Seeker of Happiness

$12 Tote Bags and Some Happy Thoughts

On Adventure

Carrie Chapman1 Comment

A few months ago I was reading in my old journals and an overwhelming theme of tween-teen Carrie stuck out: "My life is so boring."

I think I noticed this theme because it's kind of been something I've been known to say or think even now. Being older, I feel like I have the tools to change said boring-ness but really lack the energy or motivation to REALLY "make a difference" or have a meaningful adventure. 

This is probably why I struggle with blogging on the regular. It's easy to look at all of the amazing people all over the WWW and feel, well, ordinary. 

During a particularly bad case of antsy-pants this week I went on a rampage trying to find an affordable way to see something new. To do something fun and a bit out of character. Combining budget-friendly/fun/spontaneous is almost impossible with little kids but I felt determined. My cousin suggested a 20 hour road trip with 4 kids 3 and under and well... I agreed. She's been begging me to do it with her for months now and I always told her she was nuts. She caught me though. She hit me at my most vulnerable time. I don't think she realized that her most convincing text was this:

"It's sad that taking a road trip with kids in a minivan is my definition of crazy." 

Maybe I think it's a little sad too. But I'm more excited than embarrassed. I told Scott it was going to be such an adventure and he quoted The Matchmaker:

"The test of an adventure is that when you’re in the middle of it, you say to yourself,  'Oh, now I’ve got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something’s wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure."

So I'm off planning this little trip with my cousin who is one of my favorite people in the world. Scott is shaking his head at me a lot and muttering about things being "worth it" and I'm excited for my eyes to see three new states that I've never seen before. This may not be some epic visit to another country but it might as well be. I have about another month and in the meantime I will keep looking for ways to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I just don't want to let down that bored 13 year old Carrie Lynn. 

Ruth 18 Months

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Miss Ruth is becoming known as sneaky. She will patiently observe the world around her and then BAM! she makes herself apart of it out of nowhere. She took her time crawling, but once she did it she was suddenly walking like it was no big deal. And she's naturally more quiet, so she didn't say a ton of words right away. Now, all of the sudden she's saying words and two sentences. "No, MINE!" courtesy of Georgia, and "Fries please" courtesy of Sonic being delicious. 

She's also the queen of silent mischief. Like a tiny little ninja. You wouldn't even know she was IN the bathroom until you find her walking out with a satisfied look on her face. That's my cue to re-roll the toilet paper and remind myself for the 1000th time to shut the bathroom door. 

Unlike Georgia (who is impressed by anything and everything), Ruthie has a small list of favorite things. They include IN THIS ORDER:

1. "Daddy"
2. "Nana's" 
3. "Bank-ie" (specifically Aden & Anais bamboo swaddle blankets. Champagne taste, this one)
4. Music of any kind
5. Facetime
6. Mom
7. Georgia

I should also note that I quickly fall lower in that order when a calmer personality than mine is around. My sweet neighbor Emily is one of Ruthie's favorite people, as well as my friend Liz- when they are around I do not exist. 

Ruth is focused and detailed and puts up with a lot. She knows how to get my attention and when I give it to her at the right time I find her little hand wrapped around my pointer finger leading me into her bedroom. From there, she will go get a book, hand it to me, and then back up her diaper bum into my lap. It's those moments that make feel not so low on her list of favorites. 

She says a few new words a day and for the sake of "journaling" I'm going to list them. Feel free to scroll right on past this. 

Daddy, Mama, Georgia, Leah (our neighbor and Georgia's friend), doggie (accompanied by the necessary "roof-roof"), bottle, blankie, mine, no, banana, thank you (tank too), please, bye bye, hi, shoe, phone, more, book, boot, cheese (deeeese), and a sassy "uh-aaaah" instead of no. She can also point out body parts and say belly, nose, eye, and "va-va." Yup, she knows what makes her female. 

This girl also loves shoes. You might dump your one year old in front of a basket of toys, but I put Ruth near the always over-flowing shoe basket by our front door and she sets up camp. She only likes to put on shoes that she can take on and off with ease, so she naturally ignores anything in her size. After she puts them on, she MUST take a stroll around the living room, come back to her original place and start over. 

Ruthie can pick out music anywhere and start dancing to it. She just realized that Georgia DANCES at ballet and has decided to stand at the window and scream to participate. She has an impressive head bang that she does at the most appropriate songs. 

She is incredibly detailed. I'm always so impressed. And it's okay that nobody else is. I'm perfectly fine with being a party of one while I gasp in awe at how she takes a sticker off of a sticker sheet and carefully places it on a piece of paper and smoothes it out with her chubby palm. 

Of course, Ruth is still a baby and is not above grumpiness or dramatics (throwing herself face down on the floor in a tantrum? Once a day). She has a never ending battle with the fact that her big sister just LOVES her too much. I constantly have to remind Georgia that Ruth doesn't want to be smushed or kissed all the time. I don't remind her that Ruth seems to tolerate this from ME. But if GEORGIA comes to close, a war cry is released. It rarely ever works. 

Ruth, thank you for being a baby. A baby with a round buddha belly and a smile that melts every heart in a 100mile radius. Thank you for sitting on my lap for extended periods of time and for twirling whenever you hear classical music. You are so, so loved. 

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

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Late in my college days, I had this group of girlfriends who I admired and respected and kind of forced to be friends with me (I'm not kidding- I held Liz's bedding for ransom once in an effort to get her to hang out. Spoiler: it worked). Liz always had a well-rounded view of the world and was (is) humble enough to share her mistakes with you and radiated (radiates) wisdom. Brandilyn was this hip and cool girl who joined the improv troupe I was in and she owned a clothing store. Everything about her reflects how kind she is. Darcy had a baby and a marriage I admired and she always looked (looks) like she stepped out of a magazine and cooks like she's been doing it for 1,000 years. She can also sing and dance so she's basically who I wanted (want) to be when I when I grow up.

 They were all so, FUNNY. And SMART. And KIND. We hung out at Brandilyn's store every Friday at 2pm to get our girlfriend fill. We started calling it F@2 and when we moved away started a private blog where we could continue to catch up. It morphed into an ongoing group text convo and once everyone had emoji's, the content was *okay-emoji.* 

So Darcy was going to be in Salt Lake from across the country and Brandilyn decided to drive down from Idaho and Liz is already becoming famous in SLC so I HAD to go. Scott insisted I go. He knows what these girls mean to me. 


I can't explain how happy I was to be with all of them. To know that I can be 100% myself and still be loved by these women who just blow my mind... words can't describe it. 

If that one 4 hour brunch wasn't enough to make my heart explode: it was at the end of my trip. I STARTED my weekend with my SISTER. I got to stay at her college apartment and pretend like I wasn't "almost 30" as her 20-year-old butt loooooves to point out. We went to Texas Roadhouse and spontaneously decided to go see a play. 

1. How to express the freedom of not having to put kids to bed right after dinner? No pack-n-play to set up that night? No hurrying home? I can just GO TO A PLAY RIGHT NOW AND THAT'S OKAY?

2. Theatre is kind of a thing with my sister and I. I have always liked to do it and my sister has always loved to attend. I don't get to do it much anymore and I love knowing that I always have someone who will go to a show with me. 


The next day I slept in until almost 11 (!!!) and my sister and I met my last companion from my mission. She is still full of fire and beauty. Jessica is one of those people who always seems to have it and I admire her so much. It had been too long!


After that I left my sister with some bathroom cleaner and headed to Anna's house. Anna needs no introduction or explanation of how much she means to me. This little stop-over was typical. Anna was having a party celebrating the country of Oman. She is my best friend. 


After that little shin-dig I went to Amber and Lucas's house to stay the night. Amber and I have yet to take a picture together and I was DETERMINED to get a selfie with her this weekend. Mission unaccomplished. We just talk too much. We connect too much. We get on a different planet when we are together and I forget about everything else. She has always been someone who puts things into perspective for me. But seriously, Amber. We need a pic. 

After I slept in at their place (I slept in two days in a row!), I headed to the brunch and you can now coda right back to the beginning of this post. 

When I first left my F@2 friends, Liz made me a CD to listen to as I drove away to place I was really scared to go. The first song was "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and I remember just sobbing and listening to it on repeat. I needed that assurance that my friends were going to stay my friends. Liz has LITERALLY fulfilled this promise, having come to visit me across many valley's and mountains. In the end, I came home just so HAPPY that I can feel so many different kinds of HAPPY. By this I mean, I am happy with my sister in a different way than I am happy with Amber, or with my husband, or with my kids. How lucky am I? How lucky to have so many people fill my life with so many different forms of happiness?! 

I came home from that weekend to a sick kid and a very tired husband but I just collapsed in his chest and cried about how grateful I was. I honestly don't remember the last time I have felt so overwhelmed with gratitude.

EVERY Moment

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I have included the above adorable pictures of my children to make it obvious to everyone that I already miss how little my kids were 3 days ago. And, believe it or not, I am sincerely trying my best to "savor every moment" even if some days that just translates to "survive until five." 
Some (most) days, that's about where I'm at. 

Sure, I'll miss Georgia WANTING to cuddle with me and sleep in my bed every. single. night. because she "just wants to be with somebody" but I won't miss getting kicked in the stomach or waking up because her toddler body is sprawled across my face and air passages. 

Yes, I will miss Ruth's desperate struggle to say any word other than "da-ddy" but I won't miss her screech that can only be described as pterodactyl-esque when Georgia snatches something out of her hand or when the shoe that she took off of her foot is suddenly in her hand and not on her foot anymore. 

I won't miss Georgia's experiments with pushing/stealing from/squeezing Ruthie. I won't miss how Ruth pushes on my boobs in public with focus and determination as if something is going to happen if she just keeps pressing on them. There's no medal for that, Ruth. Please stop so I can enter my PIN and get us out of the grocery store. 

Though, I will miss how Ruthie hits bald babies on the head. I mean, I try to stop her and I feel bad for the babies, but they are the only people she hits. Like, she so desperately wants to feel the sensation of smacking a bald head. Yeah, I think that's funny. 

And while I'm eating my words, I think I AM going to miss Georgia's battles with pants.
I can't help but admire her fight. 

Dem Pox

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Ruthie got the chicken pox which is no good for a few reasons:

1. She was vaccinated from them and the injustice had a me like a hot angry mess for a bit. You shouldn't have to watch your baby get shots and then watch them go through it anyway (I know, count my blessings that it's not the measles or something deadly). 

2. Two weeks of traveling kind did both my girls in, so I kept us cooped up in a post-vacation cool down. But then Ruth got the chicken pox and STAYING cooped up has given me a bad case of cabin fever. 

3. When Ruth was contagious, I didn't let Georgia go play with anyone which made her a destructive monster. 

4. I'm pretty sure no one likes to see their baby covered in blisters. 

5. Itchy scabs = no sleep for baby and no sleep for us.

Luckily, she's all scabbed over and ready to face the world again. It's been a whole lot of oatmeal baths and calamine lotion and baby powder over here. 
And does it make me evil if I think these pox were kind of cute? Maybe it's a sick nostalgia? Maybe it's from reading A Bad Case of the Stripes 10,000 times?

A polka dotted Ruthie is almost as cute as regular Ruthie. 

Late to the Parties

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I know, I know. You come to my blog because it's always full of the latest up-and-coming trends. I'm basically Joann Goddard over here. You can email me your thanks for you getting you all caught up and your invited to my dinner party where we only discuss 15 year old television shows and diets everyone has already done. 

For your lifestyle pleasure, here are some of the coolest things I've just discovered: 

1. The West Wing. I watched this entire series 18 months ago when I was laying in bed nursing a brand new baby. It was funny and smart and treated me like I was funny and smart and I really appreciate art that assumes I am funny and smart. 

2. Podcasts. Why has no one told me about podcasts? And how they're FREE? And how I can listen to them while I'm cleaning? And how there are SO MANY THAT ARE SO AWESOME?

3. I just finished Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. I both related to her and then got filled with hot jealousy when I realized how desperately I want her improv life.... something she very blatantly tells you you can't have unless you work very hard for a long time. Being 29 really makes you feel like you missed a couple boats, eh?

4. The Far Side comics. I mean, I knew I liked these but I didn't realize how much until I got Scott the complete set for Christmas. 

5. The Whole30. Which I actually hate, but am determined to like by the end of this stupid month. This actually started as the Whole1second because I couldn't take the thought of no Diet Coke and slipped THE SAME DAY I STARTED. A real dedicated dame, I am. 
I've discovered why everyone talks about this all the time and posts pictures of their sweet potatoes. They're trying to convince themselves that they don't want cheese. I think it's the 8th day in a row that Scott and I have sat in bed talking about nothing but cheese and ice cream before dosing off to sleep. I literally had a dream that I ate a bowl of sugar cereal. 

 You're all welcome. 

Christmas on a Tuesday

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Remember when I almost killed myself trying to get out everyones tote bags before Christmas?Thank you to all who ordered! I love having the problem of being too busy with our little business :) 

I spent the holiday in Boise, Idaho visiting family. Two weeks up there and the universe taught me a few things such as: "Your kids can't handle a 2 week vacation" and "Ruth is too big to sleep in a pack and play" and "Your sweet 3 year old will instantly turn into a monster as soon as you get around your mother." We all had a bit of a rough time. 

The holiday was the hardest on my dad. His oldest brother passed away. We knew he was ill but death is never easy and it is never convenient. My dad decided he needed to be up in Seattle to be with his parents (who had just lost their oldest son, remember) for Christmas. This meant that our family moved Christmas morning up to Tuesday morning. We crammed all of our traditions in Monday night. We saw a movie, did reverse caroling (we knock on peoples doors and make them sing to us) and finally had Christmas Eve dinner at 9:30. The girls didn't get to bed until 10:30.

The Christmas Eve dinner table

The Christmas Eve dinner table

The expectation of this Christmas was high for me. Last year was a weird time in my life and I was really looking forward to all the magic of this year. Unexpectedly shifting all of it felt a bit anti-climatic and... off. My mom put all of this at ease and into perspective when she said "It's not Christmas anyway unless we are all together." 

So, Santa came to our house on Tuesday morning and the girls had no idea he had made special arrangements for us. We were still able to do all of our Christmas Eve traditions like special jammies and reading The Nativity and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. 


Santa's "elves" also came early to assemble a beast of a play kitchen

Of course, all of it was worth it in the end to see my dad (who loves being "Grampy" more than anything on earth), watch his granddaughters experience Christmas morning. 


I have a long video of their reactions but I will spare you. They have been playing with that kitchen non-stop since we have brought it home, and Georgia was pleased to see that all 3 Santas she visited this year brought her the "Aurora crown" she asked for. 

The rest of our day was spent in our pajamas playing the new games we got. 

I'd now like to take a moment and recognize that my little sister got home from an LDS mission in Texas in early December and this was our first time seeing her in 18 months! The last time I saw her I was pregnant with Ruth! Crazy! But she's back and getting ready to kill it at college and I just adore her. 


I will say it was a bit odd to wake up on Thursday the 25th and have it feel like it was 2 days after Christmas, but us girls went to see Into the Woods and all was well. My dad made it safely to Washington to be with his parents. Georgia got to play with her best friend, June for a day. All in all, a successful trip and a great holiday. If you're still reading this, thanks for letting me rehash Christmas like 2 weeks after everyone is over it.

Pondering With All The Colors of the Wind

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Anna posted about not having much to blog about these days and posted a spot where she parks to find some serenity. I live in a pretty ugly city (no, really) where dinosaurs used to roam and from the looks of it I wouldn't be surprised if I stumbled upon some raptor tomorrow. But there's a weird little overlook 5 minutes away that I like to go to. 

Every once in a while Georgia, who doesn't really nap anymore, falls asleep in the car at the perfect moments. Like when I want to vacuum it out or when I'm in desperate need of groceries or when Ruthie reeeeeally doesn't want to be trapped in her carseat anymore. Because of our loss of Georgia-nap-time I let her sleep.

I drive to this little overlook that is not nearly as serene as the one Anna goes to. But I like it. I usually have something in my purse I need to do. Someone I need to call, a bill I need to pay. The other day I addressed half of my Christmas cards there. 

If I get really lucky, Ruth falls asleep too and I grab a 5 minute power nap myself. Or maybe I read a book. Or call a friend. Or just sit and ponder for a bit before driving back into town and hit my to-do list again. 

But the thing I like the most about this little overlook is the fact that I am NEVER alone there. I know I should be annoyed by this or something but I'm not. I like seeing the people who drive 5 minutes away from Main Street to take a break. I feel a camaraderie with them. We almost always make eye contact and nod. The guy in the white truck who smokes with the windows rolled up. The lady in the red car who looked like she was going to cry. The man in the suit who got out to take a picture and then just stood there, completely still for a couple minutes. 

If I get there first and someone pulls up, I leave shortly after they arrive. They deserve some alone time. I've noticed others do the same. They probably feel uncomfortable sharing their moments of thought with a stranger in a mini-van and I get it. 

Sometimes Georgia wakes up and that's my cue to leave, and other times she's dressed like Pocahontas (because we were just going to be in the car anyway) and she wants to get out and I just so happen to have my camera. 

Our Favorite Winter Treat

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I know a lot of people do holiday baking, but we don't do much of that. Instead, I was introduced to a technique of eating a certain store-bought cookie and it has changed my life forever. 

You start with the minty goodness of Grasshoppers and a warm cup of cocoa. 


Then, you nibble a bit off both ends of a Grasshopper cookie, like this

After that, you put one nibbled end of the cookie into your hot chocolate and sip through the other end.


The cocoa should go through the cookie and taste delicious. 

Now for the best part- pop that cocoa filled cookie into your mouth and enjoy it as it melts away on your tongue. Hear a chorus of angels. 

If you missed the steps, here is Georgia performing them all together: 


Happy snacking! 

Is it Christmas Right Now?

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Georgia asks me that everyday. I held off any Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving (something I'm not going to do anymore. It just wasn't worth it) so she was anxious to be able to call it Christmas. We started things off festive on December 1st when we got our very first Christmas Elf. 


He pulled out our Christmas dishes and brought all the makings of a good breakfast. Georgia was so excited, I wish everyone could have seen her face when she first saw him. We read the book while Scott whipped up the food. Georgia named our Elf "Tootie" and now we are one of those families. 


We also put up our tree. Next year we will go out and cut down a real one but this year I was trying to keep it a little more simple. The girls love playing with the tree, and honestly, I let them. I have the ones they can play with down low and the special ones up high. They seem to know it's a decoration and they don't get into it too much. 


After that it's just been a lot of little decorations around my living room. I hope you got those pin buttons ready because this stuff is straight out of a magazine. 


Also, for the first time ever, we put Christmas lights up! Georgia thought this small display was the coolest thing on the planet. 

I really love my house being all decorated and becoming a tiny bit more magical. I love my living room glow at night and Georgia's face in the morning when she tries to find her elf. And I'm gonna say it: I wish it would snow. Just once. Just enough to make a snowman and use this awesome "snow man kit" my sister-in-law made for us for Christmas. What could be better? 


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This year we spent Thanksgiving at Scott's brother's house in Soda Springs, Idaho. Population: however many people were at their house that weekend. 

It was a really laid back time. The kids played so much that they were almost annoyed when their parents talked to them. Grandma and Grandpa could get away with it- but when my sister-in-law and I tried to say anything we were met with looks of "why are you even talking to me right now? Can't you see I'm playing house?" 

I got excited about seeing everyone and set up a Thanksgiving photo booth for a minute. We just used cell phones for the pictures but they make me happy. 

Dinner was classic, and of course, delicious. Chapman's LOVE food. This was the first year there weren't TWO different kinds of meat. Of course there was still plenty to go around. I didn't get many pictures since I was busy stuffing my face. 

Ruthie had the best seat in the house right in between her dad and Papa. 

Then it was a good, calm time digesting. We sang old 90's songs and had a Taylor Swift dance party, because we needed room for pie. 

The next day we had walked around Lava Hot Springs where Scott found his white elephant gift and the girls were way too impressed with the local museum. 

I mean, mostly we just walked around doing random stuff but that just made it vacation. 


That was about the time I stopped taking pictures and decided to really just relax. 
We had a white elephant and I was happy with the gift that I gave (a picture of "me" riding a cow) and the gift that I won (a horse head mask).

The rest of the weekend was spent watching SNL videos ("Ooooh Myyyyy Gooooosh"), cracking up over the horse head, and eating Muddy Buddies. One night, after the kids were in bed everyone went to go see the new Hunger Games movie. Scott and I had already seen it so we got in the hot tub and watched football. 
Everyone left the next day except for our family and it was fun to have some time with just my brother-in-law (Mark) and his wife (Heather) who I can talk to for days.
We played Cranium that night. When Mark and I were on a team I had to do charades and have him guess "regenerate a limb." And we DID it. He totally guessed it! I really think that was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. 

So yeah, Thanksgiving. Random and delicious. 

I Said Brrr

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Good old winter is rolling in. I'm trying not to get too hopeless, and in an act of desperate denial, took the girls outside to play. It was like 20 degrees and I had them bundled. They were pretty excited at the idea considering we had spent a few days self-quarantined due to a stomach bug and some head colds. We pulled hats and scarves and puffy jackets out of storage bins and from the backs of closets (yeah, our winter coats were spread out over three closets. Because I'm super organized all the time). 

The whole thing was pretty promising.


It lasted about 20 minutes. Ruthie decided that, although she had gotten up from a nap not too long before, she would much rather go back to sleep in a warm bed than waddle around in the cold for no reason. Georgia begged me to hold her and wasn't giving in to my enthusiasm to do jumping jacks or play a rousing game of "run to the mailbox."

We ended up back inside, shedding all the work we had put into layering and drinking hot chocolate. I guess we are just those kind of girls. Take us or leave us. Actually just leave us. Inside. With hot chocolate. 

Throw Back Thursday and Cardboard Tampons

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 I read Are You There God, It's Me, Maragret in second grade. I was the reason moms want that book banned from school libraries. I was way too young to read it and way too curious to put it down when the themes didn't relate to me. Boys, periods, dark movie theaters- these were things that I was GOING to want, so I better read up. My mom never really censored what I read* and I'm sure she didn't think anything of a Judy Blume. I also read A LOT so it's not like the poor woman could keep up anyway. 
Well, that book made me want my period. It made me want to be grown up. The word "sexy" comes to mind, but that wasn't it... more like "womanly." I wanted curves and to be able complain about cramps. I wondered what it would feel like to have a boy "up my sweater" because I really had no idea what that even meant. The fact that I started going to an inner city elementary school in fourth grade did not help my fascination. We were always being told about where we could and couldn't be touched and who to tell. In fifth grade we had a sex ed presentation where we were basically just told we were going to have periods. This wasn't shocking news to anyone. In fact, the one and only anonymous question that was pulled out of the box was "what does it feel like when a penis goes inside you?" We all knew who wrote it, and she blushed deeply. The counselor just said something like "that's not what we're talking about today" and went on to show us what I thought were diapers in our "preparation kits." I wore the travel size deodorant too soon. 

I had health again in sixth grade (we had moved to a more rural area by then) and I learned what a wet dream was in all technicality. I learned it was embarrassing by the way the boys laughed and avoided eye contact. By this time, girls around me were getting their periods and I was sure mine would come. In seventh grade I shaved my legs without my mom knowing and only got permission to actually shave because I made her feel my armpit hair and it grossed her out. I would sneak the make up my mom didn't wear to school and try to look grown up. I don't know why I had such a desire to look and feel older than I was. I wasn't treated particularly childish or adult-like in my childhood. I think I just liked the drama of all of it. The looming unknown, the props and the make-up. 

By eighth grade sex ed, I was hyper aware of my lacking blood flow and my lacking chest. My best friend had huge knockers that she seemed to hate when it was just us but love when boys were looking at them. I wanted boys to look at me but I wasn't sure of all the reasons why. I felt left behind. 

In ninth grade, I was pretty sure I was the last girl who didn't get her period over the summer. It was horrible. We had ANOTHER sex ed presentation given by the seniors at our high school. I'm sure they thought we would listen to the older and wiser students. They were right. There was a lot of "Abstinence is best, BUT..." and a stereotypical banana/condom demonstration. Everyone was silent. Everyone was paying attention. This information was relevant to everyone but me. I had been pining for my period since second grade, and now felt like everyone was saying "on your left" as they lapped me. These new props were obsolete in my scene. I didn't need condoms! I needed a pad! I was still mortified by the idea of a tampon so you can imagine what I thought about bananas. 

My period finally came over Thanksgiving. We were visiting my aunt and uncle and I was so excited that it was finally happening. I played it cool. My mom didn't think this was something to celebrate- she hated that I'd have to worry about it. My aunt only had overnight pads under her sink so I waddled around uncomfortably. Somehow, though, I still felt cool. 

When I got back to school I was excited to tell anyone who would listen but also a little embarrassed that it had taken me so long. I mentioned it to my friend Michelle during math class. Michelle was pretty, but not overly popular. Like, she was too pretty to be popular. She wasn't pretty because she wore Abercrombie & Fitch and had acrylic nails. She was REAL pretty and I think it intimidated everybody. But she was friendly and excited about my news. 

"Have you discovered the amazing invention called the tampon?" She asked me too loud, our teacher was writing formulas on the white board.

"No! I'm afraid!" I whispered so she would follow my lead. 

She pulled out a Kotex and handed it to me. She asked if I knew how to use it and I played dumb (like hadn't read the instructions I'd found in my moms box countless times). She explained it to me in vague detail and when I put it in my backpack snapped at me that sitting in a pad was "gross" and I needed to go to the bathroom NOW. 

I obeyed. I inserted it the way I had seen in cartoon drawings. The applicator was made of cardboard and that threw me off- it wasn't plastic and smooth and pink like my moms. For the first time, I felt like I didn't know what I was doing. I pulled out what came out- the smaller round tube and threw it in the little trash can (I could finally use the little trash can!) and went back to class. 

After 5 minutes, I was in pain. Uncomfortable was a mild way to describe it. I shifted in my seat to try and relieve the pressure. Michelle turned around. "Isn't it great?!" She whispered this time. "You can't even feel it right?" I grimaced a smile and nodded in agreement. 

Later that day I had gym class. GYM CLASS. We had to RUN. It was horrible. I felt like someone kept punching me in the vagina. 

When I had somehow survived and was changing in the locker room, Michelle announced that I had gotten my period and I remember a lot of congratulations. She made a big deal out of the fact that SHE had introduced me to the tampon. All the girls nodded in appreciation for "the amazing invention" and delved into their own stories and favorite brands. At one point, they started talking about how much they hated the cardboard ones and my ears perked up. 
"Like, I hate how the cardboard can get stuck up there!" 

It was then that I realized I was supposed to pull out BOTH pieces of cardboard and not just one. I ran into the stall and gave myself the greatest relief I had felt so far in my 14 years. 

I think I told my mom about it when I got home and she admonished me for being afraid of tampons at all and shuttered when I told her what I had used was cardboard. 

"Never put anything up there that isn't pink" she told me. If she was making a reference to penises, I didn't get it. After all, I had only just gotten my period. 

*The only book I remember her telling me I couldn't read was A Stranger Beside me by Ann Rule. It was about Ted Bundy and the fact that it was restricted only fueled my desire to swallow it. She relented when I was 16 and ever since, I have not been able to pass a construction site without running and horrifically rude to especially friendly and attractive strangers. I am still to young to have read that book. 

That Was Halloween

Carrie Chapman1 Comment

I'm not sure what it was about this Halloween, but some powers that be made it pretty perfect. It started off a bit rocky- cranky babies and a library carnival that I left sweating and covered in spilled punch. Georgia was excited to have "lots and lots" of candy and I just thought "Girl, you don't even know what's coming."

Later that afternoon we had a few friends over and made candy apples. I'd never done this before but I had some left over candy eyes so it seemed like a good combination. The amount of licking that happened didn't make them sanitary for anyone but the girls who made them, but hey. It was festive. 

Then, by some spooky Halloween miracle, BOTH girls took a nap. AT THE SAME TIME. On a whim, I told Georgia she needed to sleep to get ready for Halloween and she complied like she had never fought to the death over this same issue before. I took a nap. I TOOK A NAP. 

Once Scott got home we finished getting into our costumes (sort of... I didn't make Georgia wear her wig even though she had been excited to wear it anytime before that) and headed to the Halloween carnival at our local rec center. They had a "Mayor's Walk" where you walked a path and local businesses gave you candy.

She talked about that monkey man the rest of the night... which is weird because there was a headless man next to him that didn't even phase her. 

She talked about that monkey man the rest of the night... which is weird because there was a headless man next to him that didn't even phase her. 

We showed up an hour and a half after it started and, by the end of the line, someone dumped their ENTIRE bucket of candy into Georgia's trick or treat bag. 

"That's what you get for being the 10,000th customer!" 
The same just-give-it-all-to-that-kid approach was adopted by the other remaining businesses and Georgia was... overwhelmed. 

We went inside and played a few carnival games, got our fortunes read, and did a cake walk. I didn't make Ruthie wear her hat and she thanked us by sitting completely still in her stroller, wanting only to keep hold of a Kit Kat bar that subsequently melted in her tiny grip. 

On account of the amount of candy Georgia was lugging around, we only did a small bit of ACTUAL trick or treating around our neighborhood. It was time to go home when she simply couldn't carry her bag herself anymore. 

So, we loaded in the car and partook in the Chapman Halloween tradition of getting 50cent corn dogs at Sonic. It was here that I discovered how fun it was to take selfies of Maleficent eating fast food. 

Once home, we face timed with grandparents, and Ruthie tried to steal all of Georgia's suckers. Scott sat and shamelessly picked through Ruth's candy.

We all watched half of Hocus Pocus and ate some popcorn. After some intense teeth brushing the kids went to bed and Scott and I watched I Am Legend. 

It really was a perfect Halloween. Nice and laid back. I'm kind of sad it's over. We tried explaining that Thanksgiving is next and Georgia seems throughly unimpressed by the idea. She's already come up with elaborate costume ideas for next year but I may or may not throw us all under white sheets and call it good.

We'll see when we get there. ;)

Annual Harrison Halloween Photo Shoot 2014

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It started as a joke. Anna was trying to get back more serious about photography and decided she needed some sort project to work on. Halloween was there and suddenly she had an occasion to document. I think they went to the salt flats- notorious for oh-so-serious family pictures that adorn Christmas cards. 

I haven't been to every Halloween photo shoot, only a couple. And Buck noted this year that it has become more of a family picture occasion. Anna likes how it has evolved, but there are still traditions. Buck wears a mask every year. We still go to Denny's after. Everyone has fun. 

I might have taken this year a little too seriously. I LOVED our family photo last year and was determined to recreate something just as awesome. I spent an embarrassing amount of time on our costumes and when Ruthie didn't keep her hat on, I kind of (really did) turn into the Mistress of Evil I was dressed as. I have since calmed down and now every photo is funny to me. 

On the right, we have a real look of disdain. I was really THAT irritated at Ruthie tossing her hat. She was really THAT irritated with me forcing her wear it. These are the pictures they will use as evidence that I was the meanest mom in the whole world. 

On the right, we have a real look of disdain. I was really THAT irritated at Ruthie tossing her hat. She was really THAT irritated with me forcing her wear it. These are the pictures they will use as evidence that I was the meanest mom in the whole world. 

Of course, Prince Phillip saved the day and now I'm obsessed with these photos. Georgia pretends Scott is her prince every day. This was like her dream come true. I mean, without all of the "Daddy will always be her Prince" sappiness, you should have seen the look on her face when Scott got in his costume. He might as well have been riding a freaking white horse. 

Scott and I have been laughing at how we are "inflated" versions of our characters. We are what they would have looked like had the Disney animators spilled a drop of water over their sketches! Meanwhile, Georgia looked as perfect as, well, a princess. 

And Ruthie DID look adorable as she showed determination to not wear her hat… and immense pride when she took it off. 

In the end, we looked pretty good and I got the photo I wanted. Thanks for another great year, Anna. 

Marvelous Tiny People

Carrie Chapman3 Comments

I've decided that 15 months is my second favorite age (0-6 months is my main jam). Everything Ruthie does right now has a squishy, adorable, turns-me-into-a-cannibal-because-I-want-to-eat-her-up kind of film coating on top.  She still LOOKS like a tiny baby but she is acting like real-life PERSON and the combination makes me clench my teeth and kiss her all over. Couple all of this with a 3 year old that does. not. stop. saying funny things, I'm in heaven. 

At the end of the day, when I have tidied up their minds and put them to bed, my mom brain quiets down and I can't help but gush to Scott about how wonderful these girls are. It's usually a much different conversation from the recaps I give over leftovers at 5pm... 

But here it is: I think my kids are marvelous. Which doesn't mean they are easy, just that I marvel at them. I marvel at Ruthie's chubby little hand signing "please." I marvel at Georgia picking up on the word predicament (pee-dic-a-mint).  I marvel at their combined powers of destruction. I marvel at how much Ruthie can eat and how they both love bleu cheese AND corn dogs. I marvel at their gentle kindness towards anyone smaller than themselves. I marvel at how fast Ruth can disappear if you're not paying attention for 3 seconds. I marvel at how many things Georgia CAN do by herself, not because I'm a good teacher, but because she is determined to be independent. I marvel at Ruth's sleeping profile, at Georgia's unwavering loyalty to her blankie and the color pink, at the fact that they both have opinions and needs that are specific to just them. I marvel that I am the one person on this earth who knows those opinions and needs best. I have been trusted with the two most marvelous, tiny people and I'm hoping to screw them up juuuuust enough that they will be funny but not enough to make them avoid coming home for Christmas. 

Sorry if this whole thing came off a little too gosh/golly/gee. 

I was just standing here all amazed and had to write it somewhere. 

7 Things I Am ALWAYS Passionate About

Carrie Chapman6 Comments

If you would like to get me riled up at any given moment, you begin a conversation with me about any of the following topics (in no particular order): 

1. Continued tolerance, understanding, and general open-mindedness concerning homosexuals- particularly in the LDS church. 

2. Pornography, modesty and the "good girls don't" mentality.

3. Who Katniss ends up with at the end of The Hunger Games.

4. The continued use of the words "retarded" and "gay" to describe something unsavory in 2014

5. Referring to a main character on a tv show or movie as "the black guy/girl." (Examples: "The black lady from Scandal" or "The black guy on Psych").

6. The notion that global warming is made up. 

7. Any reason given to not put your shopping cart away. 

I'm sure there is more that I'm forgetting, but off the top of my head those are the main things you won't be able to get me to shut about if they're brought up. 

What are yours? Poor Grammar (sorry)? The ending of How I Met Your Mother (I heard this was a big deal)? I'd love to hear them! 

Overheard at the Chapman House

Carrie Chapman1 Comment

Me: Dang! I spilled my cider! Now there's not much left and you're probably going to drink it all!
Georgia: Yeah. I am. ... But I'm sorry.

Georgia: Ruthie, say Georgia!
Ruthie: WHOA!
Me: That's about right. 

Georgia: (yelling through clenched teeth to Ruthie) I love you so much and it makes me SO MAD! You are SO CUTE! You UNDERSTAND ME?! 

Georgia (3 years old): I want to go to Costco
Me: There isn't a Costco in Vernal, Utah
Georgia: Why?
Me: I don't know! But I wish there was one!
Georgia: ... I know! I will ask Santa to build one for Christmas!

Georgia: (whispering in my face one morning) "Mom. The sun is up. So we have to see everything."

Georgia: I'm going to slide down this. 

Scott : You will fall.
Georgia: Why?
Scott: Because that's how physics works.
Georgia: Oh.

Georgia: "Mom! Ruthie is on the stairs! Get this freaking child!"

Non verbal: Scott was putting Ruthie to bed and she pulled her pajamas out of her drawer, handed them to him, and then walked into a wall. She couldn't have communicated "I'm tired" any better than that. 

Male church leader: "Come here hun!"
Georgia: "My name is NOT hun! It's GEORGIA."

Georgia: "You read me two books. Just three. Okay just five books, okay Mom?"

Georgia: I'm beautiful! 

Me: yes you are! And what better than being beautiful?
Georgia: a princess 
Me: and even better than being a princess?
Georgia: that Jesus thinks about me

Predictable Pumpkin Patch Post

Carrie Chapman2 Comments

Hooray for alliteration!

We found a little local farm near our house that had the cutest little pumpkin patch and the nicest farmer. It went as well as you would imagine a pumpkin patch trip with a 3 year old and 1 year old goes. Ruth kept hugging all of the pumpkins and saying "awe!" and Georgia couldn't decide what little pumpkin she wanted and what one Ruthie needed. 

We grabbed some fresh farm eggs on our way out and are determined to go back. 

Georgia-lina Ballerina

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After communicating with me very clearly that she needed a social outlet (aka throwing tantrums and destroying household objects), we signed Georgia up for ballet lessons and her first class was today.

Obviously, her favorite part about ballet is dressing like a ballerina.  

The classes are held at our rec center and they are nice enough to let the parents watch through the glass. I couldn't help but take some pictures but forgive the glass glare. I was doing my best to not be distracting

Heaven knows Georgia does not need any help in the distraction department. 

I don't know if she really learned anything, but she looked like she was having fun. Her teacher was so patient and kind. 

The little ballerinas seemed to really enjoy the "freeze" game they played. Georgia later told me that she liked the "fancy music." 

We got strawberry milkshakes and fries on our way home. To cement her new found ballerina fanciness, Georgia fell asleep in the most elegant way possible. 

Sleep on, ballerina.