Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Love You; Even On The Bad Days

Today was horrible. It was one of those days where you just feel like you can’t get ahead. Nothing you do is right for anyone; everyone is a little “off” and your two-year-old is extra two, if you know what I mean.
We had errands to run today in preparation for our family trip to Oregon. I decided to break  tradition and head to Target (I typically avoid that place like the plague because I’m pretty sure they do ritualistic voodoo magic on a daily basis that makes it so you enter into a trance when you walk through the doors and you buy everything you see instead of the hand lotion you went in for) to dig through their ‘dollar spot’ items to find toys for the kiddos to play with during our 13.5 hour road trip. (Heaven help us all)
Horrible happening number one:
I finally experienced one of my biggest mama fears and momentarily lost a child. Guess which one it was? Yeah, that’s right, Samuel sensed a rare moment of simulatenous weakness in both parents and bolted while we were deciding which sticker books to invest a dollar in.
It took him all of two minutes to slip past us.
We split up. We looked down every single one of the surrounding isles. We listened and thought we heard him three or four different times, but it was always someone else’s child. Finally, I told an employee and he asked me for a description and all of a sudden I had this horrible vision of needing to describe my child to the police because it had been two days and we still didn’t have him and that made my mind go completely blank and I couldn’t even remember what I’d dressed him in that morning.
I finally had to just tell him he was two and blond. So. Awesome. That’s a really great description of just about every child in Utah. Still waiting for my Mom of the Year award to arrive.
But then, huzzah! Someone answered his radio call and said they were pretty sure they’d found him, but that they couldn’t coax him out from under the clothing racks. We followed them to the opposite corner of the store where he’d apparently traveled in under two minutes. (how. just. how.) And there he was! My super naughty; beaming blond, who was absolutely bursting with pride and delight at the circumstances which found him surrounded by five to six Target employees who were all giving him love and attention.
Horrible happening number two:
Movie night.
Worst. Decision. Ever. I should have known it was bound to fail from the beginning. Why, oh why did we think it would be a good idea to blow up the air mattress and set up ‘camp’ and simultaneously eat popcorn?
First of all, the popcorn burned in random places throughout the bag. There was no reason for this. My theory is that sometimes God uses literary devices such as foreshadowing in our lives. So the burnt popcorn should have been a clue.
Second of all, I don’t know what you know about 2 and 4 year olds, but they really like to bounce. So. An air mattress. And popcorn.
Thirdly, no two-year-old will ever care about Katniss Everdeen. No matter how much popcorn you offer.
So, we’d settled into a full five minutes of the movie and we’d already told the children about 800 times that we’re not bouncing on the air mattress and we’d already picked up approximately 900 pieces of popcorn that had gone sailing through the air on accounta all the rebellious bouncing and whatnot.
So then Daddy really laid it down thick and told them both that he was about to just send them to bed. Well, that made Samuel cry, but the problem was that Samuel also had his mouth full of chewed up, nasty Oreo that he had been eating at the table, but in order to more quickly get back to his jumping, he’d crammed it into his mouth and clambered up the couch where he now sat, open-mouthed wailing about being told he couldn’t jump. So a big wad of chewed-up Oreo landed on my white ‘we-didn’t-anticipate-children-when-we-bought-it’ couch.
Not to worry! I just bought new fabric cleaner. So we sprayed a ton of that on there. But hang on, it wasn’t foamy. Why? Oh, just because the thing I’d thought was fabric cleaner when I bought it turned out to be fabric protectant instead. Awesome.
Miraculously, Dawn dish detergent did the trick, though, so we were back in business! Or so we thought.
Now Luke was sticky, so he took a chair over to the kitchen sink to wash his hands. While he was busy doing that, Shem and I settled back into the movie for about thirty seconds. Suddenly, we heard a panicked Samuel calling for us. In exasperation, we looked at each other and got ready to complain about not being able to actually sit down and watch the movie when we realized that Samuel’s panic was turning into screams of pain.
Horrible happening number 3:
We both jumped up as quickly as we could. Shem is a champ and got there first and I followed right behind to help assess the situation. Chaos reigned. Shem was so frustrated by this point, that he couldn’t even tell me what had happened. The movie was playing obnoxiously in the background and was creating this horrific background noise that added to the level of confusion and frustration. Shem took our very distraught Samuel to the sink and put his feet under cool water and still couldn’t tell me what happened.
I went to find the remote and turn the movie off and in the (relative) quiet that followed, I finally found out that Samuel had climbed up the chair that Luke had left at the sink; had climbed into the sink and had then turned the water on full blast hot and was burning his feet. He couldn’t figure out how to turn the water off or how to get down, so he was just stuck there with the steaming water scalding his toes.
I took the sobbing Samuel and continued to hold his toes in the cool water while I cuddled him and taught him about the hot water. Luckily, (and also not luckily, because Shem had gotten to him in about 1.3 seconds) his toes weren’t badly burned. It was a very temporary injury which was a tender mercy, because I don’t think my mama heart could have taken much more at that point.
So it was definitely bedtime.
We read stories and said prayers and sang songs and said goodnight and then
Horrible happening number 4:
Shem and I got into an enormous fight because of all the residual stress and mess and disappointment of the night.
It was the worst. I hate fighting with him more than I hate fighting with anyone, and that is saying a lot because I avoid conflict like I avoid drinking floaties in water.
It’s all better now. We talked and kissed (sort of, but not really because we had to speak on the phone while he drove to work) and made up and the day is over and now I get to go to bed. Which, let me tell you, is a very exciting prospect. But before I sleep, I just had to write this all down and get it all out there.
This is life. It’s messy and sometimes it’s ugly and tragic and horrible. Being a mom is the worst and the best all at the same time. Being married is hard and spectacular simultaneously. Some days are just perfect; sometimes everything works out. And some days you lose your kid, spill burnt popcorn all over the living room, don’t finish one single load of laundry, can’t finish ten minutes of a movie, barely save your child from melting his own feet off and end it all in tears because you lost your temper with the love of your life.
But it’s all wonderful. All of it. Even the burned popcorn and the singed toes. It’s all important. It all means something.
I had this moment tonight, while I was reading stories to my babies before bed, where they both laid their little heads on my shoulders and snuggled into me. So quiet and at peace with their world; no idea that this day had been kind of a disaster. And I just thought, “This is why I do this. I do all of this for these moments when the world sort of stops and I get to watch these little lives I’ve created do these spectacular things, or I get to settle in for a really good night-time snuggle, or I get to be the person the little one needs when he’s scaled his feet.”
I absolutely love it. I love this life. I love my husband and my babies.
I love them all; even on the bad days.

The Birds and the Bees and the Zoo

We went to the zoo this weekend! I think it was the first time I’ve taken my kids to the zoo during the day. This last winter, we went to the Christmas event at the Salt Lake City zoo called “Zoo Lights” which was actually kind of awesome because all the nocturnal animals were partying it up since it was night time. But this time we had the bona fide zoo experience and it was pretty fantastic.
We were taking my youngest sister up to Idaho to stay with my brother and his wife for the week and we’d decided to spend the day with them while we were down there. So we found a cute, little zoo in Idaho Falls. It was the perfect size; not so crowded that you couldn’t get close enough to the enclosures to actually see the animals, and not so small that it only had birds and squirrels. (Shout out to CALM, in Bakersfield, CA. Look it up)
We did all kinds of fun, zoo things:
I put my head into the mouth of a lion.
We got to watch and smell the penguins being hand-fed some very dead fish.
The boys rode a tiger.
They also fed some goats, but I didn’t get a picture of that because I was too busy being super concerned that Samuel was playing in the sand that the goats were also pooping in.
And boy, howdy were the monkeys active that day! One of them came right up to the glass to check us out and pretty much scared the pants off of Samuel. (Okay, and maybe also me a little bit.)
But the highlight of our trip came in the form of a quick biology lesson for a crowd of probably 15 children to enjoy.
Samuel is kind of into lions lately, so I’d been looking forward to showing him real life lions. Towards the end of the day, we finally found the ‘big cats’ section of the zoo and rounded the corner to the lion pen. But just as I started to lift Samuel up to see over the wall, I noticed that the daddy lion was feeling kinda lonesome and so he thought it was high time he created some new little lion friends to join he and his lovely she-lion friend in captivity.
These are some of the conversations I heard:
“Mommy, what’s that lion doing?”
“He’s just… giving her a hug, honey. So… Let’s go.”
“What’s happening, mom?”
“Um. I think the girl lion is in the boy lion’s spot, so he’s trying to move her.”
“Dad, is that lion mad at the other lion?”
Luckily, I didn’t have to participate in any of these awkward conversations (and really, it’s probably lucky for the parents around me because I tend to be pretty blunt in these types of situations and apparently a sex-ed lesson wasn’t on the agenda that day) because both of my kids are too short to see over the wall without parental aid! Huzzah for the short gene!
I have never seen a lion enclosure clear out faster.
Lucky for us, the she-lion was NOT in the mood (maybe she’d had a long day.. or maybe she had a headache.. OR maybe she didn’t want to do the baby dance in front of a live audience. Sheesh. He-lions. Can’t live with ’em; can’t propagate the species without ’em.) so she basically threatened to rip the randy lion’s face off if he didn’t cease and diciest immediately and he took her pretty seriously. So we got to see the lions after all.
Samuel was happy. I was happy. The she-lion was happy. We were all pretty much happy! Except, of course, for the he-lion WHO by the way was also forced to stare at the Zebras right across from him all day long without ever being able to taste one.

Swimming Lessons Are a Tool of Satan

Luke started swimming lessons today. And if you ask him about them, he will happily inform you that they were “so much fun!” and that he “can’t wait to go back and swim more tomorrow!”. Which is wonderful! Except for the parts where it’s horrifying.
Disclaimer: these are the first of any type of lesson or group sport or extra-curricular activity I’ve ever had a kid participate in. Luke and I are still journeying through so much uncharted territory together and every time he experiences a ‘first’, I’m experiencing his first right there with him. I thought I had this whole parenting thing down once I figured out how to go grocery shopping with two kids by myself. But then Satan was like, “JK. Swim lessons are coming. Good luck.”
So here’s how it all went down:

10:45- Run down our last minute check list: Diapers, wipes, snacks for the little one, towels, swimsuit and swim diapers in case Samuel is allowed in at some point, sunscreen. Done. Oh. It’s pouring rain? No problem. Samuel and I were actually hoping we’d be sitting beside a pool in just exactly this type of weather today! Swap sunscreen for umbrella. Bam.
11:00-Arrive. No parking available unless I have the driving skills of either Dale Earnhardt Jr. or my husband, which I don’t. Find street parking instead.
11:02- *Rain miraculously stops* Unload both children and all of our junk (sans sunscreen)
11:04- Look around for some sort of sign or person indicating where I should be going. Walk tentatively up to the door. See no sign. Have a vivid waking dream about knocking on the door and having a grumpy old man who is tired of seeing his house used for swimming lessons answer and bark at me that business isn’t conducted at his front door. Back away slowly. Find a sign that says “Pool”. Assume that I should follow that thing.
11:05- Walk into an enormous and very beautiful backyard. Don’t immediately see a pool, but hear children screaming in the background. Feel. Reassured?
11:05and a half- Screaming child gets louder and is very obviously experiencing some sort of distress while simultaneously splashing. Sense of foreboding increases.
11:06- Arrive at the pool! See 4 or 5 kids about Luke’s age. Walk through the gate and glance around at the adults; none of whom seem to be in charge. Spot a woman with a clipboard. Assume she’s probably official in some capacity. Receive no instruction from her, but proceed to assume that Luke can jump into the pool next to his class.
11:07- Luke starts to repeatedly dunk himself under the water because he’s so excited about his new-found ability to ‘dive’. Still no adult has talked to me or asked what my child’s name is. But I trust them all to keep him alive for the next 30 minutes…apparently.
11:08-Pull Samuel away from the pool edge. He’s not super happy about that and tells me, “Mama! I jump!” and I have to explain to him that he’s too young to die, etc.
11:09- Pull out the animal crackers. Wonder if they’ll kick me out for having food near the pool. Glance around for a sign that says “No food”. Don’t see one. Still have no contact with an adult.
11:15-Have the pants scared off me while Luke continues to insist that he has to go under the water every three seconds.
11:16- His teacher saves his life.
11:17- His teacher saves his life again. My faith in her increases.
11:18-His teacher is helping another kid so I’m watching mine like a hawk and having a vivid waking dream where I’m jumping in the pool to save his life in my salmon pink skinny jeans and driving home sopping wet.
11:19- Animal crackers are no longer a worthy distraction. The little one hops off my lap and starts throwing pool noodles around like some sort of wild animal. The grandma next to me gives a friendly chuckle which makes me feel better about my parenting skills. I then point the 2-year-old over to the swing set on the other side of the pool gate.
11:25- Luke practices floating on his back. I cheer loudly, give him a thumbs up and then realize I’m going to be a really embarrassing mom when he’s older. But for now he just beams at me. So all is good.
11:27- Samuel comes back from the swings and wants to “jump” again. I pull out the trusty animal crackers. He is appeased.
11:30- Free swim. The teacher hands Luke a pool noodle, folds it in half and shows him that it will help him float. His eyes sparkle at this new-found independence and I have a mini-heart attack because now he’s just swimming around the pool with nothing but a noodle between he and a watery grave and there are 5 additional 4-year-olds being watched by one teacher.  And now Samuel is bored.
11:35- Luke swims to the deep end. I call his name. He ignores me. I call his name again. He ignores me again. I quickly help Samuel take his shoes and socks off and tell him he can put his toes in the water. He agrees enthusiastically. We walk to the deep end and I ask Luke to please swim back over to his class and then re-fold his pool noodle which was barely keeping him afloat at this point because it had somehow become only one layer of noodle. He feels pretty cool about this whole ‘swimming with nothing but a noodle’ thing. I reassure him that he IS pretty cool for swimming with nothing but a noodle.
11:37- I hesitantly make the decision to let Samuel get into the water.
11:38- I instantly regret my decision when I notice how narrow the steps are. I really don’t want to live the reality of that day-dream where I’m in soaking wet, pink pants. But there’s no going back at this point; Samuel is way too thrilled about being in the water.
11:39- I now have two children in the water while I’m out of the water. Satan is laughing somewhere, I can feel it.
11:40- A nice old man who had been teaching the advanced swim class comes and offers to take Samuel for a swim. He loves it.
11:45- The instructor blows the whistle to indicate that free swim is over and everyone needs to get out.
11:45and a half- I feel like a survivor. Samuel is pretty distraught about having to get out so soon. Some of the adults comment on how much he must love swimming. That ice-breaker enables the lady with the clipboard and I to have our first actual conversation wherein I realize my checkbook had fallen out of my backpack earlier. But she wasn’t worried about it and said it’d be fine for me to pay next time.
12:00- We drive home. I listen to Luke chatter about how much fun he had and tell him how close he is to being able to swim without a floaty and he is genuinely thrilled.
…worth it! In yo’ face, Satan!

Motherhood: Battling the Unmaker

1. Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
2. Toddlers.
I’ve been thinking about the principle of entropy a lot lately. My dad was the king of inventing games and then using those games to introduce his kids to highly advanced theories and scientific principles. We used to play a game called “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Screwdriver” where you basically pick anything in the entire world -theoretical principle, idea, person, place, thing, etc.- and then have a five to ten minutes debate about why your item of choice beats everyone else’s item of choice.
One time, my dad chose entropy. After he taught us what it was, we collectively banned it’s use. Because, hi. That’s cheating.
I started a really good book series a couple of weeks ago. Orson Scott Card’s, “Alvin Maker” series. I just finished Book One: Seventh Son. It’s wonderful and I highly recommend it. The ultimate Boss Level bad guy in that series is called the “Unmaker” which, in my imagination, is basically the equivalent of entropy. It desires to ‘unmake’ everything and turn it into nothing; disorder, chaos. Alvin Maker, if you couldn’t guess, is sort of his arch nemesis.
I relate to Alvin Maker.
Because my kids are tiny Unmakers.

The laundry.
All I want to do is make clean clothes for everyone. And fold them and put them all neatly away. All the tiny Unmakers want to do is spread it all around on the floor, wad it all into tight little balls to see how wrinkly they can make it, and see how far they can throw each individual sock across the room. (Spoiler: It’s far.)
Dinner.Pretty straight forward…I’d like to make dinner. Preferably a dinner that my kids will actually eat, but at the least a meal that I can put in front of them to assuage myself of any potential blame that may come my way right before bed when they inform me that they’re both ‘starving’. The Unmakers? They want to “help”. I’m pretty sure that word is just their way of lulling me into complacency so that they can get up close and personal in order to more effectively destroy the entire kitchen.
Cleaning.My goal: to clean. Their goal: to make new messes while I’m busy cleaning up the decoy messes.
Bath Time.It seems so simple; I’d like to get the kids clean and keep the water in the bathtub. Theirs is more of a three step process. Step 1. Run around butt-neked. Step 2. Either a) stay dirty OR b) dump the entire bottle of baby soap on their heads in an attempt to ‘help’ -there’s that word again- get clean. Step 3. There are bonus points for every liter of water that ends up on the bathroom floor, apparently. Maybe it was a bad call for me to give them a bucket as a bath toy. *ponders*
So, you see…we are at odds my Unmakers and I. They are entropy. I am the attempt at creating order in the chaos. We wage daily battles. Sometimes I lose, sometimes they lose. Mostly, I take my victories while they’re asleep and then I wait for the wakeful state wherein they will promptly undo all I’ve done.

Occasionally I see glimpses of their potential as future Makers. They seem to be Makers-in-training as it were. The older Luke gets, the less entropic he becomes. (Entropic. It’s a word.) From time to time, I can enlist him to engage in battle against the lead Unmaker in our house, and from time to time he successfully resists the urge to get sucked into the alluring prospect of destruction. It’s a beautiful thing.
And I take comfort in the fact that in the end, I will ultimately emerge victorious. I mean, if you think about it…I Made the Unmakers for crying out loud. And I’m Making them INTO Makers. So you see, in the face of all that Making, there’s no way the Unmakers can succeed.
*Adopts this as a new daily mantra and repeats as needed*

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


I know that whole 'dress debacle' is old news at this point, but while it was a hot topic, I had this super profound realization and I meant to blog about it, but I've been sucked into Bones for the last couple of months which has rendered me useless at nap time. Lucky for you, however, I am currently sitting next to an enormous mountain of laundry that I need to fold and I thought I'd do that while watching Bones today. So naturally, I'm blogging instead.

So. You remember THE DRESS. Right? Black and blue... or white and gold? And when it first came out, I was absolutely convinced that it was some elaborate prank that half of the world was in on and that somehow I was in the half of the world that had missed the memo. Because clearly that dress was white and gold. Like. Clearly. So, I showed my husband and when he said, without hesitation, that it was white and gold I made up my mind about the whole thing and wrote it completely off as a prank. Until it happened. I was scrolling through my Facebook and yet another image of that darn dress popped up, but before I'd scrolled completely away from it my husband said, "Oh! There's one of it in black and blue."


It was the same image, you guys. THE SAME IMAGE.

I stared at him in disbelief and pointed to the picture again, "This dress? This dress right here you're telling me is black and blue?"

"Yeah. They've altered that one or something so it's black and blue."

"Babe. This is the same exact picture. Wait. You're telling me that when you look at this picture of a gold and white dress that it actually appears to be black and blue to you?"

"Stop. You're messing with me."

"YOU are messing with ME!!"

"Seriously babe, stop. Is this a joke or something...?"

I stared at him some more. My mouth was getting dry from all the hanging open it had been doing in the last few minutes. So I scrambled to find the first picture I'd shown him of the stupid dress.

"THIS dress...this one right here that is clearly white and gold...this dress you are telling me you see the colors black and blue??" I was starting to freak out a little bit because my husband is a horrible liar. The. Worst. Liar. And I knew he wasn't lying. He was actually seeing black and blue. And no matter how hard I stared at it, I could NOT figure out where anyone was seeing either one of those colors.

So he stared at the picture for a little while. "Woah. Babe. This is trippy. I CAN SEE BOTH."

It was then that I became really obsessed. Because I knew beyond a doubt that it was actually possible to see the colors black and blue and that the people who could see black and blue weren't all just in it for the attention or something...they could actually see those colors. AND I NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO SEE THOSE COLORS, YOU GUYS!

I watched countless numbers of youtube videos explaining the phenomenon. I read a dozen articles. I scrolled through hundreds of pictures of the dress and watched as people played with photo shop to change the colors and then finally...finally...that dang dress was black and blue. I can now officially see that thing in both white and gold AND black and blue and I can't even tell you how relieved I felt when that moment finally clicked.

And THAT is when I had a realization: life IS the dress. You guys. I'm serious. Life is the dress!!

You all have read those debates in comment sections of political bloggers, or on the Facebook pages of your friends and families where both parties involved are passionately positive that their point-of-view is the one that reflects the truth and they absolutely cannot begin to see how/why the members of the opposing school of thought could possibly not see what they are seeing. Sometimes, you've probably even felt like someone who has different ideologies than you must be joking and that there's no other explanation for their irrational opinions. And here's the thing: even though that dress is, in reality, black and blue...the important thing is that it legitimately can be seen both ways. And people who saw it white and gold weren't wrong...in that picture, the colors white and gold could be seen. And people who saw it black and blue weren't wrong because those colors are also visible. IT CAN BE SEEN BOTH WAYS.

I submit to you that almost every single issue can be seen in different lights because every single issue is being viewed through a different lens. We all see the world through filters of our experiences, struggles, triumphs, and growth and because each person has a different combination of those things, each person has a different lens through which they view the world. The world I see is not the same world as the one my husband sees. Though we tend to see things similarly; you just stick around for one of our arguments that is completely based in misunderstanding, and you'll get a fantastic glimpse into the ways that our lenses differ.

It's changed the way I think about politics. I'm not even lying. When a Facebook friend of mine posts something that initially makes me go, "Oh BROTHER. There's no way that people actually believe that." I try and take a step back and look at it from a different angle. Nine times out of ten, I can see the other side of the argument. I can understand where they're coming from. My respect for them increases and I can see it, too. Of course, I'm usually still pretty sure that I'm seeing the "right" colors...but just the fact that I can "see" their colors makes everything so much better.

Assume that people aren't ignorant! Assume that there are legitimately several ways to look at a problem. Try to look through their lens for a minute and honestly, I think you'll be surprised when you can legitimately see the white and gold.

Friday, September 19, 2014

So It Begins

Once upon a time, Shem and I got married. And riiiiight after we got married (surprise!) we found out we were expecting! Even though I was a little nervous and worried about how our baby would change our plans, I was beyond thrilled. I'd always, always, always wanted to be a mama and from the very beginning, I couldn't wait to meet my Luke.

But then, something happened that would scar me for years to come: right at the very beginning of my pregnancy, Shem and I were given callings at church to work with the three-year-old class in primary. (dun, dun, duuuuun... Sunbeams) It was then that I made a startling and terrifying discovery: I do not like three-year-olds. At all. And I'm sorry if you have a three-year-old who is super precious and awesome, I promise it's nothing personal and as SOON as they turn four (maybe five...) I'll like them again, but for now, I'm just not a fan. (Disclaimer: I have been known on occasion to like certain three-year-olds. Almost without fail, those ones have been girl ones. But if you have a three-year-old, just assume that he/she is probably an exception and I really love him/her. *butIreallyprobablydon't*)

So. This was a problem for the following reasons:

1. I had to figure out how to not hate church because for a two hour period every single Sunday, I had to figure out how to get a room full of THREE-YEAR-OLD children to sit still and be reverent and learn about Jesus. For two hours. While I was also puking intermittently because I was GROWING A FUTURE THREE-YEAR-OLD. Which brings us to number

2. I don't know if you people have made this connection yet or not, but in the very moment that I discovered that I didn't like three-year-olds, I also realized that the very precious life growing inside me would...in time...become a three-year-old.

Suddenly, life hit a fast-forward button and brought me here. To this place. Where I sit next to my three-year-old. Who is watching Caillou. Who is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with three-year-olds. Which is worrisome, because I'm pretty sure that Caillou is actually four. Will it ever end??

Okay, and granted, it's true that the fact that Luke is MY three-year-old makes just about everything better about our interactions, but it does not make it easier. In some ways, it makes it harder because. He lives with me. And I have to keep him alive. And psychologically undamaged. 24/7. As opposed to two hours once a week.

Slowly, ever so slowly, behaviors have begun making their terrifying appearance in our lives that suggest that he is everyday becoming more and more three and less and less two. Examples, you ask?

Yesterday, he decided green beans were the end of his life. Thirty minutes the battle raged on between Luke and Mama and...Luke won. How? How could a kid out-stubborn me, you ask? Oh, because he puked up all of his lunch. So we got to clean up barf after having already waged war for half and hour! And he STILL never ate the last green bean! Hooray!

Another example? Glad you asked.

Today, he decided it would be really funny to hide my phone between the couch cushions. "Luke, keep mama's phone on top of the couch, please." To which Luke responded by making purposeful eye contact with me, pausing for about a minute and then shoving the phone deeper into the cushions with an expression that clearly said, "You don't know me. You don't know my life." and I think he flipped me off with his eyes.

So that's my life now. Also, saving Samuel from traumatic experiences involving big brother's on top of him every five minutes. And saying 'no' so many times, it has stopped sounding like a word. And sighing Luke's name more times than I say Luke's name. It's good times!

BUT! We've had several break throughs over the last couple of days. I feel like I'm going to be a seasoned pro by the time we go through this stage with Samuel. Which is really a good thing because by the look of it, Samuel is going to be about fifty times as stubborn and strong-willed as Luke is.

Small victories:
-I'm getting the hang of the whole 'deep breath and count to ten' concept and I didn't raise my voice ONE time today. Which I really think made all the difference because Luke had a pretty excellent day today compared to previous days when I've lost it... Sigh. Good thing kids are so resilient because patience, unfortunately, takes practice.

-I tried a modified version of an idea my dad gave me to help him feel like trying a scary looking food wasn't so intimidating and it totally worked! He ate lunch AND dinner today and we barely had a fight over it. I was so excited, I almost cried. Because guys. The pasta literally was green because it was avocado sauce and broccoli. AND HE ATE IT!

-I've realized that I need to think about him more positively thanks to some ideas my mom gave me indirectly. So I've been working extra hard at pointing out all his wonderful qualities and making a big deal out of the things he does that are good. (And dang it, I'm telling you, there's never been a better three-year-old sharer. He's got that down. Mostly.)

-I read some articles that gave a lot of good ideas for how to talk to your toddler and remembered how important it is to give pre-schoolers choices so they can feel empowered in their world. I also got new ideas about how/when to offer choices. I feel like I have more tools in my belt now.

Luke is SUCH a good boy. Even as a three-year-old. He's just so smart and so capable and he's lots of fun to watch grow. I am head-over-heels for that kid and I'm excited to make it through this year alive and well. He's so responsive when I figure out what it is he needs and he's really pretty easy to figure out. I'm so grateful for the internet at times like these because after dedicating nap-time to doing research, I feel like he's exuding completely age-appropriate behaviors and that developmentally, he's right on track. And I have a deepened understanding as to the why behind his behaviors which helps me navigate through them.

Who knows? Maybe as I get to know what makes my three-year-old tick, I'll be better equipped to deal with other people's three-year-olds and it'll make me love them!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Big Move

Well, friends. We've done it. We're here. We're settled. We officially live in Bountiful, Utah in our own little place and we are loving (almost) everything about it!

I can't tell you in language strong enough how glad I am that I'm not in the process of moving any more. My life isn't in boxes any more! We're not living in someone else's house! I don't have to lift heavy things every single day! If you need to borrow a stapler...wait for it..I CAN FIND THE STAPLER! Life. Is. Good.

Moving away from home has to have been one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. (I know, right...cush life.) No, really, though...driving away from our home in Bakersfield, with all of our worldly possessions loaded in the back of a truck, was maybe the single hardest things I've ever had to make myself do. It physically hurt to push the gas pedal. And let me tell you: literally and figuratively, that drive has never been longer. Between an enormous moving truck that could barely push 75 mph, two kids two and under, and such a badly broken heart it's amazing I was functioning, that drive felt about seven months long. But then a miracle happened! We got to Bountiful, had a good night's rest and I have been happy and full of peace every since. I have no doubt that the Lord has been working in me and has granted me the peace I've had every single day since we've gotten here and I have no doubt that it's because Shem and I were called to move here. I don't know why, yet, but I know that this is where we're supposed to be.

Our family is very blessed to have such amazing and selfless people on both my side and Shem's. We couldn't have made this move a possibility without help on both ends and they all went above and beyond to help us get to this point. Shem's parents were so generous and let us stay with them for almost three months while Shem learned the ropes at his new job and we waited for a good place to open up.

That brings me to the next miracle: Our new place.

Let me just tell you...this apartment could not be more perfect. First of all, we didn't even have to look for a place, really. This place was recommended to us by my brother and sister-in-law who lived here fifteen years ago and loved it and told us that we should look into living here because they're really affordable (I'm talking super affordable, here, guys) so several weeks after moving here, we came by the complex and asked if there were any openings. There weren't, but we were told to fill out an application and bring it back and when something opened up, they'd give us a call. Eventually we got around to doing that and I think just a week or so later we got a call from the manager telling us we'd just missed an opening (whiiiiich turns out to be a good thing...wait for it) but that she had one opening up in a month/month and a half and would we like to put a deposit down on it?

Now, you have to understand. I am on the more "A" side of type "B"...so while I've got a lot of type "B" in me, I've got enough "A" that the idea of dropping some serious coinage on a deposit for a place we'd never seen (and wouldn't see until we moved in) should have sent me into a tailspin, but strangely enough, aside from a tiny little "...but what if it's crappy?" moment, I was totally calm about it. I just had a feeling that this was where we were supposed to be. AND had a feeling that the timing was going to be perfect even though I was really hoping we could have gotten into our own place sooner. So I decided to be patient about getting into a space of our own, and also take a tiny leap of faith and put money down to secure our spot.

And heavenly days am I glad I did. I can't even tell you how much I love living here.

1. Laundry room. There is a laundry room. I have a washer and dryer. DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW GLORIOUS THIS IS? I don't have to drag my laundry anywhere anymore. It's just. I can't get over it. The sound of my washer going in the background while I'm finishing up various chores around the house is like sweet, sweet music to me.

2. Neighbors. Virtually all of the people living here are young families or newlyweds. There's a three-year-old boy who lives directly across the hall from us. He loves guns. I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight for Luke. The first day we moved in, we met like three different neighbors. Everyone has been super friendly and welcoming and it's awesome. Basically.

3. Location. I can walk virtually anywhere. The grocery store is down the street. So are the gas station, the dollar store, books stores, clothing stores, and the recreation center where we take the kids swimming and Shem and I work out. But we're still tucked back enough that we're not right in the middle of all the crazy busy-ness. It feels like a neighborhood more than our old place did.

4. More traditional set-up inside. I liked our old place. There were so many good things about it. But it was a little bit of a quirky set up. It was kind of nice for having people over, but it didn't feel very homey. This place TOTALLY feels homey. I just love being here. I love how it's set up, I love how all our pictures look in the space, I love everything about the way it's been laid out. Though it's technically a smaller space, it FEELS bigger than our old place did.

5. Outside storage. We have TWO outside storage spaces for stuff we don't need to use all the time. Which is spectacular because that means all those tubs of baby clothes and holiday decor and camping stuff and tools and bikes and scooters are all out of the house. Huzzah!

6. Okay, guys, here it comes...the crazy, craziness that has made me feel like this was completely meant to be: we are in the EXACT SAME unit that my sister and brother-in-law lived in fifteen years ago. How crazy is that?? The timing had to be perfect in order for that to work out! I love the coincidence of it all!

Oh also, there's a pantry. And a walk-in closet for Shem and I. And pretty close to no cockroaches. (They spray the complex once every two months. Huzzah!) So, as you can see, this is basically the best place ever. And I love it.

I really do love living here in general. It's a really awesome city. And it's only fifteen minutes away from Salt Lake which is fabulous. I love Salt Lake. There are so many things to do there and it's this beautiful metropolis that I don't have to live in to enjoy it because Bountiful is so close. Things couldn't be better here.

Unless all my friends and family moved here. Then it'd be perfect.

I sure miss everyone there and I'm so grateful for Facebook. Trust me when I say I'm using it to stalk the crap out of everyone I love so that I can stay connected to you all.