Friday, December 19, 2014

The Truth and a Secret

I am going to tell you a truth.  Then I am going to let you in on a little secret.

I am often tired.  I am sometimes so tired that I find it really hard to enjoy being a mother.  It's hard when you are tired to listen to all the questions, and the crying, and the complaining, and still manage to enjoy it.

It's hard some days to clean up the spilled cereal bowls, and the orange someone spit out because they took a bite that was too big then decided they didn't like it, and the mess on the floor by the toilet made by someone who played a little too long and couldn't quite make it.  On those days, with the messes and the exhaustion, I just can't find the energy to enjoy it.

And sometimes it is my own fault for being so tired, because I forgot to go to the pharmacy (again) and pick up my medicine and probably I stayed up too late crocheting and watching Sherlock.  I'm new to the Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock bit, but color me orange and label me a fan.  So sure, sometimes it's my own fault, but sometimes it isn't.  Sometimes I am up with one, or two, or three kids who cry out my name in the middle of the night and need things varying from their blankets being tucked in again, to drinks of water, to snuggling away nightmares.

And sometimes we all sleep soundly through the night and I am finished with my crocheting project so I don't stay up and I remembered to get my medicine and (bonus!) even take it, and still, still some days I am just tired.

Tired from putting on five coats and five pairs of socks and five pairs of shoes and five hats and five gloves every time we have to go somewhere and then remembering where I put the car keys and where we are going and what we need when we get there, all while trying to field off the questions and the crying and the complaining.   On those days, even when we've all had all the sleep we need, I find it hard to enjoy this time of being a mother.

That's the truth.

The secret is, and what I have to keep reminding myself is that I didn't become a mother entirely for these days.  Sure, there are times when it is wonderful and you are adorable and funny and so cute it sort of hurts in my heart because I know that moment won't last forever. You will grow up and the taller you grow in height, the farther away from me you will get.

I became a mother so that these babies could see snow and stars, and flowers and trees, and all the animals in the world.  This is a possible goal now because we have zoos and pictures and airplanes and there are so many wonderful things in this world and I wanted to be able to show all of it to someone like you.  I became a mother so that I could teach someone how to cook and bake and sew and crochet.  So that someday, even after you have travelled far from my home, I would have friends who would come back and spend the night at my house and maybe you would even have littles of your own for me to snuggle.

I became a mother for you, of course of course of course.  But I also became a mother for me. It's actually quite a selfish thing, to be honest.  I wanted you, and I won't be tired forever, and you won't be tiny forever, and someday we will crochet and eat hot cookies and watch Benedict Cumberbatch be Sherlock together while your babies sleep in your old childhood bed.

And don't tell me that I will still be tired.  In my head, in those days, I have all the energy in the world.  If nothing else, I will only have to put on one coat, and one pair of shoes.  I fear that remembering where I am going, what I need when I get there, and where the car keys are will always be a challenge for me, however.  I guess I'll just have to get used to that.

Probably I am going to the pharmacy to get my medicine, right?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hanna Plans Her Life

The other day we were driving around in the car, as we do.   Hanna began contemplating what life had in store for her.

"But, mommy," she began thoughtfully, "I can't marry daddy because he is already married.  To you."

I didn't understand yet where this was going.  "That's true, Daddy married me."  I told her, looking both ways before turning left and probably not really listening to her at all.

"So, but mommy.  But who am I going to marry then, since I can't marry daddy?" I looked at her in the rearview mirror. She was looking out the window at the Christmas lights on the houses as we drove past in the early evening dusk.

"Oh." I was listening now, and trying not to laugh.  "Well, Hanna, how about you marry one of the other boys you know, like --- or ---- or ---." I said, listing the names of some of the boys she knows.

"Mom.  I can't marry them.  They are just little boys." Her voice full of disdain and heavy with emphasis, she probably rolled her eyes at me but I didn't catch it in the rearview mirror.

"Well, Hanna, you know you are a little girl.  Those boys will keep growing up, and someday when you are big and tall and strong and looking around thinking about who you want to marry, they will be just your size too."  I tried my best to explain.

"Oooooooooooh." She gets it now, I thought.  "Ok, mommy, I will find one of those boys to marry someday then, when they are all grown up."

"Good plan, Hanna." I gave her my approval.  It's basically an arranged marriage now.  Set in stone and no backing out with cold feet and all that.

"Mommy, when I grow up and marry one of those boys, I am going to be the one who goes to work, and I am going to be the momma.  OK?"  I nodded my head in agreement.

"Sure, if that's what you really want for yourself someday, then that's what you'll do."  I said to her.

"And I want to be a ballet instructor for my job."  Oh dear, things were getting complicated now.  "So mom.  WHEN are YOU going to TEACH me BALLET?"

I guess I better sign her up for ballet lessons.




Monday, December 15, 2014

15 Years Ago

New Years Resolutions are fun, aren't they?

Recently, my mom and dad found stashed away my New Year's Resolutions from 2000, along with those of my sister and one of our best friends, Sarah.

Oh! The memories come crashing back when you find something like that.  I begged my mom to mail them to me, and she did.

OH!! The memories! We wrote them all in shiny gel pens.  Shiny! Gel! Pens! I don't even understand what the purpose of those is.  I can't decide whose resolutions to share first! They are so so so so classic.  Now, for reference, we were all at this time 14 years old, give or take a year or two.

A note before you read them: they are all strangely cryptic at times. It makes me laugh so hard.

I'll throw my girl Sarah under the bus first:

1. (obvious)
2. Blossom to a wonderful flower
3. Stop making corny jokes
4. Find at least one special someone... ha ha
5. Be nice and try to include everyone!
6. Have Ashley and I work out when she moves in
7. Improve my vocabulary

Next my baby sister:

1. (all caps, underlined twice in the original) DON'T GIVE IN AND GET A BOYFRIEND!!! DO NOT!!
2. Keep friends with everyone I am friends with and try to make new ones.
3. Survive first semester of high school and seminary
4. Try and be more cheerful and friendly
5. Never give up...
6. Don't slap you know who I'm talking about
7. Get involved and spread myself thinner.
8. Get along w/ ... you know who.
9. Keep singing.
10. Remember not as m p luv u as u think they do

And, last but not least, my New Years Resolutions for the millenial year of 2000, the year of Y2K-

1. don't
2. make some new friends
3. quit speech class
4. keep in touch with old friends
5. don't
6. DON'T DON'T DON'T


Ah, gets you thinking about what to resolve for next year, huh? It's just around the corner!  Go on, go out and buy yourself some nice paper and some shiny gel pens, and get ready for a new you!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Rose Family 7th Annual Thanksgiving Day

I wasn't sure if we would make it this morning on our run.  The weather was not ideal, and I had a headache from a long night with Heather.  (nightmares?)  It was decidedly our coldest Turkey Run yet, beating even last year's frigid temps.  Last year was below freezing, but this year it was even more below freezing.

There was some whining and even some crying, and Devin said something like, "why can't they just be tough, and enjoy being outside?" and I said, "I think it's probably something to do with the fact that they are little girls, and not grown mountain men.  But they will grow up to be tough women because we are giving them these experiences when they are young, showing them that their bodies are strong, and they will survive, and it can be fun, and hot cocoa is the best thing ever invented.  That's what we are teaching them now, but they are still just little, and still learning the lesson."

My favorite bit from today was at one point Hallie began complaining that there was a thorn or something in her shoe.  Devin told her to take it out.  She said she couldn't, because "I don't know what it is though!"

She couldn't get it out, and it was still bothering her, so eventually Devin got down on the cold pavement to try and get it out.  He was also unsuccessful, so I came over to investigate why my whole family was sitting on the ground instead of running with me.

I got the full story from beginning to end, and Devin showed me where something poky was lodged in her brand new grey tights.  She had chosen to wear her tights over her leggings, for reasons unbeknownst to me, and so it covered her foot.  To get the poky thing out, the only thing Devin could think of was that we would have to take her socks off, then her shoes, then the shorts, next her pants, and then finally the tights and at least we would be able to remove the whatever it was that irritated her.  But by the side of the road? In serious sub zero temperatures?  To strip down like that was just short of crazy.  What made the situation extra exciting was that Hanna standing just off to the side kept saying that she also had a rock that was bothering her and could I get it out when I was done with Hallie?

Devin was itching to be off again running, and Hallie was crying at the thought of taking all those clothes off.  I said, "I'll deal with this. I'll think of something."

I rolled the little irritant around, trying to figure out a way to force it out through the tights.  That wasn't going to happen, so I said, "Hallie, mommy's just going to have to reach in and get this out."

And with that, I shoved my hand down her pants.  There on the side of the road, for all the early Thanksgiving day traffic to see, I hoped that my arm was as long as her leg.  The effort knocked us both flat on our backs, and we lay there in what was undoubtedly one of the top three most awkward positions of my life, and Hallie began yelling, "This does not seem to be going well, Mom!"

I will always love the sound in her voice when she said that.  Then she continued screaming, "it hurts! you're hurting me! everything hurts!"

Hanna began shouting, "My rock is out now Mom! Guess what, it's all better!"

I said, "Hallie, sometimes you have to go through a little pain to get rid of the thing that is causing you bigger pain.  Do you want that thing out of your tights?"

She was almost crying again. "Yes. I want it out."

"Ok," I told her, "This is the only thing I can think of to do. I will have it out... now! I got it!"

I pulled my hand back out of her tights as quickly as I could, and showed off for all to see the tiny white rock that had been lodged against the arch of her foot.  I asked her if it was worth what I had had to do to get it out, and she said it was.

I pretty much felt like a hero.  We began walking again, and Hanna said, "Oh wait, I guess that rock is still in there!"

And now, pictures.

 Devin laughed when he saw how tightly I had bundled Hazel.  She pretty much couldn't move, and Devin declared that I had transformed her normally round body into a solid square.  She was the only one of the girls that didn't cry though, so there's that.

 The warm up! 
Which is funny, because it's impossible to "warm up" on such a cold day. 
Ha ha ha ha ha.
 Hallie, going after the mystery thing in her shoe, round one.

  Super, super cold.



That tiny black speck in the distance is Devin.  I meant to get a better shot of him but it was just a moment or two after this that everyone gathered around Hallie, and I went to investigate, and then I just forgot all about pictures after that.  Sorry, mister.

Also, a note to Nebraska: You are beautiful.  Don't listen to anyone who tells you differently.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Currency Is/ Mother Is

My currency is
your hugs and kisses
and so
I am
wealthy beyond measure.

My power and influence
is your
first word
first step
first "watch me, mom!"
and so I am
queen of my domain.

My peace in times of trouble
is your body snuggled in
warm blankets
as you snore
and so I
sleep too.

My fashion
is a burp cloth
on one shoulder
and spit up
on the other
but your
toothless grin
opens any door
I care to enter.
---


Mother is the one who
holds you
while you
cry and throw up and
cry and throw up again
then
puts you in the bath
and washes it all away
puts you in new jammies
and nestles you in her bed
pulls your little body in close
your head resting on the pillow
just below hers
and mother is
the one who
doesn't
even
gag
though the smell
(slightly)
lingers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pizza and Kissing and Memories

I sat there at the kitchen table, eating my slice of pizza, my four daughters sitting around me talking and laughing.  They were each eating pizza of their own, in their own ways.  Hallie had a slice of pizza with ham, and she was eating the slice whole, bite by bite starting at the small end and working back toward the crust.  It made me smile because when she was tiny she would start at the crust and work toward the other side, and we always wanted to correct her and then I realized, who was I to say that was the wrong way to eat it?  Hanna had a slice of cheese pizza, and with a butter knife she was carefully cutting it into bite size pieces.  Heather also had a slice of cheese pizza, she had requested that I cut her slice up into bite size pieces for her and she was eating them with a spoon.  Hanna had donated one of her crust pieces to Hazel who was happily gumming and gnawing on it.  She is eight teeth strong, and waking up twice nightly as the pesky molars burrow their way out.  I was nibbling through my sausage/ham/bacon combo.  Of course, I wanted pepperoni but, as crazy as it sounds, I just couldn't find any.

I sat there on that night, cold wind blowing outside, residual heat from the oven warming the kitchen. Listening, half listening, not listening.  We make homemade pizza about once a week around here, but usually its on the weekend and Devin is home with us.  We make it all together, the girls helping us with toppings and dancing around the kitchen.  That night it was just the girls.  Devin had come home early from work while I was still picking Hallie up from school, packed his bag, and by the time I got back from the school he was in the kitchen in his work clothes with an apron on finishing up the dough for the pizza.  "Just put it in the oven for 15 minutes when you get back from taking me to the airport and you can have it for dinner." he said as I grabbed him and kissed him.

So there I was, my mister gone for a few days but not before making sure that his family was provided for.  He just barely remembered to take the apron off before we went out the door.  I thought about how much I love that man, and how well he cares for us.  Usually the pizza is crispy if the dough is thin, and like a hearty dinner roll if the dough is thick.  That night though it turned out rather floppy, probably from all my greasy meat, and as I looked at my droopy slice of pizza, the memories began to come.

A long time ago, a lifetime ago, I sat in a little corner pizza place in a tiny tourist town, on an island in Maine.  I sat at a table surrounded by some of my very best friends and a group of boys we had recently met and began spending time with.  We called them the Blue Hill Boys, and while some of the details have faded from memory, the image of a droopy slice of pizza comes clearly back.  The pizza was greasy and gooey and could be molded any which way.  I remember as I sat there trying to eat, one of the Blue Hill Boys began to teach us the "proper" way to eat our pizza.  Somehow along the way it became clear that "pizza" was in his lesson a metaphor for "kissing".

Everyone laughed, and everyone stared at me, because everyone knew what he was referring to.  I am sure it had only been a few nights before that I had asked him to kiss me.  In a few days.  Before midnight on the Fourth of July, was my precise request.

That kiss a week or so later would be my very first kiss, ever.

It made me smile, the memory of that gooey pizza, and the awkward (for me) lesson on eating pizza, kissing, and the whole scenario of how I came upon my first kiss.  I sat there with my four girls eating pizza my husband had made for us, and I wouldn't trade my beautiful life for anything.  But memories are fun too, aren't they?

Should I try to scrounge up some pictures of the Blue Hill Boys for you?  Maybe.  We'll see what I can do.

First Grade

We got Hallie's school pictures today.  The process went so much better than last year.  I did call them once, but that was more my fault than theirs, and one quick, painless phone call is completely different from numerous phone calls where you are never fully satisfied that the person understood you and is going to get you what you wanted.

I think the main reason for this: we went digital.  That's it. Just email me a high resolution version of her picture and let's be done with each other, Lifetouch.

Thus, I present to you, first grade Hallie:


and for contrast I give you Kindergarten Hallie:


I know.
Unbelievable.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Fours

Hanna is four.  That age thus far has sort of been my nemesis. I just don't know what to do with the fours.  Age one is my glory year, and two and three are fun, and five and six have been pretty solid.  But four makes me wring my hands and question my sanity.  Four keeps me up at night wondering what I'm doing wrong and if I'm broken as a parent.  Four scares me, makes me doubt, and is very, very tiring.

Hanna is four.  This week alone she cut all the hair on the doll house people, cut Heather's hair, wrote her own name on Heather's forehead, scribbled on the walls with marker because she "forgot that she was big and knew that we aren't supposed to draw on walls", drew on the dollhouse with marker, cut two notebooks into tiny little slivers of paper, locked her sister in the car on purpose just after I told her not to, and had many more adventures that I didn't even know about, I'm sure.

Hanna is four.  She likes to take pictures on my phone.  This is what she looks like.
Pretty terrifying, right?





I'm shaking in my boots.

Good news: She turns five in a few months.  Phew.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1 Mile, 31 Miles

Today was the big day.  The day we've all been waiting for, for months.  Anticipation and anxiety for how the day would go were at fever pitch - the runners were feeling it, the spectators were feeling it.

How were we even going to get everyone where they needed to be?  It was complicated, and messy, and in the end turned out beautifully.  We managed to be there to watch Devin at each of the points we wanted to, and even caught him at two extra points we weren't planning on!

Hallie didn't win her pumpkin run, and she had a momentary confusion where she walked off the course into a crowd of people and I experienced mild to severe panic; but with the help of a friend she got back on track and ran her legs as hard as they would go.

Devin's injury didn't bother him as much as he feared, and when we saw him at the end he smiled and waved as heartily as he did at mile 6.  When we met up with him after the finish line, he admitted that "everything hurts. Everything.  My teeth hurt."  but he looked happy, and strong, and proud.


I am so proud of my runners.  
I hope to run with them next year!  

Hanna will be doing the pumpkin run next year. 
 I can't even believe how big they are all getting.


Hallie shows off her excellent running form.


Devin at mile six.  


Waiting for Daddy at mile 27.5


 I bring an entire Devin fan club with me wherever I go.


Hazel was such a trooper.
 I couldn't believe how well they all handled the long day. 


I definitely could not have done it without my mom, though.  
Thanks for coming, Mom.


Devin at mile 27.5


 Big finish!
I am really proud of that man.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

And Two

If you were to stand outside my house and listen closely, you might hear me singing at the top of my lungs, per Heather's constant request:

"Everybody wants to be naked and two! Everybody wants to be just like Heather, she's naked! and two..."

This song would probably make a lot more sense if you had an older brother that listened to the music my older brother listened to, and if you knew that Heather was deep in the throes of trying to decide whether or not she wants to be potty trained. Some days she is, some days she isn't.  Diaper? Panties? We are having a hard time making up our mind here.

Other fun stories from around here lately include:

Heather came up to me and said, with a solemn face, "When I grow up, I want to be a... a... a... trash can."
Then, there was a sudden wild dancing with a lot of hip action and, "No! I when I am big, I will be a cookie jar."

Hanna sat in the car, pensively looking out the window.  Then she said to me, "Mom, I guess I know why it's called barefoot.  Because when we go outside without our shoes on, we are being like the bears.  So they call it 'bearfoot'.  Do you think that's right, Mom?"
Of course I think that's right. Who messed up the spelling there, Mr. Webster, or Mr. Miriam?

Hanna came running to me, in desperate panic, "Mom! There's a mosquito bite on my brain! It's on my brain!"  Sometimes I just don't know how to solve their problems.  I have no idea how to scratch that itch, kid.

Hallie came into my bedroom when I was folding laundry.  It had been a long day full of many activities and chores.  She dramatically threw herself onto the ground near me.  "There's nothing  to do! I'm so bored! And I don't want to color, and I don't want to go outside and I don't want to help you fold those clothes and there's nothing to do.  I'm so thirsty and there's no water and I looked and we have no water and I am so thirsty and so bored and when will I get to wear high heels?"

I'm not even sure which was the biggest issue there for her, the boredom, or the thirst, or the lack of high heels in her life.

Life is so hard, but at least sometimes it's funny too.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You Never Know: My Life

There is a video circulating on my Facebook feed about a mom and the service she gives to others and the way it makes her feel.  Maybe you've seen it, maybe you haven't, maybe you don't care.  You can watch it here if you do happen to be interested.

I was asked my opinion on an article that had some pretty serious criticisms about the short video.  I won't link to it here because it had some language that is not in my personal vocabulary, but if you do a quick google search I am quite certain you could find it or other similar articles.  I responded with my honest opinion on the article, I was thanked for giving my opinion, and that is normally where I would have let it go.  Everyone is entitled, as we know, to their own opinion, and I respect that.

There were, however, a few items in the critical review that I couldn't stop thinking about, and I guess I wanted to take the opportunity to address them a little more carefully, and explain myself a little more thoroughly, because the video is very personal for me - that woman is me, and I am her, and I have had that exact day before.  Honestly, my first thought when it was over was, "did they take a look at my journal or what?"

Now, I'm not going to proclaim that the video is perfect - it is only a few minutes long and thus there is no time for character development or anything close to that. You get a snapshot of a woman's day and have to infer the rest.  Those inferences come from our own personal experiences, and I think that is why people have such different reactions to it.  Thus, I will first name the criticism that was given, and then draw from my own personal experience to explain what I saw as I watched it.

Criticism: The mom made a hot breakfast for her kids (who has time for that?!), then when her daughter rejected it proclaimed that she wouldn't get anything else, then we see the daughter eating a bowl of sugary cereal with a smirk on her face.
My life: We eat "sugary" cereal almost every morning, typically it's like half a bowl of fruit loops (or whatever box is open), half a bowl of oatmeal.  We make hot breakfasts on the weekends.  I applaud the mom for making eggs.  Her lack of follow through with the daughter: turns out she isn't a perfect mom.  I'm not either.  I try really hard to be consistent with what I say and how I act and that my word is final, but honestly, sometimes I give in, sometimes I'm too tired to fight, sometimes I don't actually care that much, sometimes they are more stubborn than I am, sometimes I just plain forget that I had already said "no" and they keep asking and I realize only after what I've done.  Turns out, I'm not perfect, and it shows up in my parenting.

Criticism: Where is her husband (significant other)?  Even if he was away on a business trip, wouldn't they have checked in with each other?  Why doesn't he help out at all?  She obviously doesn't have to work to support herself...
My life: It seems to me that this movie isn't about the man, it is about the woman.  She is any mom, maybe she does have a husband and he is a total jerk, a workaholic who never comes home but his paycheck does.  Maybe he's a loser who spends all day in bars drinking up their money and debt is one more thing on her list of stresses.  Maybe he has a beautiful mistress and he is on vacation with her in Hawaii right then.  Or maybe she is a single mother, widowed or divorced.  Or maybe, possibly, her husband is a fantastically good man, and they have a strong marriage.  Does it really matter for the message that is trying to be given in this instance?  What does it change?

Devin is up and out the door on a run hours earlier than anyone else in the house (typically) is awake.  Then he leaves for work, and then quite often meetings keep him busy in the evenings. Sometimes he has to go straight from work to said meetings. Sometimes he doesn't get home from these meetings until after I am in bed.  Where is he? Visiting people who need him.  This Saturday he is helping organize and carry out the moves for three (yes, three) separate single women into new apartments.  I probably won't see very much of him at all, between his run and these moves.  Remember how I said I'm not perfect?

Sometimes I do get frustrated and upset that he is gone so much, that other families are "more important" than his own. Can't he see that I need him here? And then I remember where he is going, and what he is doing, and how blessed I am, how lucky to be living the life I live.  There may come a day when I am in need, and I am sure that in that day I will hope and pray that someone will sacrifice their husband's time for me.  I remember that I am stronger than I think I am, more capable than I think I am, and I roll up my sleeves, and I do what needs to be done.
As for not even communicating with him, sure there are days when Devin and I said ten emails back and forth and are on the phone with each other ten times.  Those days are in the complete minority. I don't know if you have ever tried to get ahold of Devin, but he isn't always available at my beck and call.  My marriage is really good, thanks.  I guess I took this one quite personally.

Criticism: The son suddenly remembers his science fair project, the mom slaps it together, they race out the door and somehow are not even late, and then he wins the science fair.
My life: Sometimes, we forget homework and have to do it the morning before school.  Sure those mornings are rushed, but we have also never been late.  It looked to me like he had already done all of the research and had all the papers printed off and had merely forgotten to glue them onto his board.  I don't think the mom is "doing it for him" if she helps him with a glue stick.  It also doesn't take that long to glue some papers on a board and run out the door.  Sure, he should have remembered before that morning, but he didn't, and I guess my kids aren't perfect either.  I'm okay with that.

Criticism: The sister is portrayed as being "narcissistic", wearing lipstick while the mom looks frumpy, selfishly dominating the conversation, not letting the mom vent about her own day.
My life: First of all, it did show the mom putting on mascara.   I applaud her for taking the time.  She was even dressed in a pretty nice outfit.  Next, we have no idea the background of this sister.  We don't know if she is married, divorced, widowed, wanted kids but never had any, had a child who died. There are a million scenarios and we aren't given a peek.  When she called her sister to ask about lunch she said she really needed it.  What she needed was someone who would listen, not judge, and love her.  Sometimes in conversation it is a mutual sharing of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and great bonding happens.  Sometimes one person just needs to talk things out, and you are simply there to be an ear.  There have been times when I haven't noticed that was my role, and opened my mouth, and realized only after that I was the one being selfish in not being a better listener.  Sometimes it's my turn to vent, sometimes it's not.

Criticism: If she could take the little girl to the park, why couldn't she take her on the errands she had planned to run?
My life:  Again, we didn't have time in the video for this kind of nitpicking detail, but it seemed pretty clear to me (again, judging from my life) that they were at a neighborhood park.  The mom and kids walked there, and the sister met them there for leftovers on the bench.  If they could have "gone" somewhere, I bet they would have.

Criticism: With watching the little girl and taking the dinner, couldn't someone else have been found to do it?  Couldn't she have (with regards to the meal) just ordered a pizza?  It was also mentioned that this bringing of food to women after having a baby was somehow a "Mormon" practice.
My life: Let's go back to me not being perfect.  Sometimes I put more on my plate than I can actually do.  Call it pride if you want, but I say yes and then I panic and then I find myself screaming at the oven when things didn't go the way I thought they would. (I have never actually screamed at our oven, but probably wanted to at times, on the inside.)   This one also struck me quite personally.
1. If she had asked them to find someone else, they probably would have.  But who are we to say that that other woman's life was any less stressful or busy that day?  Who are we to say that our plans and to do lists are more important than another's?
2. Sure she could have called a pizza, but for me that defeats the purpose of offering the service.  I don't do it to actually feed the family food, I do it to show them I love them.  And it is probably pride (is this the second or third time I've mentioned that I'm not perfect?) but I like the feeling of making something myself to give them.  I like to take meals to show my love and support for the new mom, and I like to make it myself because it feels more genuine, or something.  Maybe she should have said she didn't have time or asked them to find someone else, but every time I have become stressed and thought, "Next time I'm saying no. I can't do this again. My life is too crazy." I have regretted it.  There may come a time when my life is literally too crazy, but until that day comes I want people to know that I am someone they can count on in their time of need. (I'm not talking about times when  you really can't do it, and that's a definition you have to define for yourself.)
3. I have two neighbor friends of other religions and one I had to practically knock other women out of the way to get in line to provide meals for, and the other I never actually got in because she had too many meals being brought.  It seems to me that it is in no way exclusively a "Mormon" practice.  I'm not even sure why the author of the article mentioned that it was. 

Criticism: at the end she crashes on the couch and cries and her children don't even notice. Is it so common a thing for her to breakdown that her kids don't care anymore?
My life: Kids are kids and they are incredibly observant one minute and must know all of the details of what you are doing and why, and at other times they don't even know or care where you are in the world.  When I cried all night that time I kept getting phone calls from someone saying they were going to kill me, my kids were completely agitated.  They were all over me, confused and scared, and I couldn't even begin to comfort them much less myself.  When I cried all afternoon after handing my statement to the police regarding the man who followed us home from the park, Hanna wouldn't have noticed even if my tears had been bricks falling on her head.  Kids are kids, is what I say.

Criticism: That it was insensitive of her to not tell her cousin that she was running late and might not make it.  It was rude to the cousin who was probably angry at her from the airport.
My life: Again, not perfect. Sometimes in the rush and bustle of things that I have signed myself up for I do forget to perform those little acts of common courtesy.  I do remember them later, and I do kick myself for them, and I do pray that the people affected will forgive me.  Often when I ask forgiveness, the person says they hadn't even noticed my slip.  So maybe she should have texted her cousin, but again, she isn't perfect, and neither am I.  We do our best and we apologize when we mess up.  Also, why would her cousin have been so upset?  She had to sit at the airport during her layover either way.  It's not like she was left waiting somewhere she didn't have to be.  She had literally no where else to go.

Criticism: She already had a babysitter, why didn't she just go out and grab some ice cream and spend some quiet "me" time before coming home?
My life: Maybe that would have been the right answer for some people, recharging batteries that needed it. For me, I know that I would go home because as terrible as some days have been, home is still where I feel best.  Even when my kids are wild animals that I am half ready to sell to the zoo, I would probably end up going to the zoo with them.  Because even in my lowest moments as a mom, this is still where I like to be.  I am not saying that this is in any way better than a woman who would stop and get an ice cream, I am just saying that I would rather eat the ice cream in my own freezer.  To each her own.

What it all boils down to me is the question of why do we serve?  Why do we give of ourselves?  I think that that is something we must determine for ourselves, and we must also determine for ourselves what level we are capable of and willing to give.  Don't let someone else define it for you.  None of us are perfect, we are all giving our best - but let's make sure it is our best.  And let's make sure we do it out of love.

The greater lesson I took out of this message was in the prayer she said in the morning, and the prayer her son said that night, highlighted by her "To Do List" that was repeatedly shown.  In her morning prayer she asked that they would get done the things they needed to, and in her sons prayer he acknowledged gratitude that they had gotten done what HE needed them to, referring to Heavenly Father.  What that says to me is that sometimes, His to do list is not the same as OUR to do list.  She did get done everything HE needed her to do that day. And no, she didn't get to see her cousin which was number one on her to do list, and probably Heavenly Father would have been happy for her to go and spend that time with her cousin.  But it was her fault, her mistakes that kept her from it and maybe if you want to look at a grand design it was so that she could learn this lesson, and get this message.  Sometimes the Lord in his tender mercies does stretch our time and all things work out, and sometimes because of our own mistakes we miss out on things we had wanted to do.  That was the take away for me, was that His to do list is more important than mine, and as long as I do everything on his the rest is just extra bonus.





Sunday, September 21, 2014

It Is Still Summer

Blogging... I mean, do I still do that?

I keep thinking I will, and then stuff. You know, it happens. It just keeps happening.  Stuff. All the time. Everywhere. I don't even know what exactly, it just pops up and stuff.  Stuff.  I'm feeling really eloquent right now about stuff.

Stuff. So yeah. Now you know what's going on with me these days!

Here are some pictures my friend took of my girls, I've posted a few of them but not all of them and they are so pretty and I know it isn't really summer anymore but I'm going to share anyway.








Actually, now that I think about it, it is still technically summer for almost another month. So there. And stuff.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rose Family Runners




Just out for an evening jog, you know, the way you do.



#rosefamilyrunners #nebraskaevenings #fhe #familynight

The family that runs together stays together, right?


Friday, September 5, 2014

I Guess It's Time

I've been having migraines again this week, and while it probably is the weather (my usual trigger), I also keep thinking that it is because I am stressed.

I had friends over to help me can some pears the other day and they asked what I could be stressed about. And a lot of things, really, you know all the usual things: the dishes, the laundry, the bills, the broken lawnmower, whether or not I remembered to feed the kids lunch, you know those types of things, but also I think I have been really stressed lately because I feel like I need to talk about what happened on the way home from the park a few weeks ago, but I really just don't want to.

I think it's time though, and hopefully after I talk about it, this heavy feeling inside will go away and the pain behind my left eyeball will also go away.  So, deep breath, and here goes.

The thing is, I had always said that I felt ok keeping my blog public because I was thought I was just as likely to be followed home by a creep from the park as I was to get a creep stalking my blog online.

And now that it's happened, having someone follow me home from the park, I feel really strange inside, about a lot of things.

I'm not even sure what it is that I want to say about it, because I don't really feel like talking about the details, how scared I was, or how I didn't know what to do, or what to say, or how to act.  I didn't know what he was thinking, or what he was planning.

His house is on the route I run when I go running, and I have mild panic attacks every time that he is outside.  But am I just supposed to stop living my life?  For about a week after it happened I wouldn't let my girls go outside, but they want to go outside and can I make them stop living their lives?

I kept trying to tell myself that it probably wasn't that big of a deal, he didn't actually know where we lived because instead of going home I went to a neighbor's house and so we were probably safe, right?

I asked my mom and my sister and Devin for thoughts on the situation.  My sister is friends with a sheriff, an FBI agent, and the wife of a police officer.  She emailed them about what happened and asked them what they thought I should do.

Here are their responses:

FBI agent: First, it's absolutely NOT nothing. If she knows his name look him up in the local sex offender registry and contact the police precinct that covers where you live. Report it. Report it no matter what. They likely know of him as others have probably called in and reported a creeper at the park. The more people who call the better intel they have to do something. Sounds like she did an awesome job protecting her kids. Tell her to never question her gut instincts.

Sheriff: Wow!  It NEVER hurts to be suspicious. His behavior is very unusual and very inappropriate in public. His motive, or intent, may be innocent if he is mentally challenged, but if that is the case one would think there would be a caretaker who could be made aware of this guy's unusual behavior. If he doesn't know better then his caretaker needs to be more responsible. If he DOES know better then there is even more cause for concern.
Either way your sister should call the police immediately. If it is a mentally challenge person they may already be familiar with him. If they are not familiar with him they can still try to track him down and talk to him or to his caretaker.
If he is no mentally challenged then there is real cause or alarm. She is right to be concerned about her kids playing outside without her there. And she shouldn't brush off anything he says or does as being just because of his mental state. And if something happens that seems weird she should just make a little note about it - what happened, where, time - in case that information is needed later.
We don't want to scar her or the kids, but caution - and a little paranoia - can be healthy!
She is welcome to call me if she'd like.

Police Officer's Wife: I had my husband read this. He said that she should call and report it. If it makes her uncomfortable there is nothing wrong with reporting it. There could always be the chance that he is a registered child sex offender already and then she can know and the police can know what is going on. Also if not it is always a good thing to have on record in case anything ever did happen involving him.  She should call and make a report.

I felt better about filing a report after having three people who work in that area recommend that I do so, but it still made me very uncomfortable.  I typed up my statement, put it in an envelope, and began driving to the police station.  As luck (or fate?) would have it, a police officer turned into my neighborhood just as I was turning out. I slammed on my brakes and just stared at him, stunned at the coincidence.  Of course, he stopped too and rolled down his window. I jumped out of my car and almost crying handed him my envelope and asked him to report it and call me if they needed anything else.

And now, I am mostly just keeping my eyes wide open, and hoping that nothing else will ever happen and that my children will never be hurt by anyone ever.  And maybe now that I've told my story in blog therapy style, I can sleep again at night and not be sick all day anymore.  Either that, or it really was just the weather.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Missing Body

He was dead.  That, I knew for sure.

Where the body had gone, though, that was the disturbing question.

It creeps me out a little, not knowing where the body is, wondering when and where I will find it, or would it be worse if I never did find it?

And perhaps, the worst question of all: who moved it, and why?

See, spiders don't really bother me that much.  Generally speaking, when I'm outside, they don't bother me at all.  That's their domain, and I am the guest there.  But in my own house is different, because that's my space.  And while I still don't really mind them, they do tend to startle me, the way they move so suddenly when their dark lairs are exposed.

That's when I first saw this one.  He was hiding under something that I moved, and our eyes met.  Now the other thing about spiders is that some are quite friendly looking, with a sort of "hey, I'm the enemy of your enemy, so let's be friends.  You don't kill me, and I will kill all the other bugs. Got it?" And honestly, I usually don't kill those spiders even inside my house. Because why?

But the other spiders, the nasty mean looking ones, those present a different story altogether. There is something sinister about those ones.  Something about their legs, and the size of their bodies, and the strange way they move that when combined makes them look like they enjoy being on the wrong side of beautiful.  They know their bodies were designed to be fearsome and terrible.

This was one of those second class spiders.  He was large, and he was a bully.  When I uncovered his hiding space, I said, "Hello you ugly thing. Why couldn't you be one of the nice ones?" and with that, I captured him.

I wasn't sure what exactly I would do with him, because again, as a general rule I don't kill things, but I also didn't really just want to leave him trapped under there, staring up at me through the clear plastic.

Hanna came running by and shortly made my decision much easier. She stomped right down on him.

"Hanna, did you just kill that spider?"

"I think so, Momma," she said, stomping on him again extra hard just to be sure.  "I think I got him."

She ran off to play.

Well, ok then.  His dead body, all curled up, broken and distorted bothered me more than his living body had.  I walked away to take care of something or someone, and when I came back twenty minutes later, he was gone.

All signs that he had ever been there were gone.

Gone.

A missing body.

Somewhere in my house.

It gives me the shivers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Look and Believe

I got my copy of my church's (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) magazine, the Ensign, in the mail today.  When it comes I typically read it cover to cover and then reread favorite bits throughout the month.  It is my escape. It is a quiet time to reflect on my life; on the progress I am making toward becoming the woman I want to be.

Lately there has been a lot of discussion in articles within the magazine and all over the internet about the role of women in my church (among other things).  I was happily reading through an article by Elder M. Russell Ballard when he encouraged Latter Day Saint women like me to "show the world what women of God who have made covenants look like and believe."  He counseled us to do so wherever our sphere of influence is, including in our blogs.

My first thought was that no one cared about my opinions on the matter.  But Elder Ballard continued to extend this invitation to let our voices be heard, and so I thought, even if twenty of the people who might read this post don't care, maybe there will be one who is interested in knowing what I think, and how I feel, about my church and God.

So here I sit, trying to sort out what words to use and where to put them.  I think of the many people that I love, fiercely, that have opposing views of many of these beliefs that are so sacred and dear to me.  To them I want to speak first: I love you very much.  I love you so much, that I know that we can disagree about some of these things and still be friends.  I know that you are intelligent.  Even though we disagree about some (or all) of these things, that disagreement does not make me think less of your intelligence.  We each are free to choose how we think, feel, and believe.  I recognize your freedom to make that choice.  It in no way diminishes my respect and love for you.

That said, I will now follow Elder Ballard's counsel to try and show the world what I look like and believe.

I am five foot seven and a half, with long, thin blonde hair.  I have blueish-greenish eyes with a circle of brown around my irises, like a dark sunflower facing the sky.  I look like I have had four children.  I leave that statement up to your personal interpretation to visualize.  I probably look like I enjoy going outside for a run, or to work in my garden, or to play with my kids, and that I also enjoy making and eating cookies and brownies.  I look like I am getting older, and the evidence is mainly seen when I smile for that is when the wrinkles typically manifest themselves the most.  I strongly suspect that I have a friendly and helpful appearance, because it is almost guaranteed that if I am in a grocery store or other such place I will be approached with a request for help of some kind.  I always do my best to help, even when we lived overseas and I could barely understand the plea for help and did not know the answer anyway.

To the best of my ability, that is a description of what I look like.  I now attempt to describe what I believe.

I believe that I have a Father in Heaven.  I know that He loves me, that He is aware of me, and that He cares about me and my life.  I know this not because of any grand or exciting experience, but because I have felt it my whole life.  Even when I was confused or unsure about other things, I have never doubted that.  I know that my Father in Heaven has a plan for me, that he knows my strengths and many weaknesses, he sees my struggles and successes.  I know that I am strongest when I rely on my Savior, who is Jesus Christ.  I know that His atoning sacrifice is not only for my sins but also for everything else, all of the little hurts and injuries that are inflicted on me as I venture through life.

I have never felt unloved, or unappreciated, or unvalued by anyone else except for a time, by myself.  When I was a teenager I was very unhappy about the simple fact of being a girl.  It made me angry that my brothers got to be boys and I did not.  I thought it was cruel and unfair.  I was mainly disgruntled at the fact of my gender because of the monthly pains that came with the territory. They horrified me, wounded me, crippled me, made me feel weak and terrible and I hated all of it.

It's hard to explain how I feel about those pains now.  Those pains that were nature's way of making it possible for me to be a mother.  Those pains that were nothing compared to what I would later go through, three times - and a fourth, in a different way, in order to have my babies.  Those pains seemed so simple, so easy to bear when confronted with the more extreme pain of childbirth.  In looking back it all blurs together into a beautiful memory because of what those pains gave me.  I look back even further and recall those teenage days now and I wonder at the blindness of my eyes.  I am filled with gratitude for my mother and father who helped me to realize what an amazing thing it is to be a woman.

I have never had to carry the weight of being unable to have children.  I don't know the sorrow of wanting, the despair of hoping, or the pain of waiting.  But my Savior, your Savior, our Savior - he does.  He knows that pain, as he knows all pain and suffering, and better yet he knows how to heal it.

I reiterate: when I was young and felt upset about being a woman, those feelings were self inflicted.  They were brought on by a lack of understanding about what potential, what power a woman truly has.  My heart aches for the women in my church who continue to have a different experience than mine, and I hope and pray with all my might that they will somehow, in some way, be able to feel their Savior's love for them.  In the meantime, as I've said before, I hope that you know that I love you.

Now that I am more grown up, and probably almost an adult, I am grateful that I have always been treated respectfully and as a person with value within the church.  If you want to read the article by Elder Ballard that I refer to, it will be available online next month.  I will post a link for it then.

photo courtesy of Everyday Adventures Photography

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Heather and Some Hallie

Today I have a few things from Hallie and a few things from Heather.

Heather's new response to questions in the affirmative is, "Gracious, yes."

Just picture it for me please. A tiny two year old, nodding her head, and clearly saying, "Gracious, yes."

It's perfect.

At church on Sunday we were about halfway through the sacrament portion of the meeting (the quietest bit, of course) when for reasons unknown to me she begins yelling at top volume:

"Jesus loves you, Hanna! Jesus loves you, HANNA!"

and when I tried to quiet her down, she began screaming, "Jesus loves me though! Jesus loves ME!"


She likes to have her hair done like Ariel, and she likes to dance like Cinderella.  She alternates between pretending to be the mom, and the tiger.

She insists that she is not anything you say she is. If you say, "Heather, you look so cute!"
She will adamantly declare, "I'm not cute." If you tell her she is funny, "I'm not funny."  We often tell her that she is these things, just to hear the way she says that she isn't.  I guess I'll have to try and get that on video before she stops saying it.

And now for Hallie.  I found another one of her writing masterpieces.  This one was for school, and so I don't know the whole story, but it makes me smile.  Here it is:

Nebraska is special because flowers.
Pork.
Zoo.
Children's Museum.
Ice cream.
Soup.
Form.
Land.
My favorite place is (name of her elementary school).

I love these girls.  Maybe tomorrow some stories about Hanna and Hazel, shall we?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Deseret News Marathon (and 5k!)

We had a family reunion with Devin's family in Salt Lake City in July so that we could participate in the Deseret News Classic Marathon (and 5k!!)

Here is photographic evidence that we participated in these events:

Devin ran the marathon.

 He is now training for a 50k ultramarathon in October.






Here I am, looking at my watch just as the gun goes off.  I know I look like I'm way in the back, but I ended up finishing 203rd place out of 316 runners, so somehow I put a little more than a hundred people behind me...  I finished 18th in my age group, but as my brother in law pointed out, for all I know there were only 18 people IN my age group. I'll go find out.  Looks like there were 26 people in my age group.

Honestly, I'm just happy I wasn't last in either category. 

I am currently "training" for a 5k in September.
It will be my third one in five months!
Am I runner yet or what?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Grade

And just like that summer is "over" and another school year has begun. 

I think she will really like her class this year. They have a bunny rabbit in the classroom and a cute young student teacher.  She has three friends from her kindergarten class and one boy that she doesn't really know but I know his parents they are in another ward so that is exciting for me and she seemed excited when I told her.

It is still strange to say goodbye to her in the morning and not see her for hours and I get so excited when it's time to pick her up!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Instagram

My friend Kristen told me I had to get instagram once I got a cell phone, and look at me now.

It hasn't been as strange to have a cell phone as I thought it would be.  I still forget it about half the time so that worry that I would suddenly feel like I had a leash hasn't been a problem.


I also have no clue really how to use instagram, I just push buttons until it does something and sometimes the something it does is actually what I wanted it to do, so we're getting along quite nicely.

Here are the pictures I've posted to instagram this week. I am putting them on my blog because my sister wanted to see them, and I realize that this is a more permanent place to put them than instagram or facebook.

I realize looking through these that only one made it to facebook, and only a few to instagram, so new pictures for everyone! You're welcome!!

 Sometimes when Devin is in charge of Hazel, I will come and find her like this.

And then, when my girls see that I am taking a picture, they have to jump in, like this.

In real life, it looks exactly like this:

 ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

 Then there's Heather. She's my little buddy, my little pal, my little friend.


 One morning I came downstairs and saw this pony stuck to my fridge.  I began to panic because my girls are addicted to glue sticks and I made some assumptions.  Hanna jumped over to tell me that it was just a magnet in the pony's paw. Phew.


And then there was Hazel.
 

Who, me?

Well yes, I am cute, thanks.



Sometimes they try to all fit on one chair and they do but then Heather gets squished so she moves but then Hazel keeps kicking her. It's hard to be the Heather one. (her words, not mine.)

Teething? I'm not sure, but I've been hanging out until midnight every night with this face.  I grant you, there are worse faces to party with.

And good morning from two little girls in purple jammies with green frogs.