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 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" 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.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Taking Stock/List Vomit

Over the last few days, I've found myself reevaluating my feelings about this blog. I've been afraid to post anything lately and I've been trying to figure out why that is. Okay, to be fair, I was working on a pretty cool little Easter post, but that got interrupted by the small ones. So maybe it's not entirely a matter of being afraid to post, per se, but still the point remains: I haven't been posting much. And part of the reason (the part I'd like to get over and will attempt to do through this post) is that I've become paralyzed by the amount of positive feed-back I've gotten when I've jotted down my thoughts surrounding a controversy or something really, super funny that happened to me.

I know that sounds backwards, but the problem has been that every time anything kind of funny happens or I get kind of opinionated about something, I think, "I could blog about that!" and then I immediately wonder if everyone will like it as much as they liked my previous posts. Well. That's a lot of things. Vain, self-centered, kind of stupid since only about 50 people ever read this blog, and a little cowardly. So I've taken a step back and thought about why I started this blog in the first place. Was it to garner the most comments I could? Was it to gain a large number of readers? No. Mostly, this blog was created to share my day-to-day life with friends and family who might find themselves interested. This blog is also something of a hobby for me. I've always enjoyed getting my thoughts out in written word (I've kept a journal since 2nd grade. I'm not exaggerating; I literally have 15 journals full of my past.) and doing it here allows me to also share my life with people which is something I'm very passionate about. (Life and people. Those are my two great loves)

I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd love to become a blogger and be paid for my musings, but that's going to take some serious research, soul-searching, and a level of creativity that  my brain probably doesn't have at the moment since so many of my brain cells have been dedicated to giving other humans life. SO. Conclusion: This blog is primarily a place for me and for my family and friends who so desire to read it. But I'm dropping the self-inflicted pressure and reclaiming this place! From this day forward, I vow to post primarily for my own enjoyment and not to get caught in the temptation of waiting to post until I have something "really good" in order to receive the most attention.

So, without further ado, I present one of my favorite entry-types: LIST VOMIT!

1. If I were to die in an unfortunate accident and become a ghost, doomed to wander the rooms of my home into eternity, I don't think I'd be very scary. I think I'd probably just hang out with whomever lived here and watch movies with them and stuff.

2. Samuel is now 10 months old and has been celebrating getting older by pulling himself up on EVERYTHING. He's very proud of himself.

3. He's also really obsessed with "What Does The Fox Say". He recognizes it the second it starts and the joy he experiences is actually maybe the cutest thing on the face of this earth. I need to record it sometime soon and post it because. Dang. That's some enthusiasm.

4. Luke is a ten-year-old in a two-year-old's body. He has recently started saying "Oh snaps!" and "What the heck?" with an impish grin because he thinks it makes him sound super cool. He wants to ride his scooter all day every day and watches Spiderman and the Avengers instead of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood like a normal two-and-a-half-year-old. Sometimes I make him watch younger shows just to get a break from all the superheroes.

5. Every once in a while, I still experience a little tiny bit of PTSD from our car accident and have a teeny, tiny, 30-second panic attack that involves my becoming very sure that I'm going to forget what I'm experiencing as I'm driving somewhere and suddenly wake up in the hospital to be told I was in a horrific car accident. I used to get one every day, but they're getting fewer and further between the more that time goes by. It was really disturbing to wake up having forgotten the last two hours of my life. Really. Disturbing.

6. I'm getting healthy again! Slowly but surely. I took a little break from getting healthy a little bit unhealthy-er (are you shocked?) so this week I've gotten back off sugar and have been walking every day. Last night was raining, but it was also date night, so Shem and I got to go walk the mall together. Hooray for meeting goals!

7. It's going to be 97 degrees next Tuesday. Dear weather, thank you for providing me with another reason to be excited about moving to Utah.

8. You guys. I really love music. I mean, I REALLY do. I put on some classical music the other day while I was cleaning and. I just forgot how obsessed I am with that stuff. It's just so good. It made me want to go back and finish my music degree SO BADLY. So that's going to happen. Someday.

9. I took a break from Lord of the Rings to read Meg Meeker's book, "The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers" which I've decided is 'meh'. I mean, it's good, but you know how you sometimes read a book and you really connect with it? This one doesn't quite do that for me. I need to get back to Lord of the Rings because I AM DETERMINED TO FINISH THAT BOOK IN MY LIFETIME, YOU GUYS!

10. Today is Saturday, so to celebrate, we're going to make a fancy (healthy! -ish-) breakfast. Hooray!

OH! Bonus thing:
11. We've started a comment war on one of Michelle's Facebook posts that has now accumulated over 1,100 comments. All involved feel a sense of accomplishment.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm sure I'll be back at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An April Fool's Day Controversy and Why I Won't Take The Bait

Being as I pretty much adamantly hate controversy of any kind, and that I typically do all that I can to avoid it entirely, it's a little strange that I've decided my big blogging comeback should be so steeped in it. But I just can't take it anymore. I'm so beyond annoyed with this new-fangled 'campaign' slash 'agenda' that this past April Fools Day brought on that I have to get the thoughts out or I might implode. Literally. My body will be sucked into nothing and the only thing that will be left behind is a black hole of my aggravation which will devour everything in it's path. So ultimately, this blog entry will be doing the world a favor. You're welcome.

I've always been a border-line fan of April Fool's Day. I both enjoy being made to look foolish and making others look foolish. I find harmless, clever pranks highly entertaining, even when I'm at the receiving end. So you can imagine my dismay when I logged onto Facebook to find that several of my friends were posting a blog entry entitled "The Joke is Over" which is a very well-written entry responding to what the author believes is a very prevalent problem in social media: the posting of pregnancy announcements as April Fool's jokes.

I don't remember seeing this idea around last year. Maybe it was introduced prior to yesterday's festivities and I just happened to miss it, but from what I can remember, this is a new principal that many seem to be embracing this year. Several of my own Facebook friends got on the platform and stepped up to defend those amongst us who have suffered  infertility and child-loss and who are, undoubtedly, cowering in their homes, living in mortal fear of encountering this most offensive practical joke.

Okay. Disclaimer: OBVIOUSLY infertility and child-loss is no joke. I've already written about how much I fear experiencing those life trials. My heart experiences such an enormous amount of empathy for mothers who walk through these struggles, that I have literally been kept up at night, worrying and shedding tears on behalf of the people I've known who have known this type of loss. Therefore, the status update that would truly be in poor taste, would be one that purports to suffer these trials, only to reveal that (April Fools!) the author truly is expecting.

I won't mince words here: pretending you are pregnant on April Fool's Day is in no way an affront to those who cannot conceive. 

Let me say it in a different way, and I'll try and type slowly: It. Is. A. Joke.

Jokes can sometimes (virtually always, actually, depending on the listener) be offensive. But since when has our society taken the responsibility of other people's emotions into their own hands? Why is it our responsibility to molly-coddle and protect EVERYONE'S (completely varied) sensibilities?

We shouldn't talk about God in school. How would that make non-believers feel?
We shouldn't have Christmas trees in public. How could non-Christians possibly handle the attack?
Don't offer an expectant mother wishes that she will have an healthy child; that's an offense to those who aren't blessed with 'healthy' children.
And on that vain, if you use the word 'retarded', we're pretty sure there is a special circle of hell designed specifically for people like you.
OH! And please make sure your child brings enough allergy-free valentine's day treats to share with the entire class because we don't want anyone to have hurt feelings if they get fewer cards than the popular girl.

I mean, the list goes on and on and on and on...  If we are to ever truly achieve perfect kindness, we should simply never speak. Or have opinions. Or reward excellence. Or tell the truth. Or make a joke.  So... that sounds kind of boring. Also a little bit oppressive. But don't worry! I have a solution to the problem. Are you ready? Here it comes:

How about if we take ownership of OUR OWN SENSIBILITIES? 

Let me break this down for you in 2 easy steps:

1. If you don't like it, don't look at it. Example: If you don't like April Fools Jokes in social media, don't log onto social media on April 1st.

2. If it offends you, get over it. I know this one may seem kind of extreme, so let me give you a quick example from my own life: I was driving home the other day, listening to the comedy station on the radio (because I like the lolz). It just so happened that the routine that was playing was a very offensive and un-true attack on motherhood. The comedian asserted that mothers are ultimately lazy women who have taken 'the easy way out'. He claimed that the 'hard work' we are always alluding to is essentially just popping in a new DVD every few hours. (And why wouldn't we need a break after such an exhausting day? /sarc) I had two options: I could either whine and cry about how much he hurt my feel bads and undermined my entire life's work; or I could move forward, remaining confident in the knowledge of my reality and not give him power over me by allowing him to manipulate my emotions.

Why are we handing our power over like this? Why not, instead, claim control over our own emotions? Why are we allowing other's completely well-intentioned, harmless jokes to cause us such extreme distress that we have mommy-bloggers running to our aid and attacking those who post such an obviously politically incorrect prank?

Let's reclaim power over our feelings, shall we? Let's stop demanding that society take care of us. Let's take responsibility for our own lives and relish in the freedom that refusing to become offended will ultimately grant us.

And thus I have spoken.

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Bin a Min

Apparently, I don't blog much any more. I'm not sure why I've been absent for so long. It used to be when something fantastic happened I'd think, "THAT is blogging material" and now I just think, "THAT was hilarious. it nap time yet?" But realistically, I think I've just stopped blogging because I've started doing different things with my highly limited amount of free time. Here is a short list:

1. Call the Midwife. Michelle introduced me to this highly addictive and very grown-up show. I can't watch it while Luke is awake because he is crazy observant and super inquisitive and I'm really not ready for the conversation that would inevitably follow one of the tastefully handled, but all-too-realistic birth scenes.

2. Lord of the Rings. I have never finished the books. I feel like that makes me less of a bibliophile, so I've decided to remedy the situation. And I'm remembering WHY I've not finished it. I mean, there are some crazy good parts in that book and so many moments where I can't stop reading or biting my nails. And then there are the pages. And pages. And pages of descriptions of histories of locations and details about who settled what where and who fought what wars for which lands and what the lands look like and what they grow there and eat there and how the water sounds and if the sun is shining... But I will power through! If for no other reason, but that the scenes with the Black Riders are some of the most exciting bits of book I've ever read.

3. The Mormon Channel. I discovered this app and I'm kind of addicted. There are all kinds of amazing programs to listen to. You can pick from literally thousands of different shows or concerts or conferences. My favorite right now is a show called "Conversations" which is basically an interview with difference members of the church who offer a unique perspective; such as leaders or prominent church authors or performers. So. Good. I listen while I clean and pack and such.

4. Sorting through all of my stuff in preparation for The Big Move in June. Many of you probably know, my family and I are moving to the Beehive State after Samuel's first birthday (June 24th). So I've slowly begun the process of going through the collection of stuff that has been building up for the three years we've lived in this apartment. (Can you believe we've lived in this apartment for three years? I'm going to cry my eyes out when we leave. The vast majority of our marriage has been spent in this apartment; Luke and Samuel's entire lives; three different jobs for Shem; two for me. Dang.)

All that is to say that I've been doing different stuff lately. Not to mention the fact that before the miracle that has been crawling, I had a baby who had to be asleep in order for me to be able to blog because I either had to wear him and pace (which was convenient during Luke's naps because I could put on Call the Midwife and both he and I were extraordinarily happy) or hold him and nurse, neither of which are conducive to writing. Now, however, Samuel is currently very happily army-crawling his way around the living room, exploring every nook and cranny and trying to climb boxes and such. He is such a content baby now. Thank goodness for mobility!

So, hopefully circumstances will permit my return to the blogdom. Fingers crossed!