Monday, December 30, 2013

All the honeys who making money, all the mommas who profit dollas

I'm normally a mom who works from home. This Christmas break, however, I've been a Working Mom. I'm doing some consulting, so I've been spending my days in an office and listening to zero episodes of Sesame Street. 

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a refreshing change of pace to get dressed before noon and talk to other adults. But I'd also be lying if I said I didn't call Stephen to check in every forty-five minutes. Not because Stephen is incompetent as a parent, but because I have separation anxiety when Ivy is more than three feet away. It should be noted that Ivy does not share my affliction, and, as we've recently discovered to my horror, is actually much better behaved when I am not around. 

"Um, she never whined while you were at work," Stephen said while Ivy clung to my leg and made that "ehhhhh" noise that means "I'm dissatisfied with life in general right now but I can't articulate why. Regardless, it's your job to fix it."

Serious career face in a serious career workspace.

So maybe the time apart is good for us. Ivy is learning some independence. I'm relearning the satisfaction of a challenging career. But I'm also looking forward to getting back to pajamas and Elmo and spending my days with the tiny human who makes me a little crazy and a lot happy. 

I better go call Stephen.

Friday, December 27, 2013

That one time I got a a new family member

What? Another recap post?
Yes. Because my brother got married. That feels like something that should be documented.


Because we're the family of the groom, we, or I should say my mom, planned the wedding dinner.
Obviously, we held it at a bowling alley. I spent the night taking photos because I'm the cheapest photographer around (free).

The bride and groom.

My mom had T-shirts made. Of Course she did.

At one point a child threw up.

There were toasts. I bawled through mine. I just love my brother. And his new wife. 

The night was a roaring success, as was the next day.
Nick and Ashley were sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple. It was totally lovely. 
Then we all suffered through mild hypothermia while waiting for the Mr. and Mrs. to arrive outside. 

These are iphone photos. There was an actual photographer capturing the Wedding Day moments. 

There they are. Totally worth the wait and the frost-bitten toes.

Best dress ever.

You can tell by that dress that Ashely has impeccable taste, so it's no surprise that the reception was gorgeous.

Ivy and I with the now-married Nick.

Fresh snow and Christmas lights greeted the guests who were then invited inside a cozy hall for tomato soup, grilled cheese and hot chocolate. And if they were lucky, they got a glimpse of a glam two-year-old.

Ivy loved the dress, the shoes, the wrap and even the tights. On a normal day I'm lucky if I can get a diaper on her. But on this wedding day, she was all for getting gussied up. 

And for dancing:

Thanks for the fun party, Nick and Ash. Welcome to the married world.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Warning: Holiday Recap Post

Part of what's fun but also kind of crazy about being married is the doubling of Christmas traditions. This means, if both families live relatively close, like ours, that it's important to be twice as many places. Over the past week we drove the hour between the Walter and Morley homes more than should be legal given the Utah air's inversion tendencies. Sorry, coughers.
It was totally worth the commute though, since both the Walters and the Morleys turn Christmas into a Holiday Extravaganza-a-a-a-a.

It started with the annual Walter Christmas Eve lunch at Hire's Big H. I ate enough onion rings to feed an onion-ring-loving-nation for a year. And for the first time in Ivy's life, she ate what we ordered her. That grilled cheese was a Christmas miracle.

Then we headed to Provo for Grandma Jan's Christmas Eve party. After more food (e.g. enough shrimp and cocktail sauce to feed a shrimp-and-cocktail sauce-loving-nation for a year, we enjoyed the circus program. It starts with the nativity, wherein an adult reads from Luke 2, pauses for carols sung by a group of relatives whose voices combined sound not very great, and grandchildren dress in an assortment of bathrobes and fairy wings in order to act the parts of Joseph, Mary, Shepherds, Angels and Wisemen. 

Note Brock crying. Hahahahahaha

After a quick costume change, it's onto Santa, a reindeer, and a couple elves who hand out gifts. 

After the cousin festivities wrapped up (Christmas pun!) We spent the night at the Morley's. It was a weird Christmas for my parents. My brother is on his honeymoon, my sister is on a mission, so Stephen, Ivy and I were the only youths in sight. It was quiet. We missed the absent siblings. But more jammies for us, right? 

Ivy's thrilled.

Ivy still hasn't quite grasped the concept of opening presents. It takes a lot of time and a lot of help, then when she finally gets one open, she's totally content to play with whatever book/toy/shirt lies within.

But we did eventually make it to the grand finale: The Kitchen (c/o Nana and Bop Bop). I'm convinced this will be the gift that keeps on giving. Ivy is obsessed with pulling out every utensil in our apartment, hiding them under couches, dipping them in dog food, and breaking off their handles. She also likes to stand approximately four centimeters away any time I'm holding a pot of boiling water or opening the oven door. I think this toy will go a long way in preserving both my cooking tools and my child's safety. I hope, anyway. 

After talking to Hermana Morley via Skype (She's doing great and looking great, which is infuriating for a former Sister Missionaries), we made our way to Centerville. 

Because I'm an idiot I didn't take any camera photos in Centerville, but trust me when I say we were spoiled rotten, like a banana that's been in the bottom of the fruit bowl since October rotten, with gifts and food. I know there's a lot of Tsk Tsk-ing about too much emphasis on presents, and that we should all be more focused on The Reason for the Season, which, yeah, is probably true in my case, but I was overwhelmed by the thought and love that went into each gift for me and my little family.  I felt incredibly grateful for family. And if I had to guess, I'd say Jesus be on board with that.

Speaking of boarding, Mimi and Papa got Ivy her own Metro set.

Choo, Choo, everybody. And Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ya Filthy Animals

Monday, December 16, 2013

The best thing to ever happen to democracy

During last night's Gingerbread building sesh, no one cried and there were only a couple structural collapses, making this year the most successful in Morley Family history. Please vote on your favorite so one of us can lord it over the rest of the family for the next 365 days.
The nominees:

Demolition Derby

The Lincoln Memorial

Travel Trailer

Clock Tower

Walter and Skyler White's Home


The Eiffel Tower

Which candy creation reigns supreme?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Are you listenin'?

What's up, blog?
Sorry 'bout the neglect.
It's been too cold to blog. It's been too cold to do anything, in fact.
It's 20 degrees today, and it's a balmy paradise compared to the negatives we've been waking up to lately.
We've watched Finding Nemo 5 times already this week. It's only Tuesday. Morning.
My child, who usually begs and pleads to go outside, won't step foot out the door declaring, "Si. Co." (Cold outside). And it's like, if we're not leaving the house, why bother getting dressed? So Ivy hasn't worn pants in days. I have, but only because I have to take out the trash.
We're in CO for for 14 days between Utah trips. Utah, by the way is a lateral move in terms of escaping bitter temps. 2 weeks is just enough time to do laundry, finish up some home-made gifts (worst idea ever) and pack. It is not enough time to recover from the previous drive during which we saw a diesel trailer blow over. Driving is the worst. How is teleportation not a thing yet?
I'm obviously in a terrific mood. Winter. Woof.
Which leads me to the tidings of the Season!
This is possibly the least amount of effort I've ever put into a holiday season. Here are all three of our decorations:

I bought some paper to make snowflakes. I haven't opened the packaging.
I dunno. It just doesn't seem worth it if we're not even here on Christmas Day. Or the preceding couple of weeks. So really we're just putting off all celebrations until we're back in the Mother Land. 
The mother land that promises Gingerbread House building (get ready to vote), Hires Big H eating, and wedding attending. Did I mention that my brother's getting married? My brother's getting married.

Aren't they cute? Ashley (Nick's fiance, duh) is a total gem and just what I would order if Sister-In-laws were available on Amazon. 

In other news I've had three gingerbread cookies today. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

See something say something

You know my neighbor who called the police because I was "knocking on the walls"? The neighbor who sends a letter of complaint to the home owner's association every week? The neighbor who asked me to get her mail for her and then accused me of hiding half of it? I've gotten really good at avoiding her. I once spent fifteen minutes hiding behind a dumpster when I spotted her outside.  I park on the other side of the complex so our paths won't cross. I tiptoe past her apartment to get downstairs.  And if I hear her door open, I run. 

But today, for the first time in a year, I found myself facing her. I must have been distracted by helping Ivy up the stairs because I didn't her the lock turn. So before I had a chance to sprint away, she stepped outside, a mere foot away from where I stood. I froze. And then I had  to make a choice.  Keep walking and acknowledge our mutual hatred. Pretend to be blind. Or smile and say hello. In the spirit of making amends, I chose the latter. In turn she averted her eyes and strode away.

At least she didn't yell? At least she didn't yell. 

Merry Christmas, neighbor. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bye. See you.

When anyone opens the door to go outside, Ivy says, "Bye! See you!" And because every time she says it, someone does in fact exit the apartment, she's started to use the phrase to get rid of any unwanted presence. 

Like when she's playing in her room, and Stephen or I pop a head in to check on  her, she'll say,"Bye! See you!" and shut the door on us. 

She alternates between favorite parents. She'll track down me or Stephen depending on the day, cuddle next  to the preferred person, and if the not-preferred person tries to join the party, she says, "Bye. See you." And pushes them away. 

If we tell her to eat her dinner,  she says, "Bye. See you."

If we ask her to pick up her mess, she says, "Bye. See you."

So. There's that.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Look, Mom!

I'm writing a book. More specifically, I'm writing the text for a picture book.

The talented illustrator Megan Geilman asked if I would be interested in a collaboration, and my first thought was "No. Too scared." Because I am scared. I'm scared of disease, I'm scared of tarantulas, and I'm scared of publishers. So scared that I haven't submitted anything for publication since college graduation. Without professors to hold my hand or student workshops to validate my work, it's become remarkably difficult to feel confident in my writing. It's a big, lonely world after school, and for the past three years I've been hiding from rejection. But it's time to be brave. So I'm writing a book.

It might take a while. Publishers might hate it. We might print off copies for our families and call it good. Or we might start a kickstarter campaign, release an app, or take advantage of any of the other many options the internet has made available. Regardless I'm writing a book and that's really scary but also really exciting. And the more sketches Megan sends me, the more exciting it gets.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The plague on modern marriages

I'm cheating on my husband.

Sorry. That was a cheap trick to grab your attention.

I'm not having an affair.  But I am being what one might call unfaithful.

Here's the thing. I am working on a long, tedious project that requires three to four hours of my time every day. I don't like to spend those hours in silence, and the work is menial enough that I can have the television on and not have a decrease in production or quality. These circumstances and subscriptions to both Netflix and Hulu Plus make for some hard core binge viewing.
I spent a couple of weeks devouring Scandal, with no ill-effect on my marriage. Stephen doesn't much care for Olivia Pope or her overly-edited, overly-acted show. But then I ran out of episodes and needed a new show.

At first it seemed like the happiest of happenstances that I should stumble on The Good Wife in my streaming "recommendations for you". Four seasons, with twenty-three episodes episode per season. I was set for months. But there was an unforeseeable problem: The Good Wife is a really great series. So good that I took to watching it beyond working hours. And since Stephen is my husband and cohabitates (fun fact: not a real word) my apartment, he noticed that The Good Wife is a really great television series and started bingeing (fun fact: not a real world) with me. Which was great! Spousal bonding! Shared interest! But. I still have this project that requires three to four hours of my day and I still like having the TV on during those hours. I try to fill the time with other shows, but there is only so much current watchable programming and I burn through that pretty quickly.

I just can't stay away. Guiltily I hit play over and over again, watching two, sometimes three episodes while Stephen is at school. Sure, he can catch up on these later, but it's not the same as sharing reactions to the shenanigans of the Lockhart and Garnder crew together. I  know what I'm doing is wrong and I know I need help.The show maybe be The Good Wife, but I am not.

Monday, November 4, 2013

you want to take my picture cuz I won't remember

Historically the Stephen and Meg Walter Family have not been fans of being photographed. One time my parents framed a picture and gave it to me for Christmas. It was a picture of me surfing in Hawaii. A fun memory. A really thoughtful gift. But I cried when I opened it because I thought I looked absolutely wretched. And Stephen would rather get diagnosed with lupus than be in front of the camera. So we have all of four photos of us as a family. Until now. My dear friend Rachel  managed to take not just one, but twenty photos that I can stand to look at and actually like. It's a goshdarned miracle. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


If Ivy could speak more than two words at a time, she'd probably tell you that she had mixed feelings going into Halloween, but now that she's eaten M&Ms for breakfast and a Tootsie Pop for lunch, she's decidedly in the Pro-October 31 camp.

Her real hang-up was the costume. 

At first she was okay with it.

Then she thought about it.

And after some reflection, Ivy decided it just wasn't for her. It could be that the hat just wouldn't stay on straight. It could be that the pig suit adds ten pounds. It could be that I didn't even think to ask her which animal  she would like to emulate on Hallow's Eve. If I had asked, these would be pictures of her as a frog. For the past week she's declared "I Fra!" (I'm a frog) and bounced around the apartment yelling, "Ribi!" (Ribbit).  But I didn't ask, and Ivy found that upsetting.

Sure, I felt bad about my total disregard for her opinions and preferences, but we had places to go and people to see and very little time to get Ivy on board with pigdom. So I resorted to the  oldest trick in the book. "Ivy, you look soooooooooooo cute!" I said over and over while showing Ivy her own reflection. 
"I Pee Pee!" (piggy), she finally said. Flattery works every time, on every one. 

Then of course, Trick or Treating was the best thing to ever happen to her. The dogs. The other kids. The decorations. She had to take it all in at every house, spending an excessive amount of time staring at the candy, talking to the puppy, or trying to invite herself in to strangers' homes, so all in all we made it to about ten doors in an hour, the spoils of which have kept my little fra on a sugar high all morning, and she's been ribbi-ing from one room to the next. What a great holiday. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This blog post is from a confused customer service representative

Good news, friends.  I am now the proud owner of So long, .blogspot! But don't worry, still works. I just think maybe I can trick people into thinking this is a legitimate operation if I have a bought and paid for World Wide Web address. 


My job. It has three parts. It's one part writing and editing, the skill set I was originally hired for; one part forum moderating, which no one has the proper skill set for; and customer service, which is the furthest thing imaginable from what I'm good at doing. If my skills are the sun, customer service is Pluto in a solar system on the opposite side of the universe. I don't enjoy talking on the phone. I don't enjoy people. I don't enjoy customers or service. I am the anti-Flo.

Though I have been doing this job for a while and I am getting better. I've developed a warm and pleasant talking to strangers on the phone voice. I've learned that it's always better to be apologetic. I've started signingd every email with "Thank You!". But sometimes I mess up. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and I answer emails with one or two sentences and forget to include smiley faces and exclamation points. So sometimes I get replies like this:

Yes I live in Australia Meg sorry for asking a question about the item an shipping if I new you respond angry an pissed off like that I would of not bothered asking or buying the product you really no how to treat a first time customer NOT. Just would liked to have a idea on when or how long take to receive the product but I won't bother asking you again.thanks for the rude reply NOT. This reply is from a unhappy first time customer.

Honestly, I don't remember what I wrote that set the customer off like this. I guess I asked if he lived in  Australia? And boy am I glad I did! Had I not, I probably would have missed out on some of the greatest prose of our time. When's the last time you read or heard such wonderful usage of NOT? Let alone twice in one email! When's the last time you encountered so many misspellings that also serve as double entendres? And when's the last time a final sentence did such a fantastic job summarizing all previous sentences? 

Bravo, unhappy first time customer. I mean, sorry for upsetting you, but mostly, Bra freaking vo. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dr. Ivy Answers

Margo in Wisconsin asks,

Dr. Ivy, I know you're an inspiration to all you come in contact with, but I was wondering if you have any role models of your own?

Dr. Ivy says,

"What a great question, Margo. As a matter of fact, I have two idols of my own. I call them Nana and Mimi, or to save time, The Grandmas. Shout out to all the G-mas in the house! You ladies are the real heroes.

Do you know what I get when I go shopping with Mom?  Diapers, canned goods and scolding.
Do you know what I get when I go shopping with Mimi? Toys. And more toys.

Do you know who doesn't send me packages because apparently it's "silly" to send a parcel to someone you share a home with? Mom. 
Do you know who sends me brightly wrapped boxes full of candy and Elmo DVDs? Nana.

The Grandmas don't insist on vacuuming once a day even though the vacuum is the most terrifying, baby-eating, life-destroying device in existence. Guess who does: Yeah. You got it. 

The Grandmas don't tell me to "get a grip". Mom does. Often.

Instead of ignoring my every demand because they need to "finish their meal" or "make a phone call", (COUGH mom COUGH) The Grandmas rush to my side at every grunt and whine to read a story seventeen times or tie then untie my shoe for forty minutes. My wish? It's their command.

Mimi doesn't make me take a nap or wash my hair. Mom's so weird about that. Like I need sleep or clean hair. Puh-lease.

Nana doesn't withhold chocolate or crayons. Mom, on the other hand, seems to love her couch and walls more than she loves me. 

In conclusion, I hope to someday be the kind of benevolent, loving woman that both my Nana and Mimi are. I wish my vacuuming,  nap-enforcing, whine-enforcing mother would take a page from their book.

Dr. Ivy"

Dr. Ivy, The World's Greatest Expert

Monday, October 21, 2013

"I left my glasses! Hahahahahaha!"

You'd think that  after that space shuttle malfunction, the plane crash on a deserted island, and being stuck in an airport terminal, that Tom Hanks would be avoiding travel. But no, he went and got himself abducted by cargo ship pirates. I worked on that joke all  weekend. It's a C+ joke at best. There's no hope for me.

Anyway, Stephen and I went out. We got a babysitter, cause we fancy folk, and headed for the picture show. Our dates are always to the movies. Back when we were childless and rolling around in the piles of money we were making from our full time jobs, we went to multiple movies a week. Now that we have offspring and mountains of student loan debt, it's a rare and special occurrence when we make it to our local AMC theater. But when we go, we go big and treat ourselves to the large popcorn and beverage combo. If there's anything I love more than a good movie, it's a good bag of movie popcorn. Quick flashback: In our early days of courtship, when we went to the first of what would be a lifetime of movies together, we stood at the concession counter and Stephen asked, "Do you think a small popcorn will be enough?". I laughed at his face. Then I ordered a large. Then I ate the entire large popcorn by myself.

So there we were, in our  happy place, sharing our extra large Diet Coke and popcorn, ready to view Captain Philips. Then the movie started. And the guy sitting next to me, who had looked  and seemed so very normal, began his personal narration of  the movie. At full volume. This narration included severely idiotic questions, i.e. "Why don't they just take a shot from  the  side of the  boat?", and jokes that were only funny because they were so not funny, one of which was the title of the post. I'm not going to explain it because I respect your intelligence. And to add insult to injury, he apparently ate seven cloves of garlic for dinner and then tried to mask the deathly aroma with a piece of gum. Every time he opened his mouth to make another "zinger", the garlic-mint combo nearly knocked me out. I leaned so far in  the opposite direction to avoid the breath and the voice that I practically sat on Stephen's lap. But the woman on the opposite side of Mr. Loudmouth was totally into it. She laughed at all his "jokes", nodded in agreement with his statements of the obvious, and held his hand through the entire two and half hours. So I guess there really is a lid for every pot. While I prefer the man who understands theater etiquette and lets me eat 5/6 of our shared snacks, Garlic Boy's lady friend prefers a different brand. Love is a beautiful thing. I just hope I don't have to sit next to it again.

Captain Philips was really great, by the way.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tigers on a gold leash

"I decided I don't want to buy these," I said to my favorite Target Cashier, the elderly woman who shares the latest celebrity gossip, as I handed her the $7.99 earrings. "Let's have a look," she replied, and after giving the faux-jade studs a good, long stare, she said, "Yeah. They're ugly. I wouldn't wear them." It should be mentioned that at the time I was sporting camo pants, red patent-leather sneakers and the frumpiest sweater in my extensive frumpy sweater collection. So it's no surprise Dolores (not her actual name) thought my taste questionable and decided a second opinion was necessary.

These are cuter than the ones I didn't buy

"Then again, I'm an old lady," she added. "When I was younger and had to dress up everyday, I wore colorful jewelry all the time." The door to her personal history now cracked just the tiniest bit, I felt like she would have been willing to swing it wide open if only I had asked, "What did you used to do?" or, "What job required you to dress up everyday?". And I wanted to inquire. But once at the airport I asked an older TSA employee how he liked his job, and he lowered his eyes, shook his head and said "Stay in school." Since then I've avoided asking near strangers about their career history/satisfaction. Instead I just make imaginative, idealistic assumptions.

Like, maybe Dolores had a brush with stardom. Perhaps she was a backup singer for a suave, sultry-eyed crooner? Played a minor role in a major box-office hit? Danced at Radio City Music Hall?

Or she could have been a bigwig, of some massive corporation. A well-dressed, colorful jewelry wearing CEO.

Whatever the case, I'm glad Dolores decided to leave her former career and get a job at a small town Target because I'm really terrible at accessorizing and it's nice to know someone is there and willing to help.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Man, Woman and Child's Best Friend/Child/Sibling/Nuisance

Every once in a while someone asks when we'll have a second child. I always think, a) This is a weird conversation to be having, and b) for all intents and purposes, I already have two children. One baby I carried in my womb, birthed, and nursed, the other I got for $500 plus the cost of dog food, because he's a dog. While the arrival of the dog to our family was certainly easier than the delivery of the baby, it's neck and neck when it comes to which of the small creatures is currently more demanding of my time and energy.

Let's  take crying, for instance. One of my children cries way more than the other, and it's not my biological offspring. Ivy only cries when she's exhausted or when she's fallen down. Ollie cries when he wants a treat. Ollie cries when he's bored. Ollie cries when I leave the apartment, even if it's for thirty seconds while I take out the garbage. The crying is so bad and so loud and so annoying to neighbors, that I literally have to take him everywhere with me. And since Target, the one place I go on a regular basis, has a pretty strict no animal policy, and since we're all aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in the car for any extended amount of time, I have started setting land speed errand running records.

Ivy eats a little bit and really doesn't seem to have a need or want for food. Ollie, on the other hand, goes bonkers every time he hears the fridge open or a food package rustle. He once sat and cried for five minutes while I chopped an onion until I finally gave him a piece that he somehow managed to choke down, too prideful to admit it wasn't very tasty.

Ivy is incredibly efficient at waste excretion. Ollie is not. Ollie takes five laps around the courtyard, sniffing every leaf, pebble and sprinkler head before finding a plot of ground worthy of his urine. On average, it's a twenty minute process. There's an additional five minutes if it's a pooping venture.

Ivy plays well with others. Ollie tries to to rupture the ear drums of all house guests. Any time the door bell rings, it's doggy DEFCON 5 -- Ollie loses it. He barks, jumps, growls, and generally freaks out until scolded repeatedly and ultimately distracted with a bribe.

Ivy likes to join me in activities. Like this morning while I was doing Insanity, she jumped and stretched along side. Ollie cried and then sat on my stomach.

But. Ollie lets Ivy pull his ears. He lays outside her bedroom door when she's sleeping. He marches to her crib every morning to greet her. He comes every time she calls, "Ollie!" He kisses her face at every opportunity. They spend every waking moment together.

"I'm glad my kids have siblings so they can play together," is usually what the would-be family planner concludes the conversation with. "I am too," I think.