Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Poop is Worth It

So I believe that I've mentioned how Morgan, Jenny's daughter, is staying with us while Jenny is in the hospital again because of CF. Morgan, Mo, or Monie, is 11 months younger than Kyle and 11 months older than Aiden. I love having her. I get excited just unpacking her cute little purple jean leggings and seeing her little crocs. Have I mentioned that I really want a daughter, which is funny since I hate pink. She is great to have along and Evan's family adores her---so much so Papa was calling her his girl. Everyone adores her and she is so well behaved, unless with Jenny (sorry, just saying!). We got asked in Park City if we had twins, I almost said yes, and honestly, unless you hear Mo talk compared to Kyle---they are the same size----it is impossible to tell the difference.

But today!! We got up and there is snow on the ground and car. Kyle insists on wearing his snow boots on May 30th. I dropped Evan at work so I could have the car. Yes, it is a holiday and yes, he has to work those if it falls on one of his normal days. People still have Alzheimer's on holidays. At least, he didn't work both Saturday and Monday. I get half way to Smith's, phone call, Evan left his work keys and lunch at home. I have to drive home, then back to his work, and then back to the grocery store. Put Kyle and Mo in the car cart at Smiths, huge fights over "mine" although both had a steering wheel and horn. Pushing ensued. Get everyone home. Feed everyone.

Lay everyone down for nap (1 poop change). Mo falls asleep, Kyle poops, change him, both boys still awake, Aiden falls asleep, Kyle wakes Mo up, Mo cries (still tired). I come in and threaten Kyle within an inch of his life. This is the first 30 minutes. Then Mo and Kyle start yelling and stopping around. Wake Aiden up. Nap over. Change three poopy diapers bringing the count to 5 in 90 minutes. Tally: Kyle: 0 minutes slept, Morgan: 30, Aiden: 20. Put Kyle back in unders and in the 5 minutes to load the car, he's wet himself. Load all in the car to go to the hospital and Kyle falls asleep.

Get everyone upstairs to Jenny's room. Everyone wants a snack. Only one sippy for Mo, because last time Kyle didn't need it. Many melt downs from tired children. Aiden falls asleep in stroller, bump wakes him. Morgan sticks her hand down her diaper into her poop. Aiden blowing raspberries while eating (Kyle never did that). Make it through 4 hours---everyone has had enough. Get everyone in the car: all asleep. Still have 2 1/2 hours before we can go home because we have to met Evan at his work and wait for him to get off----1 car!

It's been rough, but as I was driving to Evan's work and I was looking in the rear view mirror watching eyelids slowly blink longer and longer and Morgan's arm bent to cushion her head, I realized it was worth it. I drove 15 miles out of my way so they could sleep, I could hear soft toddler breathing, and Aiden's occasional sucking on his fingers. The sun was breaking through the clouds. The music was just right.

Worth the moment were I was carrying Aiden, holding Morgan's hand who was holding Kyle's...a little line of ducklings going to the store. Morgan was saying my name in the hospital sounding like ET, or where Kyle finally called Jenny, "Jenny," and not, "that one." Where Morgan yelled to Evan after we dropped him off, "bye Daddy," waving big. Where Morgan brought Kyle his shoes, "ear doe," (here you go). The kisses that Morgan gave Jenny when she would come over and pull down her mask and then replace it when we were at Primary's. The sweet sounds Aiden had for his new love, cousin Nikki. The helicopter and panda squiggles Kyle drew me on the window at the hospital. Kyle telling Morgan to "Morgan, look at my pee."

Playing "mingo" at Daddy's work. Aiden chewing on Evan's lanyard. A thoughtful call from my mother-in-law offering to watch the kids so I could go to Old Navy after Park City's disappointment. Hearing Jenny's laugh and being reminded of Teresa.

Chasing the "itty" and saying "meow." And the growls shared between these two during lunch. Lots of roaring. Peeing in the bathroom by myself. Aiden standing up against a resident's wheelchair, smiling up at him, while the resident stroked his head. Seeing Kyle's surprise that the buttons make the bed go up and down when pushed.

Funny faces. Sweet smiles, and the million bye-byes to everyone she saw. Her holding a resident's hand to walk down the hall. Chase: at home, at the hospital, at Silverado. Being complimented on Aiden's soft head.

Kyle giving Morgan some of his chicken nuggets in return for her banana chips. "Aiyle" being yelled through the house to see where he has gone. Kyle clenching his Mickey Mouse mask from Primary's to take to "work." "Mommy play mingo, Kyle play mingo, Morgan play mingo?" when told we were going to Daddy's work for Bingo. "I like mingo," when answered in the affirmative.

It feels good to be around two little toddlers. Not a bad Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Park City, A Movie

 So today we had our second adventure of Evan's Saturday off. We went to the outlet malls, shopped (although I am so angry that the stores have nothing. I've been waiting to go buy some summer clothes without holes and stains until today and even in Old Navy---my major standby---only had tank tops, butt shorts, and swim suit attire), and had a picnic in the playground area. It was not as much fun as I thought---we went into 5 or 6 stores and I didn't even find anything to try on.

We are again privileged and lucky to have Morgan staying with us. She will be tagging along on our adventures for awhile.

Evan was trying to keep them occupied. And although Morgan did have a fun time, she was not happy at that moment to be with Evan and not me. She calls me mommy---which of course I adore. She also loves Aiden and calls him baby and frequently points to Kyle and calls him Kyle. Seriously, today I would have taken 6 of her over any of Kyle---he refuses to hold anyone's hand anywhere. 

Because of all the shopping and walking, we wore the kids out. Since, Alyse had free tickets to the alpine slide at the Olympic Park. Evan and all the children slept in the car while Alyse and I went on a ride. It was windy today, but it was a gorgeous view and it was a fun experience for my first time. But it would never be worth $15, free it was amazing and we got to ride the sky lift up and have some time together without little kiddos.

This afternoon, after we got home, we took everyone to Kung Fu Panda 2. I again forgot the camera and Evan his phone--so again no pictures. If only you could have seen Kyle and Morgan in their seats, their body weight didn't even hold the seats all the way down. It was so sweet. They both had a great time; however, Aiden is so wiggly all the time now that it was difficult in the movie, the last twenty minutes he finally settled and fell asleep. I LOVE the first Kung Fu Panda, Jack Black is Evan's famous doppelganger, which means Evan will never be famous. So I love that watching Po is like watching Evan. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was an entirely new story line and very different from the first. I'll admit, I cried in it. Evan and I, along with the audience, were all laughing out loud at several points.

I think I'm going to do all these things on my blog and I just haven't. The saying is, "when it rains, it pours." It seems like it is always either raining or more frequently pouring in our lives--I've begun to wonder if that is what life is like for everyone and actually what the definition of life is. So bare with me, and don't judge if I don't get around to experimenting with picture layout with our Easter pictures until October.

Evan's Sacrament Talk

When I was 19, I left my life in Oklahoma to serve the people of Fresno, CA on a full time LDS mission. I served faithfully, grew immensely, and became completely immersed in the work. On one day in particular I remember going to a member’s house to find an address. When the members opened the door the father said through his tears “Elders we prayed you here.”

When I came home I slowly fell apart. As directed and purposeful as I felt on my mission, it was to that extent that I felt lost and useless at home. I was no longer feeling the promptings of the spirit. I didn’t feel his guidance in my life. In retrospect I know that I stopped doing the things that would bring the spirit in to my life and my expectations of feeling the spirit as I did when I was in the mission field were unreasonable.

I went back to BYU and struggled. I had trouble holding down a job. I couldn’t bring myself to go to my classes. I spent days on the couch crying and reading and watching MTV’s Road Rules vs. Real World The Gauntlet pt. 2. It was unfortunately during this time that I met Holly. God bless her for giving me a second chance. I buried myself in this depression. Brothers and sisters the sadness was overwhelming. And I can’t say I wasn’t trying. I found an old journal the other day. It was full of goals I had written down and scriptures that I wanted to memorize. I wanted to be active and faithful. I wanted to feel the spirit. I wanted a temple marriage. But there was a disconnect in my logic. I wanted those things but I wanted to do them myself. I wanted to do all of the work. I didn’t want any help. This led to alienating myself from the church and my friends. Ultimately, in a perfect storm of being broken up with, fired, and academically suspended from school I moved in with my parents. I’m sorry mom and dad that wasn’t the best time for us. But I really wanted to be good. The only job I could find was at Jamba Juice and it paid $6.40 an hour. I tried going back to school at the community college (several times, actually) to the same end. I would go and then just stop going. It was this strange holding pattern that would be adequate to describe my whole life for about four years. I felt like I was fighting tooth and nail and couldn’t get ahead. And, let me tell you I was.

This was the worst time in my life. I felt abandoned by the God I loved and served. I felt scared and cold. What I didn’t realize was that I was the one that chose to “waste [my] substance with riotous living.” I was the Prodigal Son. No one else made the decision to leave His graces. I made those choices and I could not escape the consequences. In my despair I thought that God didn’t love me. And though I didn’t say it or want to believe it I secretly resented and despised Him. I thought he hadn’t given me anything.

Then I met Holly. Brothers and sisters, allow me to gush over my wife for a minute. She is the most impressive and capable woman I have ever met. With the help of the Lord she took the broken man that I described just a minute ago and turned him into me. She made my life work. When I look at her I see the face of God. I see his hand in my life through her. She helped me to become responsible financially, academically, mentally and spiritually. No man has ever been helped more than I have by Holly. She is no less than the single reason that I stand before you today. All of my successes are hers.

I heard it once said that God can make more out of our lives that we can. I know that this is true. The topic I was asked to speak on is what activity in the church has given me. I say, it has given me a chance. A chance at being a father and husband that holds the priesthood; a chance to receive revelation for my family; a chance to partner with the Lord and become what I always wanted to become but could not on my own.

In 2 Kings there is a story of the prophet Elisha that is pretty remarkable. It is in the sixth chapter. Verse 15 reads:

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

Elisha was giving information to the king of Israel that he received through revelation. This did not make the king of Syria happy so he sent thousands of soldiers to kill Elisha. So the servant of Elisha wakes up, yawns, stretches and throws open the curtain to see numberless amounts of soldiers. I would say that he was justified in his fear. But the prophet teaches us all a lesson in his response:

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

And just be to be thorough.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Without the Gospel of Jesus Christ I would be lost. I know that there were days when I through open the curtain and saw thousands of soldiers that wanted my soul. But I know that there where more on my side, even when I couldn’t see them or even deserved them. Even though I gave up on God, I testify that God never gave up on me.

What did I get from coming back to the fold? A beautiful family? Yes. Direction and purpose? Yes. The ability to hold and exercise the priesthood? Yes. But the most important thing I received when I came back to the Church was a second chance at becoming the man that I intended to be when I accepted the Lord’s plan in heaven.

In April of 2003, Elder Holland, in a conference talk, asked all of the parents what their children know. He says:

“Might we ask ourselves what our children know? From us? Personally? Do our children know that we love the scriptures? Do they see us reading them and marking them and clinging to them in daily life? Have our children ever unexpectedly opened a closed door and found us on our knees in prayer? Have they heard us not only pray with them but also pray for them out of nothing more than sheer parental love? Do our children know we believe in fasting as something more than an obligatory first‐Sunday‐of‐the‐month hardship? Do they know that we have fasted for them and for their future on days about which they knew nothing? Do they know we love being in the temple, not least because it provides a bond to them that neither death nor the legions of hell can break? Do they know we love and sustain local and general leaders, imperfect as they are, for their willingness to accept callings they did not seek in order to preserve a standard of righteousness they did not create? Do those children know that we love God with all our heart and that we long to see the face—and fall at the feet—of His Only Begotten Son? I pray that they know this.”

I want them to know what I believe in. I want them to know that I believe in inspired leadership. I need them to know that I honor my priesthood. More than anything I want my sons to know that I love God. I want them to know that I love God more than money and possessions and that the only way to show our love for God is to do His work. Because of the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ I have a shot at that. I have the opportunity to be that man that I never would have been without the love of an Eternal Father.

In closing, let me share a personal story. This is when I as the proverbial Prodigal Son “came to myself” decided that all of my efforts were lost without the Lord. I look to the 15th chapter of Luke to further explain these feelings. It says:

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

During the time in my life when I decided to go back to school I had been active in the church for about two years. I had been keeping my covenants, regularly going to the temple, paying my tithes et cetera. But I hadn’t really completely surrendered all of my trust to the Lord. The Spirit had commanded us that I should go back to school. But going back to school would be a very expensive prospect, not only because of tuition and books but also because I was leaving a very lucrative management position at that very same Jamba Juice that I started at when I moved in with my parents to fully devote my time my school work. This was scary for us. We had one child and plans for another very soon. We lost our health insurance, cashed out my 401k and as the sole provider for our family I was scared. We went to the temple one night and I prayed and expressed my concerns to the Lord and a marvelous thing happened. I return to the text of Luke. It says:

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

When I was at the temple lamenting what we would do and how we would accomplish this thing that we had been commanded to do I was embraced by the Lord and though I had been active for a few years it was in this moment that I knew that I was back in His fold and that the Lord would take care of our little family. It would be terribly hard but all the way I knew that the Lord would take me and make me into what he needed me to be. This was the moment when I came full circle.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sacrament Talk

 As those of you know, Evan and I are speaking in sacrament today. Here is my talk: (I'm not offended if you choose not to read this---it is long. I was tasked with speaking 15 minutes :)

When the Bishop and Brother Brain came to our house to ask us to speak Tuesday night, they asked me if we wanted a topic. Of course, I wanted a topic, I did not want to be paralyzed by trying to decide first what topic I wanted to speak on and THEN what I was going to say. Just deciding what to say is bad enough. We sat there as Bishop thought and finally he said, “What has the Church brought to your life?” At first I thought he was asking me that question right there and then. I started to rack my brain for an answer---and there was nothing. Then I realized that was to be our topic---I got even more panicked. I knew that Evan would not write his talk until Sunday morning, maybe Saturday night if he stayed awake long enough. I really don't blame him, he has a lot on his plate. However, I never thought this topic would keep me from finishing my talk until late Saturday night, or if we are honest early this morning as well. I just don't work that well under last minute pressure. But I honestly had a blank mind for days and days.

Then I realized that there is NOTHING that the Church and since the Gospel is why the Church itself exists, the Gospel itself does not bring to my life. We are told in Mosiah 2:21
I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

So if he is giving me life, breath, and agency, then I know and see from my life that he is also giving me a mighty long list of other blessings in my life. I know we were blessed with a flexible job for Evan which providing food, shelter, amenities. If you start to really think about it, the gratitude becomes overwhelming.

However as I thought, I was reminded of a scripture that Evan reminded me of gently several weeks ago:

 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

While I just used the scripture as found in Matthew 6:28-30, this scripture about lilies of the field appears in both The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants---meaning that apparently the Lord very much wanted all dispensations to remember this sentiment and I would suggest take comfort from it.

That is what the Church brings to my life comfort. You could also use these words to describe the same feeling: hope, faith, fortitude, trust, or peace.

During the October 1999 General Conference Elder Holland gave an address entitled, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come.” They have made an except of this talk into a Mormon Messages movie on YouTube. He gives a story about radiator trouble when he and his wife were moving cross country, broke, with two small children the youngest 3 months.

On a Tuesday last September I was following my sister up Big Cottonwood Canyon to have a picnic at Silver Lake. She was leading because I'd never been there. It was a gorgeous day, my windows were down and both my boys were in the back seat. Aiden was 2 months old. A few miles from the top of the canyon, the car started to slow. I pushed on the gas, nothing. I changed gears thinking it was the incline, nothing. Then smoke, I was able to pull three feet off the road at the only restaurant up that part of the canyon at the end of that parking area before the car just died.

My sister was ahead of me so she was gone. She had no cell reception. Evan was at work, I had our only car. We had just put $800 in that Volvo in June. I thought it might have something to do with the rear ending we had received two days previous—Sunday night. I had not called our insurance company because we did not think the damage to be worth it. However, after calling the tow company and had it taken to our trusted frequently used mechanic. I also called our insurance company to get the car assessed for the damages from Sunday's accident. My sister, had her husband who works at the base of the canyon drive up to met us. My mother and I continued in my sister's car, while Heidi took her husband back to work and met us at Silver Lake. We were able to have a wonderful afternoon enjoying our picnic and a beautiful walk around the lake. Then Heidi graciously allowed me to borrow her car that evening until I could get a rental through our insurance because of the accident and pending assessment.

On Thursday, the shop finally looked at the car. We were told at 4 pm, the engine had seized. The engine had no oil, but because we'd been having electrical problems with the Volvo every warning lights on the dash about over heating and oil never came on. We had no idea. I called Evan who was supposed to work until 8pm that night that he need to come home. We had to buy a car that night because our rental needed to be returned the next day. We said a prayer on the way to CarMax, we walked in at 6:30 and walked out at 9:15 with our 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan. We were afraid we would not be approved for financing, not a problem. We even received a rate half of what we expected. Our meager down payment was more than what was asked. What the insurance payed out for the damage from the accident on Sunday plus what we got for selling the Volvo covered what we owed on the Volvo. This example is one of hundreds that have occurred for our small family over the course of our marriage.

That situation worked out perfectly for us. It actually could not have been better planned. But of course those days were not without stress—I was dealing with insurance companies after all; however, I never feared that we would not be taken care of. It is definitely not an easy task to hold onto the peace the Gospel can bring when facing daily life, as Elder Holland in his talk says, “Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better.” But he also states, “Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—“

It is common knowledge among members of the Church as stated in the 4th Articles of Faith: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Nephi speaks of these principles but adds in 2 Nephi 31:15 “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” The first several of these principles are taken care of in quick succession before becoming members of the church: repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. While faith is required to embark on that journey and the missionaries are involved, enduring to the end is where leaning on and gaining strength from the Church becomes vital---that is when that faith is tried and refined. The high that occurs during the initial investigation into the church and from the new baptism does fade. It has to be nurtured and nourished through the Church. 

The Church brings me that strength and desire to hold on, keep walking, trying and persevering. The Church is what tells me over and over and over again that there is happiness and better things ahead. It also provides the help. I do not believe that it is single thing the Church does be it nursery, primary, young womens or mens, relief society, visiting teaching, elder's quorum, high priests, home teaching, the list goes on. It is a combination and a consistency that builds faith, protects faith, and rekindles faith.

In February of this year, I realized that I'd been to church 5 times in the last 10 months. It was due to a new baby, a sick toddler, and a husband who was Elder's Quorum President, meaning I was charged with staying home with sick children. I also realized at that same time that despair was becoming an integral part of my life. I knew that was because I was not partaking of the sacrament and filling my cup at Church and through corresponding activity.

Although there was nothing I could do---sickness does not listen to reason or desire. And sometimes the Church often feels like it is a battle, get every one ready, get them there on time, wrestle children through sacrament, deal with the meltdowns from missed naps and meals. But there is something more offered here, often even when we are not paying attention. I had to be removed from Church to realize all the benefits I gain from attendance and active participation.  I do know that as Elder Bednar said at Women's Conference this year, “faithfully, diligently, and consistently doing simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results.” For me, those extraordinary results are the peace and comfort of knowing as Elder Holland tells us:  “I testify that God lives, that He is our Eternal Father, that He loves each of us with a love divine. I testify that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son in the flesh and, having triumphed in this world, is an heir of eternity, a joint-heir with God, and now stands on the right hand of His Father. I testify that this is Their true Church and that They sustain us in our hour of need—and always will, even if we cannot recognize that intervention. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”

Although I've already shared Elder Holland's testimony, I'd like to add my voice to his. Christ lives. He and a loving Heavenly Father care for us and take care of us. We are not alone, the Church is here to help, to support us, to build us up, and to nurture us. We gain so much from the Church that will not come otherwise. We need not fear. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

P.S. If you made it this far, you should be rewarded, we went to the zoo today!!! And I have pictures. I promise cute pictures of chubby legs in the sunshine soon. :) Really!!! I mean it this time. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Kind of Week Where......

It has been one of those weeks.

The kind where the handyman comes, tears apart your bathroom, leaves you without your bathroom all day, does bad work, damages parts of the bathroom, leaves a mess, and treats you so poorly that you hide behind the door in your bedroom and call your husband home from work because you are afraid to be in the house alone with the handyman.

The kind were you are experiencing abdominal pain on a frequent basis (both nights of your vacation), you know the usual where you call your husband home from work, writhe on the floor and cry. Don't worry that was only twice and not in Vegas, the other times were less dramatic, but still stopped me in my tracks.

The kind where the bishopric show up on your doorstep Tuesday night because the high councilman can't come on Sunday and they want you to do your "welcome" talk to the ward---you are in your pajamas with no bra and Evan isn't home. The topic: what has the church brought to your life? Two days later, no thoughts. Blank, blank slate. Panic is setting in.

The kind where one of your three closest friends in Salt Lake is moving to Oklahoma in about 10 days. We found out Monday.

So there are posts to write, Vegas to gush about, pictures to be posted, new blog layout to be experimented with, thoughts that need to be explored. But it just might not happen this week.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Frances Comes to Town

So we are back from Las Vegas; however, I'm just too worn out to find the camera, upload the pictures, edit them, compose the post and such. So I'm going to post about another fabulous happening. Over Mother's Day weekend, our dear friend Frances came from DC. It had been about a year since the last time Kyle saw her and she had never met Aiden. Plus, Frances brought her fiance (wootwoot!!) Andrew to Salt Lake too. 

Evan was working, so I got all of Frances' and Andrew's attention---although let's be honest, the boys were really why they came!

It was such a beautiful day, and so we waited for the guests of honor to arrive outside. Kyle actually went out to greet her and gave her a hug. I was so surprised because I didn't think he'd be comfortable enough, but I do think he remembers how she provided him graham crackers last time. 

Meeting Aiden: again surprised he didn't just cry and reach for me the whole time, he is at that stage.

Kyle took this one:

Andrew is so fabulous and so perfect for her. I wish that we were all living closer so we could get to know him well---I just know that Evan would have a man crush on Andrew. He even built a tower with Kyle, what a good guy. 

And yes, I did bribe Kyle with a marshmallow if he would take a picture with Frances. I've never done that  before, but it was so worth it. Although both my kids look ready for a nap in this picture. :) 

We miss you Francy Pants, please come to visit soon because I know that your reception in September won't afford us enough time to catch up.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Angry Beatings

I'm here in the kitchen, singing along to the iPod, praying that Aiden continues to sleep while I finish unpacking these last few kitchen boxes. Over the noise, because I listen to my music LOUD. I hear a steady beating sound. I go out in the living room to figure out what Kyle is doing.

He is beating his Ernie bumper car (you push a button and Ernie's wheels spin 360 degrees and he bumps into things and changes directions) with one of his plastic dinosaurs. He looks up at me and says, "I angry my toy now. He go that way (points), not that way (points)."

Apparently when Kyle turns on Ernie he has a specified direction in mind and Ernie doesn't always go that way. I showed him another car that would go in the direction he points it.

Is anyone else judging my mothering skills and what I am teaching him or is it just me? :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day---Las Vegas Addition

Today was the best day that I have had in sooooo long. It was the most wonderful mother's day. For me it was the first where it wasn't about not doing anything---no diapers, no dishes, no cleaning, no picking up, no wiping noses or bums, no pottying, no cooking, no nothing. I didn't mind that I had to do all those things today---even though last night I was wishing it was Mother's Day so I could be done already. But today really ended up being like most other Sundays, but I felt such peace today.

Evan made me puffed french toast, which he liked, and he does not like french toast. He used my favorite cooking blog---our best bites. He raved about the blog and how easy it was to follow---and he does not cook. So we all ate my french toast in bed, daddy bite, mommy bite, Kyle bite. Aiden watched. It was fabulous. Then I opened my gift. It was a mixed CD with an awesomely accurate custom cover and booklet. It was Las Vegas themed.

That is because Evan is taking me to Las Vegas this coming weekend and that CD is our mixed CD for the road trip. I've never been and I've never been so excited. (Well, I've been on the way through to LA, but In & Out does not count as Vegas) He got all the babysitting ready (with his wonderful family of course) and his work figured out and has left the rest of the planning for us so that he could make sure I was happy with it. It is perfect. We got a cheap hotel right off the Strip, the Hilton, which the shuttle runs by.

I don't know what else we should do? I am trying to keep it cheap. We will drive down Friday, go to the Temple, The Pawn Stars pawn shop, and see everything else that isn't on the Strip we want to see. Saturday is the Strip day and will either include the Shark Reef or the dolphins at Mandalay Bay (any opinion on which is better), a buffet, and Sunday we'll drive back. 

I am so excited. Like SOOO excited. Evan and I have never been anywhere by ourselves since we have been married. It was so sweet and thoughtful of him and I am so ready to get away. Any advice would be appreciated. Pictures of our weekend and thoughts on today are to come.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Existential Obsession

I'm obsessed. I've been doing lots of thinking in the past few months and especially these few weeks---and all my thoughts won't leave me until I write them out. Until I flush them out and work through them. Until I give them voice before an audience. These thoughts and words keep me up at night. I listen to them reverberate around my head coupled with Evan's deep vibrating snoring.

This need for writing, for expression, for a deep purge---all part of my existential crisis. I spend most every waking moment, those where I am supposed to be sleeping, and those where I am sleeping, examining and reevaluating my life. I have never felt so many possibilities available to me in my life. I am not even sure I felt this kind of freedom when I was graduating from college and could go anywhere or do anything. I am just not sure what direction I want to go in, what I want to pursue, and what I want to become.

What do I have to offer? What do I feel will fill my cup? What do I feel I have to offer others' cups? We speak of talents in the LDS church. We are all gifted them, are sent to develop them, and will  be held accountable for them. Evan gave me a blessing recently soothing me with reassurance that I need patience and directing me to develop my talents. Beautiful, but how do we go about that? I am lost. How do I develop them when I am not even sure what they are? This is not a new quandary for me; however, I've never thought it was important.

I've always believed I have talents, as I believe everyone does. But if they are not noticeable like piano playing, photography, crafts, baking, etc, how do you know? How do you find out? How do I find what's hidden? I know for certain that patience isn't one of them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Did you Notice?

So I decided yesterday that I need to learn to like yard work and gardening. We certainly have a lot to do in our new place. Our landlord bought it as a mess and didn't touch it besides trimming some trees. Evan and I have always had a deal that I would do inside things--cleaning, laundry, budgeting. He would be responsible for the outside--cars, yard, fixing things. However, he just doesn't have time. I've taken over care of the car and now I think I need to spear head our yard care. But I hate yard work. So I am going to learn to like it and be good at it.

This was the before of our front bricked flower bed.

This is the after shots. I realized that they aren't taken from the same angle and I know the shadows are seriously bad. But besides the two rose/prickly bushes things it is cleared out. I got more ambitious after I took the pictures and even pulled out one of the bushes. The second one caused me to break a hoe (a solid metal hoe attached to a strong wooden handle) in the process and is still there. By the way, deer ate my two tulips--so irritated.

I filled our street black garbage can 9/10 of the way full with just stuff from this small area. It is like only a foot wide. I found: shards of pottery, shards of glass, plastic pot that plants come in, light bulbs (plural), skittle wrappers, chunks of bricks, huge rocks, little rocks, a plethora of plastic flowers both greenery bundles and flowers, plastic rings, trash, and a lot of pine needles. But it only took me like 3 hours to clean it out.

This boy spent the two hours he was outside either on the blanket or in the bouncing toy. He was very happy. I thought most babies don't like the grass, but he crawled all around. I remember at one point I said to Kyle, "Will you go take the pine cone out of Aiden's mouth?" He did.

Kyle dug in the dirt with me, and yes, that is Pig from Super Why on his underwear.

I bought these at Target on clearance on Saturday. They came in so handy because we have no gardening tools. 

We also went for a walk. The other day on our first walk in the neighborhood (which causes me much anxiety because there are no sidewalks) and we found the street that is totally torn up down one side and has a digger, truck, and giant excavator. We stood there and watched for 15 minutes or so and the construction guys even waved at us and Kyle waved back, no prompting. We came back today and sat in the grass; however, the machines weren't working, just guys digging. Kyle took this picture though. He was so excited.

Then we watched some softball at the high school---but Kyle got upset when he realized he couldn't have a turn. We had to leave the melt down was so out of this world.

To end our day, this is a video of Aiden laughing during dinner. Yes, that is Kyle crying incessantly in the background. As I took this video of Aiden, I couldn't help but be struck by how much he reminds me of Kyle as a baby--although he is wearing the same size as Kyle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God Bless America

Do you know I hate that phrase, "God Bless America."

I've heard it a lot since Osama bin Laden died.

When I hear it. I hear arrogance. I do want God to bless America, but I would also like him to bless Pakistan, Rwanda, Brazil, and any other place that exists in our world. I know that he does too because you see temples dotting the earth, Saints gathered in all areas of the world. It seems like we think we have a monopoly on his blessings. While I might be wrong, that is what I hear in the phrase. Do you realize that the LDS church also includes "God Save the King," in the hymnal?

I've heard it mentioned that we are so lucky to have our children play soccer and other such blessings, while I am not clear on every nations politics I do know that England, Italy, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, and especially Canada---Canada has more freedoms that the USA---they also enjoy a plethora of freedoms similar to ours.I hope that more countries are added to that list. I do not want to be the only country that experiences picnics, travel, education, protection, economic opportunities, and a free discussion of ideas.

I have a hard time reveling in someone's death. Bin Laden was 54 years old. Somewhere there is a mother grieving for a son that she lost (I don't know if his mother is alive), a son that she raised, held, feed, comforted, and grew in her womb. How do I have cause to dance in the streets when I think of that?

While he is the head of an organization that professes terror, I am not delusional enough to think that there aren't others to take over, others who feel the same. There is a never ending supply of others. There will be backlash. They were raised in terror---raised with horror----raised with bombings frequent---loved ones of theirs died as innocent citizens. Why are we surprised that they have chosen this route and theology?

The only part of this whole situation that brings me joy is that President Obama is gaining some recognition for his good work as the president. I'm glad that it will help clench his re-election. He deserves our respect. The men and women who leave their families, live in peril, who experience discomfort from long marches, heavy packs, horrible heat and humidity, crappy food, and sand, may those people be looked over, may those people know how we appreciate them. They have sacrificed. They deserve to be recognized for their work. I do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Weekend in Pictures

waiting for Daddy to come home to get us---love that Aiden is eating a stick

checking out the beautiful sunset from our kitchen 

trying on Daddy's glasses