Peter Pan, Two Minutes In The Life

Pan The Man, 
an artful exhibit of Photo and Prose. 

I Pete, 
Therefore, I Pan.

Hello! And behold as I scratch my chin in masterful strokes!
Do you not admire this view of my very manly parts?

Do you not appreciate my lithe form as I scratch mine ears?

And, I rest.

What, pray tell, are you staring at?

Behold! I come when I am called! For I am certain this man hath treats!

Pay attention to me as I bring hither yon toys, woman of the species! 

I command unto you, that ye shall play with me!


Do I not sit like a champion?
Do you not admire my very whiteness and fluff?
Will you not throw it already?

Behold my indecision! 
The Orange Ball? The Pink Cone Thing? 

She threw it!



The Woozy Doozy

a dramatic photo for a dramatic story

Well, the good news is, I passed out at an Anthropologie.

But the bad news is, I passed out at an Anthropologie.

And it turns out I was fine, of course. Though seriously embarrassed. And do I now have to turn in my "Totally Awesome At Being Pregnant" card?

I'll really miss that.


Let's Hear It For The Holbs

My dearest little husband is having the time of his life these days. The time of his life! Allow me to explain!

First, there is the matter of the World Cup. I have lost my husband to the World Cup. He is dead to me. Lost to World Cup Heaven. I am a World Cup Widow but I will say, it is not that bad.

Every four years my Holbshusband disappears off this earthly plane, choosing instead to wander the bizarre off-hours schedule of the FIFA's designating. When I am asleep he is rooting for North Korea, and when I am awake he is trudging about grumpily in his lack of sleep.

The Holbsbeckham has set up a manly soccer campsite on the sofa (making 4:30AM kickoffs easier on the internal body clock, I suppose), and the dogs dutifully follow his testosterone lead, leaving me all the bed to myself. Glorious! Leg room!

I do miss his manly presence, but when you have a husband in soccer heaven there is suddenly so much more room on the bed for your body pillows (who are both named Ryan Reynolds), and what could be wrong with that? The Ryans and I have wonderful times together without extra bodies to interrupt. Some nights I think if I wish it hard enough one of the Ryans will grow arms for back tickles.

Some mornings I awake bleary eyed and confused to the sound of The Holbs shouting inane things at the television at 5AM. Things like, "OH MAN!" and "REF! REF!" and "RED CARD!" to which I shout back, "TOO EARLY!" causing the dogs to become all curious and sniff at the bedroom door, as if to say, Who is this person behind this door with the somewhat familiar scent? And should I remember her?

I mean, I just wonder what these dogs think is going on, is all.

Blah blah blah, soccer soccer soccer.

(But I would much rather lose my husband to soccer than to golf. Golf practically only exists to be a vehicle for male enhancements and Buick commercials, and that is gross. Maybe don't get me started on this.)

Then, there is the matter of the carpet stretcher guy.

The carpet stretcher guy came by early Monday morning. Having a carpet stretcher guy in our house allowed The Holbs to ask every question his little heart ever desired to ask about the fairer of our flooring options. (Which, weirdly, is a lot.)

The husband has a long-standing love for the carpets in our home. He steam cleans them monthly. He loves nothing more than dumping out that brown water and exclaiming, "Look at how much dirt I got up!" The minute the carpets have dried and the furniture is back to its usual locations, The Holbs is eyeing the fuzzy flooring, waiting and wishing and hoping for something to spill, something to send him back to the Safeway steamer rental and his jumbo-sized jug of carpet cleanser.

Possibly it is a sickness. The carpet and the tub caulking, (another time), these are just the things The Holbs loves most in our house.

And so, the carpet stretcher guy showed up and The Holbsy's soul drifted off to carpet heaven.

"How long have you been stretching carpets?" The Holbs asked with awe in his voice.

Ka-thunk, ka-thunk.

"Oh, twenty years."


"Wow! You must be really good at this! What's that tool called?"

"Uh, it's called a carpet stretcher."


"So, can you just buy one of those things at the hardware store?"


Ka-thunk, ka-thunk.


Before long The Holbs was on his hands and knees, inspecting tools and soaking up all that the master had to offer. Eventually The Holbs straightened up, smoothed out his pants, and asked, "What do I owe you?"

The check is signed, firm handshakes exchanged, and The Holbs is left to quietly ponder his carpeted kingdom.

"I think I'm going to go rent a steam cleaner," he announces. "Want to come with?"

So I say yes. Because aren't wives supposed to want to go to heaven with their husbands? I am pretty sure that's how that works.


What I Learned From My Dad

Growing up I had my head absolutely filled with pearls of wisdom thanks to my dear old dad. "Never trust a Kevin Costner fan" is one that I may forever regret ignoring, Brandon.

The only problem is, I can only seem to recall one nugget of fatherly advice with any regularity, and it is hardly terribly useful.

When I was 18 and driving to BYU for the first time, my dad handed down to me this sage advice: Don't go to Pocatello!

It seems that when one is Utah-bound on the I-84, there is not one, but two opportunities in which to accidentally find one's self heading to Pocatello. I can only imagine the sinking feeling one might encounter upon reaching what one expected to be the Salt Lake Valley, only to find that one is actually nowhere instead. So every time I made the 11-hour drive back to school for the start of a new semester, I would receive a phone call from my dad at about the 8-hour mark.

"Remember, don't go to Pocatello!" he would say. And I would say, "Thanks, Dad."

To this day I have never been to Pocatello. Isn't that sad for me?

Here's another Randy Lovin classic: "Four-wheel-drive will help you go, but it won't help you stop."

Recently I drove the long, winding 11-hours to get down to Salt Lake City. About eight hours in as I passed the first of two opportunities to accidentally wind up in Pocatello, I heard my father's voice loud and clear in my ears.  "Don't go to Pocatello!"  So then I shouted, "Don't go to Pocatello!" Which was incredibly satisfying.

So sometimes now I say it randomly, just because. Why not? is what I figure.

I have come to regard it as some kind of Life Clue. Surely there is deeper meaning in it somewhere? If I find it, will I unlock some secret of life?

Could Pocatello be a metaphor for Hell?

"Stay on the strait and narrow, and Don't Go To Pocatello?"

"The road to Pocatello is paved with good intentions?"

That's not it.

Maybe it is about avoiding temptation?  I did a Google search, and it turns out Pocatello is full of delightfully tempting and fascinating things to do. For example, visiting the Standrod Mansion, which calls "the most beautiful building in town."

Happy Fathers Day anyway, old man.

Your #1 Daughter


I Have Still Never Had A Helmer Burger!

The weather forecast this morning said a high of sixty-five, followed by days and days of rain. We decided a hike was in order.

We stopped for some gas and a stick of Hubba Bubba and then we blew outta town. We looked at trees and stepped over roots and climbed up very steep hills and blew giant bubble gum bubbles, and we walked past a group of confused German tourists wearing bike shorts.

And now I will tell you about how we saw a baby bear.

Well, we saw a baby bear. He was right there on the gravel road on the way out of the trailhead parking lot. He was kind of big and cuddly looking, only you know he wasn't really, and he was literally feet from the trail, and suddenly our whole hiking experiment took on a rather dangerous and exciting tenor, because we could have almost died!

And then while Brandon held my hand so I wouldn't trip on any rocks we talked about possible names for the baby. I think we just about got it.


On The 95 North

We were on the road headed to Pullman to visit the Palouse's one available ultrasound machine. And also pertinent to this story is that I had a very full bladder.

We arrived at the doctor's office right on time and I tripped on the stairs (Natalie's sense of balance = completely gone).

One thing nobody told me to expect was how warm that ultrasound gel would be. It squirmed my skin, and then the fetus gave a resounding kick, as if to say, let's get this party started already.

First we caught a glimpse of the fetus with one arm resting on his head. That maneuver, the forearm on the head, that is a Holbsclassic. It is how his arm behaves whenever he does anything.

As the scan continued, moving down the railroad tracks of his spine, pausing to take still images of his stomach, his heart, and his cute little kidneys, the fetus decided to wow us with a beautiful showcase of the hiccups.

And then we saw the waving flag of masculinity! And The Holbs stood just a little taller!

Later that day we were on the road again heading home after splitting an Effie's burger the size of a dinner plate with our friends the Carmans. The Holbs drove slower than your grandpa on date night. I was staring at one of the ultrasound images.

I was pondering his cute little face, when suddenly I realized that the baby has my head. Flat on top, round through the back, with a short, wide forehead.  

I took a photo and texted it to my mother.

Mom, who does this look like to you?

Within seconds my mother had texted back,

OMG, it's a Lovin! 

(Yes, "OMG." Who is this woman who is my mother?)  

I analyzed that little head in the car for what felt like hours, its familiarity and its foreignness, memorizing every curve of his head, his face, his teeny little arms and teeny little legs, searching for the "us" in him. And then suddenly I wasn't looking at a fetus at all. Suddenly I was looking at a person. 

My person. 

And I knew him. I knew it so hard and so fast that it took my breath right out of my chest.

I knew that he was mine.

Best drive on the 95 north I've ever taken.


Drum Roll Please . . .

You should see Brandon's swagger.

(It's a boy!)


Dear Twenty Weeks: I Would Like To Make Out With You

So, it turns out there is a real live person in there,
and I know its gender!


Save Me, Kathleen Kelly!

I decided to turn my planning brain on today and spent a startling amount of time researching flights to DC (holy expensive!), neighborhoods in DC, crime rates, Metro lines, and apartment listings to try and wrap my head around the next four months of my life. It was a really bad idea. I am overwhelmed. I don't know when we're going, or even if we're going, but we go we have to be there by August.

I am generally pretty good at putting together a new life under especially silly circumstances, but these hormones are just messing with me right now and I am pretty sure I am going to die.

Obviously tonight is a You've Got Mail night. It's all I got when the world is ending. Something about that dreamy Greg Kinnear (thank your!) and the dancing hot dog seem to fix even the most unfixable problems, I have found.

In the meantime, I am turning my brain back OFF.


Betsy My Love

We've sold our dear Betsy the Flying Potato. The Holbs put a sign on her window and less than six hours later, after four inquiries and three test drives, Betsy was betrothed to a baseball playing Moscow High senior. Oh but my dear heart breaks.

The Holbs has decided to call our street corner the "Corner of Magic," as the last time he put something out for sale (our old rickety treadmill of terror, may she rest in peace) it was sold in under 30 minutes. But, why not our house then? Question mark?

Well. What is there to say about dear Betsy? We bought her four years ago. The Holbs took her on many romantic outings to the dump, to the recycling center, and to rent carpet cleaners from the Safeway. She was so good to our little family, and now she is going to be some hot guy's make-out-mobile.

I am sure she is thrilled, the dirty girl.


And Two Boxes Of Cocoa Puffs

Exciting things to report today from the house of the Nat-Holbs!

Today I bought seventeen boxes of cereal at a 13-hour cereal sale.

13-hour cereal sale! It was announced on the radio last week, and I got so excited that I actually pulled the car over over to the side of the road so I could write it down. Thursday: BUY CEREAL.

And anyway, why 13 hours?

It really takes a 13-hour cereal sale to remind a girl how grateful she is to finally be pregnant, on account of a cereal sale in any other physical condition would be scandalous. Because what would I do with seventeen boxes of cereal if I were trying to stay skinny? Because cereal is my downfall.

The 13-hour cereal sale was hysterical. You enter the store with your cart, proceed to the giant pile of cereals stacked on pallets, circle slowly about the giant pile of cereals with the multitudes of other cereal shoppers, grab whatever looks good, realize you need to go around again for more of X Y or Z, and etc. It was a magnificent carousel of cereal! And then you go, "But do I really need four boxes of Mini Wheats?" (Probably.)

And then there are just seventeen boxes of cereal sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for someflappingbody to give them some attention.

Naturally, I sat on the couch instead and surveyed my puppies after a long day of accomplishing things and being pregnant in places.

Barney was giving me his wonk-eye from the floor, and Peter was investigating my laptop charger, sniffing it closely and then jumping back as if it could possibly karate chop him in the nose if he wasn't careful. And I thought, these are not normal dogs. What are we doing wrong here?

I turned my attention to the dumb one.
"Barney," I said, staring deeply into his eyes and holding his black beard firmly in my fist,
"Barney, you are sort of stupid, and you do really weird things, and people like to laugh at you. I am sorry to tell you this, but you get that from your mother."

Then I looked at Peter, who was making a very cross face at the couch cushion.
"Peter, you're a little rude and grouchy sometimes, and you tend to make people feel inferior, and sometimes you have no patience with your stupid brother Barney. You get that from your father."

And then I scratched their respectively stupid and self-righteous ears, and I thought about my day, and then I realized that, should my dogs be any real indication, this charming fetus of mine, for which I am about to eat a gazillion bowls of cereal, is totally in for it.


Adventures With Boys

It all started in the kitchen. 

"You should totally check this out," Brandon said, and then there was his forearm, a nasty red welt, and an angry red line angling upward to his heart. There I was minding my own cute little business, rinsing off a Granny Smith and slicing some cheese, when suddenly my husband was about to die. And hey wait a minute! I'm knocked up here! My dating prospects are about to be super limited! How am I supposed to snag me a rich second husband in this condition?

"I wonder if it was a spider bite?"  he mused, completely unconcerned that I am no longer a hottie and that I will have to find me a catch using just my sparkling personality.
And then I rolled my eyes.
"Do you know the last thing I need right now is for you to die on me? You are going to QuickCare."
"It's probably nothing."
"Get in the car."
"Maybe it's a pimple?"
"Okay! Only if you come with me."
And then I rolled my eyes again. But also I was really excited because, Adventure!

On the way to the QuickCare The Holbs took two wrong turns, because he is a spiritual driver, meaning he goes where ever the spirit moves him, which usually is in the wrong direction. And then he has to turn around and say, "I don't know why I'm going this way?" as if it is some grand mystery. The grand mystery is why I ever let him drive places to begin with, but you know, redheads live by their own special rules.

"Why did I turn here?" The Holbs asked in the UHaul parking lot while I stole a quick peek at his suspicious infection.
"You know, that's definitely a problem," I said in my best Mom voice. (It's getting really good!) "You're probably going to need a prescription for an antibiotic. Hey, maybe we'll get to go to the Walmart after this!"
And then I did a little dance in my seat, because, whatever, entertainment is entertainment.
And then The Holbs rolled his eyes.
And then we were there.

We walked through the glass doors to the reception area and I put my hand on my Holbs shoulder and told the nice lady behind the counter,
"This is my husband. I think he was bitten by something. He has streaks,"
to which the nurse nodded her head and said,
"That will be a $20 copay."
I paid and signed while The Holbs shuffled his feet on the carpet sheepishly.
What is is about doctors that turn grown men into little boys?
What is it about little boys that is so infectious unto me?
Red-streaks-toward-my-heart type infectious?

The waiting room audio system played "A Whole New World" and I got to practice my stellar skillz in the fine art of lip synching to my captive audience, The Holbsfection, who sat there and scratched his arm helplessly.
Then I looked around the room for something to do.
"Hey, don't touch anything, you'll get the baby sick," The Holbs admonished as the doctor led him into the bowels of the QuickCare monster.

Twenty minutes and a few aimless text messages later
"What's taking you so long in there, Spiderman?"
The Holbs returned.

"Well, we definitely get to go to Walmart," he announced.
Then I did an I Told You So dance, and you know what you would too.

While the pharmacist pushed buttons and looked exasperated with current technology, I suddenly became aware that I had my Holbsy's FULL ATTENTION.  Attention is like a drug unto me, potent and not to be mixed with heavy machinery. And then I found myself performing silly-type things under the blue-green gaze of my Holbslover, wiggling around a little and batting my eyelashes ferociously and letting my stream-of-consciousnesses erupt out of me like a giggling volcano. When my Holbshunk looks at me I just turn weird, is all there really is to it. I was starting to feel ultra cute and interesting when the pharmacist announced it would be twenty-five minutes, and I realized I could wander the cereal aisle and inspect the $5 movie bin WITH MY HUSBAND, and that HE COULDN'T RUSH ME OUT, because TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES IS A FINITE SPACE OF TIME, and suddenly I was really quite pleased with this little Adventure we were on.  You would be too, you know, if you were me and you lived in Moscow (pray that never happens).


We analyzed the new Willy Wonka chocolate bars in the candy aisle.
We pondered the Justin Bieber and admired Robert Pattinson's lipstick in the poster aisle.
We played a little volleyball with the giant bouncy balls aisle.
Brandon asked me if I could swing hula hoop very well and you know what? I can't.
I asked him for his opinion on a brown leather bicycle seat, he said "Very Nice!"
We pushed buttons on the plastic Buzz Lightyears in the toy aisle.
I momentarily lost Brandon to a giant pair of big screens and watched his eyes glaze over in pure, manly bliss.
And then I locked eyes with a body pillow and heard heavenly choirs of sleepy angels.

Twenty-five minutes later, there I sat on the pharmacy bench with my five-foot body pillow while The Holbs entered birth date information and paid for his drugs.
"Ooh! Should I have my blood pressure tested?" I asked.
"No." The Holbs is so authoritative when he is infected by bug bites or possible arm pimples.

Just then two little boys wandered into my sights and one of them fell deeply in love with me. He was about three, with a devastatingly exotic complexion and two deep black pools for eyes. I gave him a little smile, and he blushed a deep rose.

"Hi," he said shyly, kicking the linoleum floor with one toe.
"Hi," I said back, completely smitten.
Then I waved at him. I was totally flirting.
His parents rushed him off, but not before I heard him call out to me,
"Thank you!"
Which was puzzling.

"That little boy just fell in love with me," I told my Holbsy, who had seen the whole thing go down but should really be reminded every now and then what a saucy little minx he's got. And then I smiled, because even though my Holbsy wasn't about to die, at least I still got it with the five-and-under crowd.

I mean, at least I still got it.