREGNANT). I thought I was so crafty. I eagerly checked my email repeatedly the next morning to see if I had gotten him or if he knew all along I was tricking him. His email came and I instantly knew he definitely had not read the part where I said April Fools. It was the sweetest congrats email ever though, so really - who feels like the fool now - haha. Sadly, I must wait til this upcoming Sunday to write him and make sure he knows it was a joke....I can just see him happily telling Armenian people on the street the good news. Ohhhhh geez.

Well Claire's first birthday is in ten days. April 14th is going to be such a happy day here! She is growing up more and more everyday, such a beautiful soul. Her birthday was supposed to be May 25th, so it can get confusing, but I wouldn't trade the extra month we've had with her for anything. (:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

For the sake of blogging

Good heavens. I'm writing this to let the blogging sphere know I am still alive. Haha. I have taken a lengthy hiatus, but I will make my come grand hope is that when I got to GA next week and my sister comes, she will save the day by teaching me the blogging tricks I have been waiting for. And then there really are no excuses.

Life is going well in Minnesota - the frigid winters everyone warned us of passed over us this year (knock on wood) and I am oh so excited for Spring. Isaiah got a residency at a hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee for this summer so we will be heading down south for a few months come May! Right in time for Claire to learn her first words with a little southern accent. Oh man, so cute.

Claire is the light of our lives - she makes me laugh everyday. She is known for always being camera ready, loves to laugh, is a very quick crawler, and extremely curious. As in hide your valuables and stow away the breakables cause she WILL find them. Her sweet spirit is evenly matched by her inability to sit still. It is a very funny combo...makes church especially eventful! She can now wave her little hand, play peek-a-boo, has her two bottom front teeth, and loves to pull herself up to a standing position on anything in sight - including other kids so look out - haha. I pride myself on teaching Claire about the strength and equality of women, however, I've decided I'm preaching to the choir. At a recent play group I found her kneeling on a little fellow, pinning him down, with his shirt clenched in her tiny fists. Hahaha...yeah, you go girl. Even the doctor noted she is a fighter when it took two doctors to hold her down to get a look into her ear...they repeatedly commented on her uncanny strength for her size. I attribute it to her difficult start in the NICU and our morning workouts with Sean T. You know how we roll.

Well, here's to posting again before 5 more months go by. Wish me luck.

(Claire and her friend - to prove she is not truly a play group hooligan...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Success is found in trying

When I consider writing a blogpost, usually a series of random things come to mind that I would write about. Instead of sorting through those things, I think I will just include them all. Haha. So:

*There is a cool website called  - it has a bunch of costume ideas for girls that aren't trashy and are incredibly unique...they are women throughout history that aren't well known, but probably should be! Isaiah said I should be the volcano queen. Ha. But seriously, it is worth contemplating.

*You know how some people have awesome cooking blogs? That is in no way, shape, or form me or this blog. haha. Let me explain:

I attempted to make a recipe from a cooking blog tonight - I love looking at recipes and dreaming up delicious things to make. Sadly my dreams and reality are far, far apart. Part of the recipe was making dough to wrap the chicken in...the dough about did me in. Making it took a superhuman feat. I gave myself plenty of time to have it done and even then it took me 30 minutes longer than expected. There was flour everywhere and extra sticky dough - I had stuck my hands in the bowl to see why it was still so runny, which then dripped all over the floor - the picture over our sink was splattered with batter from the mixer...and Claire was crying the entire time so every time I came over to put her back on her blanket (oh yeah, she is a nascar roller) or give her her binky, I got sticky dough all over her shirt. And on her blanket. And in her hair. So when I finally got the dough in the bowl to rise I thought HALLELUJAH. I cleaned myself up the best I could and sat down with Claire on the couch. Only later did I realize I had dough all over the backs of my arms which then got smeared on the couch. Haha - oh cooking. At any rate, when it was time to work with the dough an hour and a half later, the dough had doubled in size and was still just as runny. It was oozing up at me like a halloween trick gone horribly wrong. Luckily I had some premade roll dough in the fridge that I substituted instead and the dinner was a success! But imagine my dismay that the dough extravaganza was all for not. So I did what any amateur cook would do - I let the dough rise for another couple hours and decided to try and make rolls haha. I made a couple batches and when they were done... Isaiah and I just couldn't get a whole one was like a sponge of yeast. A yeast sponge. Bad bad bad. Haha - at least we have a whole bowl of dough to prank someone with now. It's legit.

*My sister is having her beautiful baby any day now! I am very excited for her...growing up London and I had many an adventure together; I'm thinking our baby girls will have lots of adventures too. (: It is going to be awesome! I won't get to see them til Christmas time, but I am expecting lots of pictures!

*I have an idea for a novel I want to write. I'm still wrapping my head around the concept. That's imperative for a good book. I feel like my second grade style of killing off the characters to wrap it up isn't going to fly anymore...but more details to come soon...

*Claire can get her knees under her in crawling stance, but she hasn't made that first "step" (first "crawl"? I don't know how you say that) yet, but she's getting there. Lately she has been getting a bit of rug burn on her forehead from scooting along. The girl is crafty. She can get everything off the ground but her toes and that forehead, hence the rug burn....haha I try to help her out, but who am I to clip her wings. She is going to be a lady bug for her first halloween. We did a costume check gave me such a wonderful laugh. cute. What else can I say?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good news!

Yesterday I was asked to become the newest member of the editorial board for the online scholarly journal SquareTwo. I am so excited! What an opportunity! The journal is comprised of articles and discussion centered on faithful LDS thought on contemporary world issues. A couple years ago I submitted a paper on U.S. relations with Pakistan from a national security class that got was funny to find that in the archives. I think most the articles are fascinating, especially from a Latter-day Saint perspective. For those interested in looking into it, the link is:

I will keep you updated on interesting articles and discussion, like the current readers' puzzle on there. I thought it was very interesting! Especially the part about "what will the church's position be?" I agree that if you study these things out in your mind it makes much more sense and we are better prepared for the future.

On to weightier matters, I wish everyone got to see every new little thing Claire does each day. It's incredible! She's rolls all over the place, can scooch her legs up so her stomach is off the floor, smiles all the time, and just chatters away to me. She keeps learning new sounds! Yesterday she mastered this "ahhhhh" noise - it's kind of like a breathy, raspy noise and it is so cute! She talked to me the whole time at the store. She is juuuust like me and Isaiah. I made the mistake of calling her Rasputin - why?? I don't know, it was funny to me - but grandma was not pleased. Isaiah looked up a picture of Rasputin and that made it even funnier.

I assure you Claire does not look like Rasputin. Haha. I'm gonna stick to calling her sweet baby ray. She is beautiful through and through - she makes me so happy. And she seriously makes me laugh everyday. She wants to talk so bad...I'm sure she'll break the language barrier soon. We're starting to place guesses on when she's going to crawl. Our little mastermind (:

Monday, October 3, 2011


I recently had the opportunity to talk to a dear friend about new motherhood. What a topic. I think it is hard to really fathom until you’re consumed by it and even then you don’t really know what in the world is going on. Ah new life – we decided that being a new mom is a series of paradoxes. How can you be totally overwhelmed and totally fulfilled at the exact same time? Apparently with a new baby anything is possible. Isaiah and I have often commented how fast your blood starts pumping and you instantly feel hot and frustrated when the baby is crying and you’re thinking “ahh what do I do?!” And then pretty soon the storm passes and they lay there so calmly, little angel babies and the moment of frustration is gone. I think all the quick swings of emotion is more taxing then most new moms are used too…I’d say new dads too, but I think I broke Isaiah in on that one so, who knows. Ha ha. As far as survival advice goes on the melting pot of emotions, it’s the same old advice veterans offer for most hard things – it gets easier with time. I, too, was skeptical of that in the beginning, but now I wholeheartedly agree. And it’s not the situation that ever really changes, but it is you, me. The act of becoming is intensely refining – becoming a mother is no exception. I’ve talked to Isaiah about how I feel adequately trained in political science – I have spent years studying and honing my skills, learning to write research memos for the President of China or prescribing solutions for countries in economic peril – but none of that seems to be of necessity now. How, pray tell, do you raise a child? Where is all that training and studying?

Fortunately, the past five months with Claire have answered those things for me. No learning, even in political science, is wasted when you are raising the future. As with most things in motherhood, it’s not usually obvious or markedly apparent what leads to what. For example, you get professional or educational training and you know what you’re going to do with that. Train to be a surgeon, go operate on people. Study to be a 3rd grade teacher, go teach 3rd graders. But motherhood – it is the accumulation of a lifetime of experiences, opportunities, choices, and character that somehow combines in such a way to teach a child about the world. And THAT takes creativity.  It is a debilitating trick to think as a mother you must follow a cookie cutter mother pattern. Really, every mom is bringing so many unique things to the table that I have no doubt they have been given to raise their specific kids. To stifle such gifts, experiences, choices, etc. to fit into the mold is a shame…and extremely boring. If you limit yourself to what you “think” mothers do, especially by the world’s definition, you might feel utterly dismayed and hopeless – trapped in the walls of your own home with the twin monsters of diapers and burp cloths. But if you think of the things you love to do, the things you’re good at, things you want to learn, and so forth, and get reeeal creative, you’ll find a way to do that with your baby- all the while raising a child with the “motherhood” training you never knew you had. It is attitude, perspective, insight – a change of self more than a change of situation. As for me, I’m raising a future world politician, famous singer, or novelist, among many, many other things. Overwhelming, certainly. Frustrating, at times. Boring – only if I make it so. In the words of my mother - Oh the possibilities.