The Dog Next Door

I have found. The cutest. Dog.

A puppy, actually. I have found the cutest puppy. I’ve been on the lookout for puppies… well, most of my life, to be honest. But especially so since I had a kid. I want this kid to be a dog person. And since his initial reaction to dogs was screaming in terror, I figure I need as many good, calm canine examples as I can find.

Fortunately, two of my neighbors have very good dogs who are happy to be approached by a tentative toddler. One of them even got him laughing the other day.

But this story is not about those dogs. It’s about the puppy next door. It’s the roundest, fluffiest, cutest little baby boof-dog I’ve ever seen. Apparently, it’s a Bernedoodle: cross between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle. And it’s freaking adorable.

Look at this little floof! This is not actually a picture of the neighbor’s puppy. The neighbor’s puppy is cuter than this one. But I don’t know said neighbor quite well enough to fangirl all over her dog without coming off creepy, so… Yeah.

So I wrote an entire blog post about him instead. Not creepy at all.

I now have motivation to get to know my neighbor better, though!



I’ve had a head cold lately, so I haven’t really wanted to get out and about. With a toddler, that means we’ve been stir-crazy. Actually, I haven’t. Just John. John has been stir-crazy. So yesterday I texted a neighbor and asked if John could come play. She said yes. We have good neighbors.

I went and dropped John off, then lay down to take a nap. About two minutes later, my phone rang. It was Ethan. He was sick at work and asked me to come pick him up.

Now, my husband does not easily admit that he’s sick. Certainly not to the point of leaving work. And certainly not to the point of asking someone else to come pick him up. And certainly not when that person doesn’t have a car available. I assumed I should hurry. Within a few minutes, I was driving toward Center Street in my upstairs neighbor’s car. (We have good neighbors.)

When I got to the bookstore, there was nobody at the desk. I started for the back office, wondering if he was in there, when I noticed the employees’ closet was open. I found him moaning on the floor in there. He had already lost his lunch in the bathroom once, and he had a garbage can next to him, just in case. I helped a few customers until one of his coworkers arrived to cover his shift, then loaded the mail-out packages into the neighbors’ car, helped Ethan outside, waited while he threw up in the back alley a few times, and drove him home with his sweater over his mouth, just in case he lost it again.

While this was happening, the alarm went off on my phone to go pick up John, so my neighbor could get to her daughter’s appointment. I parked the car in time for her to pass the baton (my child) to me, while Ethan went inside. John and I came in to find Ethan lying on the floor of he bathroom, shivering.

This worried me. The last time I saw Ethan like this, he ended up in the E.R. Which was frustrating, because they basically just gave him some Zofran, a little saline, and sent him on his merry way. (It was Valentine’s Day weekend, which was also frustrating.)

Anyways. Ethan told me to keep John away from him so he wouldn’t get sick, so we took the car keys back to the neighbors, who offered to go pick up our van later on (since Ethan obviously wasn’t in any shape to drive it home.) They also transferred the packages we needed to mail out to the back of our van. We have good neighbors.

We came home, Ethan took some medicine, threw it up, ate some bread, threw it up, and around hell-o-clock in the morning, asked the neighbors to come give him a priesthood blessing. They did. We have good neighbors.

Ethan fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning, lying on the floor, listening to my most soothing voice reading from The Catholic Catechism. It was the most boring book I could find. (Sorry, Catholics.)

With a good night’s sleep, Ethan stopped throwing up, but discovered that every time he stood up and tried to do something, his entire body shouted, “STOP!” So he’s been watching anime most of the day.

This morning, renewed by the realization that my common cold symptoms were way more functional than his flu symptoms, I took John out to run errands. We went to the post office, the bookstore, the Asian market (after he insisted on buying cookies to pay for his behavior at the bookstore), the United Way office, the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, and finally McDonalds—where he ate chicken nuggets, strawberry yogurt (in a tube!), and met the cutest little Samoan girl I have ever seen in my life*, who “helped” us play with his happy meal toy. The kid is lucky that arranged marriages aren’t a thing here. Because I already know who I’d be shipping him with. This girl was The Cutest.

So basically, we’re alright. Ethan’s recovering well, and taking care of himself. I’m recovering well, and about to collapse into bed. And John is recovering well from his flu shot, and collapsed on the way home from McDonald’s. He slept through a diaper change, a change of clothes, and most of the evening. He had a busy day.

*This is poorly written. She was not the cutest Samoan girl I’ve ever seen. She was the cutest girl of any background I have ever seen, and she was also Samoan. At least, I assume she was, because she looked Polynesian, and her very grumpy dad/grandpa/I-couldn’t-really-tell-under-all-that-winter-clothing was wearing a hat that said SAMOA on it in big letters. But I didn’t have a better way to say that without a huge run-on sentence. So here you go. A footnote.


Have you ever heard of Amish friendship bread?

It’s not really a bread. It’s more of a cake. Actually, I can’t call it a cake—I’ve only ever seen the end result once in my life. In my experience with Amish friendship bread, it’s just a bag of goo. A bag of goo that requires as much maintenance as a sorority girl.

Someone drops off this token of friendship (bag of goo), with a page of instructions. Full page. And the instructions are things like, “Day 1: squish bag.” Got it. “Day 2: throw bag in the air.” Okay. “Day 3: add flour.” I think I’m on day 3. I’ll add some flour. And maybe squish it, because I don’t know whether I missed a day or not. It’s not that hard, but by the time you’ve been through about a week, you feel like Day 17 is going to ask you to sacrifice your firstborn. You have to keep track of the bag of goo, how many days you’ve had the bag of goo, whether or not you’ve missed a day of tending the bag of goo… it’s like a baby. An ugly, slimy baby.

And here’s where they get you: Day 5 (or thereabouts) is “Divide starter in half and share with a friend!” They put that early on, before you’ve given up. So before you realize what horrible thing you’ve done, you give someone a bag that represents your friendship and then you both destroy it and never speak of it again. I hope your relationship wasn’t really riding on this bread. Cake. Whatever.

Now that I’ve ranted for an entire page about Amish friendship bread, let’s talk about something far less irritating and considerably less gooey: The Boo.


We got this sign on our doorstep with a bag of cookies almost a week ago. (The sign looked a little different, but I’m lazy and this is what Google gave me. You get the idea.) The gist is that we got a sign, some treats, and a set of instructions telling us to make two copies and doorbell-ditch treats to two other people within two days. Keep it going!

This is the chain letter of snacks. Which is good and bad. Good: snacks. Bad: chain letter. Fortunately, this chain letter doesn’t include any threats about your grandmother dying or losing the love of your life if you don’t forward it.

It’s actually a great idea. It gives you an opportunity to do something (sneakily) good for your neighbors, it gives you a chance to really spread around some Halloween spirit before the actual holiday. It means everybody gets snacks—which everybody loves!

But it still has some hidden strings to it. I mean, am I a bad neighbor if I ignore this? If I eat the cookies without fulfilling the requirements, is that stealing? I don’t know the actual rules for this sort of thing. And if I drop this off to someone who hates chain letters, will they be happy or irritated? It’s flattery followed up with guilt! Who do I send this to? I’m not mad—I just legitimately don’t know what to do with it at this point.


Alternative sign idea.

So here I am, feeling like some watered-down delinquent every time I see this (nicely laminated) sign staring at me, because I didn’t even put it on my door to let people know I’ve already been “booed.” (Because part of me really wants someone to give me some more cookies.) And since it’s already been over two days, is my contract up? Has the obligation hit an expiration date? Am I off the hook? Or am I going to Neighborhood Holiday Hell? (And what kinds of punishments happen there, I wonder?)

Here’s the thing: if you really like these, let me know. I have one. I’ll give it to you. I’ll even give you some snacks. I just want to know that you’ll enjoy it. And if you’re the person who gave this to us, please, please doorbell-ditch the recipe for those cookies. I sold my suburban cultural soul for those things. And they were 100% worth it. Best cookies I’ve ever eaten in my life. I may die at the hands of my mother for saying it, but it’s true. Those were amazing cookies. ♦

A Quick Review

So apparently, I haven’t posted on here since July. I have a perfectly reasonable explanation:

I’m lazy.

Well, now that’s off my chest, let’s review a few things that have happened in the past 3 months:

  • My baby boy is almost 2 years old. He is obsessed with Snoopy (“Doopy”) and socks. Also jumping.
  • We decided to buy a house – and then realized how much a house costs. We are now accepting donations. Joking. Kind of.
  • We bought Jonathan some new shoes. He loves them so much he’s started doing more athletic things. Also more jumping.
  • I watched a round sausage of a wiener dog come barreling across the street toward me, belly almost hitting the ground, while its owner stood on the porch and shouted, “Stop! Come back! You’re making a fool out of yourself!”
  • A bunch of my family members had babies! Yay for babies! They are all cute, of course. But not as cute as mine. Sorry.
  • Everyone went back to school except for me. Muah ha ha.
  • I signed up for a cooking class with a neighbor! Which means I now know how to make delicious pumpkin curry soup and rosemary shortbread (which is actually pretty delicious.)
  • I discovered that adult-sized onesies are apparently a thing now. This is not okay, America.
  • I also discovered the most delicious pot-stickers in Provo. CupBop. 3 dumplings for $2. Easily the best I’ve ever had.
  • Ethan got rejected for a management job because he didn’t have managing experience. When he asked how to get managing experience if nobody will hire him as a manager, the interviewer shrugged and said, “You’re stuck!”
  • Ethan got promoted to Assistant Manager.
  • Jonathan decided that “bean doup” (bean soup… aka warm beans in water) was not for him, despite having begged for them. Cold beans, however, are totally fine. Just not the soup.
  • I discovered I’m not half bad at making bread.
  • We watched the LDS General Conference, loved it, and heard almost half of it over the sound of a two-year-old playing with plastic cups.
  • Ethan set a goal to read the whole Book of Mormon this month, inspired by said conference. I set a goal to exercise and study something – because apparently that’s what I’m most motivated to do when I’m really inspired.
  • We also set goals for spooky Halloween reading. Ethan’s reading Dracula and Frankenstein, while I read Something Wicked This Way Comes, Macbeth, and a few short story collections. Ethan is rocking it. I am falling rather far behind.
  • I taught John to jump on crunchy leaves.
  • John fell off of two picnic benches (on different days), and landed on his head. No permanent damage.
  • We discovered tikka masala potato chips. Which led to our discovering tikka masala recipes. Indian food is so freaking delicious.
  • I cut my own hair. It took me about two hours, and it looks good enough to go out in public. Not good enough to escape mockery from a hairdresser friend, however. So…. 6/10. ♦

Morning Walk

I was in a bad mood this morning, and I decided to take a turn around the block to clear my head. My neighbor was watering the garden out back, but I didn’t really feel like talking, so I said hello and walked on by.

It was not to be. The local 7-year-old spotted me. For some reason, there aren’t many kids his age on our street, so he hangs out with the toddler next door. When the toddler’s not home, he sometimes just hangs around until somebody comes out of a house. He alternately claims to be 7 or 9, depending how old the other nearby kids are.

Anyways, he asked if I was going for a walk, and started following me. We saw a broken lightbulb on the street. He told me it reminded him of the time when he and his sister had a pet lightbulb named Roger, until his brother broke it. I was going to suggest he get a pet rock, but it took me a few seconds to get my composure; I didn’t want to laugh at his choice of pets. By that time, however, he’d moved on to announce that today was his birthday.

“Really? How old are you?” I asked.

“Seven,” he responded proudly.

“Wait a minute, I thought you were already seven!” I said, a little accusation in my voice. He was silent for a minute, so I bailed him out.

“Just today, then?”


I asked him if he was going to have a party or anything, and he said, “My mom’s probably going to get me a weird cake.”

I asked what made the cake so weird, but he changed the subject.

For about half a block, he just bounced a two-pronged stick against the sidewalk, shouting, “Boing! Boing! Boing!” Then we discussed the elastic properties of sticks.

I didn’t really get any time to myself, but I got a few good stories and conversation starters. Also, a bit of an ego boost: I’m apparently entertaining enough to keep a conversation with a 7-year-old. This gives me hope for my son’s future. Maybe I can be a cool mom, at least until he gets to middle school. ♦

A Tiny Opera

Yesterday, I was sick. When Ethan left for work, I was feeling a little queasy. Five minutes after Ethan left for work, I put the baby down for a nap and went to throw up.

And up. And up and up and up. I threw up everything I could possibly have had in my stomach, and peed my pants just for fun. Apparently, I still haven’t quite gotten my bladder control back since having the baby.

I crawled back into bed with a bucket, got up twice more to retch, and finally texted my upstairs neighbor to see if she would feed Jonathan when he woke up. She readily agreed, and that’s when things got really funny.

Her baby is about two weeks older than Jonathan – and apparently, he’s a sympathetic crier. John woke up to find a strange, not-Mom in his room, and started crying. My neighbor tried to soothe him, and shoveled applesauce into his mouth, hoping it would calm him down. The high-pitched screaming turned into high-pitched gurgling.

Then her baby started up, with his low, grunting yell. Every time my baby stopped to breathe, he contributed his rough baritone, and the two sounded like a duet of tiny desperation. In the middle of the cacophony, my neighbor’s phone rang, and she put her sister on speaker-phone to sing a song to the babies. The crying stopped for a few minutes, then started back up again.

I lay in my bed, laughing weakly as I tried to hold down my cookies and listened to two grown women trying to calm down two crazed babies (one of whom was still gurgling through a mouthful of applesauce.) I think I owe my neighbor some cookies, or something. How in the world do some women handle twins? ♥

And the Floods Came Up…

This morning was interesting.

Ethan’s alarm went off at 5am, but happily, Ethan had the day off today, and he just turned the alarm off. Unhappily, I felt like a donkey had kicked me in the small of the back. I have no idea why, but apparently pregnancy means you should not sleep on your back. I had fallen asleep that way and slept most of the night with steadily growing back pain. It took me an enormous effort to get onto my side and curl up, and the pain in my back eventually died down enough for me to fall asleep again.

Several hours later, Ethan got up because he heard knocking at the door. Nobody was there anymore, but after a few minutes, he tried to turn on the water and found we had zero water pressure. Not good. So he went to check with the neighbors in the studio apartment next to us. Apparently, our neighbor had gotten up early to discover his kitchen floor was wet around the door to the laundry room. When he opened the door, a wave of water came flooding through his apartment. The water heater had exploded – or at least, there was a sizable hole in it, and the laundry room had accumulated nearly 12 inches of water.

Fortunately, our neighbor is competent and clear-headed, and quickly shut off the water valve to the whole house. Also fortunately, our manager is much more proactive than our past management, and we had the problem fixed by noon. In the meantime, Ethan kindly massaged my lower back until the pain went away. No lasting damage to apartment or body. Just small-scale adventure. ♦