Friday, August 28, 2009

seventeen years

Seventeen years ago today, Matthew and I got married. How could this be? I don't feel that much older than 17 now, but of course I must be. I look back and feel like we hardly knew each other then and know that it was God's hand that brought us together. I always am fascinated by how two people meet, but so easily could have never met, and then decide to never be apart again. The longer we are together the better suited I think we become.

There is one thing that is an irritation to me, but upon reflection (and the viewpoint of my good friend, Berta) it is that very trait that I think makes us infinitely compatible. Sometimes I wish that my husband were more "take charge", if you will. There is something in me that wants to step back and not be responsible for so many things, but I realize that Matthew is merely being very, very nice and no one can say that he isn't one of the most amiable guys you could ever meet.  And I wouldn't be happy with someone who didn't let me do any ole' thing I wanted to. He doesn't care if I want to: cut my hair, dig up the back lawn to plant a garden, have a home birth, take an art class, make strange meals, home school my kids, train to be a Bradley teacher, gain 50 pounds, have more kids, not have more kids, paint the bedroom, buy a 36" inch deep tub, talk about baby names even when I'm not pregnant, stay up late, rant, rearrange the furniture, go to Kmart 12 times in one week when they are having double coupons, not make dinner, watch Pride and Prejudice, be obsessed with things, not stick things out, go on some crazy diet, bring furniture home I found on the side of the road, buy fabric I never use, buy lots of other things I don't need, laugh too hard, start a blog, go to Ikea, worry, visit museums, try another crazy diet, go hours out of our way to visit National Parks, not eat meat, buy all of my clothes at Goodwill, get a new pet, cry about a fictional character in a book, etc.  He just says, "Okay."  Admittedly, more hesitantly at times than others, but mostly he is very supportive of anything I want to do.  What a marvel.

And he is so good.  He wakes up early and spends an hour reading scriptures, meditating, and planning his day.  He makes all kinds of goals and is very good at having dreams for the future. This is one way in which we are so different.  What a great example he is to me of self-mastery and discipline.  I can't plan ahead very far seeing as how I am always pretty sure in the back of my mind that we won't be alive in 5 years.  Why plan?  He is always pointing out that we are a good parenting team and that our kids will be well-rounded coming from two such opposite people.   Also, M is very smart.  I love his reasonable and thought out opinions on music, religion, politics, etc. and we enjoy many energetic exchanges on a wide variety of topics.

Thank you for being a great companion, a wonderful father, and mostly for not only letting me, but helping me, be the best ME possible.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I had decided that we would deep clean one room of the house every week this summer, but amazingly enough, that did not happen.  We halfheartedly dragged some dust cloths around the living room.  The kitchen really needed some attention.  I recently found a full serving of macaroni and cheese in the utensil drawer (okay not a full serving).  Sometimes I think it is just the kids, but even without them the dust bunnies multiply under the beds and the spiders congregate in the corners.  Sometimes thorough cleaning just needs to happen. 

I started a new Bradley class last night so that is always the impetus for a brisk sweep through the house which is nice because otherwise one becomes used to seeing the same things lying round.  The mail by the door, I'll get to that later.  Baby toys strewn from room to room, they'll just get brought out again (especially since he doesn't really play, he transports).  Dust on the mantle and lamp tables, what is the point of dusting?  Trash on the floor -- wait a minute!  Why are there wrappers on the floor?  Erg.  I am always finding garbage around my house ~~ from used tissues on the counters to empty cereal boxes in the pantry to toilet paper rolls left forlornly in their spot on the wall.  I know!  Let's throw our garbage in the garbage can!  What a great idea!  I have placed some strategically throughout the house so at any given moment one can be found merely steps away.  I even found one like this for a great price at a garage sale this summer:

What do you think? I think it is quite nice, and dare I say, fancy? Doesn't it just scream functionality? And you don't even have to be bothered to use your hands, just give a little nudge with your toe and it opens in all of its glory. Let's try it.

I should go clean the rest of my house. Ouch! What did I just step on?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mommy Guilt

Since school has started I have felt guilty about my kids not eating a healthy breakfast.  I haven't felt bad enough to get up at 5 a.m. and make a hot breakfast before oldest heads off to early morning seminary, just bad enough to feel lame.  I found some recipes for healthy egg muffins (like mini muffin shaped omelets) and breakfast casseroles, but so far haven't had the gumption to actually prepare said items the night before.  I guess we have the entire school year ahead of us (I rationalize hopefully).  Last night I did try making oatmeal in our peachy keen rice cooker.  It was so easy and totally worked out, surprisingly enough.  I tried steel cut oats because oldest loves oatmeal, but I hate to feed them the instant variety.  It shouldn't even be called oatmeal.  Maybe just sugar coated oatmeal likenesses.  Just call it what it is: dessert.  Speaking of which I came downstairs yesterday and my two younger girls had just eaten two pop tarts each (!!!) for breakfast.  I know there are two in the package, but that doesn't mean you eat two.  And I know that they are touted as being breakfast foods, but they are so not a great start to your day.  And I know I shouldn't even have them in the house, but I had a coupon AND they were on sale and I thought they might make a nice TREAT sometime, but I certainly didn't intend for them to be the first things on the stomachs of my precious little ones who then have to go out into the world and think thoughts of all things.  Hence the guilt.  And we have now come full circle.

More Questions

Today I had the distinct pleasure of taking four of my children to the dentist at the same time.  You would think that the actual dentist part would be the most painful, but no-oh!  It was gathering them up for the 1:00 appointment.  Which brings us to the first question:  Why is it harder to take my children out of school early than it would be to break them out of prison?  Oh my goodness.  I will spare you the details, just know that it may be my undoing (I used to think that would be poop, but I have grown accustomed to that which I suppose is a good thing...maybe).  And why can't a pediatric dentist try to be available after school hours?  It would make MY life so much easier so I think that it should be taken into consideration.  

It has taken us much too long to recover from our stomach ailment.  I always return home from our continental treks feeling motivated to make a fresh start.  This may be because we always return at the beginning of the new school year and also I have had a reprieve from the mundane.  On our journey home I daydream about how I will transform into the organized, creative, efficient, thin, kind woman I long to be and I am brimming with ideas of how to bring it all to pass.  Well, it usually comes to nothing in the end, but not quite so abruptly as this year.  We had one day before school started so it took us much too long to unpack and then the nasty bug on top of it didn't help one teeny bit.  The whole thing has made me feel quite despondent which makes me into something of a baby.  I look at lovely photographs and think, I wish I could take pictures like that.  Why haven't I learned how to use my camera so I can take pictures like that?  I see beautiful art and I think, I wish I could express what I feel inside in that way.  Why haven't I sketched even one single thing since I took an art class last fall so that I can feel more comfortable with that form of expression?  I hear a great song and think, I wish I could sing all the time.  Why can't I?  I look at everything that way and think why, why, why?  I need to stop being so why-ny (oh no she didn't!) and focus on something.  

New trend alert:  Today baby made the magnificent discovery of nostrils ~~ his and mine ~~ and thinks they are altogether terrifically entertaining.

Friday, August 21, 2009

We're Back!

Whew! That seemed like we were gone for a long time, but spending 68 hours in the car can do that. That is 68 hours of driving, not including stops, and we all still love each other. I will recap quickly. The first day we drove to Omaha and stopped at the Mormon Trail Visitors Center in Florence. What a great museum! A sister missionary gave us a tour and then we strolled through the cemetery and rolled down the hills at the temple. We then drove on and spent the night in Lincoln. Next day we drove to Denver to stay with Zach and Stacie. I called about an hour out to ask for directions to their house and discovered that they were expecting us the following week -- Oops! At least they didn't have to stress about our visit for more than 50 minutes. We had a really nice visit -- thanks! Next day a grueling journey over the mountains passes of Colorado with hail, hydroplaning, and vehicles sliding off the roads. Wasn't it July? We made it to Provo with an hour to spare before the family reunion dinner and loved seeing everyone there. Utah visits are always a little crazy and this was a shorter stop over than usual, but we tried to fit it all in and still relax a little. We went hiking, swimming, slept at the cabin, played games, went to Lagoon, shopping, out to eat at favorites, went to the temple... all in all successful. Then off to California stopping in Las Vegas for lunch (please remind me not to ever do that again). One day at the beach and then two oldest in surgery for wisdom teeth and more. Grandma took great care of everyone and is a marvelous smoothie maker. Then resting, a little sightseeing, temple attending then off again. On the way home a Grand Canyon drive by, some hikes at Mesa Verde, a beautiful drive though southern Colorado, Kansas (pretty clouds?), a lovely stop at Liberty Jail in Missouri, getting the stomach flu, pulling in at 3:00 a.m., trying to recover, get the kids to school, and watch as more people catch the stomach bug and drop one by one. I need a vacation from the vacation!

On the trip I noticed that I have fallen victim to some evolutionary quirk that makes nursing mothers squeamish. I think that it is so that you won't take unnecessary risks while you are primarily responsible for someone's life. I don't know, it is just a theory, but I am scared of everything! I am scared of heights on our hikes, and roller coasters at the amusement park, and water slides at the swimming pool, and waves at the beach, and steep mountain roads. Normally I am game for anything, so I am hoping that this will pass. My 75 year old mother had to go down the water slide first and tell me how fun it was -- I had even walked all the way backward through the line once I saw how high we were at the top -- lame!!! But then I did go down and it was fun once my heart stopped trying to beat right out of my chest. At the beach the kids were urging me to go out deeper, but I just couldn't for a while. Every thing my toes touched, every drop in the sand, made my stomach lurch. Each coming wave nearly sent me over the edge, but when I safely came down the other side enough times I finally got in the rhythm and had a great time. And then of course I start fantasizing about just tossing my life plans to the wind and becoming a surfer. I just love the sounds out there -- the rush of water as a wave approaches and then the hush as it passes. And it is beautiful with water all around -- enough frothy white bubbles to literally hold you aloft and push you to the shore, the closest I have ever felt to flying, and in the next moment so still and clear that you can see the ocean floor several feet down. Mmmm. Well, back in Illinois now.

School started yesterday. Summer was much, much too short. First grade girl wasn't too excited to go back to school and kept having to bite her lip to keep from crying as I dropped her off. I told her I would wait until the teacher took them to their classes, but I couldn't look at her. Every glance nearly did me in. Everyone seems happy with their teachers. Just me and the babe at home again. This seems even more problematic than last year when he was just five months old and sleeping a lot. Now he is big and is used to having everyone play with him all day (I'm used to them playing with him all day) so I am going to have to get creative. I just read him a book and he insisted on putting his foot on every image. Yep.
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