Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Last Try

There are some things in life that you eventually have to concede that you will never be good at doing.

For me, making a sultry face is one of those things.

I've tried.  Oh, I have tried.  But I am tired of looking like a duck, and therefore, tonight, with you as my witnesses, I retire my efforts.

Click here to see pictures of the last time I tried to make sultry faces.  And click HERE to see a picture of the original effort at looking sultry, and to see what I mean when I say "channeling Nicole".  (You know you look good too, Melissa!)  Just scroll until you see the pictures I am referring to.  Keep scrolling... you'll get there. And you'll know you're there.

Just before I tried this last time my friend Alison recommend I try channeling my inner Nicole, again.  Which is another thing I think it's about time I faced openly and honestly.  I have no one inside me, but me.


Hallie wanted to make sure everyone knew her doll was dressed as a princess for Halloween.

Devin as a farmer, third year in a row. 
 p.s. While I have officially given up on looking sultry, I have not given up on red lipstick.  That is still one of the most fun things I do.  If you've never tried it, then you'll just have to trust me - it's a thrill.
 and there you have it.  You'll never have to worry about seeing any more awkward photos of my trying to look sultry on this blog or in real life again, ever.  Sultry and I? We're through.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slow Down

Last year the day before Halloween was a Sunday.  Our church meeting started at one o'clock.  Around 12:40 on the Sunday before Halloween last year I was putting on my own shoes, looking for the lost pair to a tiny black shoe, and wondering if it was cold enough for jackets.  We were just gathering ourselves to walk out the door when the phone rang.  On most days, at that point in the departure process, I probably would have ignored it, letting the machine take a message.  I think perhaps there was some small crisis involving hair bows or some such and I thought that granted me enough time to at least check and see who was calling.

The caller id said it was my mother on the other end, and you can't ignore a phone call from your mother.  I answered, "Hi, Mom."

"This is Dan." was the response I heard.  In my impatient, self-important hastiness I did not pick up on any of the clues in his voice.

"Oh, hey Dan.  Is this important, because we are just on our way out the door to church."

Is This Important, I asked him.

Those words have haunted me for exactly a year now.

When I got off the phone with him and it was clear that I would be unable to go to church, Devin asked me what I wanted to do.  I told him I needed to go somewhere beautiful.

I sat on a bench in that park, 6 months pregnant, my face a portrait of human misery, and I thought about heaven and love, pain and loss, beauty and hope, sorrow and despair.  I thought about babies.  I watched my own once-babies run through the bushes and flowers, and I knew they were wondering if it was alright for them to be laughing.  They didn't really understand why mommy was crying, even though I had told them over and over and over that afternoon.

"Everyone has a time that they leave this earth and go to be with Jesus in heaven.  Today was Tabitha's time," was what my muddled mind came up with to tell them.

A few days later I took a train to be with my family, and to say goodbye to the sweet face that I had only just met.  In this past year, every single time we see a train, my girls remind me.  "Look, mommy. A train. Like the one you took to Michigan to say goodbye to Tabitha."

And I say, "That's right, girls.  That's right."  Trains, for me, will always mean Tabitha.

Today was a beautiful day, the warm sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing.  I took my three girls to the park, and sat on the same bench as last year.  I thought about all of the sights and sounds and smells of life.  All of the small and insignificant sensory details that let us know we are alive.

I don't really know the point or purpose of this post, but I do know that I never want to be haunted by words again like I have been this past year.  I never want to be in such a rush that I assume what is happening in my own life is more important than what is happening in someone else's life.

I want to slow down.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weighting on the World to Change:Updated!

My smart friend Sarah pointed out that I neglected to give you the link for the new blog.  Silly, silly me.  Here it is: Weighting On The World To Change

Hello Friends!

I wormed my sneaky way into being an author on my friend Alison's blog.

I'm super excited.

Come check it out, it's going to be lots of fun.

AND have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cuz This is Africa!!

I owe a lot to Shakira.  If it weren't for her and her awesome Waka Waka song, I would have curled up and died my last quarter mile of the Market to Market.  Maybe not died, but definitely curled.

If you need a song to really get your legs pumping, you should check it out.

Also, check out these pictures from the race:
I was a little hyper.  Listen, I only got four hours of sleep the night before, and I was the first runner of our team.

 With my team, I am the one wearing all the flashing lights.

 Passing on the "baton" to Torrie.  My teammates are actual runners, see, so they're fast.

Just because it is really fun, more shots of me wearing my reflective vest and flashing lights.  They were required when running during "nighttime hours".  I had a head lamp and a butt flasher.  It's a classy look.
 Our team, after we finished.  Yes, it's dark again.  And Amber had to wear the vest, but not the flasher!  What's that about?  I think she would have looked great in it, personally.  

Thanks for a good time, girls!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To Be Fair

Earlier this week I posted some pictures of Hanna helping out around the house.  To be fair, Hallie does her fair share.

My mom sent me some pictures she took of the girls while she was watching them for me so I could run all day.  Among them:

Most days Hallie makes her bed and tidies up her room all by herself.  Most days.

And some days I manage to not remake her bed more neatly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

SOS Crisis Emergency Round TWO

Here's the deal.  I made a new friend a few weeks ago.  Yes, that's a good thing.  She invited me to come to a party? celebration? holiday festivities? of some sort.  Yes, that's a good thing.

What you need to know is that she is Muslim, and this is Eid al-Adha that she has invited me to celebrate with her family, and all of her Muslim friends.  Again, that's great and I'm really looking forward to it.

Trouble is, that I am in fact not Muslim, nor do I know much about their customs.  So, when I talked to  her she said her little girls would be wearing dresses. That's easy enough, I can have my girls wear dresses. And then, fool that I am, I asked her what I should wear, like what would she be wearing?

She's a nice person so she didn't let me feel awkward, but I still don't really know what to wear. She told me I could wear a dress if I wanted to, but that I should just wear whatever I will be comfortable in.  I don't know what that is!

This is where you come in.  What should I wear? I have dresses, obviously, but I am afraid that all of them will just emphasize my different-ness, rather than anything resembling blending in.  But then, maybe nothing I have will "blend in"?

Am I making too much out of this whole thing? Also, just for fun, Devin's side of the closet:


What you need to know to understand what I am about to say:

- My mother recently visited my sister.
- Some sort of fancy grocery store (what is it called, again?) recently opened near my sister's house.
- My mother and my sister went to the said fancy grocery store, and they bought some things.
- My mother brought me some of the spoils of said grocery shopping trip.

 Those of you who know what that is are now nodding your heads in appreciation, and perhaps casually swiping some drool of your chin. 

For those of you who don't know what that is, I'll try to explain.
- Guarana is to Brasil as Root Beer is to the U.S.A.

Got it now?  Yeah, good.

When my mom handed me this delicious thing, all I could think was, if only I had known in Brasil what I know now, I would have consumed much, much more of this stuff.

But I figure, if that's the main regret of my life, I haven't done so badly in life, have I?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Little Help

When I go about my business around town, people often remark to me, "Wow, you have quite a crew of little helpers!" or, "I bet they are a lot of help!"

And I don't know if they are being sincere or sarcastic, but I almost always reply - in all honesty -  "Yes, they are."

And now, I have proof.  I was tidying up the house just before bedtime last night.  Heather was already counting sheep in her bed, and Hallie and Hanna only had minutes left on the clock.  I came into the kitchen and found Hanna like this:

 And I looked to the dishwasher and she had filled it with all the dishes that were in the sink!  I mean, I may have to rearrange a few things... take the lid off that cup... and remove the chocolate milk (I mean, she's 2. I feel like I have some time to teach her proper dishwasher filling technique)


So yes, world.  They really are good little helpers.  Most of the time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

While I Ran

I don't know what other people think about when they are going on long runs, and I have myself never spent more than 30 or 40 minutes running, so I've never really had to keep myself entertained for all that long.

Last Saturday I ran with some of my friends in the Market to Market relay, a race from Omaha to Lincoln.  I was originally slated to run 9.3 miles, but then last minute one of our runners couldn't run with us, and so my mileage went up to 11.5.  Now for someone like, any of my other teammates, or Devin that probably wasn't a big deal.  To me, however, that was like...this fun thing I'm doing with my friends is now something that might cause serious damage to my body.

Turns out I hobbled along just fine, definitely the slowest on our team (but that was no surprise), and probably the slowest person there overall (again, not really a shocker).  I did run with my ipod for my last segment (3 miles) - because I don't think I could have even hobbled in if it weren't for SHAKIRA helping me shake it along.  But for my other two segments (3.3 and 5.5. miles) I just ran, you know, the old fashioned way. Just me, a pair of sneakers, a sweaty t-shirt, and the open trail.

Here's what I thought about:

 - I thought about how happy the inner part of my right foot would be when the day was over and it didn't have to keep pounding itself into the ground.
 - I thought about how many calories I had eaten, versus how many I was possibly burning, and how that might explain the deep hollow feeling inside, as if my body had consumed my organs for lack of anything else to digest.
 - I thought about what an awkward thing a tongue is, rattling around in my mouth with all those teeth.  What's it for, anyway?  Where does it go when you aren't using it to talk, or chew? I mean, it just sits there.
 - I thought about how everyone in the world is faster than me.  I thought about how that was always the case in soccer games, and track meets, and how for the most part, I'm ok with that.  I've got other skills, right?
 - I thought about how beautiful Nebraska is.  Did you know that?  Come visit, I'll show you.
 - I thought about my girls, and how much I missed them, and hoped they weren't tearing GramB apart limb from limb.
 - I thought about my dad, and how he taught me to be strong, and that strength is more than just who can lift the most or run the farthest.  There is something to be said for the person who simply finishes a difficult task.
 - I thought about my mom, who taught me that the person I am is the person I should be.  I am not the fastest, or the showiest, or pretty much anything the -ist, and that is just fine.
 - I thought about all of my friends, all of the people whose paths have crossed mine in our journey through life.  I thought about how much I love them.
 - I thought about hamburgers.
 - I thought about raising my girls in this scary world.
 - I thought about just making it to that tree, and then to that one, and then to that one.  For eleven miles I told myself to just make it to the next tree.

And that's what I thought about.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


We've been busy busy beavers around here lately.

I have completed the following projects:

 I started making most of these back in January, before Heather was born.  I finished all but four of them, and decided the other day it was about time I just finished.  I think there are 8 of these little beauties.  I know, I know, you're wondering why I wanted 8 jungle animal pillows?  Meh, who knows.  But now I have them!

 So I finished the jungle animal pillows, and then felt like I wanted something kind of girly to liven up the place, you know?  So I made these. All out of scraps.  Take that scrap pile!  Also, I think one will be up for grabs in this year's ThanksGIVEaway... I'm starting to get excited for that, who's with me?

 I FINISHED HEATHER'S QUILT! Now all three of my girls have Winnie the Pooh quilts, and I am sort of tickled pink and just down right pleased with myself.
 I quilted it by hand, and this is what the back looks like, can you see them all looking at the ducks?
 Here is a shot so you can see what both sides look like quilted.  Can you see the stitches on Eeyore?
And some many years ago (4?) Devin pulled these folding chairs out of the trash.  They were really nice chairs, but the cover on the cushion was ripping apart, and whoever owned them had duck taped it back together, but it looked pretty sad.  My mom gave me this fabric that her mom had had for something like 40 years (am I exaggerating, Mom? I don't think so...) and she gave it to me to cover them.  I did three of them 3 years ago, and never did the fourth because that was the one the high chair was on, but I finally said to myself, "Self, finish that fourth chair." So I did.

COOL! I am also in the middle of several exciting projects, including some others that may or may not show up at ThanksGIVEaway.  Get ready ya'll.

But do you know what is really quite very exciting?  
See below.
Devin has been working on finishing the basement.  Three cheers for Devin!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Box of Tissues

My favorite General Conference talk from today was either the one by Neil L. Anderson on Faith, or the one by Dallin H. Oaks on Children.

Really though, the one by Shayne M. Bowen had me crying throughout.

What was your favorite?

You can watch tomorrow's sessions of General Conference, here.

They still only have the audio or video versions of these talks, but to watch or listen to them click here.  If you want to hear or watch the ones I mentioned, just scroll until you find it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dogs and Books

You know how sometimes you wake up in the morning and the sky is cloudy and the air is chilly and everyone is cranky and whiny?

So you lay in your bed and think, "How am I going to fill all the hours of today?  There is no where to go and there is nothing to do."

And you get up and you mope around in your pajamas for a while looking for inspiration to strike, but it doesn't, and the only thing that happens is you get sleepier and the girls get fightier, and the whole day seems to be swirling down the toilet.

If only the sun would come out from behind the clouds, right?  Problem solved.

But it doesn't.  So you get dressed, and then one, two, three you hold down everyone else until they are dressed too.  Socks, shoes, sweaters, because it is cold outside today.

You pile in the car to drive to somewhere that will cheer everyone up.  Somewhere really interesting and perhaps full of mystery and excitement.  Like, Walmart.

But to spice it up a bit, how about you go to the Walmart on the other side of town?  See now you're getting into the spirit of things.  Why go to the Walmart that is less than a mile away, when you could go to one that is ten miles away? Perfect!

You listen to the girls chatting in the backseat, the radio turned down low because you want to listen to your music and maybe if they don't notice they won't start begging for Alice the Camel.  Suddenly, you remember the Library Book Sale is going on right now, at the building next door to the very exact Walmart you are driving to!

Fate.  When fate comes calling like that, you have to answer.  So you swing in to the parking lot of the event center, and look around for a parking spot.  The place is huge, there are parking lots that go on and on, and huge warehouse sized buildings all over.  You drive over to a section of the place where lots of other vehicles are parked and figure that must be where the action is.  You step out of the car and begin the process of unbuckling three car seats, when you happen to look over your shoulder and see a woman purposefully walking a dog.

You might think, "Why did that woman bring her dog to a book sale?" but you aren't that interested and so your brain just says, "Huh" like a slow mental shoulder shrug.  You continue fighting the buckles when one daughter points happily over your shoulder, "Dogs!"  you turn and look, and see a woman with two dogs.  Not really just dogs, but Dogs.  You know, like they have their own seats at the dinner table type Dogs.

This is when your brain wakes up and decides something unusual is happening.  Your eyes wander around as you push the stroller, noticing four more dogs over there, and three over there.  Oh, and looking in the windows of the cars every single one in the lot has a dog crate in the back.  If this were the Netherlands you really wouldn't think too much about it, because people seemed to take their dogs out and about with them everywhere.  But, this isn't the Netherlands, remember?

You decide to walk in anyway, even though from the stream of people walking out, each with at least one dog, you are fairly certain you are not in the right place for books.  The girls are going nuts pointing out dogs here! there! everywhere!  You push open the door, and all your suspicions are confirmed.  There isn't a book in sight, but you do see a course set up for a dog agility show, and there are more kennels everywhere, and dogs of all fancy shapes and sizes lounging inside like furry kings and queens.

You find a friendly looking dog owner and sort of timidly ask where the book sale is.  She doesn't know.  Finally you find someone who does, and they point you in the right direction, and you forcefully drag your children away from all the nice puppies (some of which could have swallowed your small children in one gulp - there was one that was almost certainly part bear.)

You walk over to the building where the actual book sale is being held, and it is booktopia.  It is paradise in books.  You wander around drooling for as long as your children's patience lasts, and then you finally make it over to Walmart, which suddenly has lost a lot of its earlier dreary day appeal.

And then you go home, and your children spend the afternoon banging on tins pretending they are in a brass band.

Or maybe your day didn't go anything like that at all.  I don't know.