Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday

Words have different meanings to different people.  Take the word dog, for example.  A dog is nothing more than a cute, furry mammal.  Unless you're talking to someone who never emotionally recovered from the loss of a beloved pet.  ... someone who has a severe allergy. ... someone who trains German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers to be guard dogs. ... a blind person who relies on a dog every day for guidance. ... someone who was attacked by the neighbor's dog as a child.  See, when you talk to these people about dogs you will also find love, disdain, respect, devotion, fear.

Saturday is the day after Friday, and the day before Sunday.  My favorite moment of each week is falling asleep on Friday.  Because I know that when I open my eyes again (assuming that both babies sleep through the night... it does happen, and I am ever optimistic) it will be Saturday.  The day that Devin will sleep in (until Hallie wakes him up at 6:40), and the day that makes the rest of the week worth it. (Sunday helps, too.)
Saturday means we have enough time to have a fun breakfast, like homemade  yogurt with homemade cherry syrup.  Or peaches.  Or lemon.  Whichever is in the fridge.  This one is strawberry.
Saturday means chores.  It means the house and yard look nice and I feel like I've really earned my Sunday rest.
Saturday means Devin looking snazzy in his Indy half-marathon hat and holey jeans.  Wouldn't you like to be his neighbor?
Saturday starts off with sleeping in, sweating in the sweltering sunshine, more sleeping after lunch, shopping for groceries, and ends with sitting on the couch, having enjoyed a day well spent with my mister and babies.

I like dogs.  Devin does not love dogs.  I really, really love Saturday. I think Devin likes it too.  What's your favorite day of the week, and what makes you love it?  And, just out of curiosity, how do you feel about dogs?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Economy of Compliments

I think there are really two main groups of people in the world.  Those that give out compliments like Tootsie Rolls at a Memorial Day parade, and the people who give out rare compliments like Scrooge McDuck sharing his gold with the Beagle Boys.  Or something else that happens infrequently.

I am clearly a card carrying member of the Tootsie Roll group.  Particularly with Hallie, I honestly worry that I praise her too much, like she's going to start tuning me out soon. Then my approval won't mean anything at all, because hey, mom always approves.  I'm hoping that that isn't how it works, but should I back off a little?

Then there is the Scrooge McDuck group, and I like the way this group operates.  It's like inflation in the economy (except, obviously I don't like inflation. Right? Inflation is the bad guy in economics? So maybe it isn't really quite like inflation. I never did well in my economy classes.  What was the name of our professor Stacy?)  If you rarely give out compliments, then it means a lot more when you actually do to the person who recieves it.  At least, that's always the way it is in movies when the stern, taciturn father finally tells his son that he loves him and has always been proud of him and all the women in the audience are silently weeping into their wadded up tissues.  My compliments rarely have that affect on people.

Now, to clarify.  When I give a compliment, it is always a sincere, honest approval of something that I genuinely like.  I don't go around tossing out empty Tootsie Roll wrappers that I've refolded to look like they have candy in them, if you know what I mean. Oh, you don't?  Well, I mean I don't give out fake compliments.  The thing is, I pretty much like everything... Let me use movies as an example.  When we go see a movie, you can pretty much guarantee that I will like it, and Devin will not.  You could make some money on us if you could ever find someone to bet against you on it.  (is that how betting works?)  See, while there is a whole entire group of movies that I will just never go watch because I have no interest in seeing them, of the movies that I will see I don't ask for much: entertain me, and keep it clean.  If you follow those two rules, in my eyes we pretty much have a winner. But for Devin to start giving thumbs up you have got to work out your plot, your acting, your cinematography, the background music, your CGI, and you better not catch yourself being cheesy.  No joke here, folks.  And that's why it really means something to make it onto the list of movies Devin likes.  It doesn't take much to get on mine.

And that's kind of the way I am with everything. Did you try? Did you make an honest effort?  Do you do your best?  I like you for that, and I'll find a way to compliment you.  Or are you wearing pretty shoes? Done your hair a new way? Look extra happy?

But does my compliment feel empty because you know that I'll turn around and give one to the person behind me, too?  Even if mine was completely sincere?  I know that I've deviated a little off my scheduled topic, but I got all worked up thinking about compliments from your comments on my last post I had to slip this one in here.  And be honest with me. I can take it. If I need to search out a help group for people who are compulsive complimenters, that's what I will do.

Sibling Rivalry? Not Really.

(A small departure from our regularly scheduled and planned Pride and Potential postings because I finished one of my posts that I tried to write mid-brain mush.)

Yesterday I was filling out one of those "getting to know you" type forms. Answering questions like, "if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" (Australia, Egypt, Brasil, Vermont)  "what's your favorite book? (The Little Prince, The Girl of the Limberlost) "what's your favorite movie" (The Importance of Being Earnest), etc.

One of the things that I learned from this task was that I don't really know myself that well. The questions were hard to answer.  There was one that was easy though.  It was about siblings, specifically how many you have, or rather, since I was filling it out about me, and not you, it was how many siblings I have.  Right.  So I wrote four.  But I don't have four siblings, I am one of four siblings, so I really only have three.

Two older brothers and one younger sister.  I've been thinking about my siblings all day today.  I have never known life without my older brothers, and I can not remember any life without my sister.  They have always been there, and I think we had pretty normal sibling relationships growing up, equal parts war and peace.

I vividly recall tormenting my brother Dan, chanting "Dan Dan he's the garbage can man".

I remember a nasty incident involving a Cabbage Patch Kid doll being thrown at a sister, the hard head of the doll hitting said sister in the face. (I say sister because I honestly can't remember if I threw it, or my sister did.  Either way, one of us got hurt. And I know that that made the other one hurt too.)

I can still see in my head my brother Peter and his big friends coming down the hall at school for me, because I was just a tiny little plaything that they could toss around. These bullies were not gentle.  (and I still remember Jared making me laugh so hard I couldn't eat a bite of dinner. Cruel, I tell you.)

That's when we were siblings.  A couple of kids with the labels of "brother" and "sister".  I also remember one year my dad took us all to work with him for a sort of "Bring Your Kids to Work" day.  I remember walking around his office, looking at all the cubicles and then touring the factory.  I remember the apple cart man and the slow woop room, and I remember that that was the day that my brother and I stopped being brother and sister.

Because we had started being friends. I have had similar days with my other brother and with my sister.  Days where we made a transformation.  We shook off the heavy sibling labels and put on the much more comfortable roles of "friends".  Oh, how I miss you - the every day friends of my every day life. (It would  be lying to tell you that I'm not crying right now. I guess I could have avoided you knowing by not saying anything at all, since you can't see me, but this blog is all about honesty. I'm crying right now.)

And those beautiful people who have in some way filled some part of every day of my life have since gone on, and like me, gotten married and started families.  The beautiful people they married quickly shed the stiff words that kept them rigid in their status as an "in-law" and became brother and sisters in their own rights.  Over the years (can you believe it's been years now?) they have softly wiggled their way into the comfy inner chambers of my heart where I keep my friends.  Except Jeff. I think he wiggled, but perhaps not softly.  Read that to him, Meems. Tell him I'm laughing now.

I love you guys.  That goes for the Rose family too.  My other family.  And I look at Hallie and Hanna and I pray that they are blessed with friends like I have been.  Inside my family and out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pride and Potential

There's a movie called The Huggabunch that I remember watching when I was a little girl, and recently a friend of mine reminded me of it.  I watched a short segment from it on YouTube, and it was just as creepy as I remembered it being.  The main character at one point meets a witch type woman who stays forever young and "beautiful" by eating some sort of peach that she keeps under lock and key.  The queen (witch) says to the young girl, "You are rather pleasant looking yourself.  ... Say thank you, child."  and the little girl responds by saying, "My mother told me not to say thank you when people tell me I have a pretty face. You're just born with it, and it's all luck." (If you want to watch this clip of the delightful movie yourself, click here.)

Thomas S. Monson in last month's Ensign wrote an article called, "Canaries with Grey on Their Wings."  In it he emphasizes again the importance of reaching our full potential.  This is a recurring theme in our church, we hear about it often.  He says, "To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility."  I think that I can understand how to face trouble with courage - I may not yet be perfectly able to do so, but I understand it in theory.  I can see how meeting disappointment with cheerfulness will work out, and that is often what I try to do already.  The one that really stumps me however, is dealing with triumph with humility.  So, I've been thinking a lot about it.  Reaching our potential, being all we can be, developing our talents and our unique gifts and then at the end of the day being humble about it all.  I have thought about this for so long that I think I am going to have to break this post into segments.  So, bear with me as I explore, and please share any thoughts that you have along the way.

The Main Question: How do we develop talents, strive to reach our full potential and refrain from becoming prideful?

My first thoughts are along the lines of the Huggabunch kid's mom's advice.  There is a big difference between things that happen to us just by chance, or luck, or random genetic encoding, and the things that we work hard to earn and become.  We should never become prideful, obviously, but it seems to me especially silly to become prideful about any unearned advantages we have in life, because what's the point in it?  We had nothing to do with having them.  (Am I being clear?)  That being said, I think it's strange that the mom advised the little girl to never even say thank you.  It seems to me that to say nothing at all is rude, whereas a polite and sincere "thank you" does no harm, as long as you remember not to become prideful about something that you had no control over (a pretty face).

So, how should we respond when someone compliments us on, say, having a pretty face? Do you say "thank you"? Do you ignore the person, as the little girl did at the advice of her mother?* Do you have some other response?  How do you keep pride in check on receiving compliments like these?

Next I will be discussing compliments in general, and their merits.  The time after that I will be exploring how to distinguish our gifts and talents that we should pursue developing.  And I will wrap it all up by revealing the reasons I am terrified of my own potential.  Yeah, you'll want to tune in for that one, for sure.

*The mother was not present at the time of this interaction, and I wonder if she would have chastised her child for her response, and that there was something the mother would have had the little girl say.  We'll never know.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Before My Brain Stops

Where have I been?  I've been wading through brain mush trying to get back to coherency.  See, you have no idea what that means, and that means that I am still slightly incoherent. 

I have about ten half written blog posts, but my brain is struggling to complete sentences, and when I do complete them I have trouble remembering them long enough to write them down.

Even in spoken conversation lately I have started a thought, and then not remembered how I wanted to finish it.  "I don't remember what I was going to say."  I tell the people waiting for me to finish my thought.  "Um, what was I talking about?" I ask them for  help... they get me going again and I somehow manage to make it most of the way through my intended statement.

Some of you know, and many of you probably do not know, I have hypothyroidism.  (It's hy-po-thy-roi-dism.  But don't worry, you'll probably never have to read this post out loud.)  I am supposed to take a little purple/yellow/gray/white pill every morning an hour before breakfast. (There are so many colors listed because I'm not sure which dose I am taking right now, going through two pregnancies does a number on your hormones and so they keep changing the level of my dose, and each one has a different "color"... and I'm honestly not sure which color I'm on right now.  Ok, it's fine, don't worry, I just checked. I'm on yellow.)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. So here's the thing. I don't really have a doctor here in Nebraska yet, and they told me just before I moved that it looked like I was going to need my levels changed again (post-having-Hanna-hormonal change), which meant that I would have to find a doctor, he would have to do a blood test, give me the level he thought I was going to need, I'd take it for a few weeks, come back in to be tested again, and so it would go until he found the right dose.  I hate needles.  I hate having my blood drawn.

Where am I going with this? Frankly, I'm not all that sure anymore.  --  Oh yes, so if I haven't posted in a while it's because um, oh yeah the doctor I went to see only wanted to see me once, and then he wrote me a prescription with no refills! So now I have to try and find another doctor... but I have very little motivation to do that because... I hate needles. I hate having my blood drawn.

If I don't take it I'm ok for a day. If I don't take it again I can still make it through the day, probably not feeling quite as chipper as my normal self.  Just recently? I had not taken it for a little over a week.  Oops.  Major brain mush. Major exhaustion. Major headaches and sweaty hands and all sorts of why am I so uncomfortable in my own body?  Oh yeah... gotta find a doctor.

So, I'm back on the yellow and I'll call a doctor. Don't worry about me. I know which arm has my good vein and I can take the whole needles thing a little better these days. Hallie holds my hand. It helps.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Before My Heart Stops

It's funny the twists and turns life takes, how one small action leads to this which takes us there and teaches us that.  Know what I mean?  For instance, the person I'm going to talk about right now I may never have heard of if I had not moved to Maine in the summer of 2005 and met a guy named Marc.
Us, in Maine, summer 2005.  Sorry Nicole, I wanted to use the first picture I could find...
The thing is, I DID move to Maine in the summer of 2005, and I met a guy named Marc. We became friends, and stayed in touch.  Then I married Devin, and he married a woman named Kaiti.  Hallie was born in our family, and Truman was born in theirs.  Truman had some trouble when he was born (coartation of the aorta) and needed heart surgery pretty immediately.  Marc and his wife started a blog and I read it to stay updated on what was going on with their sweet little guy.  One day his wife posted a link to another blog that had a video showcasing other children with congenital heart defects because their son was one of the children in the video, created  by Paul Cardall.
Truman, the day he was born.
And that's what led me to the discovery of the beautiful music of Paul Cardall, and the inspiring man who makes that music.  Ever since then, a year ago, I've been reading his blog as well, and I have cried, and I have smiled, and I have been uplifted and had a sincere desire to be a better person and live a more meaningful life filled with love and service.  You may have noticed that I have a playlist on the sidebar of my blog where  you can play Paul's music.  I have it open and playing just about every day.  Someday I'll buy his albums. (Will it be ok if I buy Mindy's first?  He likes Mindy's music too, I know this from reading his blog...)


He has written a book, and I am sure to buy that also and not just because I love reading and am always on the prowl for new books. (Do you ever check out my goodreads sidebar to see what I'm reading?  You should...)  If you have a minute, watch this video, fall in love with his music like I did, decide you want to buy his book too, and spend a minute reflecting about your life and the blessings you have.  "Paul Cardall had end-stage heart failure. We talked about options. There were no easy options. He could choose to live or choose to die. The latter would be easier. He chose life, not passively, but vigorously, with the kind of energy that left me asking what I had been doing with my own life.” -Angela T. Yemtan, M.D., Director Adult Congenital Heart Program Intermountain Region

This is one of my favorite passages from Paul's Blog:


"Driving home all we could do is cry because of what God has done for our little family. Hundreds of people have prayed. Little children have pleaded with God for Eden’s daddy. Surely the creator orchestrated something beautiful and I hope others may feel our same joy.

I feel “endurance” and recognize blood flowing through my body. Like slowly dipping the tips of your fingers in warm water I can now feel a sensation in my fingers. I’m composing music with more feeling. My nails grow. I used to have to clip my nails every other month. Now, it’s every week. I don’t get winded or lightheaded talking. I can follow Eden around the block as she rides her bike and still feel like going another mile. My appetite is strong. I’m up early walking as the sun rises. Needless to say, I feel alive and vibrant. Is this what it feels like to be normal? If so, count your blessings. You all have been greatly blessed by the Creator.

I had a chance to see and hold my old heart in the lab prior to leaving the hospital. Some of the heart had gone to another lab and a small part of the left atrium and superior vena cava is still in me. What I held in my hands was the size of a football and looked awful and somewhat disgusting. Pacemaker leads were still in the fatty substance on the outer walls. Stitches from previous surgeries were still in place in various locations. My right atrium was a big 4-5 inch balloon with very thin walls. It had been deflated. That’s how Dr. Kaza was able to remove the heart. The left ventricle and left atrium was covered with a thick fatty wall. I observed my only functional valve, the mitral valve, which struggled to pump oxygenated blood to my body for 36 years.

As I held this heavy over-sized heart in both hands I said to the pathologist, “How in the world did I survive all these years on this thing?” He replied with a puzzled smile, “That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”


At that moment for the first time I saw beyond my faith or spiritual hope of a creator or God. I held the physical evidence in my hands. Clearly someone else is breathing life into our bodies. The pump, which sustained my life for 36 years struggling to push blood through my body, leaves experts wondering how is this possible? Surgeons figured a way out. They made it work.

I asked a friend who is a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist about challenging surgeries and the delicate matters of life and death. Why are some taken home to God? Why do some stay? He said, “Sometimes, no matter how hard we work and no matter if we are doing everything correctly the patient for some strange reason passes away. And then there are times where we think to ourselves ‘there is no way this person is going to survive.’ But we go ahead and do the best job we can and the person lives. It’s hard to understand such circumstances. Obviously, someone else is running the show.”

Because of the tender mercy of our Heavenly Father, the Creator preserved my life all of these years. And now, I have a new heart. I am greatly blessed. I don’t know why. I’m humbled and sobered by the miracle that was beautifully orchestrated over the last year. All I know is that God Almighty has breathed life back into my body. He is my friend, your friend, my Father in Heaven, and your Father in Heaven. He is real. He lives. And like the scars in the palm of Jesus hands I have scars to remind me of His love, mercy, and grace.

In conclusion, I have been blessed my whole life with a congenital heart defect. My soul has been stretched. I will continue to search and seek out soul stretching experiences because in this I find joy, wisdom, happiness, and a personal relationship with God. His purpose and plan for each person is real. There is life after death. I do not doubt. We will see our loved ones who’ve passed away. I will enjoy a reunion with my brother. Until then, may we all enjoy our life and find joy in the journey."


And, a few links to more of my favorite of his posts. And one his wife wrote: 
The Donor
Funeral of a Child
Miracle Mason
Lynette's Thoughts
Optimism: It's Contagious
2009: Looking Back
A Bike, and Answers to Prayer
A Father's Love in a Dark Hour


I often think of the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin who put suffering in perspective:
“Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come!” 

His book, Before My Heart Stops, will be available Fall 2010 from Deseret Book. You can preorder it here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Leap of Faith

Yesterday I was buckling Hallie in to her car seat. I was nervous.  It reminded me of how nervous I had been a few weeks ago - ok, that's not how I want to start this thought.

Let me start over.

Um.

Well, maybe that is the best place to start.  This is getting awkward now.

I was nervous because Hallie was not wearing a diaper. And she was not wearing pull ups.  We were on our way to church, and she was wearing her big girl panties.  That's a full on just over three hour commitment we were heading off to, one that was unlike going to the library or the store because I wouldn't want to have to come home if there were an accident.  We took two extra pairs of clothes, and three extra pairs of panties.  Still, it was a pretty big leap of faith.  Trusting that she would remember to stay dry until we could get her on the potty.  Hoping that she would not be afraid of the big potties at church, unlike last time when she cried and cried when I put her on the big person toilet. (Which is why I was thankful that other time that she was wearing pull-ups.)

As I buckled her, I started thinking about all the times in life when we have to take those leaps of faith.  Where we have to just sort of cross our fingers, hold our breaths, and hope for the best.  Times like

Getting married.  Having children.  Leaving your babies with a babysitter for the first time.  Making your first loaf of bread.  Planting a garden.  Buying a house.  Sending your daughter off on her first date.  Dropping your children off at college.  Retiring.  You get the picture, I think.

You put a lot of effort into something, and then there is nothing more you can do than just trust that the work you did will be enough, and hope that everything turns out the way you want it to.

And, it's funny because so often things do work out, and it's really really wonderful.  Hallie made it through church like a champ, dry as the grass in California.  I was so proud of her.

Today is Monday.  She has wet her pants three times.  The first time this morning I excused it because it was her first accident in a long time, and we none of us are perfect.  The second time I made her clean it up herself (obviously not really by herself).  The third time, well, she had gone to her room and put on a pair of pull-ups, then the next time I saw her she was putting her panties back on. I said, "What happened to your sleeping diaper?" (That's what we call pull-ups, I am not ready for a nightlong leap of faith quite yet.)  She said it got wet.

So, sometimes our leaps of faith turn out the way we want to, and sometimes they probably don't.  And sometimes when we are really comfortable with our lives and don't think we're leaping at all, things can go terribly, terribly off track.  Well, what can ya do?

Me? I go to my happy places, thinking of things like:

1. I was sitting at a red light, waiting to turn left. I was watching the traffic that had a green light move through the intersection. Car, car, truck, minivan, truck, gigantic green John Deere tractor... Mr. John Deere was, judging from the wrinkles showing thanks to his shirt-less and short-shortsed state, nearing 102 years old.  The wheels on his tractor were taller than any other vehicle around, and possibly taller than a couple of the nearest buildings.  He chugged slowly through the intersection, and when he got through I was still watching him, because it's not every day you see Rip Van Winkle go by on a tractor.  Once he had gone through the intersection and his back was to me I noticed that he had a bright, shiny, possibly glittery yield sign dangling from his rear.  Oh, it made me so happy that I still think of him, that old old (looking) man with his glittery yield sign swinging gently from his bum as he tractored down the road.

2. We have a dehumidifier in our basement.  We purchased it after our first flood of the season and keep it running so as to keep the basement as, well, dehumidified as possible.  Devin empties it when the tank is full. Hallie likes to help.  She very carefully calls it the "human-deacon-fire"

3. Hanna has two shiny teeth, and the bubbliest, gurgliest giggle of all time. Possibly because of all the drool in and around her mouth.

4. Devin is a very very handsome man, and he lets me cut his hair.

So, I guess I'll just keep working, and trusting, and hoping, and leaping, and visiting my happy places whenever necessary. All in all, it's really not a bad life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Size, Health, Happiness.


Hallie was pretty much completely average when she was born.  Her due dates were January 5 and/or January 7. (I had two doctors and a midwife during that pregnancy. Yeah, it was in that time of life when we were moving a lot... So I'm just thankful two of the experts agreed with each other or I would have had three due dates. Yikes.)  I went into labor on January 5, and 26 hours later she was born.

Hanna was pretty much completely average when she was born.  Her due date was January 20, and I went into labor with her on January 13.  She was born four hours later.  Hanna weighed a few ounces more than Hallie had, and was an inch or two longer. I am not exactly sure of the details, and I refuse to go check.

I will not go look for the exact same reason that is keeping me from going down there now, even though Hanna had her six month checkup yesterday and I am dying to run downstairs to my files in the basement and see what Hallie had weighed and how tall she had been at six months.  I'm itching to, so badly, but I will not let myself.

When I was a teenager I was skinny.  I was not slender, which is the graceful, beautiful way of saying skinny. I was just an awkward, sort of painful looking skinny.  The only feminine part of my body was my long blonde hair, and it wouldn't even hold a curl.  I wasn't just awkward to look at either, though.  I was simply awkward all over.  Inside, outside, and all around me I was uncomfortable with myself.  My sister, two years younger, was graceful, she was smooth, she was fun and perky and cute.  She had friends, and boys, and sports teams, and teachers who thought she was the greatest student since Socrates had Plato who had Aristotle.  Of course I compared myself to her.  Of course I always came up short.  Now, I emphasize here that this comparison was all in my own head. I don't recall anyone else comparing her to me in my presence (I am sure it happened, just not that I ever overheard) I don't remember my parents ever expressing any wish that I be more like her, or anything like that.  But oh, how I longed to be like her.

That's why it is hard for me now, with Hanna and Hallie.  Hallie (as you know from previous posts, perhaps) is small for her age.  So small that I used to worry, and anx, and stress, and freak out about it a little (a lot).  She wouldn't eat, and she never gains weight, or seems to grow any taller.  She still fits in the summer clothes she wore last year.  She fits in a lot of the clothes Hanna is wearing now.  The doctor tells me she is very healthy. 

Hanna is growing well.  She is just a little taller on the growth chart than her weight, which the doctors tell me is a good thing.  She is much taller than average.  The doctor tells me she's also very healthy.  I had previously vowed to let health be enough, when I was only worrying about Hallie.  I had solemnly declared that I would no longer worry about her size, as long as she was still healthy.  I had thought that I would like to do the same thing with Hanna.  It's not enough.

I need to not worry about how much they weigh in comparison to each other.  I need to not worry about what "age" the number on their clothes say they should be.  I need to not try to force Hallie to have a little more yogurt, and Hanna a little less sweet potatoes to try and force them to stay even with each other.  I need to stop, take a deep breath, and let them eat what they want.  It's their bellies.

But I also need to take it one step further.  You see I had already decided that I would try not to let size bother me.  Now I am going to try not to even worry about health.  Whoa, let me explain. It's great that they are healthy, and I hope they always are.  But what if they aren't? What if I lose their health too, to disease, or accident, or as will surely happen because we live in this imperfect world: AGE.  They will someday be unhealthy.  Limbs that are strong now will be weak.  Organs that function just fine today will someday get tired.

My new goal is to not even rest all my hopes and dreams as a happy mother on their health.  It is to place it on their happiness.  Do they laugh?  Do they run and jump and explore this beautiful world?  Do they use their arms to give hugs and and their hands to share toys?  Will they grow up to be the kind of girls that look at other people and see not size, or even health, but see other people as souls searching for happiness?  That's the kind of women I want my girls to be.

And that's why I am NOT going downstairs to check and see how Hallie compared to Hanna at this age.  It doesn't matter.  She gave her sister a big hug and a kiss as we left the doctor's office yesterday. And that's what matters. 


(Just for the record, my sister grew up to be a completely beautiful woman, and while I like to think that I am like her in a lot of ways, it's ok with me now if I'm not like her in every way.  Cuz I'm kind of nice myself.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

That's my Manly Man

You can have Robert Pattinson (is Taylor Lautner more your style?) and you can have Justin Bieber.

Or if you prefer Brad Pitt, Justin Timberlake or George Clooney you can have them too.

OR if you prefer Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Richard Gere, you can have your pick of them.

Take whoever you want.  I've got my manly man.

I know it's not our anniversary of anything, or his birthday, or Father's Day, but can I tell you a little about him, please?

He gets up every morning to go running, be it rain or shine, sleet or snow.  Injuries notwithstanding, he wakes up and works out.  (He'd make a great postal delivery person, am I right?)  He's itching to run another (his 20th?) marathon this fall, but we just can't find one. I told him to organize his own.  Why not?

He works hard at his job and is fast on his way to becoming seriously world famous. No, I mean it. Can I brag (more) about him for a second? He had a meeting with ConAgra (flour) a while ago, and they told him that because of the research and a method he developed while getting his master's degree they have changed and improved their methods for milling flour. Tell me that's not hot.  It's hot.

He changes diapers, feeds babies, kisses owies, disciplines the wild hooligan, and does it all with a couple pounds more patience than I have.

You want to know the piece de resistance?  When he wears holes in his pants from all his rough, tough, manlimanliness he asks me to patch them up again.  Sometimes though, there are other things that I want to do.  In those times, he takes needle, thread, and the approved for-cloth scissors (he's learned his lesson about my scissors) and patches up his own pants.  Self sufficient.  And that's my definition of a manly man.

His brother Ken is quite a catch too.

What is your definition of a manly man?  I hope you have one. And I hope he treats you well. 

Treat him well.

(Final note, just because it's random.  I had a dream last night that my mother, my old friend Angie, and David Archuleta had lunch together at the mall.  He sang to us while we ate.  It was pretty sweet. But no, you can have him too.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Roots and the Fruits

You may think less of me after reading this.

First of all, let me begin my saying that I have lived a quiet, simple life.  When I order something to eat, I rarely and only recently ask for special considerations (as in, no tomatoes.)  If the food comes to me not as I ordered it, I don't think I have ever sent it back.  While driving I am more likely to stop for a yellow light than speed up to go through one.  I hardly ever freely offer my opinion, especially over controversial matters.  I don't speed, I don't lie, and I don't stop people from cutting in line in front of me.  I can see you, sitting there, smirking, thinking that I am a complete pushover, absolutely lacking in assertiveness.  And you're pretty much right. (Although, there are a handful of Sears and Sears Mastercard employees that have recently discovered thanks to a fiasco involving an LG washer and dryer that when messed with over something I think is important I have steel in my backbone and iron in my voice.  Yeah, that's right Sears. Don't mess with me again.)

So, smirk a little then.  But I'll have you know that secretly, I am a rebel.  I stick it to the man in my own small (insignificant) way. And you know what I've learned from my experience of pushing against the norm, the expected, the ordinary?  It leads to root canals.

That's right.  Sometimes I don't brush my teeth.  Even worse, I don't often floss.  Now you're disgusted.  I won't tell you how often this feeling of rebellion rises up in me and causes me to go to bed with furry teeth, but it's enough that I really am going to have a root canal.

And there you have it.  I can't say where the roots of my rebellion are coming from, I've always tried my best to be a nice girl and do what I was told and play nicely with others.  I like being that person too. But sometimes, at night, before bed, when I'm standing in front of my sink and Devin is dutifully brushing his teeth (in the time I've known him he has skipped brushing his teeth twice, and neither time by choice. Literally.)  And this feeling rises up in me, unbidden, and unwelcome, but powerful nonetheless: I don't want to brush my teeth, and you can't make me.

Then, I just go to bed.  And now I'm having a root canal sometime soon.

That, I suppose, is the fruit of my rebellion.

I am ashamed of myself, mommy.  You taught me better.  I'm trying hard to quench this stickittothemanitis.  I refuse to give in anymore to that spirit of rebellion.  I solemnly vow that from now on I will always brush (and floss) my teeth.***

***Unless I am suffering from a migraine, stomachache, exhaustion, or pregnancy induced gagginess.  Then, there's no telling what I'll do. So, do you think less of me?

Friday, July 2, 2010

It Can Wait

A few posts back I wrote about all the things that are filling my life with beauty and happiness.

This is not one of those things.

This is something that I realize will come eventually, an irrevocable, undeniable, unavoidable fact of life.  I just didn't see it coming quite this soon.  Maybe I should have.  I thought I had 15 to 20 more years, easy.  After all, that's about how long it took for my thoughts to start moving in that direction when I was growing up.

At the temple Hallie picked a flower.  She carried it all over as we walked through the cemetery, across the street, past the visitors center, and across the parking lot.  Then she stood in front of our car, as seen above.  She said, "Daddy, I want to give my flower to a boy."  (There might have been one or two prepositions missing. Otherwise, it is word for word.)

I think my heart broke into tiny little pieces, even as I laughed.  There were plenty of boys around, in fact there was a large group of boys possibly ten year olds.  But I know enough about ten year old boys that I steered her away from there in a jiffy.  (You know what I mean, frogs and... other icky things.  And I don't even mean frog like some sort of metaphor.  Although, that could be a good one, you know, referring to frogs who turn into princes.  Hmm, but I still don't know if I want Hallie to be the one doing the "prince making".   But then see I don't know if I want her to have some other princesses' cast off was-frog-is-now-prince.  Gah! See what I mean?! I thought I had years and years and years to stress about this.)

When we got home that night I cuddled Hanna close and I told her not to grow up anymore.  Even getting to Hallie's age was too much for me, and I needed her to stay just as she was.  Sweet, and chubby and giggly and bald.  I was considering making a full on search for Peter Pan in hopes of this happening.

I changed my mind after her third blowout yesterday.  I guess I'll reconcile myself to the fact that they will grow up.  They will want to give (get) flowers to (from) boys.  They will want to go to prom and wear the prettiest dress.  They will want to (eek) kiss someone.

My head is about to explode.  Goodbye.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Tunes

I used to love music. (still do.) I used to have music playing all the time. (can't. 2 year old won't let me.) I used to be constantly finding and listening to new artists, thanks to awesome friends, Craig, Heather, Pete the ol' Cheat... Now, I don't think I have had a new song on my computer or ipod since... 2008.  (and that makes me sad sometimes.)

BUT there's good news at the end of this tragic tale.  Remember a while ago I discovered the likes of CJane and friends?  Well, thanks to CJane and friends, I discovered Mindy Gledhill.  Ahhh... and it's just the kind of music I like.

Now I'll let you see what you think.



Seriously just love the clapping.



And this one was in the YouTube video about Stephanie Nielson.

Now, let us be clear about how much I like Mindy Gledhill and her music. I haven't purchased an entire album since... easily before 2005.  I will be buying her album when it comes out. I may buy one for everyone I know.  Ok, a quick peek at the bank account nixed that second thought.

I will still be buying one for myself however.