Monday, March 31, 2008

Bethanyisms (Perhaps the Worst Thing that had Ever Happened to Me... Ever)

I generally avoid writing about poop. Poop is unpleasant. Writing about it is impolite. The following story, nonetheless, must be recorded for posterity. Being that one of the central characters is indeed poop, its presence cannot go unmentioned. To make the story more palatable, however, I will omit the word “poop” altogether and substitute it with the less offensive codename “fluffy kitten.”

Still, this story is not for the faint of heart. Parents and parent-in-laws are strongly discouraged from reading this post. All others, read at your own risk.

And now, the story…

Ryan and I had been married for less than a month. We were madly in love and had moved into a button-sized apartment in downtown Provo; perfect for newlyweds with very little need for personal space. The apartment had one serious flaw, though. It had rather fickle pipes.

The toilet would gag and clog-up if a mere four squares of toilet paper were used rather than the standard three. Imagine what would happen if a fluffy kitten was involved.

On one such occasion (and I won’t say whose fluffy kitten it was, but I will say that it was not Ryan’s), rather than plunge the clog, I hoped the situation would dissolve on its own.


So Ryan came home and decided to plunge it out himself.

Imagine how embarrassed I was. I had thus far kept the fact that I was even capable of fluffy kittens a well-guarded secret. Now he knew the truth.

Unbeknownst to me, the situation was about to get infinitely worse.

I heard the plunger, a flush, and then Ryan yelp. He came running out of the bathroom. “The toilet is overflowing and there are fluffy kittens everywhere!” he exclaimed.

I charged into bathroom and shut off the valve. Too late. I was ankle deep in diluted fluffy kittens. I was mortified.

Now, if Ryan had any sense at all he would’ve divorced me on the spot. Sure, he’d agreed to “in sickness and in health” but the contract said nothing about “in sickness and in fluffy kittens.” Nobody in their right mind would sign up for that.

As a testament of his love, however, Ryan stood by his wife and pulled out the mop.

Ryan and I made quite the team, him a chronic germaphobe, me a girl with an extremely sensitive gag reflex. We tied bandannas over our noses and dry-heaved as we filled industrial-sized garbage bags with sopping-wet bathroom towels.

Ryan hefted the full trash bags over his shoulder and made a dash for the dumpster. He had to run down three flights of stairs and down a rather long pathway to dump the trash.

On his way, he skidded passed a couple on their way to their apartment. The girl screamed and leapt into her husbands arms. Mind you, it was the middle of the night Ryan didn’t have on a shirt, and he had a red bandanna covering hid face (You'd be a little frightened, too).

The girl must have smelled the bags of soggy kitten because she quickly regained her composure and said “Oooooh” knowingly. Maybe the same thing had happened to them, too. We shared the same pathetic pipes after all.

After the majority of the mess had been cleaned up, Ryan called the plumber and made an appointment for the next day. We changed into clean clothes and got into bed. Ryan was very quiet, lost in his own thoughts.

“Babe?” I said, needing some reassurance that he still loved me.

“Can we talk about this tomorrow?” he said, as if still in shock.

“Yes,” I replied. “...But this’ll make a funny story one day, right?”

No reply.

I stared at the ceiling until I fell asleep.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Three Out of Four Lees Really Really Like Baths!

Today Kiana enjoyed her first purposeful splashes. I think she was trying to get the camera wet. She is like that.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


To unwind, I usually pick up a book or turn on the T.V. When stress levels are high, however, I kick it up a notch. I do one of three things:

1.) Write. I enjoy writing. It either takes my mind off of what is bothering me, or it helps me organize my thoughts and make sense of my problems. But you already know that about me…

2.) Clean. Again, it gives me something to do so that I won’t stress. Organizing my belongings somehow makes my brain feel organized, too. When I lose something, I always go on a mad crazy cleaning spree. This has yet to yield up my scriptures or my wallet, but our house has been in fine form this week.

3.) Bathe. Nothing calms me down like a hot bath. And when I say “hot” I mean volcanic. I have an extreme tolerance for heat and can poach myself for a good hour before my organs feel hard-boiled.

Last night, Ryan and I made the decision to let Kiana “cry it out.” She has some pretty patchy sleeping habits and her inability to fall asleep makes her miserable. She’s three months old and the time has come for her to learn to fall asleep on her own.

For any parent, the “crying it out” process is wrought with guilt and emotion—which is why (understandably) many parents don’t choose that route. When we let Douglas cry for the first time, Ryan and I both sat outside his room and cried ourselves. We had to remind ourselves that we were helping, not hurting, our child. Sure enough, Doug’s sleeping habits and temperament immediately flip-flopped and he has been sleeping through the night ever since.

But Kiana is our little princess. Somehow, it seemed a little more difficult to leave the “Sweetheart” to her tears.

I turned on the water and shampooed my hair to the background noise of Kiana crying. While her pleas made me feel upset, somehow the scalding water drowned out the extreme stress of the situation.

As I shaved my legs, I wrote a few paragraphs of my book in my head. The words floating and arranging themselves in my head left little room for the sound of a forsaken baby. I felt calm.

And by the time I got out of the bath Kiana, was already sleeping like an angel. I didn’t even have to pull out the vacuum to make myself feel better about the situation.

It only occurs to me now that as I was self-soothing, I was also giving Kiana the tools to do so herself. A well-rested baby is a happy baby.

Hopefully, one night will be all it takes to teach her to sleep. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep you updated.

How do you self-soothe?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

For Grandma Aidy and Grandpa Tom

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Jealousy. Perhaps the ugliest most horrible feeling in the world. Have you felt it before? Has it consumed you? Has it turned you into a green angry beast?

I used to suffer from jealousy. I say “suffer” because it was like a disease. At times I felt nauseated. At times it left me depressed. It made me an unpleasant person. Sometimes, it would defeat me.

Who I was jealous of? A friend, a friend that I loved. Why was I jealous? Because her eyelashes curled the right way, because she always knew how to bat them, because she was better at some things than me… I don’t know why, but I was.

I felt the heavy burden of it day after day. I remember praying every night to be free from the bonds of jealousy. It was not my favorite sin.

Why do I bring this up? I guess because I’m not that person anymore. Maybe I grew up. Maybe I am satisfied with my circumstances. Most likely, it’s because I am okay with myself.

And when good things happen to you, it does not make me feel like less of a person. Rather, I feel joy for you! I want to celebrate with you! I want to pour frothy rainbowy bubbles into your bath of happiness.

I like that about myself.

At risk of sounding like I am bragging, I would like to add that I still get a little envious here and again. The difference between jealousy and envy (according to me) is that jealously is feeling malice because someone has something you do not. Envying is wanting something that you do not have without actual malice towards the person who has it.

Here are a few reasons why I might envy you:

-You have good hair.
-You are a home owner.
-You don’t have to study to get good grades.
-You don’t vomit when you are pregnant.
-You have white teeth.
-You know what you want to do when you grow up.
-Your children obey you.
-You have good hair (did I say that already?)

What are you envious of?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why I Will Never Own a Dog

I have always liked dogs, and most definitely prefer them to cats. I have very fond memories of my old doggie, Jessie, who let me hold her when I was suffering through junior high. I think dogs are loyal, and fun, and great. But I will never own one. I don’t want to and it is Ryan’s fault.

Ryan is a germophobe. I can’t blame him. He basically spent the first several years of his life in the hospital.

If Ryan’s toothbrush has been “contaminated”—dropped on the floor, Doug played with it, its bristles touched the bristles of my toothbrush—Ryan will need to purchase a new toothbrush.

He has a Costco-sized hand-sanitizer dispenser of which he uses frequently and gargles with when necessary.

Ryan told me he was allergic to dogs so that I’d never pester him about owning one. It wasn’t until recently that he informed me that he is not actually allergic to dogs… it was just wishful thinking.

At restaurants, Ryan asks the server to “hold the ice” in his drink because I told him about the e coli content in fast food ice cubes (learned it on Oprah).

Consequently, I won’t tell him about the vast quantities of bacteria stewing in his loofah because that would really ruin his life.

I used to laugh at Ryan’s hand-washing germ-hating ways. But now, sadly, I have begun to subscribe to them.

In San Antonio, Ryan and I both brought our own bedding so we wouldn’t have to use the hotel’s comforters and pillows.

I probably take more squirts of the hand sanitizer each day than Ryan does.

And now whenever I see a dog, all I really see is a poop-making, hair-shedding, flea-enabling, garbage-licking creature of all that is unbathed and unsanitary (Oh wait... that sounds a lot like the hygiene of my toddler...hmmm).

So I will never own dog. Even though I love them. And it is all Ryan’s fault.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bethanyisms (Cheerleader Tryouts)

“Oh come on, Bethany. You’ve got to tryout with us! You’d be great!”

Hmmm… I don’t know.”

“You’re peppy. You’re little. You’d be perfect.”

I envisioned myself in a short skirt bravely cheering USU on, boys begging for my phone number, girls seething in jealousy.

Somewhere between the “short skirt” and “boys begging” did I forget that I was about as stretchy as a lug nut. It also slipped my mind that I was afraid of flips and heights and boys. I was uncoordinated, didn’t give a hoot about sports, and couldn’t balance worth a poop. But, yes, I was peppy and little.

“Okay! Let’s do it!” I clapped.

I walked into the auditorium and saw the other girls stretching. They were very bendy. They’d been preparing for this tryout for decades—they’d gone to cheer camp as toddlers, tumbling classes in utero, four years of high school cheerleading, sparkly makeup application seminars…

The closest I had ever gotten to cheerleading experience is kissing one of the starters on my high school’s basketball team.

I started warming up. I stretched and I pulled. Only when I attempted the splits and accomplished a mere 90 degree angle did I understand the gravity of the situation.

“Turn around! Go home! You are not a cheerleader; you are a scrap booker!” my better judgment implored.

But the judges had already pinned a number to my back. I felt stuck.

The cheerleaders first taught us a basic cheer dance. I stumbled and tripped as I tried to perform. The judges stifled their laughter.

Then the judges asked to see our best tumbling tricks. I offered a somersault.

Meanwhile, the girls around me were doing “back handover vaulted pull-around flip springs.” They rallied. They sparkled. They made me look like an idiot.

Correction: I made myself look like an idiot.

At least I was peppy… and little.

After tryouts were over, I cried a little. Then I called my mother to brag that I had tried out for college cheerleading and made it up to the final cut.

There was only one cut.

P.S. I’d like to add that my friend Steph almost (and should have) made the team. Go Steph!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Like it Hot

I know it’s not proper to talk about your marital difficulties with anyone besides your spouse, but there’s a chasm in me and Ryan’s relationship that I simply must discuss.

I like peppers and he does not.

It’s not that I like peppers… it’s that I LOVE peppers. Bell, habanero, poblano, pepperoncini… I love them all. I even enjoy the “pow” in Kung Pao chicken (even when the pow makes me cry). I like the texture of peppers, I like the taste, I like em’ raw, I like em’ cooked. How could a person that I love so dearly not share this passion? It is ludicrous.

Last night I made these fabulous Italian Sausage Sandwiches. I tried not to wince as Ryan sifted through the sautéed red and green bell peppers to get to the onions. It was like wearing socks with sandals—downright cheeky.

Still, I love the man. I’m actually crazy ‘bout him. Perhaps, if I can forgive him of this sin, he can forgive me when I put the dishes in the dishwasher without rinsing them first.

Do you like peppers? Hate them? What’s your favorite food?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

OUR BODY: The Universe Within

I felt a little squeamish in the Nervous System and Circulatory System rooms. The brain stems, the spinal cords, the arteries… I twitched as I viewed the once functioning organs. I wasn’t surprised by my reaction, though. The mere mention of the word “jugular” makes my head feel fuzzy and my toes curl up.

Even so, I’d been looking forward to the exhibit ever since I heard of it. Real human bodies, drained of their fluids, skinned, peeled like bananas, sliced in half… honestly, what could be better!

But I speak irreverently. The exhibit was actually amazing. The cadavers are preserved through “polymer impregnation” a process that replaces the body’s water and fat with reactive plastics. So the body remains intact, even down to the microscopic level.

The bodies, and body parts, were displayed for us to view and learn from. It was a spiritual experience seeing the miracle of how our bodies are put together. Nothing, save it be a higher being, could create something so perfect and so masterfully complicated.

I learned so much about the human body. I now know how the muscle is connected to the bone, the actual size of a fetus at three months gestation, and what a “man part” looks like from the inside out (not that I looked).

Ryan and I brought Douglas and Kiana to the exhibit with us. Other children might be traumatized by such a display. Not Doug. He was only slightly interested in the dead bodies. He was more concerned with how loudly he could yell “HAIRBRUSH!” over and over and over. Kiana just drooled the whole time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

San Antonio

For those of you who love us enough to endure our travel log...

We bypassed the Alamo due to last year's "squirrel incident" ( and went straight toward the River Walk... my favorite thing to do in San Antonio.

Doug meet Giant Dinosaur. Giant Dinosaur, meet Doug. (Ripley's Believe it or Not)

Sea World!

"Oh me gosh!"

The Shamu show. Doug loved Shamu. Ryan was holding him through the whole show and whenever Shamu appeared, Doug's heart rate doubled.

Things not pictured:
-the extremely cool Body World's exhibit (more on that later).
-Kiana sleeping through the night (twice).
-lots and lots of Mexican Food.
-A very brave boy who rode the scary log ride and wanted to go again.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Car Troubles (Part Three)

Ryan walked back into the apartment with “the look” on his face.

It was the same “look” he gave when the grey Corolla mysteriously disappeared from our apartment’s parking lot in Tucson.

It was the same “look” he gave when our cadillac converter gave up the ghost.

It was the look that that said that something was horribly wrong with our car and it was going to cost us lots and lots of money.

You know the look.

I followed Ryan to the parking lot to inspect the damage.

A rain-gutter block had been smashed through the back window of our car. A trail of thick tacky blood led through that window, all over our backseat, up over to the front seat, and all over the driver’ door. However, nothing was missing from the car.

Who would do such a horrible thing?

The police kept asking Ryan if there were any women scorned in his life. Well, no. That wasn’t it.

So, Ryan and I added up all the people who might have a bone to pick with either of us. The grand sum amounted to zero. We were fairly likable people.

So why? It was a mystery; one that must be solved.

The police left and Ryan set about sweeping the chards of glass from our car. It was then that he discovered a cell phone. The architect behind this fiasco had dropped his cell phone in our car.

Thus we located the perpetrator (we’ll call him Einstein) and coerced him out of three hundred dollars to replace the window and get our car professionally cleaned. More valuable then the money, however, was the explanation he gave us.

Apparently, Einstein and his buddies had gotten sloshed (and heaven knows what else) the previous evening. He went out to his car to drive home and the key wouldn’t fit in the door. It was then that he decided to smash in the window and crawl through, cutting himself badly on the way in.

The problem was that it wasn’t his car. His car was a Honda Civic (two door) and ours was a four door black Corolla. It didn’t register that it wasn’t his car as he bled over my son’s car seat. It didn’t register that it wasn’t his car as he crawled up to the front seat (his car didn’t even have a backseat). It finally registered that it wasn’t his car when the key would not fit in the ignition. So he opened the front door and got out.

Don’t do drugs.

When Einstein stopped by our apartment to deliver the cash he also invited us to go to his church with him the following week. While tempted...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Doug in "Time Out"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Car Troubles (Part Two)

It was a hot car by anyone’s standards: sleek black body, tan soft top to match the leather interior, shiny silver rims. Ryan would be disappointed if I didn’t also pay homage to the speaker system that could rattle windows from miles away.

Ryan spent hours revamping that little Miata into a vehicle resembling a porch. And when he wasn’t investing time, energy and lots of money into that car, he was cruising around town with the top down. As the wind blew through his hair, women winked, men drooled and cops pulled out their clipboards.

That car was his baby… until he met me.

Soon all of Ryan’s time, energy and money were invested in me. I was his baby. And to prove it, Ryan would often trade cars with me for a day or two. He’d take my 87’ Corolla and I’d cruise the streets of Provo in his Batmobile—a fair trade I’d say.

One night, we exchanged cars under the agreement that I’d pick him up at 5:30 a.m. the following day. It was still dark outside when I walked outside the next morning. I turned the key and pulled the handle, but the car door wouldn’t budge. I yanked and pried until I realized that I was actually playing a game of “tug war.” Someone was inside the car pulling it closed.

At first I thought Ryan was playing a crazy joke on me. I wouldn’t put it passed him. He loved to tease me.

Then the unmistakable odor of stale cigarettes, pork rinds, and whiskey wafted out of the car. I know that everyone has their off days in the bathing department, but not Ryan. He always smelled good. The person inside the car was not Ryan. I was terrified.

You know in the movies when something intense happens and everything becomes slow motion? My world suddenly slowed. The car door creaked opened.

“Geeeeet the heeeeeck ouuuuuut of myyyyy caaaaar,” I garbled (but “heck” was not the actual word I selected for that moment).

The man in the car was large and hairy (and did I mention that he really stunk). He had a knife.

I couldn’t run. My feet had turned into cinder blocks. I was frozen in place.

What happened next was a blur, but the end result was the man disappeared into the darkness and I stood there dumbfounded, but unassaulted.

It seems that the man had slit through the soft top and unlocked the car door. He'd been grinding away at the car’s ignition when I arrived and foiled his evil plot to steal the car.

The thief caused over $3000 worth of damage and the car smelled like butt for weeks, but at least I was okay.

Ryan repaired his beloved car but sold it a month later. Some things, such as fiancés, are more important than “things.”

We still think fondly of that amazing car, though.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

If Kiana was an ice cream flavor, she would be Spumoni.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Yup... We're still in Texas

Dallas had a blizzard yesterday. The snow was all wrong. Instead of being light and fluffy, it was wet and heavy. Maybe I'm just bitter. The bad weather interfered with our satellite and we were unable to watch American Idol or LOST. Hmph!

I'll give Texas props, though. It's way out of practice in the snow department. At least the stuff was white...

Doug wiggled and squirmed until the Papa Bear arrived home from work. I told Doug that Dad would take him out to play in the snow (Doug's first snow experience). As soon as Ry walked through the front door, Doug darted outside yelling "Snow! Snow! Snoooow!" The problem was that he didn't have on shoes, socks or pants.

When properly attired, my handsome boys preceded to make a giant snowball. This mound consisted of 60% snow, 25% mud, and 15% dog poop. Welcome to apartment living.

Kiana and I couldn't resist the snow either. We joined the boys for a few minutes. I gained a new appreciation for pioneer women who trekked across the continent in freezing snow with babies in tow... so we went back inside and watched the fun from the window.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Car Troubles (Part One)

I walked into my Media Criticism class and there he was… just sitting there.


From the mortified expression on his face I gathered that he felt the same way. He’d broken up with me two weeks prior (on New Years Eve for heaven’s sake) and unbeknownst to either of us we had signed up for the same class. A disaster.

Then there was that awkward moment of deciding where to sit. Would it be rude to ignore him take a seat on the opposite side of the room? Probably. I decided to sit next to him and play “friends” like we’d originally agreed.

“Hi,” I mumbled.

“Hi,” he mumbled.

Let me back-pedal for a brief moment. The reason we broke up was complicated. I won’t go into the logistics, but I will say that I was right and he was wrong.

But back to the story…

So, we endured the first couple of weeks of class sitting in near approximation to one another and occasionally exchanging civilities such as “What’s up?” and “How’d you do on the test?” but that’s about it.

Until Heavenly Father blessed me with car troubles.

My car broke down good and hard and I barely had enough mechanical knowledge to pop the hood. I needed help. And there was only one person I knew who had the skills and the patience required for the job.

I humbled myself and asked him for his expertise. He towed my car. He got estimates for the repair. He drove me around. He took me to get new parts.

And there was nothing in it for him. He was just nice that way. He was just perfect that way. He was just perfect for me. Jimminy Crickets! Why on earth did we break up? I must have him (again)! He must be mine!

So I took him to dinner. Then I made him kiss me. And a few months later I made him marry me.

And to think, my eternal happiness can be blamed entirely on car troubles…

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Son, the Masochist

One hour and thirty minutes is the current record.

If Doug decides he is full, he is full. No more food will be entering his stomach… and that is final. He often decides this, however, when the last bite of food is already in his mouth.

A normal person under such circumstances would do one of two things. Either he would spit the surplus food out or if he was really really normal, he would swallow anyway.

Doug opts for a different approach. He holds the food in his mouth. He allows it to liquefy. He may even swish a little. But under no circumstance will the food be swallowed.

And he won’t spit it out either. Not unless he has permission. Sometimes, in attempt to teach Doug a lesson on the importance of swallowing, Ryan won’t give Doug that permission. So Doug just sits there (sometimes for fifteen minutes or longer) until Ry finally gives in and holds him over the sink.

Occasionally, however, it goes unnoticed that Doug hasn’t swallowed. Such was the case several months ago when Grandma Aidy took Doug to the mall. They ate at the food court and then continued shopping. Grandma wondered why Douglas was being so quiet and well-behaved. After an hour and a half of silence, however, Grandma realized that something was terribly wrong. That’s when she discovered the Cajun rice, chicken, and corn just stewing in Doug’s mouth. It was the record-setting incident.

Saturday night was another instance. Doug had dined on sandwich for dinner. It wasn’t until he sneezed bologna and cheese all over Ryan did we realize that our poor little champ had been juicing his dinner for well over a half an hour.

The end.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I never thought the day would come… but I’ve transitioned.

Today I went shopping (Without the cubs. Yippee!) and here are the stores that I did NOT go into:

-American Eagle

Here are the ones I did go into:

-Banana Republic
-J Crew
And… brace yourself… Ann Taylor Loft

It’s time that I start dressing like an adult. Let’s face it, I’m dripping with children and practically middle-aged (Don’t worry, I’m still a couple of years shy of Dress Barn). But I’ve come to the realization that it’s not cute to show my butt-crack every time I bend over (bye bye low-rise jeans) and perhaps tee-shirt with sayings like “total flirt” and “your boyfriend wants me” are also a little irrelevant.

But the price tags... oh my. I don't think I can afford to dress like a grownup.

I still want to look youthful and trendy... just classy and put together at the same time. I’m having a hard time finding the balance. Any suggestions?