Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas


That was fun.

Really really fun.

Clark and I got each other the same thing (how embarrassing)- a house! And the boys, they had a blast. Teichert probably would have been happier if I had wrapped up a box of candy canes and gave him those instead of gifts. Booker, on the other hand, loved everything he got- especially the new trampoline. Evidence here. No, he didn't get a rubber duckie (he already has one, a pirate rubber duckie in fact.) Besides, a few weeks ago he changed his story and started asking for a "Star Wars."

We set the trampoline up in the dark on Christmas Eve. It was cold. I had to wear a light jacket and I think I saw my breath at one point. Afterwards we had fun with the camera and a long exposure. I told Clark to make a star and this is what he came up with. Looks like someone failed preschool. Can you believe this guy passed the bar? Yikes :)

Anyways, Christmas really was magical but I'm sure glad it's over. Now, it's the week of birthdays- Marie's and Clark's. Happy Birthday (today) to my all time favorite sister. Since I dropped the ball and didn't make a photo montage, I'll just have to refer you back to last year's. Watching that really reminds me how much I've loved growing up with you, Marie. Let's grow down together too.

And Clark your birthday isn't until next week, but you're not going to get off that easily. Watching yours reminds me that I'm one incredibly lucky woman. And also, Ike looks just like you!!! Which is perfect because he likes you better anyways. You may not be able to draw stars, but you promised to try and build me a sandbox which is a million times better. Plus the only thing you asked for was a set of chef knives, which seems more like a birthday present for me. Seriously? A husband who ENJOYS cooking? I'll take it. I'll take it for forever and always. Happy Birthday, love!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Christmas Yearbook

One of my favorite Proffitt Christmas traditions is the Family Yearbook. Every year, each family submits a page that sums up their year. And every year, the bar gets raised higher as each family gets more and more creative. It's gotten to the point that everyone gripes about having to submit a page because every single fun and clever thing has been done already- from comic strips to crossword puzzles to I Spy pages.

With 11 talented families and many years running, there's not a lot of room left to be original. But despite all the complaining and occasional talk of abandoning the tradition all together, everyone usually pulls through and submits a page. And I'm so glad they do, because I really love this tradition. I married into one seriously accomplished and witty family. I'm looking forward to reading their pages almost as much as Booker is looking forward to Christmas morning.

And now I'm going to totally break tradition and reveal my Christmas page early. My friend Carly sent a little quiz about her family with her Christmas card this year and I liked her idea so much that I copied it. Thanks Carly! And a big thank you to my friend Cherise (and her amazing ability to find cool old trucks) for our family photos which I love love love.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Click to enlarge

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Welcome to our New Neighborhood

Where we bus in our snow for fun

and Santa arrives on a tractor.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pet Display Clothing

It's that time of year again! Time to make a silly shirt to give to everyone at Clark's office. The patents in the running this year were pretty absurd- one included a tricycle with a lawnmower attachment on the back because well you know... kids, they're cute and all but what can they do?

But the winning patent for the Hayes Soloway 2009 Christmas T-shirt is this little gem (and I believe we have Rob to thank for finding it)...

Pet Display Clothing

Make custom t-shirts at

For a better view...

That's right, put your gerbils on proud display every time you leave the house. My favorite part? The huge grin on that man-woman's face. I'd be grinning too if I looked that cool.

Now that's intellectual property worth protecting or at the very least, putting on a t-shirt.

Catching Up

This time of year is crazy, right? Right. Absolute madness around here. But I'm going to take a break from licking envelopes and agonizing what to buy everyone for Christmas to share a few things I've learned:

- Prescott is a winter wonderland right now.
- Three-year-olds LOVE to go sledding. More on that here.
- Boy do I love my sister.
- Having the stomach flu as you drive from Prescott to Tucson really stinks.
- Cameras are not allowed in Kartchner Caverns which is a shame because they are stunning.
- Going to Kartchner Caverns with your photographer Grandpa is embarrassing because he will complain to everyone and everything (including thousand year old bat guano) that you can't take photos.
- It will be fun nonetheless!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Be Careful what you Blog about...

Because the Arizona Cancer Center will track you down and write you a really nice apologetic email about your single bad experience and offer to rectify the situation. And then you will feel embarrassed about complaining in such a public forum and also a little freaked out. How did they find my blog? Software that scans the net for any mention of their center? A blog reader who moonlights as a janitor at the ACC?

I don't know... but if you choose to be a squeaky wheel, you're going to get greased.

Oh and I called back this morning and got a appointment no problem!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving Pains

Guess what? I moved!

And things are hectic and crazy and disorganized and emotional. And all I want to do is go to the zoo with the boys but I can't. I have to unpack and de-clutter and make important decisions about where things will hang on the wall and not cry. There's so much to do... I just don't know where to start. Here's my to-do list in no particular order:

Right now the crawling-into-a-box option is looking good to me. Particularly after this afternoon when I tried to follow up on a referral with a breast oncologist. Here's the phonecall that broke the camel's back:

Me: Hi, my OB/GYN referred me to see Dr. Soandso and I wanted to make an appointment.
Witchy Receptionist: Ok, why are you being seen by Dr. Soandso?
Me: Well, I just found out I have the breast cancer gene and my OB/GYN thought I should see a breast cancer specialist to coordinate all the screening stuff...
WR: You do realize this is the Arizona Cancer Center, right? Dr. Soandso only sees people who actually have cancer. I don't think Dr. Soandso is the right doctor for you to see. Maybe you should check in with your general practitioner or your mailman or something.
ME: FINE! Then I'll come back when I actually HAVE CANCER and kick you in the shins. Really super hard.

Just kidding. I wasn't rude with her even though she spoke to me like I was an idiot and refused to schedule my appointment. Instead I told her I'd have my OB/GYN get in touch with them again to clear things up.

And then I hung up the phone and cried and cried and cried. Mostly because I was worried that she was right. Dr. Soandso probably has more than enough actual cancer patients, she doesn't need some young 25-year-old whining in her ear about a disease she doesn't even have (the receptionist actually said, "you're only 25, why are you worrying about this?")

Then I stopped crying and realized one thing.

That witchy receptionist is an idiot.

The National Health Institute guidelines recommend that BRCA carriers begin screening at age 25. I'm young, but not too young to start. They also recommend that the screening be done at a facility that has a breast MRI machine. Something that I doubt exists at my general practitioner's office. (Plus, I don't even have a general practitioner.)

I'm pretty sure the Arizona Cancer Center sees non-cancer patients all the time. In fact, they have an entire High Risk Program within their breast cancer clinic. Maybe Dr. Soandso won't end up being the doctor who manages my screening but she was who I was referred to and all I wanted was an appointment. Instead I came away feeling like a total hypochondriac, something I'm constantly worried about.

So today I was reminded of lots of things I don't have...

I don't have blinds on my windows. I don't have plans to make dinner (sorry, Clark). I don't have furniture to fill my empty rooms. But guess what? I DON'T HAVE CANCER! And even though that means I'll have to fight to get appointments with "actual cancer" specialists and even though it means I'll constantly be explaining myself and feeling silly and insecure, that's okay. It's fantastic even. I'd rather be a BRCA carrier than an idiot witchy receptionist.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Glauser Family

You know what's super intimidating? When a photographer asks you to take her family photos. I had butterflies in my stomach the entire time. Well, except when I was looking into little Porter's big brown eyes. I know brown eyes.

You know what's super awesome? Swapping photography skills. I'll finally get a family photo without having to break out my tripod. Thank you so much, Cherise! I'm just sorry this isn't a fair trade :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Matson Family

Six kids, one case of food poisoning and the Tour de Tucson finish line just around the corner made for one crazy day. But I had a blast shooting the Matsons!

And uh, can I please look that fabulous after having six kids? (Rob, what's your secret ;)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Dear Mom & Dad,
How did you move a household of 5 kids from one country to another country every 2-3 years? I can't even move across town without wanting to... rip my arms off, pack my arms in a box, tape up that box, label that box MY ARMS and then kick that arm box all way to our new neighborhood. Seriously, how?

Dear Margie,
We had lots of professional help... and airplanes and freight ships for transportation. But yeah, moving really sucks.
Your Mom & Dad*

*Just kidding, my mom and dad would never say sucks.

The Smith Family

Clark pointed out that I've probably spoiled some people's Christmas cards by posting links to ALL their family photos (sorry, Cassie & Carly). So here's just a little teaser for my cousin, Nadia. And speaking of Christmas cards, let me know if you're interested. I've already started some for those super organized folks out there.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Results Are In...

Two weeks ago I participated in a high risk breast cancer study and had blood drawn to be tested for the Breast Cancer (BRCA) gene. Carrying this gene means a 84% lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 27% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. My grandmother had the gene as does my mother. I had a 50/50 chance of also carrying the gene. After the blood draw, I went home and wrote a little bit about my feelings. Today I got the results back.

Within the first 10 minutes of meeting with the genetic counselor, I had to answer some rather personal questions. She wanted to know about my boobs and ovaries obviously. But she also wanted to know about my preferred method of birth control, my future family, my relationship with my husband, my diet and exercise "regime", my favorite NPR podcasts and so forth.

Then she wanted to know more about Booker and Teichert. And suddenly I was really bothered. Like tears welling up and fists clenching bothered. Why had my boys suddenly entered this discussion? They are 3 and 1. And they do not have breasts and ovaries.

But there she was writing down their names and birth dates beneath mine. And there my mom was, crying like a baby... and looking like one too with her fuzzy white post-chemo head. I wanted to reach across the table, grab that pen and cross their names out. They are babies and they are boys and this has nothing to do with them.

But of course, it has everything to do with them. Because I have potentially given them something even worse than my boring brown eyes. And then I understand why my mom is crying now and why she was crying six months ago when she told me she was BRCA 2 positive.

Deep down in my DNA sits one mutated gene among thousands of normal, functioning genes. That gene has a name and a destiny- to potentially spawn a deadly form of breast and/or ovarian cancer. And this gene doesn't discriminate.

It didn't care that my grandma couldn't attend my mom's wedding because she was too sick from cancer treatment. It didn't care that my mom's plate was already crowded with other serious physical, mental and emotional challenges before she got her diagnosis. And it certainly doesn't care that I'm happy, young and want to use my ovaries and breasts to grow a large and healthy family.

Nope, this gene affects the whole family- men and women, young and old, Japanese and not. But the good news is that at least I know about it. My grandmother died from breast cancer, my mother will beat it and, God willing, I'll never have to face it because I know and I will be prepared...

But that's the future and this is now. And right now, I'm sitting in an office with a genetic counselor eager to fulfill the counseling part of her duty and my eyes are watering even though I promised myself I wouldn't cry (who cries over tiny microscopic genes?! SUCK IT UP). She tells me I ought to write a "love letter" to my mom and even though I laughed at the idea at the time, I'm going to give it a shot:

Dear Mom,
Remember when I was in 6th grade and kinda tubby and you brought home a maternity dress and suggested I wear it to my first school dance?
I forgive you.
Remember when you completely forgot my 22nd birthday?
I forgive you.
Remember when I had that baby cut out of my abdomen and you came and stayed in my 400 square foot apartment for 4 weeks to "help"?
I forgive... I mean, thank you.
Remember when I was an embryo and you gave me that gene that means I have a pretty good chance of getting breast cancer?
I forgive you. And to be honest, it never occurred to me that you would require any sort of forgiveness. But when I think of my own children the guilt I feel is enormous and surprising. And I find myself begging for their forgiveness because of this gene even though they are young and they are boys. So I understand why you cried about this and I want you to know that I forgive you even though it feels silly to do so and pray that my children can do the same, because that does not feel silly to me at all.
Your Genetically Mutated Daughter

Even though today was a super crappy day, there was some humor to be found.

When the genetic counselor walked in today, she asked my mom and me what we thought the results were. We both thought it would be negative. I'm healthy, I'm lucky, why not...

GC: Margaret, I'm sorry to say that the results are actually positive.
Me: (not telling what happened here, it may have involved some blubbering)
GC: I'm so sorry, here are the results from the lab.
(hands me the paper)
GC: There's your patient number, your birth date, the name of the gene we tested and the results.
Me: But I wasn't born on December 16th, my birthday is on Halloween.
GC: Holy sh*t.

GC: These aren't your results.

(I would like to insert at this point that the genetic counselor may have used some profanities and freaked out a little bit but she really was quite professional and awesome about the whole thing. I probably would have sworn too. Sometimes these things happen :)

GC: I've been doing this for 20 years and this has never happened. I'm a complete a**hole. I've got your results on my computer back in my office which is in the building next door. Want to take a walk?

So we walked for what felt like an hour to her office where I was told, for the second time, that I do in fact carry the gene. Bummer. Double bummer.

And then I told my siblings...

Ring ring
Marie: MARGARET, did you get the results?
Me: Yes and the results were bad.
Marie: Oh, so do you have the gene?
Me: Marie, there's really only one good result and one bad result. I have the bad one.
Marie: So you have the gene?
Me: Yes. Not having it would have been the good result.

Ring Ring
Me: Oh hey David
David: What are we doing for dinner?
Me: I dunno, I'm in Salt Lake. Don't you remember what I'm doing today?
David: Um, taking someone's photos?
Me: No, I'm getting the genetic screening results back.
David: So are you going to die of breast cancer? (his exact words)
Me: Nope, not if I (and annual mammograms + MRIs + possibly prophylactic surgeries) have anything to do with it.

Anyways, it's been a long and emotional day. Thankfully, I'm young and don't have to make any big decisions soon. For now I'm going to eat some pumpkin cheesecake and pack up the car to go back home... to my husband who loves my breasts- mutations and all.

The Nielson Family

Alright high school friends, I may have been the first to start having babies but Carly John was the SECOND. Bet you didn't see that one coming. But I'm sure glad she took the plunge. I thought I liked Carly and Daniel before Sadie, but now that they're parents I'm hoping they'll ask me to move in so I can watch them laugh at/with Sadie all day long.

Naturally, Sadie is already hilarious and spunky and really good at basketball. She told me this is the BYU vs. UVU basketball game the other day. She also told me that I needed to repay her parents for the tickets by taking family photos for them. It was super cold outside so Carly snuck us into the UVU library where she works. I thought it was an awesome location. Sadie, let's do it again in one year- you'll probably be dribbling by then.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Ridonkulously Cute Wernli Family

This post is mainly for any Proffitts out there that may have forgotten (because they live in far-faraway Utah and not Arizona- GASP!) how ridonkulously cute my sister-in-law Cassie's little girls are.

I am here to offer you proof. RIDONKULOUSLY CUTE PROOF! And boy, were Lexi and Laney good-natured during this little photo shoot. They hardly shed any tears when I made them crawl through burr-infested grass. It's ridonkulous. (I've got Bolt on the mind, Booker is obsessed with that movie right now).

In other ridonkulous news, I wish I had a teleporter to transport me back home to Tucson before the storm hits Utah this weekend. But I don't, so I guess I'm stuck here in the snow until Monday when I get the results from my genetic screening. So if you're interested in having some family photos taken, holler at me!

Oh and to see the more of this adorable family, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Mom and Finis Everglot

This is my mom in her natural state... frowning.

This is my mom smiling under pain of death. Just kidding, more like pain of losing my company tonight while we watch The Biggest Loser.

She reminds me of Finis Everglot (Victoria's father in the movie Corpse Bride) in the scene when he meets Victor's parents for the first time. His wife nudges him and he has the most fantastic forced smile ever. In the YouTube clip below, it's about 6 minutes in.
Seriously, mom- CHEER UP! And sorry for comparing you to someone called Finis Everglot, that's not very kind.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tastes like Provo

Taking guesses as to what these are and where I got them. Winner can come share them with me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween Birthday

Halloween is such a great day to have your birthday. Do you ever worry that no one is going to do anything for your birthday and it's just going to feel like a regular ole' day? I don't. I had such a fabulous day and here are some of the highlights...
- I dressed up as a Bumble Bee, yellow tutu and all. And Clark gave me a remote control for my camera so the only pictures of me don't have to be of my shadows.

- My mom actually remembered that it was my birthday. Hooray! Although I would have forgiven her (again) if she had forgotten because she has a pretty good excuse this year. We even got to Skype with her and show off our sweet costumes. I told her that she ought to tell the trick-or-treaters that she's dressed as a Brain Cancer Patient. Get it? Because she's a Breast Cancer Patient. Hilarious, right?

- Clark gave me flowers. And waited on me hand and foot all day long. No dirty diapers for me.

- Booker drew his first face. I was so proud. Eyes, smile and even some hair on top of this little pumpkin. I just love it so much. Now if he would only stop making that face of his. You know the one, see above.

- Teichert finally decided to start walking on a more full time basis. Maybe people will stop asking me, "How old is he? And he's still not walking? Hmmm." And maybe he'll finally stop looking like I just dragged him through the dirt.

- I was surrounded by my loved ones as I blew out 25 candles and enjoyed take-out from Pei Wei and ice cream cake.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes!

Halloween in Tucson

We headed back to Tucson to meet up with my sister for actual trick-or-treating. She drove all the way from Prescott to hang out with us.

She was the dressed as the Jungian Archetypal Shadow... obviously.

But even Jungian Shadows get lollipops stuck to their butts.
(And even wonderfully birthday-doting husbands get to relax after a night of festivities to watch football.)

Clark would have been a cow if I hadn't already packed it up in anticipation of our move- bummer.

Brave Sir Lion Teichert and the Not-so-Brave Sir Booker.

Booker was, in fact, quite brave. He approached each house with GUSTO. It went something like this:
Ding dong.
(Door opens)
Booker screams, "TRICK OR TREAT"
(Treat is dispensed)

And as the night wore on and more candy was consumed, something like this:
Ding dong.
(Door opens)
Booker screams, "HAPPY, uh, TRICK or THANKYOUtreatorHALLOWEEEEEEEEEN!!!!"
(Treat is dispensed)
"Um, thank you!"

Totally fun night. And now to explain to him that it only happens once a year.

More photos.

Halloween in Mesa

As much as I love living in Tucson, there are times that I miss Mesa terribly. That's why I'm so glad that 1) Clark's family gets together as often they do and 2) the average kids' movie is the same length as the drive up.

Yesterday for Halloween we had a delightful family gathering up in Mesa. We ate 4 different types of delicious soup (too bad the weather decided to jump back up to 80) along with cornbread and French bread. The kids carved pumpkins and bobbed for apples. But the best part was just sitting under the shady trees and watching the boys have a blast with their cousins.

Photos here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Strangest Compilation of Music Ever

If you've spent any time at all in a car with my three-year-old son then you know that he is VERY particular about his music. There are a select few songs that he likes to listen to OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER... and you get the idea... again.

I've gotten into way too many near-accidents fumbling through my various CD's trying to keep him happy, so I finally compiled one single CD with all his favorite songs. For his future embarrassment, I present to you the strangest compilation of music ever- Booker's All-time Favorites, 2008-2009 Edition:

1. Wake Up- Arcade Fire
2. Africa- Toto (yes, that Africa song)
3. Kids- MGMT
4. She's Like a Rainbow- The Rolling Stones
6. On the Radio- Regina Spektor
7. Lucky Today- Cloud Cult
8. Forever- Chris Brown (thanks to this video)
9. Come on Eileen- Dexy's Midnight Runners
10. Sure Shot- Beastie Boys
11. The Fixer- Pearl Jam
12. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song- The Flaming Lips
13. Girls Just Want to Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper
14. Baby Beluga- Raffi

I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of my son who can sing along to both the Flaming Lips and Chris Brown. Eh, at least he loves music.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


grow into dogs.

And think they rule your couch.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Egypt Race for the Cure

I thought I'd share some of the photos my dad took at the Egypt Race for the Cure. It took a lot of self restraint to not photoshop myself in. Man, I wish I was there. What a neat experience.

Pink pyramids.

Cheer up, Chris! It's not like your mom has cancer or something. Oh wait...

Best photo ever. An Egyptian lady with her race t-shirt pinned to her abaya. Waiting to start a race for the cure while her husband puffs away on a cigarette.

Whirling for the cure! These whirling dervishes had their own band of musicians following them.

Spinning and twirling across the finish line. Did I mention that I REALLY wish I had been there?

At the finish line. I like how the Sphinx is in between their heads.

Way to represent, Dad and Chris!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pink Pyramids

I just spoke with my dad and he was on his way to the Giza Pyramids to flip the switch to light them PINK. That's right, Egypt has joined the fight and is having its first ever Race for the Cure tomorrow.

So best of luck to my dad and brother as they "race" around the pyramids. The rest of us will be with you in spirit.

بالتوفيق إن شاء الله

P.S. Take lots of photos!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Balance Ranch

I'm not quite sure how to describe In Balance Ranch Academy. It's like heaven for 3- year-old boys (horses, dogs, foosball, A DRUM SET!?!) and hell for 17-year-old boys (rules, chores, therapy, NO GIRLS!?!)

In fact, Booker pitched a fit when we told him it was time to go. Full on screaming, crying and snotting of the nose. Not pretty. Baba assured him that there is one sure way to get back to In Balance Ranch, but he doesn't recommend it. Other than a few tantrums, we had a really nice visit with my brother Danny on Sunday. Rather than try to describe the ranch with words, I'll leave you with some photos.

Danny with his horse, Snickers.

My favorite shot of the day.

I found the only two trees in all of Arizona that are experiencing fall! The one of the right seems unhappy with his partner.

Fun with the self-timer.

Even the junkyard was beautiful.

Some more photos here.