Thursday, December 28, 2006

I've been sitting, waiting, wishing...

Yep, I'm still pregnant.

39 weeks pregnant to be exact. I'm at that point in pregnancy where I feel like every time I go out in public, people watch me with a collective inward breath.

"Look out, she's gonna blow!"

If only it worked that way.

Instead, I'm highly attuned to every twinge, every pressure, every change. Is he coming? Now? How about now?


But, soon. I know he's coming soon and I'm so excited to meet my son.

Last night, after some prayer, I realized that he's still learning things right now. Still talking to his Heavenly Father. So, he needs just a bit more time. But he will coming soon.

Soon can be so relative. I've been telling myself that Coco will be coming THIS WEEK. In December. But, when I take the time to think about it, even if I have to wait a week or so, that's still soon. We've already waited the better part of a year, right?

So, I'll let you know when he's coming. If I feel like it, I may even post updates about his birth here. So, check back to see what's going on.

And as a bonus, how about I share what I've been listening to lately. Despite the Jack Johnson title, I've really been enjoying Something Corporate lately. I fell in love with their most recent album, North. But, I've been going back and exploring their earlier stuf. WOW, these guys are talented. They have a fantastic, layered, captivating sound. There is a lot of urgency in their songs. I love it. I especially love Andrew McMahon's voice and piano and songwriting. And you can't help but admire a 20-something guy who has continued to pursue his passion for music in two different bands (Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin) despite a battle with leukemia. He is now officially in remission and even better than before.

So, for your enjoyment, here's a little gem I found this week. One of their earliest songs, "I Woke Up In A Car". I love this video because you can tell how much fun they have with their music. And that's fun to watch.

If the video doesn't come up for you (it doesn't seem to be working for me), you can click here to see the video.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Blog Year In Review

Here's a nice little wrap-up of this year of blogging. The first few months will come from my other blog, since I didn't start this one until April. Next year I will probably do away with my other blog, fully embracing all parts of myself on this blog. Hope you enjoy.

This month found me a bit fed up with the public school system, especially in Utah.
I was completely MIA. Not a single post
I must have found a new enthusiasm for writing. I found myself pondering my life's ambitions, laughing out loud at my children's deepest fears, sharing my gratitude for the strong women in my life and sharing some of my favorite music.
April was full. A trip to California, almost losing a beloved uncle and and the miracle that he got to stay with us were enough. Add to that the starting of a new blog, a letter to my baby, remembering my roots, a yard teeming with snakes and finding out that I was pregnant and worrying whether or not I'd miscarry. Like I said, April was full.
May was just about as busy. I wrote letters to JDub and Kaitybean. I ranted about abortion and a woman's right to correct information. I got to do jury duty, I reminded myself of my deepest beliefs and finally decided to put an end to my laundry quandaries.
June was more quiet. We talked about baby names, I found out just who is really in charge and posted a few good pictures.
I spent July wrapped up in real life. Too wrapped up to post much.
Just two posts for this month and only one worth reading. Ups and downs of the previous months.
September was the the 5 year anniversary of a very sad day. It was also the month that my little brother got married. On the home front, I found myself pausing and really contemplating this season of my life and sharing a bit about my sweet Scud.
October meant happy, funny kids who helped see me through the beginning of one more year's battle with SAD.
In November I went to New Mexico and came home completely changed. We battled croup, I celebrated JDub's 31st with a video and I wrote a little bit about our society's view of mammary glands.
And that brings us to this month. The end of yet another year. The end of a full year of blogging. Wow! This month I've sobbed that my sweet daughter has to grow up. I've watched my sweetheart hurt, reached out in a letter to my unborn child, bared my weakest spots and then I shared the longings my heart has for my sweet middle child.

It's been a marvelous year for me and I hope that the things I've written have been entertaining or helpful or at least interesting to some of you. Being able to share my heart and my days in this way has truly enriched my life this year.

I've done it for me, but I hope it's been good for you also.

If not, I hope you'll accept the prayer in a poem I wrote nearly a decade ago.

-silent prayer-

her heart is her poem
her poem a silent prayer
seeking to understand
with introspective care
if she never finds the love
that she has often penned
if silence is not broken
by her dinning, fervent whisperings
if the still and jagged artistry
that she gives her life for
becomes no more than words
she prays
that the world she seeks to understand
the world she has discovered,
released, created, felt,
surveyed and molded
with her passionate ink
on life-giving pages
will forgive her vapid verbosity


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Loving My Son the Best Way I Know How

I love Scud. I really, truly adore this child. Reading over my blog lately, I've realized that he hasn't been as huge a feature here as either Kaitybean or Mashuga. That's probably because Scud is just always there, flowing through all of the cracks and filling all of the empty places. He is not just our child, his presense really defines our whole family. He doesn't have Kaitybean's flair for the dramatic or Mashuga's mischievous tendencies. He is just so perfectly, sweetly, beautifully himself.

Scud has always been my most obedient child. Oh, sure, he'll whine and complain every once in a while. But, in the end, he usually does what is asked of him. He'll wake up in the morning before I do, get dressed for school, feed himself breakfast and take out the garbage - all without being asked. I'll wake up at 7:30 to find him watching cartoons, ready to go. He is so eager to please us.

He is also very tender-hearted. Discipline for Scud is best when it consists of HUGE amounts of praise for all of his positive behavior and gentle, simple reminders of what is right when he has done wrong. In fact, we find that he is most difficult when we discipline him harshly. If he feels like he is letting us down, his whole world falls apart and he has a hard time wanting to try.

Scud also has difficulty adapting. And waiting. And not knowing what's going to happen.

So, this holiday season has been hard on him.

And on me, because the whining has been nearly constant. Often at the center of the whining is one big thing: a drum set. You see, he wants one very badly. And I just don't feel right about him having one right now.

Scud has wanted to play the drums for as long as I can remember. Every time he sees a band on TV, every time he hears a song with a good drum beat, he tells me that he wants to play the drums someday.

I think this is fantastic. I want to get him started on drum/percussion lessons right away. I want to nurture and support this dream of his.

So, where does my quandary about the drum set come from? We can afford to get him a small, decent set. It's not money. The decibel level in our house is already higher than most. It's not the noise. I'm not entirely sure from where my misgivings have come.

But, there is one thing I do know. I want MORE for him. I want what's best for him. I want for him to feel joy and confidence and security.

You see, Scud has been whining and begging and threatening that he will never be happy if he doesn't get a drum set. But, I see my sweet boy, who is so often unsure of himself and I want to give him gifts that are so much greater than what he wants right now.

I want him to feel the joy and satisfaction of learning to play an instrument, a little at a time. I want to see his face light up as he begins to figure out the intricacies of rhythm and sound. I want him to feel the immense gratification that comes from starting small and growing bigger and better with time.

To place a shiny, red drum set by the tree on Christmas morning feels like I'd be taking more away from him than I'd be giving. I can see his delight upon walking into our living room to see it glistening there. I can see his excitement as he sits down to play it. But, he really isn't sure exactly how to play the drums. As he bangs random drums, he begins to realize that there is a bit more to this drumming thing than what he sees on TV. It's not as easy as it looks. So, he might enjoy his drums for a little while, until they sit in the corner gathering dust because they just weren't as fulfilling as he thought they'd be.

In contrast, imagine the scene of Scud walking into his first drum lesson. Imagine him getting his first practice drum and learning how to play it. Imagine him getting better, growing in confidence, gaining skill. Then one day, after he's really gotten good and is ready to take it on, we surprise him with the gift of that shiny, red drum set. He immediately sits down and starts to play it. And this time he's not just fooling around, banging randomly. He's really playing the drums. And he knows it. And it feels good. That drum set is more than metal and membranes. It's more than music, even. It's a symbol of accomplishment, it's a well-earned prize for hard work and learning. Those drums are suddenly a part of who Scud is, a part that he feels really good about.

Like I said before. I don't want to get Scud a drum set. I want him to have so much more.

More than anything, I want to give Scud the gift of himself. To help him see that he is so much more than a receiver of gifts, that our love for him is so much greater than our wallets can hold. That he is brilliant and beautiful and capable and amazing.

But that can be so hard to do. I've often said that Scud is my "easiest" child. But the truth is, he is probably the hardest.

Like I said, I adore this child of mine. He is so good, so wonderful.

Some mornings he'll crawl into my bed with me, nestle his sweet head on my arm and whisper "I love you, Mommy." He fits there so perfectly, like he's just melting into me and we're no longer two separate beings, but one.

But, sometimes I'm not sure that I'm loving him the right way. Too much discipline or too little? Too much space or not enough? He is so tender and malleable. So sensitive to our every move as parents.

So, I sit here at my computer two days before Christmas writing out my concerns about something so small as a gift. Hoping I've made the right decision. Loving him in the best way I know how.

Because, I want to give this sweet child, my child who lifts and loves us all as he flows through our lives, the kinds of gifts he deserves.

The best gifts.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mashuga Pictures

He likes to sleep UNDER the pillow. And he currently has a very messy room.

And, he has an uncanny sense of symmetry. EVERYTHING he builds is highly symmetrical, like this one. It's interesting. I'm going to start photographing all his robots and rockets. It's so much fun to watch him build, going from side to side, making sure everything is perfect. And it's fun to mess with him. Every once in a while, I'll take one of the blocks and move it just off center or another out-of-place place. It only takes a little while for him to look at it, look again and then say "No! That's not right!" as he puts it back.

Thursday Thirteen - Current Pet Peeves

Those of you who know me well know that I'm not easily ruffled. I've always been fairly easy-going. Not much gets to me.

But there are a few things that REALLY bother me. Some are old, some are just current annoyances.

1. People who interrupt others This has ALWAYS bothered me. It will probably always be my number one pet peeve. I cannot think of many things more disrespectful or that make me more upset. God gave us two ears and only one mouth. I think we should use them in those proportions. People would be pleasantly surprised at what a rewarding activity listening can be.

2. Reckless drivers This hasn't bothered me in the past nearly as much as it does now. I think that's mainly because nearly every time I drive I have 3 precious children and an unborn baby to protect. I understand mistakes. I make plenty. But, really dumb things like weaving in and out of traffic or changing lanes in an intersection and driving head on into the left turn lane just make me steam. Honestly, we're all in a hurry. Let's work together to make sure we all get where we're going safely.

3. Toilets that don't flush properly How often do you think it's reasonable to have to plunge a toilet? One or twice a month? Try DAILY. In fact, I'm happy when I only have to plunge our downstairs toilet once a day. Grrrrr... We've had the plumber here, but he couldn't fix it. I think it's just time to replace it.

4. Sean Hannity I used to listen to him sometimes. Now even the sound of his voice makes my ears burn. Gah!! Of course, most reactionary, extreme political talking-heads drive me nuts. I've really enjoyed Doug Wright lately. And NPR. I like balance.

5. Listening to music with my kids I tell you, in Scud's language "I can't hear it!" means "I can hear things other than the music!" This makes me wonder. Am I getting old?

6. DOG HAIR If it weren't winter, I'd be tempted to just shave rusty bare. I'm so sick of dog hair on EVERYTHING. Those hairless pets are looking better and better to me.

7. And, OY, the SAW DUST! I'm so very glad that JDub has his shop back. He's loving it and thriving. Mashuga is also thoroughly enjoying Daddy's shop. But, you try bringing a pound of sawdust each day into a nesting pregnant mama's house and see how long it takes before she starts to feel a bit crazy. I think we're going to talk tonight about some ways to keep it out of the house. Mainly that would consist of vacuuming Mashuga and his shoes thoroughly before he's allowed out of the shop and into the house. JDub stays fairly clean.

8. Spam in my inbox I've gotten a lot lately written in chinese and syrillic text. What the?!? And then there's the nonsense email from random names. I currently have over 1000 messages in my inbox and 129 unread messages. I don't need more!

9. Whining One of my children is particularly guilty of this lately. Boy, I love real conversations with him when he uses his nice voice.

10. Contention Ask my siblings. Or my parents. I don't do do well with fighting. I'm a peacemaker at heart, even when it ends up being detrimental to me. So, I'm not doing well lately with the constant bickering between my children. Today hasn't been bad, though.

11. People treating pregnancy as an illness Okay, this is REALLY current for me. But I get frustrated when I feel others treat me as an invalid. Now this attitude is very different from genuine concern for my comfort and well-being. That I appreciate terribly right now and that's what I feel I'm mostly getting from close family and friends. And I suppose I have a view of pregnancy and birth that's rather different from mainstream. I feel capable and healthy and strong and I am reveling in the perfection of this beautiful process. Am I comfortable? Not at all. Does that mean I need to complain or languish? No. I'd much rather enjoy this incredibly brief and beautiful time in my life. So, well-meaning strangers, please stop messing up my groove!

12. Closed-mindedness I realize this is a hard thing to define. It's pretty easy to accuse someone who has an opinion different than mine of being closed-minded. But there's a vast difference between expressing an opinion and being unwilling to consider that of another or learn something new. I have learned so much from those who believe differently than I do and feel like I grow most when I'm willing to admit that I could be utterly wrong and take the time to listen to someone else. There I go with the listening thing again.

13. Insincerity I'll end with this one. It could easily be on the top of the list, also. I am always so grateful for genuine, real people. People who aren't afraid to be who they are without deceit or pretense. People who say "yes" when then mean "yes" and "no" when they mean "no". I think the reason this bothers me so much in others is that it is one thing that I CAN'T STAND seeing in myself. Everytime I catch myself being less than authentic, even if I'm mostly being untrue to myself, I just want to take an ice cream scoop and dig that part of myself out. I want to always be honest with myself and others. I want to be my real self even if that means embracing some things that aren't always pretty or pleasing to others.

So, I suppose this was a good list for me. It feels good to just speak out loud (write to the world) about the things that make me just not happy.

Merry Christmas, all! It's getting close isn't it?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Whole Elfin' Family

I interrupt my regularly scheduled program of scrubbing, scouring and nesting for a complete (and fun) waste of time.

Elfie Scud

Elf Me

JDub Slightly Chagrined at Being An Elf


Rusty the Elf Dog

Mashuga the Happy Elf

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Weekly Wrap - December 17, 2006

Today is my wonderful mother-in-law's birthday! Happy Birthday, Becky!

It has been a good week. I need to write blips each day of what has happened, as I tend to forget by the end of the week and probably bore you with the mundane stuff and don't remember anything else.

But, here we go again...

  • Monday evening was rather nice. My mom came to see us and spend some time with us. My children are always SO glad to have her here. And so am I. I think it was also nice for her to be here and see the kids, as my dad was out of town with work again and she gets a little lonely when he's gone.

  • Tuesday was yet another uneventful visit with my midwife. Baby Coco is still doing well and growing. I'm doing well, also.

  • Mashuga and I bought stocking stuffers at Target after my appointment. It's so nice to have a child young enough that I can do Santa shopping right under his nose. To some extent. I think he might be a bit suspicious about some things.

  • Wednesday was just wonderful. I got to go with Kaitybean and her class to a performance of the Nutcracker. It was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kaitybean enjoyed it until about the last 10 minutes, but still sat quietly and watched. The boys who were in my group were about ready to crawl out of their chairs by the end of the performance. They behaved themselves, but their eyes were bugging out of their sockets by the time it was over. Coco LOVED the music. He bounced around inside me the whole time. And when part of the Nutcracker came on during our trip home, he started up again. I wonder if children born around the holidays are just a little more joyful than most. Being surrounded by this season during your last few days in the womb and your first few days of life has to have some effect.

  • JDub has spent a lot of time in his woodshop this week making top-secret presents for family, friends and co-workers. They're turning out nicely. Mashuga LOVES spending time in Daddy's shop with him. He'll spend hours just making piles of sawdust or playing with wood or tools. He's definitely all boy.

  • On Thursday, Kaitybean and Scud had a Christmas performance at school. They both sang and danced and had a lot of fun. I must say, Kaitybean is really a good swing dancer. It was a ball to watch her. After a while the program got a little tedious, though. All 7 grades at once is a bit much for a Mashuga to handle. So, we went outside on the playground after Kaitybean was done performing.

  • Thursday evening we had our second appointment with our wonderful doula. She is a dear friend and I am so glad she will be there when our baby is born. She is such a comforting influence and such a wealth of knowledge. She gave us A LOT to think about and prepare for after our baby is born. You mean there's an "after"? I've been so focused on just getting things ready enough to get him here that I haven't planned much for postpartum. Whoosh. I think I'm going to sleep through January after all of this!

  • Friday evening Kaitybean got to have a sleepover with her favorite cousin. Scud and I dropped her off and played with all the girls while my SIL went shopping. Then, we went to Ben and Jerry's for an ice cream cone date.

  • While we were there, I realized what a breakthrough Scud has had in the eating department. I think I've mentioned the "eating until I hurt" conversation I had with Scud a few months ago. Well, since then I've been trying to teach him the difference between feeling full and feeling satisfied and that we don't have to eat until we hurt, only until we're satisfied. Then, we can eat more when we're hungry again. Well, we were enjoying our ice cream and Scud was about 3/4 finished with his. He walked over to the garbage can and threw it in. "Why did you do that?" I asked him, "Didn't you like it?" "I loved it," he replied. "I was just satisfied." Well, okay! Now if he can just teach me to do the same! :)

  • It started snowing while we were on our date and we woke up the next morning to about 8 inches of snow! As soon as we were done with breakfast, all three children donned snowsuits and went outside to enjoy the winter wonderland. They played while I shoveled the sidewalks and driveway. I thought about calling and asking someone else to do it for me, since JDub had to leave for work early and didn't have time, but then I just decided to do it. And it turned out that I rather enjoyed being outside and working. Though, I was more than a little bit disappointed when it stormed again last night and covered up all of my hard work!

  • After playing in the snow, the kids came in and resumed the usual picking and fighting with each other. Kaitybean and Scud came into me yelling at each other. "Remember, we're going to be together forever and it's important to love one another," I reminded them. "Yeah, well, Scud's not part of one another!" Kaitybean retorted. I couldn't help it. I laughed out loud. I even snorted a little. After the initial shock, they both started laughing with me and walked out of the room playing together happily, friends again. So, maybe I need to give up on this whole "teaching and training" approach and just laugh at them when they're being ridiculous. Laughter sure does seem to go a long way in our house.

  • Saturday evening we went to my family's Christmas party. It's always a highlight of the Christmas season for our family. We love seeing everyone and there's always a yummy dinner and presents and a visit from Santa Claus. We also sang and broke pinatas last night. It was really great to be there, and more than anything to see everyone.

  • The drive home, however, was not so blissful. It was barely snowing when we left my parents house at 11:30pm. It didn't take too long for that to change. Soon, we were traveling 20 mph on a snow-packed highway and praying with every breath that we'd make it home safely. About halfway home, I was changing lanes so that I could get off the highway and let JDub drive. My lane change turned into one of those terrifying, slow-motion spins. We ended up facing the other cars coming toward us and I kept thinking the whole time of this demotivator . "It may be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others." I almost laughed out loud. Thankfully, the cars behind us were able to slow down enough to let us get off onto the left shoulder, where I promptly got out of the driver's seat and relinquished it to JDub. To make a long story short, we made it. The visibility got down to almost nothing. We thought of stopping several times to stay at relative's homes on the way or at a hotel. The idea of getting off the freeway and waking up in the morning just to do it again seemed even more miserable than just making it home. We got home at about 2:45 am, put the kids in bed. I was asleep within second after my head hit the pillow and didn't wake up once until morning.

  • Tonight we have a party for Jeffrey's company. The annual Christmas party is a rather interesting thing. It's the one time each year where everyone brings their wives/significant others and pretends that there really isn't any underlying tension about how things are working (read: not working) at the store. But it really is fun, because they really do all like each other despite the work frustrations. And we laugh a lot. Ought to be good, once again.

    So, thanks for stopping by, my tens of readers. I'm glad to be able to share my life with you here.

  • Friday, December 15, 2006

    To My Dearest Baby Boy

    My dear, sweet Coco/Captain Jack,

    This quote showed up in my inbox a few days ago.

    "At the focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched--none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother, and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen. Shepherds would soon arrive and later, wise
    men from the East. Later yet the memory of that night would bring Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph--and all would be welcome. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby--that's how Christmas began.

    "It is for this baby that we shout in chorus: 'Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King! . . . Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die; Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth'." Jeffrey R. Holland

    Being pregnant this time around, preparing for your arrival, has been a very tender thing for me. Christmas has meant something very different. Because I keep thinking of that little family in a stable and how tenderly and quietly it all began.

    Christmas began with a baby.

    So many wonderful things have begun with a baby. Every influential person who has walked this earth was once a tiny babe. Every wonderful person that I have ever known was once a tiny babe.

    And I've been thinking of you lately and wondering who you will be. What will you become?

    You may never be famous or influential in the world of men. But if you love those around you and live your life as a good man, who raises good children and leaves a legacy of love and commitment behind him, what a marvelous and miraculous chain of events is about to begin. With you, my baby.

    In a lot of ways it has been hard for me to connect to you during this time. Last summer, I miscarried and learned what it means to lose an unborn child. So, holding on to you and opening up to the idea of a new little one in our family has been hard for me. I have always had, in the back of my mind, the possibility that we might not get to keep you.

    But here we are, my sweetheart. I am 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Full term. You could be born any day now and you are still happy and kicking and alive in my womb. And I'm finally realizing that we really will get to keep you. You will be born healthy and well and bring tremendous joy to our family.

    Even so, it seems so unreal. But I know that when I hold you for the first time, I will know you as MY CHILD.

    Already I can feel your spirit. You are happy. You are a joyful, content person. I can feel you. And I love you already.

    The rest of your family loves you, too. Your daddy is giddy with the anticipation of holding you and loving you. He talks to you every night. He tells you about our day together. He tells you that he loves you and can't wait to meet you and that you can come as soon as you like or wait as long as you need. He gets close to my belly and rubs your little back and tells you of our love for you.

    Your brother, Scud, hugs you many times every day. He just walks up to my tummy and gives you hugs and yells "Hello Coco!"

    And then there's Mashuga. He also loves you so much and is SO excited to be a big brother and play with you and hold you and share a room with you. He likes to kiss you and play with you. At least once a day he gets close to my belly and says "Boogy, boogy, boogy baby! I love you!" Sometimes he even plays peek-a-boo with you. Which is pretty silly, because you can't see him and probably won't really enjoy peek-a-boo for quite few months after you're born. But, he loves you already and wants to do anything he can to be close to you.

    And Kaitybean has decided that she can love you, even if you're not a sister. She'll be so happy to hold you and help take care of you when you are born. She is a wonderful big sister.

    So, you're a lucky boy. You're coming into a lot of love. And I've only told you about our immediate family!!! You have no idea how many Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins are just waiting to meet you and shower you with love!

    Really, though, I have to tell you that I am the lucky one. This morning I've held and hugged and cuddled your three siblings. They are three of the most beautiful, amazing people who have ever walked the earth. I feel overwhelmingly blessed and grateful to be their mother. My heart has exploded with the love I feel for them and will forever be larger than my body can hold. And here I am, on the brink of welcoming yet another joy into my life. I know that you will teach me and bless me and fill me with awe just as much as your older brothers and sister have. And my heart will grow again, to proportions larger than I can even imagine now. And I will love and cherish you and kiss your sweet face and feel the joy and tenderness that only mothers know.

    I love you my dear little one and I can't wait to meet you face to face.

    Your Mother

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Thursday Thirteen - 13 Movies That Make Me Laugh So Hard I Cry

    Just reading this list makes me laugh. I'm sitting here at the computer quoting really dumb movies and laughing myself silly.

    1. Napolean Dynamite
    2. Tommy Boy
    3. The Man Who Knew Too Little
    4. My Blue Heaven
    5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
    6. The Three Amigos
    7. Rocketman
    8. Joe Versus the Volcano
    9. Strange Brew
    10. What About Bob
    11. The Singles Ward
    12. O Brother Where Art Thou
    13. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Weekly Wrap - Last Week

    Okay, so I'm posting last week's wrap on Monday. Ah, well.

    Here's what's been going on with us.

  • I have been nesting like a mad woman. Last week I cleared out and organized our storage room. Ahhhhh.... That feels nice. Of course, I did that so that I could clear out the room with our jacuzzi in it. That's the project for today. It's funny how I've been noticing every little handprint and dirt streak. Should be scrubbing walls soon.

  • Also, last week I realized, in a fit of panic, how physically unprepared we are for this little one. So, I got out baby blankets and clothes and washed them. Then, I bought diapers and onesies and nursing pads and a carseat. Feeling a bit better. We still need a crib or a bassinet. But, we'll figure that out this week.

  • I also got most of our Christmas shopping done this week. I just want it to be finished and to not have to worry about that and about having a baby. I only need to get a few more things done.

  • But now that I've already spent about all the money I'm willing to spend on Kaitybean and Scud, they've come up with new things they want. Scud wants a drum set and is absolutely convinced that Santa Claus will bring him one. I have no problem with buying Scud a drum set once he's taking drum lessons. But, he's not yet. And I might even be willing to find a good drum set for him, but really, I'm done shopping.

  • Speaking of Scud, we had a funny moment a few days ago.
    I was working on the computer and Scud came in and said, "Mom, come see something."
    "Just a minute," I replied.
    He cocked his head a bit, looked me in the eye and said "Do you mean one of the minutes that's really a lot longer than just one minute?"
    I stopped what I was doing and went upstairs with him.

  • The kids and I got out the Christmas decorations on Saturday. That was a treat. It's especially fun with younger ones, like Mashuga. He doesn't remember any of these decorations and was SO excited about everything.

  • We did have a rather unpleasant surprise upon opening one box of decorations. My mom made us a cute Snowman decoration last year. It was filled with bird seed. Apparently that was too much of a temptation for a hungry little mouse. I opened up the box to find it filled with bird seed and a hole chewed in the front of the snowman. But that was the least of the surprise. As I began taking out decorations I found that the offending rodent had gone to sleep for the very last time in that box. I probably don't need to mention that most of the things in that box ended up buried in the trash can with our dead little mousy friend. Luckily, my handmade stockings and our advent storybook were relatively unharmed.

  • Saturday evening was absolutely lovely. We had our SIL and her sweet daughters over for pizza. Then we put up and decorated our little tree and sang Christmas carols. It was really a wonderful evening. I love having a family.

  • Saturday was also my mom and SIL's birthday. We had my little brother and his wife over for dinner last night. My mom and sister were also supposed to come, but there was a bad storm and they decided not to risk the drive. So, we had a really great time with J&S. We ate and then S and I talked while the kids wrestled and played with their uncle. Then, after putting kids to bed we got to watch their wedding video. That was a lot of fun. It turned out so well. The company that did it, Creativ Productions, does an amazing job.

  • JDub is feeling a little better, but not entirely yet. The chiropractor helped, as well as some good rest yesterday. We're hopin continued treatment will help it to resolve. Time will tell.

    So, that's our family for the week. Everything is going well.

  • Saturday, December 09, 2006

    JDub In Pain

    I sure love this guy. And I hate to see him hurting.

    Last night I went shopping with my sister and came home to see JDub walking around the house like Igor. Tight, crooked shoulders. Barely moving his neck.

    Apparently he had been having severe muscle spasms in his shoulder and neck. At one point, just before we got home, the pain was so bad that it knocked him to the ground and he couldn't get up again for five minutes.


    I knew he must have been in serious pain, becuase this man does not complain about anything. He doesn't get sick, feel pain. He just works through it. I always know it's serious when he actually tells me about it.

    So, I did everything I could for him last night. Got him in a hot shower. Icy Hot. Alternating ice and heat. Ibuprofen. Still he had such a difficult night sleeping. Every time he needed to move, it hurt terribly. So, he'd just muscle through it and get from one position to another as fast as he could.

    Poor guy.

    I've always thought that I'm going to love growing old with him, but at the same time I think growing old together has to be hard. I think of how hard it was for me last night to watch him be in pain, to see him unable to do the things he wanted to do. I imagine one of the really hard parts of growing old together is watching while your sweetheart's body begins to fail him. To see him hurt and do everything you can, but know that there's nothing you can do about it.

    He's at the chiropractor right now. Hopefully they'll be able to get it fixed for him, he's thinking he's just got something out of whack.

    I hope they can help him feel better, for his sake and mine. It hurts my heart to see him hurting.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Thursday Thirteen - Winter

    I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.

    So here are some random musings on winter.

    1. I love waking up in the morning to a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Seeing each tiny diamond sparkle in a blanket of white really does my heart good. It's a magical feeling. I vividly remember many mornings of my mother waking me for school and the first thing she said was, "Look outside!" Ahhhh.....

    2. I remember playing for hours in the snow as a child. Snowmen and snow angels and just wandering around this new wilderness of white in my yard. Lovely.

    3. I also remember one winter afternoon when I was walking home from school, all bundled up in a coat and snow pants. To get home I would cross our high school football field. I remember that, on this day, the snow came all the way up to my thighs and I simply reveled in every step I took across that field.

    4. Speaking of thigh-high snow, a few years ago we lived in Littleton, Colorado. While we were there we had a huge winter storm. I believe we got about 3 1/2 feet of snow. It was magical and fascinating. We couldn't get anywhere in a car for nearly three days. We were lucky enough to live just a block from a grocery store. One day I walked there for eggs and milk. It took me two hours just to get there and back. The steps by our apartment were absolutely buried in snow. So, in his usual way, JDub made the best of it. He took the kids sledding just outside our front door. We invited some friends over for hot cocoa and the moms and babies stayed inside to talk while the daddies and kids spent a great afternoon sledding down our snow-packed stairs.

    5. I live in a land of skiers and snowboarders. And I have vowed never to ski again. In 2002 we went night-skiing and I took a turn a little too fast. I tumbled down the hill and one ski fell off, while one remained on. It caught on the snow and torqued my leg as I flipped. I got a splint and a ride on a sled down the hill from the lovely ski patrol men and women. Then there was the x-ray and the waiting in the clinic while everyone else was out having fun. Turns out I tore the MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) in my left knee. OUCH! I was miserable for months as I recovered. I still feel it every once in a while. So, I don't ski anymore. Call me a wimp if you want, but I just don't like skiing enough to risk that kind of injury again. Soccer would be a different story.

    6. I love a white Christmas.

    7. I HATE walking outside to take my kids to school only to discover ice or snow that needs to be cleared from my car. We have a two car garage, but it is currently being used as JDub's sanity department (aka woodworking shop).

    8. I think a lot of the magic of winter goes away when you're the adult. As a child, snow was for play. As an adult snow means scraping, shoveling, spreading salt, driving on icy roads, replacing tires. Not as much fun. Maybe I need to play in the snow more.

    9. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Which means the lack of light in the winter messes with my body and my mind. So, it's less than pleasant. But, I do have to report that after a shocking initial introduction of this year's symptoms, I have had a very mild and relatively symptom free month or so. It's been refreshing.

    10. I love that winter is a time of rest. Everything in the world around me seems to take a collective breath, slowing down from the rush and growth of spring and summer and the flash of autumn. It's such a good time to pause and reflect and take stock of my life.

    11. One word. Sweaters. I love my sweaters. I do love winter clothes.

    12. Except, maybe, for my children. Yes, I do love the cute sweaters and the long pants and turtlenecks. But trying to keep track of coats and snow pants and gloves and hats and scarfs for a whole passel of children is just torture sometimes. As my children have gotten older, I've become a bit more of the "I'm sorry you lost your gloves again. I guess you'll just have cold hands at school." type of mom. Really, them being cold is their problem and when they're old enough to be responsible for keeping track of their own things they can pay the consequences for losing them.

    13. The one thing that just makes winter worth it every year has to be Christmas, though. I love this holiday season.

    So, Merry Christmas, Happy Winter and enjoy your Thursday!

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Pieces of You...

    Today I gave away a big box of hand-me-down clothes for the first time.

    And then I cried all the way home.

    The clothes really don't matter to me. And they'll be worn by my nieces, two of the most darling little girls in the world.

    And last night, when I was going through our storage room and found this HUGE box of clothes, I stared at them and realized how pointless it is to keep them all.

    IF we have another child in the next few years and,
    IF that child is a girl and,
    IF those clothes are still in good shape by the time she's able to wear them and,
    IF she and I still like them,
    then they might still be useful.

    But that will be 5 or 6 years from now at the very least. And that's a long time to keep shuffling that much around when it's based on so many IFs.

    I knew it would be best to give them to someone who will use them.

    But it also hurt to leave them there and walk away. Because it felt like I was giving away pieces of my little girl.

    The darling red and yellow outfit she wore for preschool pictures.

    The cozy purple sweater she loved to curl up in.

    The Dora the Explorer shirt she wore as she climbed on the bus to go to Kindergarten for the very first time.

    Really, they're all just pieces of fabric. Cotton. Polyester. Denim.

    But when I look at clothes she used to wear, I can still see her standing there, smiling at me. So beautiful and sweet and precious.

    And my heart breaks to know that those days are gone and I'll never get her back.

    My precious daughter will be nine years old in May. And as I thought about that this morning, I realized that nine years old is half way to the magic age of eighteen. That year when the government will officially consider her an adult. The year that she will probably be just as restless as I was, ready to spread her wings and explore the world.

    So, today I dropped off pieces of my 3-5 year old Kaitybean, hoping desperately that they will be loved and appreciated by those to whom they were given. And there was such a sense of finality to it.

    My 3-5 year old Kaitybean is gone. And my little girl is going, blossoming into the beautiful young woman she will all too soon become.

    As I drove home, my tears were a palpable reminder of how fast it all goes, how soon this season in my life will be over. And I could almost see myself in my mother's shoes a decade ago, dropping her daughter off in a sleepy little college town and crying all the way home, hoping that she'd loved me enough and taught me enough and wishing there was just a little more time.

    Because today it was just clothes. But I could see phantoms of my sweet daughter through the years. And I looked into her eyes all the years she has grown up. I know I have done my best, but I've also made so many mistakes. And taken her for granted far too often. And gotten angry too many times when I should have scooped her up in my arms to tell her everything would be all right.

    I love her fiercely, deeply, desperately. I have since the moment she was placed in my arms and my mother self was born.

    But this morning I find myself wondering whether or not I have loved her enough and wishing there was some way to actually give her the full measure of adoration and devotion I feel in my heart. And wondering why on earth I ever spent a moment away from her when I could have been by her side, soaking in her sweet face and blessed presence. Wishing I could get even a few of those moments back, to hold my little girl and do a little better and just tell her once again how much I love her.

    And now I'm half way there, to the time when I will have to let her go and let her lead her own life. My heart aches to know that I probably won't get it exactly right over the next nine years either. I'll probably make mistakes and miss opportunities and yell when I should whisper and scold when I should listen.

    So, I suppose that all there is for me to do is what I've done every day since she was born -- love her and do my very best and hope that will be enough.

    Because today I walked away from clothes, from pieces of her, reminders of her. In the blink of an eye, I will be saying goodbye as she seeks wide open spaces like her mother did.

    And I'll probably cry all the way home.

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Weekly Wrap - December 3, 2006

    Can you believe it's December already? Neither can I! Christmas is right around the corner. Our new baby is right around the corner. And I don't feel even halfway ready for either!!!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

    So, what has been happening around our crazy little home lately?

  • I got Christmas cards mailed a few days ago. There are still a few that I need to mail out (waiting for them to come from Snapfish.) And I plan to email them also, but I wanted to get some print copies out, especially to Aunts and Uncles and other family that we don't have email contact with. I designed two different cards this year. I like graphic design. I may do more of it.

  • I've been trying to decide what to get people for Christmas this year. Every year it's a struggle to balance generosity with a realistic budget. And it's even harder with my kids. I want to get them gifts that will be useful and used well. I don't want to buy them too much, as I feel very strongly that children better appreciate what they have when they don't have more than they need. But then there's Grandma. And Oma. And single Aunts. Three more reasons for me to be careful not to go overboard. They will have plenty of Christmas presents. They (and we) are so lucky that they have grandparents and other relatives who love them so much and do so much to help them be happy.

  • I had a goal this week to look at all of our bills and get signed up for as many automatic withdrawal programs as possible. I didn't do it. I'll have to do it this week. We keep missing bills because we're so busy, or distracted or lazy. So I want it all to be as self-sustaining as possible. Especially with a new baby on his way.

  • And speaking of a new baby, he could be here in less that two weeks. Yes, I said less than two weeks! I don't think he'll actually come that soon, but the idea that he could is a bit disconcerting. I have a notebook. In the notebook I have a set of lists of things we need to do or buy before he arrives - for Christmas, for Birthdays, to prepare our home and children, to have ready for him. I haven't even managed to finish the lists, much less actually accomplish everything that is and will be on them. And now I'm wondering if the best thing I could do for myself is to reevaluate priorities and diminish expectations. Still, any locals who want to come scrub walls with me are always welcome!

  • I had an appointment with my midwife this week and again, it is the anti-news. Hooray! All is well. Heartbeat =140bpm. Fundal measurement = 36 cm. Weight = Wouldn't you like to know! Let's just say I weigh more now that I ever have, pregnant or otherwise. And I'm okay with that. Mostly. Here's a picture of me from a couple of weeks ago. My belly's even bigger now if you can believe it.

  • I visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City this week with the women's group from my church. Temple Square is just beyond beautiful during the Christmas Season. I love it there more than any other place during Christmas. We listened to a short presentation about the Savior's birth and was touched once again to think of all that he does and has done for me. What a beautiful season this is.

  • Yesterday JDub and I attended a childbirth class together. It was a wonderful time to be together to pause and plan and talk about our needs and concerns for this upcoming birth. I feel much more in sync with him. And he got a lot out of the basic information that I already knew and never think to tell him. Even if it hadn't been worthwhile, it was a fabulous all day date with my sweetheart.

  • While we were there, Jeffrey's sister and her family watched our kiddos. Poor Kaitybean had the stomach flu and was throwing up. I hated not being with her, but she was well taken care of. THANK YOU!

  • Also yesterday, JDub's younger brother flew in from Germany. He finished his mission for the LDS church in October and has been staying with his parents for a little while. Now he's here and we were so glad to see him. He's a wonderful person and he and I have always gotten along well. He feels every bit as much like a younger brother as the brother I grew up with. My kids were especially glad to see him, as they've been pining for their favorite uncle for 2+ years.

  • And speaking of that, we're supposed to go have dinner with him and a couple of JDub's other siblings and their families in about 4 minutes. Which means we're already going to be late and if I don't wrap up, we'll be INCREDIBLY late.

    Hope you all are doing well.

  • Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Thursday Thirteen - Gratitude

    Thirteen of the Many Things I'm Grateful For

    In no particular order...

    1. My Family - Grandparents, Cousins, Siblings, Nephews, Nieces, Parents, Children. I am blessed in spades with wonderful family on both my side and JDub's side.

    2. My Health - I am grateful to be strong and healthy, able to do the things required of me.

    3. My Faith - My faith in Jesus Christ and my knowledge of the Lord's plan for me is an anchor I could not live without.

    4. My Home - Though it is often messy and takes a lot and of time and care, I am so grateful that it is a haven from the world for me and for my family.

    5. Motherhood - What a breathtaking and joyous season of my life this is. I am trying daily to revel in the joy of being the mother of young children. I hope that I can continue to enjoy the seasons of motherhood in my life.

    6. My Friends - Through many miraculous twists in my life, I have had the honor of meeting and being befriended by phenomenal people all over the world. I learn so much from the amazing women and men who grace my life and often feel unworthy of their friendship.

    7. My Work - My work with Birthing From Within and as a doula has been a marvelous blessing. I get to do work that I love, that touches lives, that teaches and touches and stretches me and helps me develop greater compassion and tenderness. And I get to witness miracles on a regular basis.

    8. The Internet - It is a double edged sword and I often feel my dependence on the computer drifting toward addiction level, but I am still so grateful. My life would be very different without the easy access to others and to limitless information that the internet affords. Thank you, Mr. Gore! *wink*

    9. My Mistakes - I am who I am and often I am better than I ever would be because of mistakes I've made. My many weaknesses are an important source of humility for me, without which the Lord would never be able to help me be better.

    10. Prayer - Again on the weaknesses, prayer is a blessing that I under-utilize terribly. I would like to learn to pray more frequently and fervently. But now, from where I am, I still feel a deep sense of gratitude for this connection to my Father in Heaven.

    11. My Country - I am grateful to live in the United States of America and for ALL that entails (current political climate and craziness included).

    12. My Husband - I already mentioned family, but he deserves his own line. What a remarkable man he is. He is my best friend. He makes me laugh. He lifts me up. He just makes my heart happy.

    13. Words, Language, Poetry, Art - I have felt so grateful lately for all of the beauty in the world. And especially for the beautiful ways in which we, as humans, are able to express ourselves creatively and communicate with the world around us.

    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    My Morning To Do List

    Just a few of the things I needed to do this morning before taking kids to school.

    -Write a note to Scud's teacher to let her know that Scud would be going home with a friend today.
    -Sign Kaitybean's homework return folder.
    -Sign off Scud's book from last night.
    -Make sure Kaitybean finished her homework.
    -Look through and sign forms for my appointment with my midwife.

    Not too exciting, right?

    The scary part?

    I got all of this done during the 15 minute drive to school.

    In the car.

    And I was driving.

    One more reason for me to get a bit more organized.

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Baffled About Breasts

    Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you probably remember seeing this lovely little dress. On national television.

    And who can forget this? I'll spare you the image of what came next. Whether you were offended or not, it just wasn't pretty.

    No doubt you've seen something like this or this in all kinds of public places. Museums, restaurants, schools, churches.

    And you can always find these anywhere near water.

    When it's very public, as it was in the first two instances, many people are offended. They write angry letters. Conservative action groups chime in with cries of "Off with their heads!"

    But even those who are offended are usually glad to let these things blow over.

    When the skin-baring is right in front of us, we wouldn't dream of saying a word. Especially not to the person's face.

    That would be rude.

    First of all, it's none of our business.

    And it's just a little skin, right? They have a right to express themselves.

    And what's wrong with being sexy?

    Truly, the extent to which the female body is exposed and exploited in our society is staggering.

    We're exposed to a mind-numbing daily stream of skin.

    Breasts, it seems, make cameras especially happy.

    Breasts are really very useful. Add a little cleavage and you can sell anything.


    Those breasts are quite versatile.

    And lucrative!

    Ask any advertising exec. A couple of double D's can come in really handy.

    Most of us go placidly and unquestioningly along with all of this.

    That's just the way it is.

    Many would argue that the baring of skin and a fascination with the nude female body is hardly a modern, western phenomenon.

    And they'd be absolutely right.

    From the dawn of time the body of the female, the goddess, has been painted, sculpted, passionately honored and adored.

    The earliest societies were filled with images of the nude female.

    And most of those societies went far beyond our level of fascination. They worshipped the female body outright.

    Some might bandy the word "worship" around when describing our society's current attitude toward women's bodies.

    They'd be wrong.

    There's a vast difference between worship and fixation, between appreciation and exploitation.

    Once upon a time, both men and women held an endless sense of awe and gratitude for all that a woman's body could do. Intimacy was sacred. There was deep adoration and reverence for a woman's ability to bring forth and nurture life.

    Last month, a woman named Emily Gillette found out just how much attitudes have changed over the centuries.

    Apparently this is a perfectly acceptable way to associate breasts with food.

    But this is offensive, inappropriate and disgusting. Grounds for being asked to leave an airplane.

    You see, as a society, we are mostly interested in what a woman's body looks like and what that kind of eye candy can sell for us, or do for us, especially for men.

    And that has turned a woman's body from something sacred to an object of either passion or disdain.

    We can see a woman's body as dirty or lucrative, provocative or beautiful.

    But many of us are completely incapable of seeing a nursing breast, whether covered or not, as amazing, nourishing and worthy of simple respect.

    I'm astonished at how far we've come.

    And I'd like to think that we're better than this.

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Happy Birthday JDub!

    Today is my wonderful husband's 31st birthday! We got married when he was 21 years old. So, this is the 10th birthday I've spent with him!

    He is such a good, wonderful man. It's been an honor to share my life with him all of these years. I'm looking forward to many, many more.

    So, I made this video for him for his birthday.


    Okay, just watched this and it's a bit pixelated. Loses something. I'll see about using a different codec or some different settings to get it looking better. And maybe I won't. Maybe I'll just take a nap. :) We'll see. JDub can see it full quality on my computer when he gets home.

    Oh, the music on the video:
    I Need Love by Laura Pausini
    I'll Choose You by Stephanie Smith
    I'll Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab For Cutie

    Croup Stinks!

    So, I'm home with two boys who have croup today. Yucky, yucky, yucky! Last night was the second night of it and croup is ALWAYS much worse at night. Scud was bad the first night, but aside from feeling icky, he slept well last night. Mashuga, on the other hand, was pretty severe last night. He was barely breathing. Once morning came and I was coherent enough to think about it, I think a visit to the ER might not have been a bad idea. But, alas, I didn't think about it. And he and I both made it through the night. Lots of bed-switching and sitting right by the humidifier and spending an hour in the steamy bathroom and a nice warm bath.

    So, I took him to the doctor this morning and they gave him a steroid that should take effect by tonight and open up his airways more.

    So, I'm sure hoping for a peaceful night tonight. Or at least some rest.

    And hoping that my guys will start feeling better very soon. I hate seeing my sweet little ones sick.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Friday Wrap November 17th

    Wow, it has been one VERY fast week. It feels like it should still be Monday. Or Wednesday at the very least. I went to pick up kiddos at noon today and was doubting myself the whole way there.

    "It's not Friday, is it? It's not a half day today. It can't really be Friday!"

    But, alas, my friends. It is in fact Friday. I shall see if I can come up with some sense of what's happened during this blur of a week.

  • I talked with Scud's teacher this week about his progress in school. She says that he is FAR ahead of his peers academically. They are just beginning to blend phonograms. He's already reading. And in math, he already knows a great deal of addition and subtraction. So, she tries to challenge him when she can. This was one of my biggest worries with sending him to Kindergarten at 6. He's probably ready for the academic work of 1st grade, but I really felt that he was not socially or emotionally ready for a full day of school. I'm sure it should all work out. On the behavior front, she said that he is obedient and eager to please. But he does have some problems with self-control (ie: he occasionally tackles his friends during class just because he feels like it), can't seem to keep his chair on the floor and tips over at least once a day and can often be found poking his neighbors. Yep. Sounds just like home.

  • I got to go help in Scud's classroom this week. I'll tell you what, every time I've helped in a kindergarten classroom I think that kindergarten teachers must be the most patient souls in the world. And I usually come home with a deep appreciation for MY kindergartner and his unique quirks and habits. I'll keep him.

  • I had an appointment with my midwife on Wednesday. Everything looks good. Baby's heartbeat is strong. I could tell you that he's healthy just by how busy he is. At my last appointment I was measuring rather large for dates. At 30 weeks I was 35cm (standard is an average of 1cm per week of prengnancy). But now, at 33 weeks I'm measuring 34.5cm. So, it's all evening out.

  • So, I'm excited to meet this baby. He still doesn't have a name. We just call him Coco most of the time. We're really leaning toward Jack, but I don't feel a clear pull toward a name for him like I did with Scud and Mashuga. So, we'll probably just wait until he's born and name him then.

  • The rest of the family is excited to meet him also. Scud has to hug and say hello to the baby every time he hugs me. JDub and I have a nightly routine where, after putting kids to bed, he listens to the baby's heartbeat through my tummy and talks to him and rubs his back. Coco loves it and is always happy to hear Daddy's voice and moves right over and into JDub's hand. It's been nice to really enjoy and appreciate this pregnancy in ways we didn't as much with our other three.

  • JDub has been VERY busy at work. Every year the store he works with does a BIG show and sale. This is the only time of the year that they really clean the store and organize it. So, he worked from about 6am until 10pm on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. The show started Wednesday and he's worked until 8pm on nights since then. The overtime pay will be nice for Christmas and for paying for baby stuff. But, I'll tell you what, I'm done. I don't remember being this tired with other pregnancies. But, by 4pm I'm already ready to fall into bed. Then, by 8 or 9 when I get kids to bed, I'm exhausted beyond words. And by the time JDub actually gets home and I've fought with Mashuga to stay in bed for a while, I'm tired to the point of tears. I'm ready for this week to be over with.

  • Okay, this is starting to really sound depressing. But, all in all, I'm in a good place. I'm getting back into the swing of things and enjoying the rhythm of my daily life. I'm feeling changes and growth and new ways of being seep slowly into the little things I do.

  • After writing about my struggles and disappointments of coming home to a less than miraculous life transformation, a dear friend that I met at Ghost Ranch gave me words of advice that were like honey for my heart. "Be patient. It will come," she reminded me. "In little ways, a little at a time, you will notice how you've grown and see yourself in a new light."

  • She also reminded me of how very precious and fleeting these years with my small children are. Truly, this is a blessed season in my life and I would be foolish not to feast on these days and revel in the glory of being a joyful mother of children. There will be time for so many other things. It does not all have to be NOW. And I certainly don't want to squander now by wishing it to be different than it is.

  • And that has been part of my disappointment on leaving Ghost Ranch and not being able to fully and immediately integrate the things I learned there into my life. I want to be better FOR my children. If nothing else in my life changes, if I touch no one else, I want my family to feel deeply of my love for them and for my self. To see in me and example of courage and strength and open tenderness. Through my willingness to allow myself to be big, to be fully the wonderful woman I know I can be, I want to give my children permission to do the same. But, I keep reminding myself to slow down. To be patient. And to know that, in this moment, I am enough and I am doing my very best. And I am loving those around me fiercely.

  • I finished reading The Horse Whisperer today. It was a touching story. I'm not sure I'd recommend the book wholeheartedly, as it has a bit more sex and language than I'd like, but the story was engrossing and interesting. One thing I especially loved was a part where one of the main characters says something to the effect of "All of life is really a long string of nows. And the best one can do is to live this now as fully as possible with out giving too much thought to the previous now or the next now."

    And I'll leave you with that. I'm sure I could find more to say, but I feel like the best use of this particular now for me has nothing to do with continuing to type on the computer. Gotta go see what the clanging and banging upstairs is about.

  • Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    I'm back...

    And I'll tell you the truth.

    I feel like I've returned from a different planet.

    From a world of howling coyotes and labyrinths and warrior initiation and Inanna and huge red and orange rocks and hearing my powerful voice.

    And now back to a world of laundry and kids and driving to and from school and missed parent/teacher conferences and homework and primary programs and dishes.

    Re-entry has been more difficult than I'd like to admit. Integrating the marvelous things I learned about myself last week with my life, that is set up to allow me to shrink and stay small and comfortable, has been painful. And interesting.

    It has been quite a study in who I am and how I've looked at myself for so many years and how disparate the two are.

    So, I'm moving on with great faith, great love, great doubt and GREAT determination.

    I'll probably be processing a great deal here. Or on my other blog.

    I hope it proves to be worthwhile for others, rather than just me.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Leaving on a Jet Plane

    And I'm off...

    Tomorrow morning I will be flying to New Mexico to go here for this.

    I've heard that a Birthing From Within Advanced Retreat can be quite life-changing.

    So, I'm terribly excited. But also feeling a bid of trepidation.

    Partly about the possible intensity of this coming week.

    But mostly about leaving my cute kiddos and my husband for an entire week. It will be the first time I've left them for this long.

    So keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

    My sister will be helping with kiddos for most of the time. So, I know they'll be in good hands. She might take them to Grandma's house over the weekend.

    If that's the case, then JDub will be a lone man. If you see him, please feed him. Otherwise he might not eat all weekend.

    Wish us all luck.

    Over and out.

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Photo Journal of the last few months

    So, I've been teasing you all by promising photos. Then, I've never actually posted any. So, here you go. Some of the interesting moments of our last few months.


    Remember me telling you about the hurricane-like storm that blew down our 50-foot pine tree and knocked down powerlines all over the city? Well, here are some of the pictures. It was quite an experience.

    First Day of School

    Kaitybean and Scud in their school uniforms. I LOVE school uniforms. Not only are they cute, they completely cut out morning arguments and the need for me to shout "You are NOT wearing that to school!"

    Kaitybean and Scud show off their backpacks.

    Mashuga and Scud on the first day of Kindergarten.

    On the first day of school, the kids all came outside for a flag ceremony - complete with members of the Army National Guard providing music and flag raising. Pretty cool.

    Scud's 6th Birthday
    Ah, my Scud boy. What a cutie he can be. Here are some pictures from his 6th birthday.

    Oops, I did it again!
    Um, I have oven issues. We now have a strict rule against plastic in the oven. This is the second time I have melted a great deal of plastic in the oven. JDub had put a bowl of rolls in the oven a few days before. I turned the oven on to preheat and soon the whole house was filled with smoke. Smoke detectors went off. Mashuga ran outside crying. There were little fires all over the bottom of the oven. I felt like a complete dork. Here's a picture of the after math.

    Just one more. So glad to have happy kids.

    The Warm and Fuzzy Feelings of Election Day

    I wrote this last year and thought I'd repost it for your enjoyment and encouragement. Mashuga and I took advantage of early voting on Monday. So, I'm done!


    My main message for today could easily be summed up in just one word: VOTE!

    My secondary message could be summed up in three: Take your children.

    Hopefully you'll read farther, but if all you remember are those four words, I'll be happy.

    Election days always remind me of my mother. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve walking home from school to our high school auditorium. There my mother, who was usually a stay-at-home-Mom-extraordinaire, worked year after year as an election judge. I'd walk in to find her flanked by two sweet, gray-haired grandmothers, each of them taking names and handing out ballots. I always felt spoiled on election days. My mom had fun snacks -- licorice, Wheat Thins, peanut M&Ms -- and she always shared. The other women, who always brought candy for me, were happy to see me each year. So, even from a young age, I got the sense that election day was a special day. I knew that this voting stuff was important and I felt very honored to be part of it through my mother.

    My parents did many other things to help me understand the importance of being involved in government. I remember them having a meeting at our house once, I believe it was a caucus meeting. I remember them going to other meetings in the months leading up to November. There are very few years that I don't remember having at least one candidate's sign posted in our front yard.

    Most importantly, my parents always voted. In 2000, when George W. Bush was running against John McCain in the primary elections, George W. Bush had already won before Utah had its Republican primary. I remember talking to my Mom that year and she confessed to me that she hadn't voted in that primary, because it had already been decided. Then she told me something that really blew me away. That was the first election she'd missed since she turned 18. That's 27 years. What a testimony to me of the importance of exercising our right to choose our elected leaders and have a voice in our government.

    I know my mother voted faithfully because her parents voted faithfully. I've heard many stories about my Grandma, who died long before I was born. One of my favorite stories is one my mother tells about going to vote with her mother. She was standing in the booth when her mother leaned over and whispered, "Don't tell your Dad I voted for Kennedy." I smile every time I think of that. It seems that not only do I have a rich heritage of faithful voters, but that I come from a long line of strong women as well.

    This tradition of mothers taking their daughters with them to vote seems to have had a huge impact on my family. As I got older and visited my mother each year when she was an election judge, my interest in voting and politics grew. I began to read the notices posted on the wall, trying to understand the issues that were being voted on. I listened to my parents and others as they talked about why they thought a certain candidate would be best for the job. The joyful feelings from my childhood grew to a full-fledged interest in politics, in government and a deep sense of patriotism. After years of training and being joyfully welcomed into this mysterious adult world of government participation, it is second nature to me to go to the polls, to call my representatives about issues, to research bond proposals and other initiatives. It has been a very organic process, years of covert (and possibly unintended) lessons in political science and civic responsibility.

    Best of all, the warm fuzzy feelings are still there. Today I dropped my daughter off at school and walked inside with my boys to vote. Seeing the smiling, gray-haired election judges, watching people file in and out and stepping into the blue and red voting booth was incredibly nostalgic. It felt much like going home for Christmas.

    I let my boys take turns using the puncher and told them what we were voting on and why I'd chosen each candidate. I explained to them about taxes and bonds and how the roads we use are kept in good repair. They listened, but I think they mostly thought that punching out chads was pretty cool. Then, we took our ballot to the election judges and we each got to choose a cool "I Voted" sticker to wear all day.

    I hope my children will learn about government as we talk about taxes and mayors and presidents and take field trips to the state capitol. I hope they'll develop a love of their country and an interest in politics. What I wish most for them, though, is that election day will always remind them of their mother. I hope that stepping into a polling station will fill them with the same warmth and joy as cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    Slipping, slipping


    I feel it happening again.

    The weather starts turning cool. Leaves turn brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow. I walk outside in the morning to find frost glimmering like diamonds on every surface. I feel abundantly joyful and bask in the beauty of autumn.

    Then it starts. A general achiness, a weariness that tears through my body. Every cell feels heavier. It's harder to breathe, harder to move.

    I begin to feel overwhelmed by the pace of my life. I feel inadequate. I get angry more often. My feelings get hurt by things I'd usually think nothing of.

    Soon, I stop wanting to see people. Or talk to people. I feel like I want to wrap myself in a warm blanket in a corner and only invite my closest friends and family in to see me.

    My house gets a bit dirtier than usual. The vacuuming that I used to avoid for only a day or two now might be avoided for weeks. I don't like the idea of visitors. Even if my house were immaculate, I kind of wish that most people would just keep away for a little while. Let me be quiet and crawl within and just rest for a few months.

    I'm usually not consciously aware as most of these things happen. It's such a slow process. Even so, after a decade of this, you'd think I'd catch on more quickly.

    But I don't.

    Then, there will be an evening that makes it clear to me. Dusk will be settling over the world. The sun will start going down. And I'll start to feel a bit jittery, uncomfortable. Anxious. Over the next few days these nightly bouts of anxiety will grow. And one night I'll be almost ready to collapse in panic at the setting of the sun. More! More! My body needs more! The sun can't go down yet. I can't handle the darkness. I just can't do it.

    And this is when I realize that it's here once again.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder


    I've dealt with seasonal depression since my senior year of high school. But, somehow it still surprises me every year.

    Maybe it's because every year I hope it won't happen. Which is probably a good thing. I'd hate to waste a lovely autumn in anticipation and dread.

    Some years it has been truly deep, dangerous depression. Some years I'd just call it a bit of a funk.

    Who knows what this year will bring.

    But I was really hoping this would be the year I'd get off. I'm happily pregnant. I've been staying well-nourished. I've been exercising and getting out in the sun more.

    No such luck.

    I'll probably pull out my friend, the Blue Wave GoLight, and start to put him to good use.

    I'll probably take a hot bath today and drink a great big mug of hot cocoa.

    What's bothering me the most about this right now is a general feeling that maybe I'm not what's wrong. Maybe I've been okay all along.

    After all, my body's rhythm, my emotions, my mind are all telling me exactly what I need to be comfortable right now. I need to sleep a bit later. I need emotional space, but I also need a great deal of love and attention from those who put me at ease. I need to just take things a bit slower than usual.

    I keep thinking that, if I were just able to do that, to follow the signals my body gives me, that this time of year wouldn't be so hard.

    But, my body's signals and my life's demands are terribly off-kilter. My body needs rest. My life demands that I drive kids to school and make Halloween costumes and help at my children's school and get ready for the holidays and make Christmas cards and make dinner every night and spend time with extended family and go visiting teaching and prepare lessons for Sunday, and, and, and, and.

    Maybe there's really never been anything wrong with me so much as a complete and inescapable set of demands that keeps me each year from simply doing what I need to do to take care of me.

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    Music I'm Loving Right Now

    I'm afraid this is not going to be a full-fledged iMix list.

    I just had to share my favorite recent song.

    New Shoes by Paolo Nutini

    HURRY over to iTunes, as it's their free download of the week until Tuesday, I think.

    This is one of the most fun, peppy songs I've heard in a long time. It just makes me smile.

    And who can't love a tall, dark, handsome Italian guy named Paolo. Especially when he sings like this.

    Go check it out and enjoy!

    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    Free Hugs!

    I love this. I'm not sure I'd be up to it now, but I can totally see myself doing this in my younger days.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    Recent Kid Funnies


    As we were getting into the car after leaving Kaitybean and Scud's school I said, "Let's go shopping. Mommy needs some new pants."

    He looked up at me and said, "Why did you pee in them or something?"

    Then, tonight as I was cleaning up after dinner he said, "Everything I wish, I dream. Like, I wished that your bum would fall off. But that was just my dream."


    We were helping our neighbors move out a few nights ago when JDub and I stopped at the gate for a stolen moment and a kiss.

    Then, behind me I heard Kaitybean clearing her throat.

    "I'm sorry to interrupt the love mood," she said, "but I've got a really big wagon here."


    We learned a little bit more about Scud's eating habits the other day. This kid can really put food away.

    After three and a half large portions of lasagna last week, he asked for more.

    "Scud, I think you're full," I told him.

    "But I don't hurt yet," he replied.

    Saturday, October 14, 2006


    That's me breathing a HUGE sigh of relief. Honestly. It feels like there are all kinds of tiny springs and wires unwinding all over my body. Tension is just melting away.

    I finished teaching my last childbirth class today. And it was a lovely experience. And I still love what I do. And I certainly don't regret teaching it or attending the 24 hour birth I attended last week.


    I. AM. DONE.

    I finally feel free to fully and selfishly prepare for my own birth instead of spending so much of my time and energy devoted to helping other women prepare for theirs. And it feels good.

    On another note, I took a rather spectacular fall yesterday. My foot hurts like crazy. I'm bruised all over my left side. I think I'll spend the rest of the day in bed. :)

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    My Little Phineas

    I've finally come up with a good explanation for Mashuga. Not that this kid (or any child, really) is thoroughly definable. Mashuga especially (and the fact that he has survived a full three and a half years) defies explanation. But, I still think I've come up with a pretty good archetype for him.

    I've just begun re-reading one of my favorite books, A Separate Peace by John Knowles. The words he uses to define one of the main characters really describes Mashuga well.

    "...simple, shocking self-acceptance."

    "Phineas didn't really dislike West Point in particular or authority in general, but just considered authority the necessary evil against which happiness was acheived by reaction, the backboard which returned all the insults he threw at it."

    "...Finny pressed his advantage. Not because he wanted to be forgiven...he might rather have enjoyed the punishment if it was done in some novel and unknown way....The Master was slipping from his official position, and it was just possible, if Phineas pressed hard enough, that there might be a flow of unregulated friendliness between them, and such flows were one of Finny's reasons for living."

    "Everything he said was true and sincere. Finny always said what he happened to be thinking, and if this stunned people then he was surprised."

    "[He was]unique, able to get away with anything at all. And not because he was a conniver, either; I was sure of that. He got away with everything because of the extraordinary kind of person he was."

    And last of all, a good description of how we feel about him as parents:

    "The Devon faculty had never before experienced a student who combined a calm ignorance of the rules with a winning urge to be good, who seemed to love the school truly and deeply, and never more than when he was breaking the regulations, a model boy who was most comfortable in the truant's corner. The faculty threw up its hands over Phineas..."

    Honestly, what else can you do with a kid like this? I already feel this way about Mashuga and he's only three. At once he is exasperating and enchanting. He wants very much to be good, but at the same time has such a calm disregard for authority and rules. The next fifteen to twenty years ought to be breathtaking. In many ways.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    My Current State of Mind

    So, this is how I've been feeling about pretty much everything lately. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that my blog, which is pretty low on the priority scale, is not seeing much action.

    I'll post sometime soon. Hopefully I'll still have readers by then. I love you all for coming over here every once in a while. Hope you'll forgive my apathy and laziness lately.