Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fabulous Award

Oh how could I have forgotten about this?? Here is the thing, if you traipse about the blogging world very long you see some stuff. One "stuff" you see is precious little blog awards. They are just cute little decorative squares that say nice things like, "Best blog EVER," or "Super Cool Blog." . . . and actually, I don't know that they say those exact things. I don't know because I have never been awarded one of these darling little badges of blog approval. Never that is until NOW! And yes, it was from my very own sister. Still, how great it feels to have been given this: I'd almost say it feels "fabulous!"

Unfortunately these blessed little awards come with "rules" -- rules you are supposed to follow. I simply wanted the praise. Blast. The only part I have trouble with is the tagging others. Not that I don't want to pass this fabulous award along, I just get nervous to "tag" anyone outside of my sisters because blogs are personal (obviously I don't mean personal like "private" since the idea is that someone is reading these posts). I mean people do what they personally want with them and I don't know that anyone wants me to tell them what they have to post. With my own sisters they will simply ignore if they want. Still, I'll see what I can do.

Here are the rules to receiving this award:

You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous bloggers in a post.

You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.

You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.

OK, so I linked to Shannon above (and now here). She was the beloved sister who awarded me this fabulous award.

Some fabulous bloggers to pass this on to? Well, I love all the blogs of my friends and family. But for safety's sake I will say:

Megan first off. She is a fabulous blogger and sister in general for always doing nice stuff for me, and bringing me all her clothes she tires of (she shops lots more than I do), and being excited for me about whatever. She seems to switch her blog periodically back and forth between private and open, so if you click on her link you may or may not be lucky enough to see the girl.

Oh, and how about my nieces: Jessica, Ashley, and Kristen. I love when those cute girls post something and they certainly don't nearly enough, so perhaps this will give those fabulous girls some motivation. I've talked about my grown up nieces before, but they make my life so much more enjoyable than it would otherwise be!

OK, who will be the lucky last blogger to be awarded this tiny fabulous square? . . . I would say so many of you . . . ohhhh (biting my nails) . . . how about . . . Sara!! That is right, I am talking to you my niece on Mike's side. You are the lucky fabulous one. Are you even reading this?? Well, you better be and you better get posting your little award along with something else as you also seem to need a little motivation to get you posting more for your sweet aunty to read.

As for five fabulous addictions. Since when are addictions fabulous? Maybe if you are addicted to good things? Like addicted to reading your scriptures? (Oops, maybe that sounded sacrilegious, but it made me chuckle. Besides, I do like to read my scriptures, so there). Anyway, here are some addictions (though this is starting to feel like coming up with "quirks" which only made me feel so like a boring soul).

1. Running. There, that is a fabulous addiction. I haven't ran in three plus weeks now and it makes me so sad. Really, I do love to run. It is pretty much the only "me" thing I have kept doing since having children. But I feel forever blessed that I didn't make the volleyball team in 9th grade and so, heart broken, joined the cross country team. It is how I get my alone time, where I think some of my deepest thoughts, and of course, good for my health. It is hard to find ways to get out what with so many little ones at home and a husband who works long hours, but I love it. I actually feel little twinges of jealousy when I am driving somewhere and pass by someone out running.

2. Blogging. What a fun thing this blog business has been. Fun to read posts of friends and family, and a new "me" thing that I have added to my life -- being able to write little bits of stuff and get a few comments about it is so enjoyable.

3. Treats and baking. Sigh, that is probably not a fabulous addiction, but I do love it. I was always the dessert maker of the family. Sunday's it was a given someone would suggest I go make brownies. I really do have a horrible sweet tooth and while I don't like cooking meals much, I quite enjoy having the kids help me whip up a cake or cookies or some such.

4. Cute clothes for my kids. I'm thrifty enough and luckily for Mike I don't actually enjoy going shopping much (I know, weird) so I don't buy them clothes that often, but I do find myself wanting to buy cute little items of clothing for my kids whenever I see them. Nothing else in stores catches my eye or tempts me nearly as much as a darling little dress or sweater for one of my girls and I get so happy when someone passes on something cute for my kids (like my friend Jessica who just brought me an entire bag of clothes for Daisy that her daughter had outgrown! Thanks Jess!!).

5. A Good Book. I am not always reading. In fact often I am avoiding reading and that is because if I am reading a book that truly interests me I simply can't put it down. Mike will tease that I am the least present and fun wife imaginable when I am in the middle of a book because I will be sneaking it out when we are supposed to be watching a movie together or when he wants to tell me something interesting, etc. But I love how a story makes me feel and how an authors descriptions of children or love or whatever it might be makes me more aware of those things in my own life. I am often sad when a good book is over simply because I miss the people so much and know I can't ever know the rest of their story (and yes, that is how I feel even with fictional characters!). I once made my sister laugh at me for saying I wanted to send the missionaries to baptize Levin from Anna Karenina. And for days I was so sad and missing the family from How Green Was My Valley. Does anyone have a good book for me to read? Maybe you shouldn't tell me as I will then be stuck to it and unable to care for my poor young children until I've finished it! :)

There, did I do all that was required? I'm not sure. I hope so. I don't want this award ripped from my deserving blog by the award patrol due to failure to meet all the requirements!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Anniversary . . . and so forth

Geez, how can this blog ever be funny blog or creative blog anymore when there is so much significant and so much to reminisce about at this time of year for me? Can I make those things fun and clever?? I'm thinking . . . I'm not really sure. I can try . . . but . . . well, I'm not really going to try. If it happened all on its own as my fingers hit the keyboard that would be fabulous, but I wouldn't count on it. Don't worry. Plenty of boring old insignificant months are ahead and just think of the fun that will start popping into my head then! Possums and chickens, watermelon and ants. It will be so much fun! But . . . not yet . . . now it is still all thoughtful. Sorry.
Thoughtful thought 1: My goodness what a very lot can happen in a year! Last year I was living in a completely different state, my interactions all with completely different people (well, excepting my husband and kids), in a very different but very happy open and clean little home with no idea that might be changing soon. Now, a year later, I am 730 miles removed from that home, living at my parents, surrounded by family, and just about to move into a totally unexpected home and neighborhood. Also, at this time last year I was coping with the trauma of a fairly late miscarriage. Now, exactly one year later, I am snuggling and feeding a tiny newborn boy as I sit here typing!
Thoughtful thought 2: Yesterday was my birthday. I am 32. What!!?? I know I shouldn't care, but I don't love to be out of my 20's. Lame of me, I know. Anyway, we like to pack as much craziness into this time of year as possible! Besides all of the usual holiday fun, we celebrate the birth of both of our sons, my dad's birthday, my birthday, and our anniversary! We really ought to spread out some of that excitement! But, because there is so much associated with my birthday time, I always have such fun memories of my birthday -- my birthday spent decorating the stake center for our wedding reception, my birthday with my first newborn, etc.
Thoughtful thought 3 (and the highlight thought for the day): Today is our nine year anniversary!! Wowzers, that means next year I can say we've been married for a decade! How can that be? I still think we are newlyweds (newlyweds with five kids???). What can I say that won't just sound trite and typical? Probably I don't have the words to convey the depth of my thoughts on and feelings for Mike. I love that I know him so well. I know what he likes, I know what bothers him, I know what is hard for him and I know how fully he can be trusted. I feel like I truly know all the little ins and outs of his entire soul, and I love love love that I get to have that in my life -- that I get to have and forever associate with this man that I know so well because I love who he is. I love how he treats me. I love that he encourages me to do anything I want to do (like run a marathon -- and his encouragement means a lot of time spent watching kids while I am off training). I love that after nine years of marriage he still pulls me aside when no one is watching or when I am in the middle of trying to pack a diaper bag and get stuff done to kiss me for awhile. I love that he talks some good common sense to me when I am feeling frustrated or overwhelmed (or, if not any good common sense, he at least will make me laugh -- against my will pulling me from grumpy to giggly). I have no idea about the truth of this, it may very well not be so, but when I think of me and Mike and wonder about knowing him before this life, I just have this little image of me watching and listening to him and being so happy and preferring his company so much to that of others and I picture myself not knowing I'd get to be with him forever, but hoping -- just thinking how very happy and lucky we would be if our Father's plan also made allowance for that small detail -- Mike and I being bound for all eternity down here. I love Mike. I love that we get to be married and that we get to experience all this crazy earth business together -- raising a family, struggling with trials, enjoying happy times, etc. Here is a link to one of my favorite posts about him.
So, there, the end of all the thoughtful thoughts for now. Was there even one bit of funny? We all love funny. Especially me. But what can a girl do when she is in the midst of celebrating such significant moments and welcoming new tiny spirits to this world and so forth?? What I ask you, but turn a bit sentimental for a season.

Friday, December 26, 2008

powerful little newborns

I've never been "baby hungry." Most of my sisters nearly pass out at the thought of a newborn they love them so, but I tend to be a little wary of newborns. Sure I adore my little babies and love them so much that my mind keeps uttering little prayers of thanks each time I look at them, but generally, when I don't have a baby, I am not thinking how I want one. I am thinking, "Tired. No schedule. No routine. Unpredictable. So much work to be done . . ."

So, that is why I am always so amazed by the overwhelming feelings I have when I do truly have my own little newborns in my arms. What is it about these tiny babies? The emotions are definitely conflicting. Maybe that is part of the reason they are so very strong? The huge sways between feeling overwhelmed with responsibility and stress verses being overwhelmed with love and the feeling of being needed. The old, "There must needs be opposition in all things"? It is a bit roller coastery, and yes, if nothing else, the emotions are strong. Stronger than almost anything else I can imagine at the moment.

I literally spend most of the day holding or nursing Jesse, so why is it that I am almost miserable if he is out of my arms for any length of time? Last night he slept for about eight hours. Wonderful . . . only I woke every other hour missing him and wanting almost achingly for him to wake up so I could pull him from that painful distance of about two feet away in his cradle right next to me in bed where I could smell and snuggle him and kiss his soft tiny face. Is it because he spent nine long months growing inside of me and now my mind and body are reacting to this very large separation in our physical closeness? Maybe, but that can't be all of it. When I first saw my sister's Haitian son cradled in her arms I felt that same wonder and desire to have him close to me. The amazement over something I had created replaced by the amazement that somehow -- from impossibly far away -- this little one had been created and found his way to our family -- for all eternity. Just as impossible of a miracle. Is it because they are healing? Comforting? My sister Kathy took Jesse away from me at our recent family party and when I tried to reclaim him told me to leave her alone because she "needed" him. My sister Shannon will stop by my parents and before removing her coat or setting down her purse begin asking where my baby is. Why? Why does simply holding these tiny helpless little beings do so much good to our hearts? I don't know. It is all too powerful and too hard to explain. Maybe it is simply that they are still so so fresh from somewhere so holy. Maybe the longing I have to hold and be close to my tiny Jesse isn't much different than the homesickness we would feel if we could remember our heavenly home. How does that go . . . trailing clouds from heaven? Trailing stardust? When I took Jesse for his two week check up to my brother John (world's best pediatrician), he was going over some of the things they like to look for at this stage. He jokingly added in, "and of course, he should be spending a good deal of time looking over your shoulder at angels." We always say that they are looking at angels when those tiny gray eyes seem intent on something that none of the rest of us can see. Who knows. Maybe they are. These tiny ones have been waiting for millenia for their turn here, and then, here they are -- at last. I wonder sometimes how quickly the veil shuts over their eyes. They certainly seem to me to be quite a holy thing and it makes me feel such ridiculously strong emotions and such swellings of gratitude to be trusted with another one of these precious and amazingly strong "last days" little spirits. Oh Jesse, I love you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some Super Good Pics!

Now this is a little more like it. I mentioned I was having trouble getting great pics lately. It turns out all I had to do was drop by my sister Amy's house yesterday morning. Thanks Ame! Thay (what?? Did I just spell "they" t-h-a-y?? How sad). Anyway, I meant to say they look amazing!! (Oh, OK, I didn't just "drop by." I had to get me and all 5 kids ready so I could be out there at 9:00am . . . no easy feat). And lastly, what on earth? Are all five of those kids mine? Even that screaming one? That is weird since I am only like 21 (or so I still think in my little mind).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When it rains it pours . . .

When what rains what pours? You ask. Well, news, that's what is raining and pouring right now. News. Lots of big news. Big news #1 (the biggest news of course) is the news you all know: We added Jesse to our family. But, who knew that we would buy a house FINALLY and so soon after that news! But we have. And that is big news #2. Our offer was accepted today and we are so excited!
Look at it. It is a gorgeous house. It might even lead you to believe that we are a little (ok, a lot) better off than we are, but that is because we got an impossible price. It was a foreclosure and we paid half of what it appraised for not long ago. A small fortune less than our half-the-size WA all siding house and much much less than any similar house around here. It is rather shocking what we got it for and considering that the bank had several other offers come in at the same time as ours, a bit miraculous.
It is strange because it is not at ALL what we were looking for. We wanted land or a close commute for Mike. This is neither. What's more, we won't actually be moving in for some time. We will need to do some major clean up first (which, luckily, is EASY when you have a toddler, a newborn and a couple kids being homeschooled). BUT, despite that and a number of very odd things about this house, I feel so so calm and happy and excited. I feel like a number of wacky and accidental things just kept falling (maybe more pushing things) into our favor -- with out us even being aware of them. I really feel like a lot of prayers are being answered in a very round about way by us securing this house which is so far from what we were trying to find.

Who knows, maybe with all this "news" in the air, we will soon be sharing the news that we have actually purchased a vehicle that can fit our entire family. (Yes, sadly and truly ever since Jesse's arrival we have had to drive two cars anywhere we want to go as a family. We need to get crackin' on that).

Monday, December 15, 2008


See these? They are trouble. Trouble for me because they are so so delicious. And the thing is, who would ever buy candy cane Kisses? I certainly wouldn't because candy cane just doesn't excite me much. Unfortunately my sister brought me some when I was in the hospital with Jesse and now I am ruined. I crave them every day. They taste just like those pink, green, and yellow mints that have little white sprinkles on the bottom only much creamier. The good thing about me is, although I always crave something, that something does change. The craving usually lasts a few weeks and then I move on. The bad thing is . . . it is never a healthy thing I crave. Every day for two weeks I will have to have Ruffles and cottage cheese. Then I will need Swiss Orange ice cream for the next few weeks. For now it is candy cane Kisses . . . every day.

Daisy told me she snuckily did something the other day. My kids often do something not "sneakily" but "snuckily." I love snuckily.
Yesterday was Mike's parent's mission farewell. It was a great meeting and Mike's dad even sweetly referred to tiny little Jesse in his talk. Goldie told me afterwards that it was the "best church day ever." I asked if it was because of grandma and grandpa's talks, or possibly because Anna was there (an older and worshipped cousin). "No," she said, "It was because of the food! 'Cause I LOVE to eat!" (There was plenty of good eatin' afterwards).

Oh, and let's be honest here. The real reason for any blogging from me at present is: JESSE JeSsE jesse . . . and more Jesse. (And I better post while I can because Mike is home pampering me -- bringing me lunch, doing the laundry, etc. and tomorrow he is back to work. Cry cry. Time for real life again).

Anyway, I tried three times yesterday to film Jesse -- you know lying there, opening his eyes some, waving his arms a little, turning his head sadly wishing there was something to eat. All the things that would be uninteresting for anyone who wasn't in love with him to watch (but you are all in love with him -- if not on his own merits, because you love me and I love him). Here is how it went down:

Film attempt one: Ended when Penny (on film) spewed a bunch of chewed up hot dog out of her mouth.

Film attempt two: Ended when the camera batteries died.

Film attempt three: Ended when Jesse spit up copious amounts all over his tiny self.

I was going to put attempts one and three on here -- just because they were so cute right up until the end, and I thought you all might like to know the truth of life here. . . . Then I remembered that things coming out of other kid's mouths are never as easy to handle as things coming out of your own kid's mouths. So . . .

Instead, a few random thoughts about things with Jesse:
-- If you've seen The Lord of the Rings, you might recall that frighteningly eerie, high pitched, screechy hawk like sound that fills the air when the ring wraiths are coming -- the Nazgul cry. Well our little man with his raspy tiny voice sounds just like that when he starts to cry. A little tiny ring wraith.
-- Even though it gets more and more fun as these babies start interacting with you more and doing fun things, I almost feel like crying every time I hold him to think that in only a matter of weeks he will no longer be this tiny slumpy helpless little being. I love love how he "molds" into me and sleeps away.
-- Speaking of helpless. It is so sadly funny how needy these tiny ones truly are. Poor little ones sucking frantically on any bit of blanket, arm, or finger that comes near their mouth as if perhaps it will sustain them. It makes me laugh in an almost crying sort of way.

-- It is so crazy to have a new little person who is suddenly eternally bound to your family and to think, "What on earth if we hadn't had this one?" It is an impossible thought. However, as my grandparents once replied to that line of thinking when my own parents once made a similar comment, "That way lies madness!"

P.S. I am still enjoying all of your posts . . . it is just generally when I am nursing Jesse that I read them . . . which means one handedness . . . which means it seems like too much work to comment.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A few more Jesse pics

I have been having such unusual trouble with bad lighting, and flashes washing things out, and no flashes making things blurry, and what do I know about how to combat any of that? Anyway, all I am saying is, cute as Jesse certainly looks in these pics, they don't come close to doing him justice. He is so . . . darling? Cute? Adorable? Aaahh, I can't even think of a big enough word to describe how heart wrenchingly amazingly perfectly beautiful he is to me!!!! How could I have guessed how perfect this little person inside of me was going to be and how much I would love another little boy? I honestly have hardly even minded him waking me up at night because I love to just snuggle up to and look at him while he eats. (For those of you wondering how that is possible I must add that I did long ago give up trying to actually get up and feed my babies. Ooohh, that was miserable. The minute they wake up they are just next to me in bed these first few weeks).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's A . . .

BOY!! Finally, after all my complainin', our little boy made his appearance.
True he was four days late, but as I guessed, that doesn't seem to matter so much anymore. Jesse Frank was born Tuesday Dec. 9, 2008 at 9:06 am. He was 21" and weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. (the exact same weight as his older brother was).

I know you are all going to want to think of him as "Jess--ee," because that is how his name looks, but it is not so. He is simply "Jess" . . . but spelled Jesse. I know that will frustrate you all greatly, but it is a family name. Spelled one way and said another. Even when I complained of having no name I secretly felt that if it was a boy, he was meant to be our little Jesse (think "Jess"). I love our little Jesse so much and I hope he will do his great great grandpa Jesse proud by what he makes of his name.

His great great grandpa Jesse died from a tick bite about three years after his wife -- leaving six kids parentless. One of those kids was 12 year old Frank (Mike's grandpa). That story has always made me sad. I don't know that this little spirit would have known his great great grandpa before coming to this world, but ever since naming him Jesse, I get this little pang of happiness in my heart each time I hear Mike or one of my kids call him by that name.
Yes, he is definitely our little Jesse Frank. We love him .

Monday, December 8, 2008

Still Here

Thanks for all of your nice recent comments. For those of you checking in -- wondering if I have a baby, I don't.

It is silly because everything you read says that up to two weeks before or AFTER your due date is "normal," but it doesn't feel normal. And honestly, I have NEVER heard of anyone going two weeks past their due date. Probably people used to, but it seems like if anyone is even one day past their due date these days they are immediately induced. I have nothing against being induced. Probably half of my many nieces and nephews came happily into this world after an induction. I always am so excited when one of my loved ones are getting started and I know a new little one will be here shortly, but, for some reason, I have never wanted to be induced myself. I don't know why exactly. I have no concerns about it or how it would go and if there was any reason to worry my baby was too big, or there was low fluid, or anything, I would IMMEDIATELY opt for an induction. I think it is just that I never have been and truly, as much as I go insane waiting, that whole ending of wondering when and then suddenly thinking, "Oh my goodness, I think I'm in labor!" is so fun to me and so part of the package deal of my pregnancies that I feel cheated to miss it. It is really pretty much the highlight of the entire pregnancy for me. Plus, Mike is also all about letting nature take its course as long as baby seems fine. He is much more calm about things and doesn't see why the exact date is such a big deal or why we have to force baby out if it doesn't come on that day. So, he helps me feel calm . . . but he is all that does.

Everything else makes me feel very very frustrated! And unfortunately, the due date IS a big deal to me. You spend nine months counting to that day -- and assuming you will have a baby BY that day. There is something about going past that day, especially several days passed, that makes you truly begin to feel like you will never go into labor. It is just so disappointing. Obviously, the day baby comes, I will think nothing of how many days extra I was pregnant, but right now, it is all I think about. I wake up at 5:00 or 6:00 am every morning and can't go back to sleep because I feel so frustrated and disappointed. I don't feel like seeing people because they all wonder what on earth I am still doing here. It is even more frustrating because I feel like everyone just thinks I'm stupid for still being pregnant (especially frustrated pregnant) when I could so easily not be (mind you, I know everyone doesn't really think that, I just feel that way because well, it is partly true, and every person who hears I'm past due does sadly comment, "Oh, won't your doctor start you?").

I think I am most let down because I feel like I will have to be induced, but because I don't want to, I will have had the added frustration of hoping and waiting for another week which will have been pointless if I am to be induced anyway. Oh, I know logically this is all so ridiculous of me, but honestly I feel like crying every day! I was able to be patient over the weekend because there were fun things to do, but today -- sending Mike off to work, back to doing school with the kids (I've scheduled them a week off whenever baby arrives) is so anti climatic to assuming we'd have a baby by now. I'm sorry I keep not answering anyone's phone calls -- even my most loving well intentioned siblings. I just feel like I will burst into tears or totally unreasonable frustration to have to continue saying, "No, nothing is happening," to anyone. Why am I such a wreck!!?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Dec. 5th -- Due Date

Well, no news is good news? Sigh. I am trying to be patient as everyone in our family has colds and sore throats right now (except Abe who never gets sick), and maybe I shouldn't wish baby into a house of sniffles and coughs. But, these better be the last pregnant pictures of me for a long long time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Can't be Stopped

Alright, I can't be stopped. Maybe this is my "nesting instinct" -- only rather than actually getting anything orderly or cleaned, I am frantically blogging everything that might ever need to be blogged. Ha! Oh well, usually I kind of worry about putting things down you will all want to read, but suddenly this "memoir" business has me thinking of all these little tiny tiny memories (most not necessarily "memoir" worthy), but I am panicked to get them all down before they are gone!! So, whether they are read or not I am unconcerned with. I am on a memory mission.

I was talking with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law about memories the other day. We were discussing how sad it is that we remember so little from when we were young as well as pondering why we do remember some of the seemingly insignificant or at least random moments from our youth. For example, I grew up knowing only one grandparent. My mom's dad and my dad's mom died before I was born, and my dad's dad died before I was two. Still, I have this tiny memory/image in my mind of him. Sometimes I doubt its reality because it is fuzzy and I would have only been about 1 1/2. Still, I am standing in the doorway of the little apartment in my parent's basement -- the apartment we currently sleep in -- and I am looking rather apprehensively at my grandpa Thatcher who is sitting at the foot of his bed (much as Penny looks at her own grandpas in this very cautious stage of her life). He is coaxingly holding up a small piece of wrapped candy. That's it. Why would I remember that? Yet I don't see why my brain would make it up, and my grandpa did stay in this apartment prior to his death. I don't recall if I was bold enough to go and get the candy or if I toddled back off, but there it is.

Marnie (my sister-in-law) and I were also talking about some of the things our kids do seem to clearly remember even though they were very young. For example, when Daisy was two and Abe was three, we stayed at a hotel on the beach in CA. At night, TONS of rabbits would come out. One night we heard little Abe and Daisy giggling away in their room. We peaked in and found that Daisy had climbed out of her pack-n-play. She and Abe were sitting on the low windowsill of their hotel room looking out at all the rabbits. They were giggling so happily that we didn't have the heart to put them back to bed for a long time. They seem to remember this very clearly, and I wonder if they simply think they remember the story well because we've told it to them so often, or maybe do actually remember it for that very reason -- it has been kept in their mind by its retelling.

Anyway this also made me think of stories about me from when I was little that I don't actually remember. I know them simply because someone else recorded them. My mom has a journal entry about what a great helper I was with her peach canning one day. Apparently I faithfully did seven bottles in the time it took her to do 77. I like that I know how slowly and steadily I helped with canning -- completing one bottle for each of her 11.

My dad often tells me of the time he came home to find me up on the counter in the sugar bowl. Apparently I'd been warned many times. When I saw him I said, "But daddy! I don't even want to be up here!"

My older sister Amy has a journal entry about driving out of our driveway and then pausing to ask a lone little me what I was up to. I was apparently sitting on the curb -- barefoot and disheveled (as I think we often were) and looking a little lonely. She asked what I was doing and I replied, "Ah, nothin' just holding a potato bug." She kindly asked to see it only to have me respond a little embarrassed, "It's just an old dead one."

I love that somewhere someone would have written some little things that I don't remember about my childhood, and it has reinforced in me how good it is for us to write the little stories about the things our kids do and say. Chances are they won't remember much of it, and will love to hear it down the road some day. In fact, one of my kid's very favorite things is for me to pull out my little book of silly things they have said to read to them. They think it is the greatest thing in the world to hear about how funny or clever they were.

Anyway, I'm not done, oh no, but done for a minute anyway.

Memoir 1

I was reading something in Reader's Digest about writing your "memoirs" -- you know, not an entire autobiography, but little defining or important moments in your life. I liked the idea, but have yet to really identify or pinpoint many exact moments to turn into memoirs -- and I am not even totally sure what a memoir is. These blogs themselves are probably various little memoirs for most of us. Still, I liked what it said about putting things in words being one important way to actually give meaning to your experiences and increase understanding about our lives -- for us and our posterity. I don't know. Anyway, Maybe I'll attempt a few "memoir" tests til I get some that are exactly perfectly right. After all, I need something to occupy myself as I wait impatiently for baby to come!
So, here is attempt 1:
"So, we've talked a lot about marriage, but do you ever think about marriage to me?" That was what he asked me that night in August as we lay looking up at the stars on the old rectangle trampoline in his back yard. My answer might have been a little more subtle, but it wasn't. "Yah!" I exclaimed, "All of the time." A month earlier my sister had asked me what I thought would happen with Mike, and that is when it first really hit me. I had absolutely no intention , slight thought of, or even reason to consider ever breaking up with him; and I knew as confidently as I'd ever known anything that he had no plan of setting me aside. It was a strangely surprising and yet calmly normal realization -- the realization that neither of us planned on ever moving on from the other, and what must that logically mean? That meant I was going to marry Mike. I could foresee nothing happening to change that course though we'd yet to even discuss it. "Well," my 22 year old self answered (happily confused at how obvious the response was), "Mike and I will probably be getting married." I tucked the little thought in my head and contentedly waited for things to unfold as they most assuredly would. . . and did.

Could the rest of you all write a few memoirs now to give me ideas of what they could be? Yes, put them on your blogs at once -- just some little tiny snippets from your lives. You are all tagged. Every last one of you family and friends. A birth story, a moment with a parent or kid, a marriage story, a vacation snippet. I don't know. Please!!? Nothing gets me thinking better than reading lots of other stuff. And I am in the mood to be thoughtful about life.

Playing the Plano (Huh?)

By no stretch of the imagination could I be considered a piano player (in fact, a real piano player would know that no one is a "piano player" . . . if they are anything, they are a "pianist"). My mom taught me a few basics when I was little -- middle C, sharps and flats, and I picked things out from there on my own. I still know nothing about rests or quarter notes or anything. This means that even if a song is simple, if I don't already know the melody, I will play it all wrong, and sometimes I only play the right hand.
Despite all this, I quite enjoy sitting down occasionally to plunk out a few halting little tunes. At no other time is this more true than at Christmas time. I truly love Christmas music. I have been quite lonely for my boxed up Christmas CDs (though very grateful to Shannon for making me some copies of hers -- oops, now she will be arrested. Sorry Shan!). But, playing Christmas music on the piano is just as happy for me (even if I play far too slowly for anyone to sing along). In fact the entire reason we ever bought a piano to begin with (as my skill certainly didn't warrant it) was that Christmas was approaching and it made me long ever so much for a piano to play some holiday music on. I love all the traditional songs, and lately I have been especially fond of a few less common ones that make me happy -- Coventry Carol; Still, Still, Still; and Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella.

Here is the trouble: I always seem to have a toddler about, and toddlers do not allow you to play the piano. Here is how it goes down with Penny: I make sure she is occupied so I can sneak off to the piano. Before I manage to finish the first line of any song, she is at my side. Initially she pounds on the loud lower keys while I try to continue hearing the melody of my tune over hers. But, before long, she demands to be on my lap. So she pounds on the keys right where I am playing as I hold her with my left arm and try to play the melody around her fingers with my right hand. Soon this isn't even good enough for her and she angrily begins pushing my hand out of the way altogether. If, I do manage to sneak in a few notes she simply changes tactics and grabs the sheet music off of the piano. This is all so familiar to me because each and every child has done something similar, and next year will be no different as I will have another 1 year old (unless of course I am simply still pregnant!! At this point I feel like I very well may just stay pregnant forever).
Anyway, I sure wish I could quietly and haltingly (but ever so happily) play some Christmas piano music!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Smokey and his Tree

Tonight the kids asked Mike to tell them the story about when we got married. He is in big trouble because he said (and I QUOTE), "I'll tell you an even better story!" He then proceeded to tell them a story about when he was little and took an old Christmas tree to "Smokey" (his grandpa's pony) who quickly gobbled off each and every pine needle leaving nothing but some bare Christmas tree sticks. And, the kids DID think this was a better story. They loved hearing about Smokey and that delicious Christmas tree. I aint got nothin' against old Smokey, but I might have preferred the marriage story.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Thankful Turkey Bag

My sister-in-law Rhonda recently mentioned a Thanksgiving tradition they had of decorating a bag like a turkey and filling it with the things they were thankful for to then be read on Thanksgiving. I thought this sounded like a great idea, so I stole the tradition for us.

So, for family night the Monday before Thanksgiving, Mike did a little Thanksgiving lesson, and then the kids decorated the turkey bag. I'd envisioned a cute little lunch bag looking fully like a turkey, but we only had a very large bag, and here was the end result.

I am glad my kids found so much to be grateful for, but I was a little shocked by the amount of time they spent cutting up little papers and writing thing after thing after thing. In fact, when Mike first opened the bag he suggested, "We'll read a few every day . . . FOREVER." Our kids weren't buying that though. They weren't going to go to bed til we'd read every last little thankful paper!
A few high-lites were:
-- Goldie's squeals of happiness each time Mike read one of her papers (they'd put their names on the back because they wanted us to know who had written what).

-- Mike reading that Abe was thankful for hoses. Abe insisting he hadn't thought of hoses. Me suggesting, "Noses?" "Horses?" before Abe realized he'd left the "u" out of "houses."

-- Mike reading that Abe was thankful for "Spontee." And Abe glaring at how poorly Mike had read his lettering of "Squanto."

-- Seeing that each of their names had ended up in the bag as something someone else was thankful for. (And someone, apparently, thankful for their own self).
-- Mike reading that Abe was thankful for TVs and then turning to Abe and saying, "You're grounded."

-- And (half way though the million and one papers) Mike saying, "Have you guys ever heard of a game called 'speed thanks'?" -- They laughed alright, but they were not about to let him speed his way through one of their special papers.

There were a lot of the traditional good things they thought of to be thankful for, "Family," "Jesus," "The Prophet," "etc." and a surprising number of papers mentioned, "bowls" or "cups." Here are a few others I liked.

Some of Abe's:

Some of Daisy's: (Mars? Sweet).
Some of Goldie's (Often she would go whisper to some grown up what to write, but the three on the left are my favorites because I don't know that she is truly that grateful for "Hat," "Dog" or "Book" but she figured out how to spell them, so in they went -- along with quite a few that Mike was wholly unable to decipher from her cute self):
And, you can easily tell that they even got my mom involved as evidenced by this paper found in the bag!

Anyway, I thought I'd share because it is always fun to get ideas for new little traditions from others, and I thought some of you might like this idea . . . you can even make your turkey way cooler . . . if that is even possible.
Oh, and P.S. 4 mile Turkey Trot + Tons of Thanksgiving dinner and pie = No Labor.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Well, I don't even have a title today.

Alright, I feel very super unbloggy lately. I am only posting because I am tired of that labor post being there when there is no labor going on. Actually, I think I have been in labor for two weeks now. Really super boring slow labor that just makes me contract miserably all the time with out ever turning into REAL labor. That is new for me. Usually I feel nothing til the end. But wait, am I typing about labor again when I just said the ONLY reason I am posting at all is because I am tired of my top post being about labor?? Sheesh.

Well, you know what I like? I like Mike. Yes, I like that he came home from doing some type of DI service on Saturday bearing (baring?) roses and eclairs for me for no reason (and I don't think they were simply a DI donation he grabbed a hold of . . .) BUT, that is the type of thing I should not be typing because there is no reason to make everyone cry their eyes out that their husband did NOT return home with flowers and eclairs this week. (Although, it is Thanksgiving time and we all need to be able to tell our little things we are thankful for, so. . . .) Still, here is something I like that should cause no "Hey no fair!" feelings. It will just make you all like Mike too. He recently, totally out of the blue, said to our children, "So, kids, are you getting excited for Thanksgiving when the Grand Turkey and his Cranberry Helpers will be coming to visit?" Our kids just happily laughed and shook their heads, but I wish they would come. Where did he come up with The Grand Turkey and his Cranberry Helpers? Every time I think of the Grand Turkey and his Cranberry Helpers I get so happy. Some how, some way, I must work them into our holiday traditions.

Also, I like Goldie. She loves to help. Really. Today, after she washed all the dishes (and she did a darn fine job), I told her that she would take such good care of her own home some day. I forgot for a minute the rule of never mentioning growing older to Goldie. She whipped around and tensely reminded me, "I don't want to grow up and have my own house. I want to stay me -- your little helper." Oh, she is my little helper.

There, no more labor in the top post . . . well, except for that opening paragraph, but what's to be done? It's far too late for me to consider deleting now. I'm probably in labor and need to be rushing to the hospital.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF YOU!!! I hope the Grand Turkey and his Cranberry Helpers pay you all a visit and do whatever it is they do . . . I'll have to ask Mike for more details. But really, I just don't get tired of saying "The Grand Turkey and his Cranberry Helpers" . . . and I hope none of you got tired of reading it. If so, don't mention it. I will think you are a Thanksgiving scrooge. Ohhh, I hope the Grand Turkey isn't THEE turkey . . . as in the turkey you eat and his little cranberry side dish. That would ruin everything!! No no, the Grand Turkey is a big happy turkey and his helpers are bouncing, happy, round little cranberry folk; and once, when I was in Las Vegas, I went to the Ocean Spray factory . . . or the Cranberry factory? Something. Anyway, there was a little dance put on by the Cran Cran girl, so I know first hand just how cheery cranberry helpers can be . . . but that is neither here nor there. (P.S. Maybe I am the scrooge . . . I don't actually like cranberry sauce. BUT, I stand firmly by my liking for cranberry helpers).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thoughts on Labor

(Pregnant bellies of niece Kristen, me, and niece Ashley at Ashley's recent shower)
Oh labor labor, where are you? I am now past the 37 week mark -- which means, for those of you who don't know, that I am now considered "term." I won't reach my due date til 40 weeks, but once you hit 37 no one gets worried about you going into labor. "Go ahead," they say, "See if we care." Yes, that is what the doctors say. They won't try and stop you.
Of course, I won't be going into labor. Not yet anyway. My kids don't believe in early arrivals. Well, that isn't totally true; Abe believed in it by a few measly days, but the rest have all preferred the fashionably late entrance into the world.
I shouldn't be complaining because I am not one bit ready for this baby. I need every last minute of letting Penny be the baby; no Christmas shopping is done; we haven't even gotten the car seat, cradle or any baby clothes from our storage unit; I have a long list of organizing and cleaning I want to get done; AND, I have talked my sister Megan into running the Thanksgiving day "Turkey Trot" with me -- which, coupled with a Thanksgiving feast, will put me in labor -- and why ruin that fun? (Side note: no amount of running or other craziness has ever put me in labor -- people will tell me how they took a vigorous walk to go into labor and I am like, "HUH?" My body, or perhaps it's my baby, just won't be tricked).
So, as I said, I shouldn't complain, but once one has reached that official "go ahead and have your baby if you want" stage, it is really really hard not to start thinking about it and getting excited and, if nothing else, thinking, "Why can't I be fun and surprised by suddenly going into labor now -- when I least expect it?"
If nothing else, it certainly has me reminiscing about my past labor experiences -- and being a little nervous -- I've had my last two with-in about an hour or two of getting to the hospital, which is great, but I don't want that hour to shrink to no hours and a baby on the boulevard! Of course, that would make a good story. My friend gave birth this last week and got to the hospital with no time for an epidural, so that has made me more nervous!
Abe's labor was quite perfect. I woke up around 2:00 am with closely spaced contractions. By 4:00 am we were off to the hospital -- in pain, but certain there was no way I could really be in labor! I was dilated to a 5 when we got there though; so I was quickly admitted, numbed up, and a few hours later (much of that time being spent pushing -- much to my dismay) Abe arrived with the widest screaming mouth Mike and I had ever seen.
Daisy's labor . . . I do adore that girl, but . . . to this day remains one of the worst experiences of my life (except of course for the end -- when I had the little one in my arms). Unlike with Abe, I had contractions all night -- never quite close enough to go to the hospital, but much too close to relax or sleep. When we finally did go, I was dilated to a 5, but once I reached a 6, my body decided it was done with laboring and everything pretty much stopped. It would have been no big deal normally, they would have given me a nice boost with pitocin and we would have been on our way. But, I had decided to go natural that time and I was determined that if I was going to go natural I wasn't going to have synthetically induced contractions. (I wanted to be certain I was dealing with the pain my body was forcing me to deal with and nothing else). I wanted my doctor to break my water to see if that would get things going again. He wouldn't (a huge frustration to me then and still today when I think about it). I wanted to go home. They wouldn't let me because I was so far dilated. Finally, by the end of the day, I'd given up. In tears I told them to just give me the pitocin, but I wanted an epidural if I was going that route. Contractions immediately began coming one on another. As I tried to sit for the epidural I was in the most horrible pain I could have imagined. Unbeknownst to me, this was because I had already dilated to a ten and was trying to hold still for an epidural when Daisy was ready to come out. Before it had any effect, I was pushing and pretty much felt like I was sinking into a deep black pit that no one else was aware of and that I coulnd't possibly be saved from. It really was terrifying. At the end, I was shaking so awfully I could barely hold Daisy. I later read some little sanskrit proverb that said something like, "In giving life, death holds your hand." It made me shudder because it rung so totally true to me.
After that, you'd think I'd give up on natural labor, but I was so disappointed in my last experience that I was determined to have one more go at it. And truly, as far as a natural labor goes, it was perfect. I had a great nights sleep, started contractions in the morning. Hung out with the kids and Mike -- doing random little things to keep me occupied. Got to the hospital at about 3:00 pm dilated to a 5 as usual. Goldie came an hour later -- surprising us all -- particularly the nurses who had to deliver her since my doctor hadn't yet arrived. A bunch of nurses had come rushing in and it seemed to get everyone all excited to have the unexpected quickness. They all kept complimenting me on how well I did, and I think all I said, over and over -- about 50 times was, "I'm so glad that's over! I'm so glad that went so fast! I'm so glad that's over! I'm so glad that went so fast!" I'm probably more of a wimp than some, but truly I think the last bit of labor and delivery can only be described as utterly terrifying. I'm glad I had the experience, and it does give you almost something spiritual to think about, but I'd proved whatever I'd wanted to myself, so . . .
With Penny, I was back to the joy of an epidural. I went into labor around 2:00 am, was at the hospital a few hours later ready for that pain relief. I think I was even less patient than I might have been otherwise because I knew and was scared of how much worse it could get (when the usual early dilation stages are already miserable pain). They took waaay too long getting me checked in for some reason, but once I was up to my room the anesthesiologist was there quickly. He was about the most unfriendly soul I've ever come across. He pretty much ignored any comment I made or question I asked. I think he said about two words of instruction and nothing else. But, bless his little heart, I'd have Mr. grumpy and taciturn again and again and would say nothing against him as he put the epidural in quick as a wink with out giving me a moment's pain. He was an epidural expert. And I was glad he was so quick because a short 20 mins. later I was at an 8 and about 30 mins. after that Penny was born. My only regret is that I didn't push that darn little pump thing enough, so it was a little uncomfortable again at the end -- not bad mind you, but I was ready for dreamy oblivion!
So, those thoughts keep going through my head as I think and wait for this next experience. Of course, they are much more sentimental, detailed and significant to me than portrayed here, and I wish I had my pictures available so I could have a little picture of each tiny newborn next to their tiny story!
P.S. I don't trust this blogger spell check. It just flagged "unbeknownst" and gave me "Unbeknown St." as the only possible option. That would be a cool place to live.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Turkeys Turkeys Everywhere

I've been sad that all my Christmas decorations are packed away, but judging from how my kids have plastered the downstairs cupboards, doors and fridge for Thanksgiving, I imagine Christmas will be taken care of. (P.S. If you look closely you'll notice two especially interesting ones done by Abe. One with a city living in a turkey and one with turkeys guarding a castle).

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