Monday, November 4, 2013

San Francisco: A Weird Place.

I revisited the city of my youth recently, and it is as weird as ever. I say that with all the love in my heart. I ADORE San Francisco. The hills, the fog, the ocean, that pointy tower, the shows, the restaurants, the ethnic neighborhoods, the fortune cookies, the street artists, the trolleys, the shopping, the bridge, the museums, the redwoods... I won't keep you all day. I see ghosts there everywhere I go. The good kind of ghosts--the kind that look a lot like different ages of me and people I love.

I just spilled a huge jug of nostalgia all over the computer. Whoops. Cleaning that up.

ANYWAY. You should go there. But I feel that before you do, it's my duty to warn you about some weird things you might see:

-You might see some asian ladies pushing huge strollers packed with four to eight children through the park. Don't worry about it. They'll seem like they really know what they're doing.

-You might see a two-story-tall safety pin balancing on its head. Act like you're impressed. This is what we call "art." Show similar respect for any other giant objects you might come across. If you must take pictures that make it look like you're being attacked or whatever, do it with dignity.

-You might see two motionless guys in black facing each other from 50 feet apart on a pier. Whatever you do, don't disrupt the energy field connecting them. The future of life, the universe, and everything depends on it. Possibly.

-You might be walking through a BART station next to a person who might be related to you and she might look down to see something edging out of her pant leg and onto her shoe. She might swoop down to retrieve it and come back up with something leopard-printy in her hand. She might say, "Oh, my underwear" and shove it in her pocket. She might not think it's a big deal. Realize: IT IS A BIG DEAL. Emphasize this to her repeatedly. Don't let her forget about it. If several weeks later you remove your toddler's pants to change his diaper and you are stunned to find the diaper missing, but then you shake the pants and the diaper falls out one of the legs, make sure you text her immediately. She might have some insight on the situation.

-You might see a guy standing on a bench facing the ocean with his hands spread out in front of him. He might be audibly declaring to himself, "This is what I have!" Reject any notion that he is crazy or on drugs. He is right. This is what we have, and it is quite a lot.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Things I said to my husband in one recent 24-hour period:

-"I'm combining the boys' sock drawers so we have an extra drawer when Andy needs more room for his clothes."

-"I'm wearing pearls with my moccasins. That's okay, right?"

-"+Jonah looks good in grey, doesn't he?"

-"I left a dirty diaper in the back of the car. Remind me to get it."

-"I'm so tired."

This is our life together. I mean, I'm sure that day I said things more interesting than those, too-- like commentary about current events or thoughts on a book I'm reading or reports of funny stories I heard from friends--but really, a lot of what I say is very, very boring. And you know what's nice? +Seth loves me enough to look somewhat interested in all those uninteresting things. I'm not trying to brag. I just want to note that that's part of what love is. It's building a regular old life together. And it's nice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Here's Seth, doing an impersonation of me doing "special commentary" on the news:

[in a stupid-person voice]:

"Stupid political stupid idiots stupid dumb stupid-ness stupid."

[lifts up his leg and blows a raspberry.]

Sounds about right.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Just when you think your two-year-old isn’t listening when you sing him church songs

You hear him say something about an “earthly home” while belly-flying on his backyard swing, scraping a screwdriver through the grass.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Singing in the car

When I sing Just Give Me a Reason I sound so good. SOOOOO GOOOOD. I mean, Pink and the guy from Fun(.) are amazing at it, but I feel like if they were to hear me sing it their hearts would sink because they would realize they will never be able to sing with all the depth I do. I sing the song with hurting passion. With the last drop of my hope. With a bent soul. With 90 percent of the notes in the right key. All while driving my 2001 Honda Accord. 

I know this is hard to believe--I can hardly believe it myself--but not one single person who rides in my car has ever commented on how well I sing that song. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I've got your back, Google.

I just noticed that my last three posts all say something about making sure people get results when they google certain phrases.

No one can say my life lacks direction.

The Hippopotamus

by Steve "Pappo" Joplin
(my grandpa)
(who wrote this in high school)
(and got an F because the teacher was sure he plagiarized it)
(but I'm pretty sure he didn't because I googled a line from it and got nothing)
(but now if you google a line from it you'll get something.)


Lumbering Hippo to the mud
Sixteen toes in the narrow deep sink.
O fat barrell on love's brown tub
How terrible the hug...
                            like a warship's wound.

Tonsilled, black yawning for tremulous roar
Nostrilled steamings to help near shore.
Two black fires and mud-blubbered lips
Beckon helps dawning to whore's death pit.

Like great tonned logs
In bottomless bogs...

Lumbering Hippos to the mud.

Things my kids say


"I have a question for ya!... COOKIES!"
"Dinosaurs are coming in my room. Better shut the door!"
"Remember I cried at the bowling station?"



Monday, July 8, 2013

Other times

There are times when I realize that in that particular moment, being a mom is exactly what I pictured. Like today, when my baby (almost a toddler!) was sleeping in his room and my 2.5-year-old was entertaining himself quietly at my feet while I shelled peas in the kitchen. (Yup, I SHELLED PEAS. First time.) Or any time one of my sons gives me a hug. Or when they're splashing in the bath. And even sometimes when I'm changing a diaper--I knew that would be part of the equation.

BUT. Then there are other times.  Moments and minutes and hours that should NEVER BE A PART OF ANYONE'S EQUATION. Not even Hitler's.*

What follows is not for the faint of stomach. I told my friend Melissa that this was way too gross to be posted on the internet, but she felt my blog would be a misrepresentation of my life as a mom if this momming moment weren't included. So with fair warning, here it is. I'm going to try to put everything delicately.

On the fourth of July, we set up a tent in my in-laws' backyard so we could give camping with babies a low-risk trial. When our kids started to get sick of fireworks, we retreated to the tent to go to sleep. Sleep didn't happen for hours. Jonah was too excited from the best day ever (at least within the scope of his goldfish memory). Then Andy woke up a few hours after we'd fallen asleep and we couldn't get him to go back down. But that's not the bad part.

The bad part is that as we were trying to calm Andy, Jonah woke up and climbed in the big sleeping bag with Seth and then vomited all over himself and Seth and the sleeping bag. ("Vomited" is a delicate word, right?) The other bad part is that while Seth was bathing Jonah (in a house full of theretofore sleeping people) and I was holding Andy and trying to help and figure out what to do with the sleeping bag, we looked down into the bath water to find it had turned murky and brown. Jonah had made a large deposit from his other end, and now there was a bathtub to drain, scoop out and disinfect and a crying toddler who still needed to be cleaned. The other bad part is that after we had showered Jonah and grabbed what we needed and were ready to speed home to lick our wounds, Seth put Jonah down on the bath mat to change his diaper, and its disgusting contents spilled out all over Jonah and the bathroom. The OTHER bad part is that after Jonah's second shower, when we were in the car and almost home, we heard a gross noise from the backseat. When I opened the door to get Andy out at home, I found him sitting in a 4-inch deep pile of nastiness that his diaper could not handle. (I'm giving myself a pat on the back for "pile of nastiness." Way more delicate than the other options.)

So. Bang, bang, bang, bang. One bullet wasn't enough. My sons wanted to make sure the holiday was good and dead.

I'm sorry you read this, but honestly I'm more sorry for our family and the memories that can never be erased.**

*Just doing my part to make sure when someone googles "Hitler" and "diapers" something shows up.
**But still. LOOK AT THESE BOYS:

Monday, June 24, 2013

What Seth has been up to

It occurred to me recently that +Seth hasn't made an appearance on my blog in a while (though he showed up on my old blog all the time), and that is a TRAVESTY. In case you were thinking he must be up to nothing, let me disabuse you of that notion:

1. Not too long ago Seth and I went to Red Robin together, and as we waited for our food Seth spilled some water.

Just a little bit. Nothing embarrassing. He didn't want to wet his own napkin cleaning it up, so he leaned over to the recently vacated table next to us to help himself to one of THEIR napkins. (He swears he was going for an unused one, but he has no proof.) Right before he could make the grab, though, the waiter popped up from around a corner and laid his eyes on Seth Grigg, scavenging.

But DON'T YOU WORRY. Seth is smooth.

He pulled himself out of his giant lean and swerved back around to his own table. He picked up the first thing his eyes fell on, which happened to be my water bottle (it accompanies me everywhere), and casually took a sip.

SO casually.

Here's what the waiter said to him:

 "Can I get you anything, sir?"

Here's what Seth said to the waiter:

"Uh, yeah. Napkins."

I hope this story pops up when professional contacts google him. They will be impressed with his recovery. You want to have this guy on your team.

2. Seth just told me a story about Rusty the Red Panda who escaped from the National Zoo and then was saved by an explosive outpouring of concerned Twitterers.

3. I mentioned to Seth that I was going to write a blog post about him to give him the chance to say what he wants to say to the internet, and here's what he wants to say: "Absolutely not. I forbid it."

4. Seth has been analyzing policy. His title is Policy Analyst, which--if you asked someone what his job was and he said Policy Analyst, would that mean anything to you? NOPE! So we like to throw that title around as if it really does mean something.


"Which one of us is the Policy Analyst in this family??"
"Did you tell her you are a Policy Analyst?"
"That guy only WISHES he could be a Policy Analyst."

You get the idea.

So you see, Seth has a rich, full life and he has been up to many things. Please consider yourself up to speed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Poor Jonah

Here's a conversation I have with +Jonah frequently:

Him: I'm hungry.
Me: Okay, what do you want to eat?
Him: I'm hungry.
Me: Do you want an apple?
Him: No, I'm hungry!
Me: Do you want a cheese stick?
Him: (starting to cry a little) No, I'm hungry!!
Me: Do you want a granola bar?
Him: (sobbing) NO, I'M HUNGRY!!

I have a feeling the only correct answer is "fruit snacks" or "chocolate," but come on. What does he think hungry means?

The brothers Grigg, on a sad day.

I KNOW what he thinks "body" means, but that is not mentionable on this blog. Lets just say it gave a whole new, weird meaning to the family home evening lesson "I can take care of my body."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Daily dose of pathetic

Today I sat in the library parking lot knowing I'd left my nice water bottle inside but feeling like weeping at the thought of extracting both boys from their car seats, lugging or tugging them both back inside, finding the bottle, hauling everyone back out, and re-strapping them into their seats. I had to call and beg my helpful husband to ride his bike to the library on his lunch break and find it for me.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Culture gap

When I read this 

and this

about THIS woman,

I have just one question:


Sunday, June 2, 2013


The guy loved the girl and the girl loved the guy. But the thing is, THEY DIDN'T KNOW THEY LOVED EACH OTHER! The girl thought her sister was in love with the guy! So out of loyalty she told him she only cared for him as a friend! And then he thought she didn't love him! And then she thought he was just a flirt! Because a jealous girl told her so! But they were really in love THE WHOLE TIME! And then she got kidnapped! And then! There was a duel! But then... they confessed their love. And it was so romantic. And the sister was okay with it. And they both turned out to be secretly rich.

But seriously. I loved the book. Is that okay? Sorry I just ruined the plot. But at least you don't know what book it was.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I feel it needs to be said

that my mother removed her shoes to tour an open house today and then left the house without retrieving them. She didn't notice they were missing until we had driven 20 miles away.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lessons from a Master Homemaker, Part I

This is what half a pack of napkins looks like after it has gone through the wash. Beware.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Inside Out

When I was 13, I made the jump from wearing glasses to wearing contacts.* The guy who fitted me for the lenses was fat and gray and smile-free.

He instructed me to balance the lens on my finger, hold it up to the light and look for the tiny letters etched at the edge: "AV." This procedure, he said, was to ensure I wasn't putting the lens on inside out.

My 13-year-old brain heard this and concluded: He's making a little joke. So I gave him a hearty laugh.

You're probably thinking, "Why would someone think that was a joke?" If you are, you're in good company. That is what 28-year-old me is thinking as well. The only explanation I can come up with is that maybe I always associate putting things on inside out with humor? And maybe I was in a good mood and expecting a joke somewhere along the line and latched on to the closest thing?

But anyway. It wasn't a joke. The smile-free man had to interrupt my laughter to tell me that he really meant it, that it was easy to put contacts on inside out. I had to wipe the smile off my face and pretend the laughing episode hadn't happened.

I think about this every time I hold my lens up to the light. It's something that will haunt me until I either get corrective surgery or die.

But even if I manage to rid myself of this awkward memory someday, there are plenty more** where that came from.

*You know the old saying, "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses"? Which maybe my brother +David made up? Well, apparently in my case it wasn't the glasses preventing the passes. The saying could have been revised to just "guys don't make passes."

**Like the time I told the father of a child I babysat that I didn't know DVDs were considered videos just as he was telling his small daughter that she was a ding dong for not knowing that. Or the time I didn't have anything to say to a girl who was looking for conversation so I mentioned that "these pens suck" only to realize that the pens in question were the ones she'd given me for my birthday. Or every time I take my baby in for a check-up with the doctor and knowingly cite something I think I know about babies, only to find out I'm apparently one of those moms who believes every stupid thing she reads on the internet.

The Jonah Grigg Comedy Hour (a script)


+Jonah: (quiet)


Jonah: (sighs.) Oh, dear.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


When I was four or five, a babysitter told me something fantastic: If I sprinkled a little bit of salt in the bathtub with me, I would turn into a mermaid.

I know there was a part of me that thought the science behind that promise was a little shaky, but another part couldn't entirely rule it out. Mermaids did, after all, live in salt water.

painting by someone named Christine Quimby, who I don't know.

So at bath time, I brought the salt shaker into the bathroom. I climbed in the water, shook in some salt, and stared at my legs, tan and kissed with bruises. I swished the water around a little. I added more salt. I waited for magic.

For those of you who know me well, you're probably aware that I'm not a mermaid. The magic didn't happen for me that day. Neither did it happen in front of the mirror in the dark, chanting Bloody Mary with friends (THANK GOODNESS, am I right?). I eventually caught on to the disappointing realities that my dad's "magical sack," which produced small treasures to keep us kids entertained on road trips, was really just a bag of stuff he'd bought at the grocery store, and that there was no giant bunny hiding pastel eggs in our backyard every spring.

The magic trickled out of my life. It's not that joy trickled out along with it--joy stayed. But it didn't sparkle in the same way it did back when at any moment my world could be rocked by something incredible.

But! Now that I'm the mother of little ones, my joy is at times sparkly again. Yesterday the girl behind the bakery counter at the grocery store handed me two little cookies decorated with confetti, and when I presented them to Jonah, his voice became urgent: "What do you have??" And when he saw my prize clearly, he half giggled and half shrieked. "Two cookies! Two flower cookies!"

You should have seen his face.

And Andy, my 9-month-old, is even easier, if you can believe that. I smile at him and say "Hi, baby," and BAM. Sunshine. Pouring out of his soul. Exploding from his cheeks and eyes and ears and nose and sweet blond hair!

Sometimes in these moments I catch my breath. Tears have been known to come to my eyes and something in my heart tries to burst its way out. I don't know quite how to explain why, but in these moments the only thing I can think is: MAGIC.

photo by the fabulous Malina May Grigg

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Yesterday I didn't find 30 seconds to pick up the stack of napkins Andy dumped on the floor at breakfast until dinnertime, so for those of you wondering if I mopped yesterday: No, I did not. Neither did I mop today.

Ever since the sun came out after winter, I've been asking myself the same question: How am I supposed to take care of my yard, my house, AND my children? I'm not sure I'm doing a passable job on the first two.

It's not always such a whirlwind. I have days where the floor gets mopped. It hasn't happened yet, but I have faith that someday I will find time to pull the weeds from between the paving stones in the backyard. The problem right now is that I'm working on some writing projects with impending deadlines AND Andy has been sick, so he's needing a lot of mom time. Combine those two factors with the usual appointments and entertainments and you end up with napkins on your floor all day.

Once my friend said I impressed her. She said we do all the same things: clean, cook, do laundry, play with kids, etc., but then I do freelance writing projects (few though they are) on top of all that. Lately I've been dwelling on the explanation for that riddle: Her house is way cleaner and her yard is much tidier than mine.

I'm trying to remind myself to give myself credit for the things I DO accomplish, but more on that later. For now, with my boys finally sleeping, the deadlines are calling.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Jonah's entertainment yesterday evening consisted of dragging his tricycle to a new spot in our backyard then sauntering over to where I was working in our garden and telling me, his hands swinging casually, "I moved my tricycle."

I would reply, "You moved your tricycle?"

And he would say, "Yep."

I would say, "Nice job!"

Then he would saunter off to repeat the delightful sequence.

He eventually moved on to moving his "lawn mower" (not really a lawn mower--just this cart thing that's supposed to help babies learn to walk) and then his bike. He kept me informed about his progress every step of the way. 

He was so freaking proud of himself. But I understand--I am so proud of him too.

When Jonah was a baby, I was assigned to write a newspaper profile story on a local guitar luthier who was having some success. This man tried to describe for me the feeling he had when he watched the guitarist in one of his favorite bands perform with a guitar he (the luthier) had made.

I could see the feeling in his eyes, and I recognized it: It was awe. A personal, joyful, bursting kind of awe. 

I remember the first time +Jonah reached out his baby hand to grab a toy. I'd been holding it in front of his face, giving it a little shake. Staring at it as he had so many times before, this time he finally, so very slowly, lifted his right arm. My heart stood still for a moment as he brought it straight up, then--concentrating--moved it to the left. His chubby fingers made contact, and he closed them around the rattle. 

Up til that moment, it had never occurred to me that purposefully lifting an arm for the first time was a meaningful accomplishment. But as I watched him achieve something he never had before, my spirit shouted for joy. It did a little jumping heel click. It shoved its fists in the air. 

I smiled at my baby boy in wonder--not just at his achievement, but at the realization of how fully and how brightly I was cheering for him. 

I've always cheered for him. Today I noticed him using the word "so" in the right way ("let's go to the store so we can get some gloves for daddy") and I cheered.. Recently he pulled his own pajama pants all the way up and I cheered. And yesterday, he perfected the art of sauntering and I cheered too. 

This is Jonah's camera "smile." Eyes always closed. WEIRD.
For good measure: This is Andy's camera smile. NORMAL.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Moment of clarity

I realized I could not trust the girl cutting my hair when she told me she loved my hair color.

At that moment I knew she was on a mission to make everyone around her look bad so she could, by comparison, look great.

My main clue was the color of my hair: It sucks.

Friday, April 12, 2013


The Grigg Collection of T-shirts Featuring Moustached Men

The Soup Nazi, Ron Swanson, and Sigmund Freud

My mother's grandmother (very classy) would have been horrified to see to what level her progeny has stooped.   

This is not to say that class left my family three generations ago. 

But did it?

Monday, April 8, 2013

What I'm thinking

In college I had a dear friend who in quiet moments would often ask, "What are you thinking?"

I was never thinking anything worth sharing. Sometimes I was giving myself a private rescreening of a remembered conversation in which I'd been hilarious or awkward. (Usually awkward. Very awkward.)
(In these cases, I'm sure my face was doing weird things: Either making the adorable expressions I'd made when I'd said the hilarious things or blushing urgently at my idiocy. Usually blushing.)

Other times I was thinking something unkind. I know. You're all shocked. It happens. I'm working on it.

But most often, when a conversation drifted to a close, my mind would follow a path like this: "I have nothing more to say on that topic. What else is going on in my brain? [Mentally singing:] Nope, I was wrong, it's a really weird commercial for soap! I wish I could get that jingle out of my head. I should think about something else. I have nothing to think about. Shoot, Blair is going to ask me what I'm thinking about. Quick, think about something interesting. Global warming? No. I don't have anything to say about global warming.* Um.... oh no, that's all I've got. Quick, there's still time!"

Then I would hear from Blair, my always interested roommate: "What are you thinking?"

Sometimes--even now, even though Blair hasn't asked me that question in years--when I'm trying to get a song out of my head, my brain jumps to that same path and I feel a little panicky. I feel an insistent pressure to think about something interesting, and that pressure disables my ability to think interestingly.

I'll just have to hope that I will never again be in a situation where someone might expect me to be interesting. Okay, friends? When we're together, please come prepared to be the sole provider of interesting thoughts in our interactions.

I appreciate it.

*I don't know why, but global warming is always the first thing that pops into my head in situations like this. I should really develop some talking points on the subject. I just googled "global warming talking points" and... wow. I am really not interested in this topic. I need some material that doesn't suck.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Jonah's been experimenting with the word "well" today. Here's how it's going:

"I don't want to wear a coat. Well, I don't want to wear a coat. Well, I don't want to wear a coat. Well, I don't want to wear a coat, Mommy."

Then, running down the hallway:

"Well, well, well. Well, well."

I think it's going pretty well.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

My tiny huge life

I read a book recently in which an overworked, under-appreciated mother asks her teenage daughter, "Do you think I lead a tiny life?" The teenage daughter doesn't pay attention to the question.

Since I am more thoughtful than the teenage daughter, I did pay attention. I thought about this mom for a few seconds and then turned my brain back to myself. (I'm still more thoughtful than the teenager.) Tiny-ness is something I fear. I push against it in my own way, telling myself that someday I will have more time to remind the universe that I exist.* But for now, on a daily basis, I am only important to three people: Seth, Jonah, and Andy.** And Jonah and Andy don't even know how important I am -- neither of them has ever said thank you to me after a diaper change. They usually say the opposite.

We discussed this question at book club, a group made up of mostly mothers. The consensus was that NO, our lives are NOT TINY. We're doing something crucial here. Our love and care shape our children, who in turn shape the world.

That night in bed I thought of that cliche: "To the world, you may be one person. But to one person, you may be the world." (Bonus fact: I've had the country song this saying inspired stuck in my head since then.) And it's true. To 99.99999% of the world,*** I will forever be just a number. Just one of the 300 and whatever million people in the United States. Just one 2.5 billion Christians and 12 million Mormons. Just one of 3.5 billion females.

But when Andy wakes up in the morning, the only thing he wants is me. (Okay, and Seth. But really, we're talking about me today.) He wants me to pick him up from his crib, to change his diaper, to feed him, to hug him, to cheer him on as he planks,**** to put his toys just out of reach to encourage him to STRETCH! (He doesn't know he wants this.) He wants me to teach him (well, someday) about how God sent us out into a world where bad things happen and we have pain but how he provided a Savior to give us light and hope (happy Easter, everyone).

And Jonah hasn't learned how to open his bedroom door yet (someone put the handle on upside down), so his world would be less than 100 square feet without me.

So is my life tiny? No, it's TWO WORLDS worth of huge.

I thought this was grand and glorious for about 20 minutes after waking up the next morning. (As I've said before: Breakfast is a stressful time at my house. Plus, there's the whole diaper issue.) Since it's draining to be needed so urgently and so constantly, I feel like I could live with a little less huge-ness.

But for now, there are enough moments of grandeur and glory***** to refill me when I've been drained and to reassure me that the enormity of my life won't knock me over. At least not yet.


** And YOU. But not as much.

*** I didn't actually do the math on this.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jonah's recipe for chocolate milk

Chocolate milk
by +Jonah Grigg

Chocolate syrup


Note: My recipe is not all that different. But it's a little different. But not all that different.

Notes on my name

  • It's pronounced "Dah-nee." (I've thought about it, and that's not really the same thing as "Donny.")

  • My full name is Daniela. (Dahn-yel-uh.) My dad tells me my name is German (he was a missionary in Germany and baptized a girl with my name), but whenever I mention that to someone who has been to Germany, the look they give me isn't exactly one I would call "approving." It's more like "skeptical but not interested enough to try and dissuade me."

  • There was this one time, when I was at the testing center at BYU, that the student employee behind the desk where they distribute tests pulled my test off the printer, read my name, and called out "Dahn-yel-uh." I was stunned (because the only logical way to pronounce it at first sight is "Dan-yel-uh", right?) and thought for a minute that he might be my one true love. I asked him why he'd said that and he said "Oh, did I say that? I don't know." Then I started to wonder if he'd actually said it. Then I dropped the idea of pursuing the honor of becoming of his soulmate. 

  • I always always always put dinner reservations in Seth's name. Restaurant people probably think my husband is the boss of me, but I'm really just trying to avoid the following conversation:

"What's your name?"
"D-O-N-N-I?" (Or whatever combination of letters strikes them as appropriate in that moment.)
"Well, how do you really spell it?
"Well, it's D-A-N-I, but..."
"Okay, D-A-N-I. Got it."
Arrive at the restaurant.
"We have a reservation for Dani?"
"Hmmmm, do you mean Danny?"

This problem could easily be solved if I just pronounced my name Danny in situations like this, but I can't bring myself to do that. It's the same deal when I'm leaving messages with receptionists or whatever. If I tell them how I really spell my name, the person is going to call me back and call me Danny. I could lie about how it's spelled, but all the phonetic spellings look silly to me.

  • All my kids have/will have names that you can both spell and pronounce. YOU'RE WELCOME.
(p.s. Mom and Dad, DAS OKAY.)
(p.s. One time my cousin Tara had a big crush on this boy and her best friend tapped her on the shoulder during a church meeting and told her that this boy had asked her [the friend] to a dance and apologized and Tara fake smiled and was like, "DAS OKAY" and turned around. This makes me giggle every time I think about it.)
(p.s. Tara is very happily married now to SOMEONE ELSE.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Morning snack

This is what's left of Jonah's morning snack of Lucky Charms. Notice anything missing?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Breakfast breakdancing

Breakfast should be the happiest time of the day. You are finally doing your favorite thing in the world (eating) after at least 8 hours of not doing your favorite thing in the world (eating). On top of that, you MIGHT be eating PANCAKES. 

I love pancakes. 

Wait. Let me rephrase that:


So many carbs. I love carbs. And then you pour SYRUP on top. Excuse me while I eat my computer.

Anyway, breakfast. As I was saying, it should be a happy time. But my two-year-old struggles to see the happy side of it. We love oatmeal in our family, so oatmeal is often requested (even though pancakes are better, obviously). I get out a bowl, dump some quick oats into it, then pour some water in. Here we come to our first opportunity for trouble. I walk toward the microwave, and if the inspiration so strikes him, Jonah will declare, "I don't wanna cook it." I respond, "Oh, we have to cook it. It's yucky if you don't cook it." Sometimes he lets that slide, but sometimes... he doesn't. Then there are tears. 

But regardless of the tears, I cook the oatmeal. Then it's time to add the toppings, and here we have more trouble. I don't even want to get into it. I'll just say, there are issues with what kinds of toppings, how much of the toppings, who gets to add the toppings, what spoon is used to scoop the toppings, and whether the toppings are stirred in or left on top. And then there's the X factor, which accounts for all those times I have delivered the oatmeal perfectly according to instructions and +Jonah has seen the flawless product and screamed and fallen on the floor, crying. 

Yesterday was an X-factor day. Upon presentation of his oatmeal, Jonah threw himself on the floor, like so:

This is the back of Jonah's head, in case you can't tell from the lack of face.
 Then he pushed against the floor, sliding his whole body backward and straightening out, tantrumming the whole time.

It was a pretty impressive maneuver. I would have thought he was breakdancing, except he didn't do this at the end:

Instead he maintained his prostrate position:

In case you forgot what the prostrate position looked like.
This time I laughed, imagining him break dancing. But usually I don't laugh. Usually I walk away going "aaarrgh"--no, "AAARRGH"--and vowing to never give him oatmeal again.

But really, no breakfast is safe. If I'm giving Jonah a breakfast bar (aka "fruit and grain bar"), there could be an issue with how the wrapper is opened and you'd better WATCH OUT if the breakfast bar breaks. Toast has the same toppings issues that oatmeal has. You'd think cereal would be alright, but there's that X factor. 

Childless friends, you may think I'm advising you to never have children, but what I'm actually advising is that you never try to give breakfast to a two-year-old. If you can think of a way around that part of the day, please let me know and then go ahead and multiply and replenish the earth. And friends with children, if your two-year-old doesn't do this at breakfast, I don't want to hear about it. Then I will know that you have no understanding of why I'm walking around with a hint of crazy in my eye at breakfast time.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Potential reasons I keep losing at Nertz

1. I have a huge paper cut on my thumb.
2. Seth cheats.
3. I'm slow.
4. My cards are too thin.
5. Seth is a cheater.
6. I'm tired.
7. I'm unlucky.
8. I deal wrong.
9. I'm not aggressive enough.
10. Seth is the biggest cheater ever.

Me, in happier times, doing something weird with my pinky.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The exotic life of Jonah Grigg

Today as we were driving to the grocery store, I was telling my two-year-old what we were going to buy. (This was an attempt to distract him from the previous direction of our conversation, which was "I don't wanna go to grossy store.") So it went like this:

"We're going to buy apples, and bananas, and spinach, and cheese, and bread, and eggs, and turkey--"

"And turtle?"



"Yeah. We're going to buy turtle at the grocery store. And oats, and yogurt, and sour cream..."

I lied. Turtle wasn't on my list. I was just trying to get him on board for our errand.

I can absolutely see his logic on this one. A turkey is an animal that starts with "tur." We are buying it at the grocery store. A turtle is also an animal that starts with "tur." We will also buy that at the grocery store. He has no idea that that's weird and gross.

It reminded me of the oddness our Zoo Boise annual pass has introduced into our lives. We got it two weeks ago and have visited the zoo three times since then. +Jonah takes all those animals for granted now. Yes, he's excited to see the giraffes and lions and penguins, but he's also excited to see the squirrels and geese. When we go for walks, every dog is an event, as is every cat.

I'm not sure how I feel about this particular misconception of the world. I kind of want him to think a tiger is a bigger deal than a house cat and show appropriate amazement when he gets to see a tiger. But on the other hand, what a cool world he lives in -- one where a zebra could be around any corner and that meat in his stir-fry could easily be turtle.

(But let me be clear: Ew.)

The number of times it takes using paper towels instead of toilet paper before I remember to get some toilet paper from the garage:


Monday, March 11, 2013

Brain. Work with me, here.

Something alarming has been going on since Christmas. While I was visiting my parents' home, I was exposed to a picture of my little brother from his kindergarten days that was on display in the kitchen.That picture has invaded my brain and won't surrender.

The main problem is that Matthew has the same color hair that my 2-year-old son Jonah has. It's a beautiful color -- a pale blonde, like the silk from an ear of corn. But now when I try to picture Jonah, the hair first pops into my head, and instead of proceeding to my toddler's face, the circuitry in my brain now supplies my little brother's face. IT'S NOT THE SAME FACE.

This makes me uneasy. I feel like a mom should always have her child's face at her mind's fingertips. But there are some things that are just broken in my brain.

For example, I will never remember what "erudite" means. "Botulism" will always just translate to "scary and creepy disease" and nothing more, no matter how many times my friend Shannon explains it to me. People named Heather will half the time be called Rachel, and Mikes will often be thought of as Chris. I will always assume people know I'm including shrimp and clams when I tell them I don't like fish.

Oh well. If I'm going to forget my son's face, there are worse faces I could be substituting.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Jonah said today

"I want one two mommies!"

I'm not sure if this was a comment on the quality of his dad or a manifestation of early political progressiveness. Either way, we're not ready to have that talk yet.


We got a babysitter this weekend. We never get babysitters. This is what I always envision:

And then I envision the babysitter avoiding eye contact with me at future meetings, and since I want everyone to love me, that's not okay.

But we got a babysitter anyway--a fun, sweet teenager from church--and she came over and I handed over my nearly nude baby and reintroduced her to my (formerly very unfriendly) toddler and this is how things looked:

Andy was doing that really darling thing where he reaches for someone's face and laughs and Jonah was showing her all his stuff. And this is how I looked:

I'm tilting my head because my heart is warm, and that is what people do when their hearts are warm. 

But then something really awful happened. Something so awful that it should never be illustrated. The babysitter got something on her hands that she thought was broccoli-tinted spit up (Andy is known for his prolific spitting) and she looked for something to wipe it up with. But then +Seth came over to help and took a closer look at his DIAPER and discovered that the green stuff was NOT SPIT UP. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. 


So my head quickly untilted itself, and my expression switched to this one:

Horror. This poor girl. She did not deserve this. 

She handled it with all the grace of a ballet-dancing queen, though. She just said "Oh. I'll wash my hands" -- and then washed her hands. And then went on to take such good care of my kids that the first thing Jonah did when he woke up the next day was ask where she'd gone.

So this is my family and my home -- if you enter, you will surely not escape without spit-up on your clothes, but now there's the added risk, apparently, of being pooped on. Word will get around that this happens -- primarily because I feel compelled to share this tale of shame with everyone I meet -- and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to ask someone to babysit again. 

I paid her well at the end of the night, and I threw in a you-got-pooped-on-bonus umbrella with ruffles, but there are some memories that can't be erased for any amount of money. Or umbrellas. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Me in public

Along with motherhood came a fact of life that after two years I’m still having trouble accepting: Out in public is not where I belong. At least not with my very young kids. Almost every day I defy this truth, telling myself it’s worth it. 


For example. This weekend I was craving Mexican food and I wanted to get out of the house. The answer was obvious: Take my family to my favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. Foolproof plan, right?

Riiiiight. +Seth and I spent half the time encouraging our 2-year-old to stop jumping on us and the other half of the time on the floor wiping up the baby’s spit up, which comes out by the pint all day long. The teenage busboy kept glancing over at us and drawling “Do you need more napkins?”

Finally Seth managed to get most of his food down his throat and hauled our atmosphere-destroying sons out to the privacy of our car. Thankfully our server forgot I was waiting for her to come take my credit card, so I had several minutes alone in the booth with my carne asada. I smoothed my hair and closed my eyes, taking some slow breaths.

The food wasn’t even as good as I thought it would be.

Another time -- this was a year and a half ago, when there was only one Grigglet -- we optimistically booked a couple extra nights in a hotel in St. Louis, where my brother-in-law was getting married. The famous arch was practically within arms reach of the window.

Unfortunately, Jonah can’t fall asleep if he knows we’re in the room. We spent every night, ALL NIGHT, pacing with him or feeding him, sometimes resorting to letting him cry it out while we hid in the bathroom only to have him wake up within the hour. I feel sorry for myself even now, writing about it.

By the time our stay was up, I was ready to punch the arch in the face. We all needed home. And sleep. Lots of sleep.

But here’s the good news: While I was standing by the table at the Mexican restaurant, watching my carne asada grow cold, there was a soft little baby cheek just inches from my lips. And when the server brought more horchata, my 2-year-old clapped his hands and shouted “YES!”

And in St. Louis, when we took our then-9-month-old to the (free!) zoo, he pulled himself to his feet in front of the turtle tank and tried his hardest to wrap his pudgy hand around the little guy treading water behind the glass.

It’s hard to remember every day that this is the life I want, but it IS the life I want. Despite the baby and toddler drama that spreads chaos through the house, deep down, my heart has never felt this good. I don’t know which I hear more of, laughing or crying, but the laughter is full of joy and the tears do eventually end.

But I might punch YOU in the face if you try to remind me of that the next time an attempt at experiencing life beyond my front door knocks me down.