Thursday, December 23, 2010

ho ho hmmm

As I am wont to say, people are so funny.  Twice yesterday I heard people telling children, who were not their own I might add, that they better stop being so naughty or else they were going to call Santa and tell on them.  In both cases, the children were about three years old, maybe four, so the awareness was there, but not the emotional maturity to deal with someone threatening them like that.  One woman at the Dollar Tree, and yes I should remember where I was and take that into account before I get too critical, just went on and on to this one little boy and I can't believe his mother didn't just tell her to shut it.  The boy kept saying, "I'm not naughty!  I'm not!"  But the woman kept telling him he better stop being so bad or Santa wasn't bringing him anything.  I just thought it was so mean!  People!

I keep getting asked if I'm ready for Christmas.  Yes and no.  We try not to go overboard around here and that seems normal to me, but then I see what some people do and I am conflicted.  On the one hand I get a twinge of guilt that my kids Christmas isn't ever over the top and they might hear what Santa did other places, but usually I am just my typical self-righteous self and think that my way is much better because my kids really are always so happy and have never once been disappointed, bratty, or ungrateful.  Christmas morning is always a sweet peaceful event at our house.  So yes, I am ready with all of that.  I usually pick things up throughout the year -- my kids don't watch t.v. so they never know to ask for the latest thing -- and have adopted my friends' idea to get them four things: something to wear, something to read, something they want, and something they need.  I get to give them underwear and they receive something exciting (it's usually not the underwear that fits in that category) -- win, win!  The area in which I am not ready is Christmas cards, but I am going to do that today.  Yes I am.

It is hard to get too into things because Phin is sick this week.  He was vomiting on Monday and then now has croup and a severe viral sore throat.  When I asked if any of them were related, the doctor just laughed, implying that no, Phin is just very unlucky to have caught three separate illnesses at the same time.  That gives all of us a lottery, as it were, of what we might catch.  Yay! 

I hope that you are all enjoying the Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

sing along

I woke up this morning with a lovely bass solo from the Messiah rolling around my head.  Last night we (I should say "I" since Matthew hightails it to the basement) hosted our annual Christmas Messiah sing along.  I cannot believe how much I love it!  The first year we had a very talented pianist who sight read the entire score, but since then we have played an mp3 and follow along with our own music.  It is so nice to be reminded of the beautiful words and we try not to be too irreverent as we laugh uproariously at our slaughtered rendition of the trills.  At the end of each song we breathe a long sigh and count it a victory if we at least got the last note right.

I couldn't help thinking about the Provo Tabernacle as we were singing.  And it makes me cry that it burned down.  I cannot even count the number of times that I have heard the Messiah there.  My parents sang in a chorale and we not only would attend the performances, but my siblings and I would be given free rein of the building while they practiced.  Truly we were supposed to be doing our homework, but it wouldn't take long before we set down our books and started exploring and hide and seeking.  Up the spiral staircase and across the steep top aisle.  Up even higher into the topmost seats.  Over to the side to a little nook too small and hidden to be a comfortable spot for anyone.  Oh, a little door into the rafters!  Unfortunately always locked (shoulders sag).  Back down and across to the back stand and down the narrow little stairway in the very back.  I can smell it and hear the creaky floor, feel the smooth polished shine of the banisters and benches, see the light coming through the magnificent stained glass windows.   

We also always had stake conference there so twice a year I would insist that we sit in the center top balcony where I could have the best view of all of the people!  I would settle right in and commence gazing slowly and methodically around the entire audience -- a funny couple, unruly children, pretty dresses, cute boys...  Then I would count how many people I could see from my school.  Oh, and of course I listened intently to the speakers.

I cannot think of another building that I knew so well and I mourn.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the cosmic joke

And... the Stac(i)e(y)'s have it!  I wasn't going to tell people so soon, but I'm not very good at keeping secrets at the best of times (think of the surprise lady on SNL rocking in the corner, "Oh my!  Oh my!!!)  but then 1. I feel a little bit like the Incredible Hulk with the way I'm already bursting out of my clothes so it was only a matter of time before we'd be getting the awkward glances.  I have tired of trying to find clothes in which I don't look too pregnant -- I was terribly worried about Stacey's party next week, so I would rather just let it hang out.  My body remembers too well how to do all of this, I'm afraid.  2. I'm constantly screaming "I"M PREGNANT" inside my head which makes it difficult to conduct a civil conversation, etc.  I guess the screaming in my head could be because of the pregnancy, being RS pres, my schizophrenia coming on (where does your mind drift when you're not thinking of anything else?  Not algebraic equations, not trying to find the cure for cancer, nor what can I do to help someone else today, just "Aaaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!"), hormones -- it is difficult to decipher.  And 3. I kind of don't feel very well and don't want everyone to think my very sour expression is just a bad attitude.

Yes, a few weeks ago, on the 15 of November, I took a pregnancy test right after Matthew left for his 6:30 a.m. meeting and then went back to lay in bed and mull things over.  We have our usual frenzied Sunday morning in which I try to get as much sleep as I can, let the kids sleep in a little, and still make it to 8:00 choir practice.  It rarely works.  This morning was no different as we rushed into the church, only this time as I careen through the foyer my husband is there and grabs my arm with a strange smirk on his face saying, "The bishop wants to talk to you."  And I just KNOW.  I quickly whisper, "I took a test and it was positive," hoping to give him -- the person who is supposed to be protecting me, the person who has probably known about this for a while -- a painful jab.  I don't look back, just march toward my doom, and soon break into hysterical laughter (I wonder how often the bishop gets that reaction?)  It was just too funny.  And I have since spent the last several weeks shaking my head at the cosmic joke the universe has served up.

I recently met a friend's mother-in-law and told her how many kids I have.  A few minutes later as we were talking more about her she told me that she has two kids and her daughter is pregnant with her fourth child.  After a pause, she added, "By CHOICE."  It seemed rehearsed, like something she feels it important to say to everyone, because surely they must be thinking that her daughter must not know how to prevent pregnancy, because no one in their right mind would have that many children.  Well, I am here to say that this pregnancy, too, is by choice.  Well, more of a mandate from heaven, but not an accident, as it were.  One major reason I was going to go ahead and ignore the very strong prompting was that I do not want one single, solitary person to ask me if I'm planning on having 20 kids, etc.  I just might have to kick them in the face and that my pull my groin or something.  Don't say it!

In looking on the bright side, I have decided that it is better for me to  be pregnant while I have this calling than not pregnant because it will provide just the buffer I need for people to overlook my usual incompetence and shortcomings.  At the best of times I'm not extraordinarily organized, clear headed, or good with time.   And if someone is particularly whiny I can just look them over and say, really?  Really?  This same excuse should last the duration since I will have an infant for a while, too.  Brilliant!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm not worthy!

Recently I made a green bean casserole and it turned out horribly.  Is there an easier casserole to make?  But I ruined it -- I used frozen beans so they were too crunchy, I used too much milk so it was too runny, and it just basically didn't taste very good at all.  Last night I had a dream that I had to take that casserole to someone and they couldn't believe the Relief Society President had made something so awful.  I guess this all means that I am having some anxiety about my new calling and having everyone see all of my weaknesses in glaring technicolor.  I know that I can do lots of things with mediocrity, but not a whole lot with excellence and I don't want anyone to get frustrated with me and I most certainly don't want anyone to tell me that I did something subpar because I just might cry.  Some people have told me that I probably knew this was coming since I was first counselor already, but I really didn't.  I felt quite confident that Heavenly Father knew that me being the RS president would not be in the best interests for the ward -- or for me and my family, for that matter.

I have been feeling quite overwhelmed, but that could be because I found something else out the very same day I was called.  Something funny.  What do you think would be the absolute funniest thing I could find out?  I'll let you think about it.

The worst thing is that now I have so many keys that my key ring rivals Matthew's and he keeps taking mine.  That is the worst thing, right?

Monday, December 6, 2010

subconscious phobias

There are moments when I am confronted by my psychoses, but usually they are just part of the random thoughts coursing through my brain -- mostly too swift to capture and really consider, so generally ignored.  I feel that I am a confident, well-adjusted person, but I do have my fair share of irrational fears that I don't recognize until the danger has passed.

For example, while we lived in Japan I was sure that there would be an earthquake to end all earthquakes during our sojourn -- because that would be my luck, and I guess it is better to expect it than to be surprised, right?  So every night, without thinking too much about it, I would be very careful about where I put my glasses -- yes, the thing I worried the absolute most about was not being able to see anything, not my children, although they did come in a very close second.  The reason for this is because my glasses would be shattered and I am basically blind and then how could I take care of anything?  I wouldn't be able to and everyone would suffer.  It is reasonable.  And every morning as I got ready I would think, "Will today be the day?"  On average, I think we felt about five earthquakes a month so I would always wonder as one started how bad it was going to get, even though I had been told that the big ones start big with a jolt, and these were mostly softer and rolling.  After we had been there a while it wasn't something I thought about purposefully, just more of something that was part of my rhythm, part of the daily jostle of thoughts.  When we were back in the U.S. living in New Hampshire was when the fear really became apparent because I would often be so overcome with relief that there was very little chance for a life changing earthquake each day.  A little bit loopy, I know.

This same thing happens to me every winter when it gets really cold outside.  Every time I get in the car I think, "Whew, there probably isn't a deranged killer hiding in my backseat waiting for the perfect time to slash me into pieces."  And as I rush to my back door late at night I tell myself how nice it is that there certainly couldn't possibly be an axe murderer waiting patiently in the bushes for my return -- because it is too bone chillingly glacial outside for even the crazies to be out.  But normally I don't even realize that I have those fears, that I am terrified to be out at night, that I hate to get into empty cars, that I am sure that will be the way that I die.  

Maybe I don't know quite how to explain it, but my phobias seem to be flighty little things that I hardly notice while their absence is more tangible and weighty and thus more noticeable to me.  I guess it is an okay way to be.  I still go on with my life, but am so happy and relieved when the threat is no longer present.  And the second item is one thing to like about winter.  I'm making a list, but it is slow going.  What are you afraid of?

Friday, December 3, 2010

it's tough getting stuff out of the garbage, but someone has to do it

I mentioned that I did something to my back a few weeks ago, and part of it was moving furniture around.  Said furniture was a couch and a love seat that I found in my neighbor's garbage pile.  I knew that I didn't really have a place for them, but after wracking my brain wondering who else might need them, and the imminent threat of a rain storm, I came upon the brilliant idea of squeezing them into my already more than amply supplied home.

::If you saw this this lovely upholstery wouldn't you just jump at the chance, too?
::here is a photo of our "library" before -- a room in which we also watch shows together on our computer (I love netflix!).  It is a little bit much squeezing two adults, two teenagers, and three littles on one loveseat and one chair.  I decided to move this loveseat up to the landing, but it stuck out too much so this came back down and the new one went up.
::the new arrangement in what I now call the "face off" room.  We can intertwine our legs across the aisle and the computer and t.v. now face off for our attention.  I went to Ikea and got white slipcovers for the new couch and loveseat and they fit almost perfectly!  The best $49 I ever spent.
::here is the landing before, but I have always wanted a window seat or something more comfy on which to sit and enjoy the western sunlight.
::not a fantastic photo, but you get the idea.  Matthew and Ella both think the space is too small to accommodate upholstered furniture of any sort, but Mittens definitely approves and spends most of her day here now.  This slipcover was only $11!
::one casualty at the moment is our dining room which is suffering a glut of chairs -- mostly because of the Christmas trees which displaced two chairs from the hallway and one from the living room, but then since the chess table landed there from the landing and the little rocking chair came from the library, we're starting to look a little scary.  I am not a hoarder!!!  
In the meantime Matthew is dying to know what else we can slip a white cover on.  I'll think of something.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

and the mother of the year award goes to...

Yesterday was a red letter day in which I definitely was in the running for Mother of the Year.  There are two incidents which stand out.

  1. First I was having trouble with my several years old pre-lit Christmas tree.  Last year the very top strand of lights was no longer working so I added one string and then this year hardly any were working so on Tuesday I ran out and bought a few more boxes and instead of taking off the non-working lights (I tried, but they are really tightly wound around the branches) I just wrapped more on and plugged them all together.  Yesterday morning I noticed that about half of them were off again so I was fiddling with all of the wires and putting way too many into one outlet, but they were all on again so I was happy... until I heard a popping and fizzing sound and looked and saw that the lights were all smoking!!!  So I almost burned my house down because I like shiny lights.  I'm just glad I was still standing right there.  I hate how disposable and cheap the lights and everything are, but I suppose I'm not ready to go back to candles.
  2. The second thing is much, much worse.  I put Phin down for a nap before I went to pick up Ella for her voice lesson and told Matthew, who was working in the basement, that I was leaving.  I had dropped Ella off and ran to the very conveniently located Goodwill and was in there for about half an hour when my phone rang.  It was my neighbor.  She asked, "Where are you?"  "I'm at Goodwill."  "Who is home with Phin?" "Matthew."  Well, she found him screaming, screaming, screaming in her backyard and she thinks he had been back there for a while because she had heard her screen door five minutes before she found him, and he was in his socks and no coat -- there was snow on the ground and it was below 20˚ and he was all wet, but she now had him wrapped in a blanket sitting on her couch.  I felt so terrible!  And the outcome could have been so much worse!  There is a very busy street three houses down so he could have been run over or kidnapped, or he could have been outside for a lot longer, or wandered somewhere farther away and gotten lost -- people get their kids taken away for things like this!  I even thought about locking my back door because I know he can open it, but I knew the girls would be home about 10 minutes before me and they don't have a key so I didn't do it.  We will have to come up with a better solution, unless he learned something from the experience, which I doubt.  When I told Ella what happened she responded, "He is just as stupid as Mittens"  -- our cat who also really thinks it would be amazing to go outside and then upon discovering the cold temperatures immediately changes her tune only to discover that she can't open the door.  The similarities are eery.
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