Thursday, September 27, 2012

Prepare to Be Grossed Out

Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012Bugfest 2012

Michael was fearless.

Eli ate around the bugs.

Cole was enthusiastic (despite the awesome face in the last picture).

I swore I wouldn't partake this year, but they talked me into it.

Rylan said, "Uh uh, no way."

BONUS PHOTO: Rylan again saying, "Uh uh, no way."
bugfest 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


One day while talking to my mom about Cole's temper, I mentioned how I'd been trying to help him by telling him about the temper I had as a kid. My mom said, "You had a temper when you were a kid? I don't remember that."

When I told my sisters what my mom had said, they laughed really hard.

roller skating

Recently, I was looking back through the archives on this blog, and I came across this picture of Rylan from the time we went roller skating as a family. That day is not high on our list of good family memories. In fact, thanks to a couple of complainers who shall remain nameless, it was a pretty miserable experience, and I may have declared as we left the roller rink that I was never taking the kids roller skating again. (Or was that the time we went bowling...)

This wasn't the first time I've looked at that photo since the day it was taken, but it was the first time I've looked at it and thought something besides, "That was such a rotten afternoon." Apparently the bad memories have faded enough over time that I could finally look at this picture and see how adorable Rylan is in it.

When it comes to our children, it seems like we are hard-wired to remember the good and forget the bad - given enough distance. Enough time passes, and we forget the pain of childbirth, the sleepless days and nights of infancy, and the terrible tantrums of toddlerhood. Instead, our minds hone in on the little pockets of joy and magnify them until that's all we see.

It's an amazing mind trick, and one I am very grateful for.

Two weekends ago, the Peters Family Band headed downtown for our annual bug-eating experience. Bugfest is a tradition we've enjoyed ever since moving to Raleigh, but this year because our kids' morning routine was interrupted or because they were in a grumpy mood or simply because one of them is seven, it was one of the worst days we've had in a long time.

I imagine that for awhile, I'll look at those pictures and remember first the complaining and the grumbling and the fighting and how by 3:00 that day, I had checked out as a parent because I was simply exhausted. But in time, all of that will fade, and I'll remember the fun we had daring each other to eat bugs and how scared Rylan was to go through the giant blow-up caterpillar but how he did it in the end.

And someday, one of my kids will say to me on the phone, "Your grandson is driving us crazy. We try to take him somewhere fun and all he does is complain. I remember acting just like that as a kid."

And I'll say, "You complained a lot when you were a kid? I don't remember that."

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Letter from Cole

All of the kids in Cole's class wrote letters for their parents to find at the school open house. This was Cole's:
Dear Mom,

I am awesome! Aidan is awesome! Wolfie is awesome! Kevin is awesome! Homework stinks!

I get extra recess on Friday. I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE MISSING VAULT OF MONEY! (sorry!) I am excited! My desk is very neat.

There is something called the desk fairy. It gives us treats. But only if our desks are neat. My favorite subject is reading.



letter from Coleletter from Cole

Best letter ever! I wanted to turn to the parent next to me and say, "My kid's letter is better than yours."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Alley Gene

raingutter regatta

One of the very worst things about being a parent is the moment you realize that your children have inherited your worst qualities, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Cole has my temper. Rylan is stu-u-u-u-born. And Eli is an Alley.

Eli has been having a hard time adjusting to the return to school. Somehow, he ended up in a class without any of the friends he made over the past two years. I suggested that he try making some new friends. He gave me a gloomy look. I said, "Find someone you might want to make friends with, and try to talk to them."

His already big eyes grew even bigger. Talk to them?

I immediately recognized what he was feeling. You see, we Alleys are not much for talking. If you hit on the right subject, we have plenty to say, but in general, talking is a waste of breath. We like to be doing the things we like to do, not talking about them, and often we have trouble coming up with something to say.

For most of my life, this quality has been a major crutch. Most people like to talk. If you don't like to talk, it's hard to make friends. First dates are utter misery. Social gatherings are extremely awkward. Don't even get me started on high school.

At 33 years old, I still dread small talk. I can do it if I have to, but it doesn't come naturally to me. It's something I had to learn, and I've often thought that my life would have been so much easier if I'd been able to learn it sooner - if someone had sat me down as a child and said, "This is how you start a conversation and make friends."

So I did just that with Eli. I told him that I know talking isn't fun, but you can't make friends to do things with until you've learned what they like to do, and that means you have to talk to them. I said that the easiest way to have a conversation with someone is just to keep asking questions. Then I made him start a conversation with me and try to keep it going. Finally, I said, "Tomorrow, I'm going to ask you who you talked to, so don't forget."

The next day when I picked him up from school, he reminded me right away. "Today I talked to Felix," he reported.

"What did you talk about?" I asked.

"What he likes to do."

"What does he like to do?"

Eli sheepishly admitted, "Actually, we didn't talk. We just played together."

At least I'll be able to empathize with him when he goes on his first date.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Addition to the Peters Family Band

new xylophonenew xylophonenew xylophonenew xylophone

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dear random Mormon person...

Dear random Mormon person who feels the need to make politically-charged comments at church,

It annoys me when you assume that all Mormons share the same political beliefs. (We do not.)

It drives me crazy when you imply that I am going to hell if I vote for a Democrat or that the Democratic party is bringing about the destruction of mankind. (Frankly, I could make the same argument about Republicans, though I never do and never would.)

When you say these things at Enrichment Meeting or play group or book club or on Facebook, I am willing to turn the other cheek (or unsubscribe to your Facebook posts). You're a nice person, I'm a nice person. It's no biggie to let those comments roll right off my back.

But for heaven's sake, if you can't leave your politics at home on Sundays, I am going to have start taking drastic action.

A few possibilities:
  • Loud, rude coughs
  • Hysterical laughter
  • Commenting, "I think that part might have been left out of my scriptures."
  • Getting some buttons made that say "I'm a Democrat" and wearing them to church every Sunday. Or maybe t-shirts.
I would hate to have to resort to any of these options because personally, I just don't think that politics belong at church. I am there to worship my Savior, to feel the Spirit, and to fellowship in love with my brothers and sisters. It would be really awesome if you would leave politics out of it.


Your friendly Mormon Democrat

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Music Lessons: I Was Totally Destroying It

A local band with a bit of an 80s sound, I Was Totally Destroying It is one of the most entertaining bands I've ever seen live. If you have a chance, go.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Love Letter to Michael

I wrote this post for Father's Day (the same night I wrote this post) but never published it because I wanted to get a picture of me and Michael together. Unfortunately, I am behind the camera 98% of the time and the other 2%, Michael is behind the camera, so who's going to take a picture of both of us together? If I had my brother's skills, I would photoshop me and Michael into one photograph. Instead, I'm publishing it without a photograph because it's nice and shouldn't be languishing away in the drafts folder.


I hope when people read this blog, they think, "Michael and Erin have a very playful relationship, and it's obvious that Erin is completely smitten with her husband." And not, "Michael and Erin sure argue a lot."

Before I married Michael, I was a dedicated journal writer. I needed to write. It was how I expressed my emotions, where I shared my deepest thoughts. I have notebook after notebook of high school and college experiences, recorded in such detail that I can use them as reference books for my life. But unfortunately, it seems that I was mostly inspired to write when I felt bad. If someone else were to go back and read my journals, they would assume that I was a severely depressed person with a pitiful life. (But that would only be half the story. I was happy sometimes, I swear I was!)

Nowadays, this blog plays the role of journal, both as a place to record my experiences and a way to explore my thoughts. (And a way to soothe that writing itch. I still need to write.) But one day, it occurred to me that I am often inspired to write after Michael and I have had a disagreement and that if someone else were to go back and read this blog from the beginning to today, they might assume that Michael gets on my nerves constantly and we don't get along very well.

I decided that it would behoove me to sit down and write a post where I said something nice about my husband. So I took a trip down memory lane and came up with a whole bunch of perfect memories that are none of your business, thank you very much. And then I wrote a love letter to Michael. It is so beautiful, I teared up as I was writing it. You don't get to read it.

I like to tease Michael. It is one of my greatest joys in life. I am also completely and totally smitten.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Tradition

Chimney Rock

For the second year in a row, we headed west for our Labor Day weekend. After two years at the same campground beside the same beautiful river at the base of the same gorgeous mountain, I am qualified to say that the area around Chimney Rock and Lake Lure is one of the greatest places on earth and you should definitely go. In fact, you are welcome to join us next Labor Day weekend as it has been suggested that we should make this a tradition.

Mom and Dad, if you bring the rain canopy, we'll bring the inner tubes.

Chimney Rock

One of our fellow campers was standing stones like this one upright on the boulders. It was amazing.

Another fun memory: the folks in the cabin across the river decided one evening to build a bonfire and burn anything and everything, including a pile of green foliage, some plywood sheets, and the latticework from the side of their deck. It was both entertaining and slightly frightening.

Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock

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