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Monday, August 30, 2010

Mom and Dad - #7 and #8

I love this picture of my mom and dad. It was taken 47 years ago and I love how young and happy they look, so full of love and hope for their future together.

My parents have always been wonderful examples to me. My mom is one of the strongest women I know. She gave birth to me and my four sisters and raised us through some pretty difficult times. My dad has always worked hard to provide for us and help my mom. Mom was fierce in her love for us and her desire to protect us. Dad was gentle and wise. Mom has always been beautiful to me; I've often admired the outfits she's put together and she's very good at knowing when clothes will look good on your body even if they don't look good on the hangar. Dad has a wicked sense of humor which I didn't appreciate very much when I was younger.

I'm sorry to say that there are many things about my parents that I didn't appreciate very much when I was younger. I think it's normal to have issues with your parents, but getting married and having children of my own has helped me realize that my parents did the best they could. I know they made mistakes, just as I'm making mistakes, but I'm so grateful that they never gave up on me. I hope my kids can say the same thing about me someday.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sophie Marcelle - #6

I'm going to cheat a little on this one. You see, Sophie Marcelle isn't a real person. When I was pregnant with Kai and we were tossing around names, I fell in love with the name Sophie. Then I remembered that Brian's Grandma's name (on his Dad's side) was Marcelle and there it was: Sophie Marcelle.

After Kai came out a boy (dang it!) there I was stuck with this girl name that I loved and couldn't use. When we made the difficult decision to be done having kids, Sophie Marcelle began to take on a life of her own for me. Even though I completely agreed with the decision we had made, I truly felt like she was out there waiting for me.

As the years have passed, my obsession with this child who never was has eased somewhat and I can think of her now with only a slight pang but she has definitely come to represent those hopes and dreams that never made it to fruition. I wanted her, but for the sake of my health (and marriage) it was not to be. But that's not necessarily bad; after all, I have my health and my marriage and my three other children. In the same way, my life is different now than I thought it would be when I was younger, but it's not bad. I have so much, and the occasional disappoint only builds character.

Stupid building character.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kai - #5

I'm embarrassed to admit that Kai is the only one of our kids that we have baby pictures of on the computer. It's hard to remember that he was ever that small. Small being a relative term since he was 10lbs and 21in long when he was born and he hasn't stopped growing since. We joke that he had to be big to defend himself from Chloe and Graeme!

Kai is a very sweet boy who managed to inherit my dad's wicked sense of humor. I love this next picture because it is very much Kai. Even though he was only about 9 months when it was taken, he knew he looked funny and wanted in on the joke.

He really is my little comedian. When we sit down for dinner, he spends the entire meal trying to make Chloe and Kai laugh.

At the same time, Kai instinctively understands that he's my baby. He always seems to know when I need a little hand to hold or a small warm body in my lap. He lets me kiss and love on him as much as I want (mostly :).

Just like the other two, Kai is dino-crazy! I swear his first word was "paleontologist" which is what he's going to be when he grows up, of course. He even knows what a paleontologist is! His favorite dino is carnataurus but raptors are okay too.

This is my baby yesterday on his first day of kindergarten (which he loves!) He's so big, I have no idea where the time went. I know that now since he started school he's going to grow up and stop being my little cuddle bug. I accept the inevitability of life but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Graeme - #4

Here's Graeme, my beautiful, tender-hearted boy.

Graeme is very much the middle child. He was my easiest delivery and at 7lbs 15oz and 19in long, my smallest baby. He slept a lot right after he was born and has kind of been in his own world since then.

He definitely experiences all the frustrations of being sandwiched between two strong and forceful personalities, but he really is a sweet and caring child with quite of bit of strength and force of his own. We were watching a nature show about wild skunks once and at the end of the show I realized he was crying. When I asked him why, he said he was sad because the mother skunk left the babies alone and they were going to die. That's Graeme for you. He truly cares for all of God's creatures.

Especially dinosaurs!

Here he is this morning on his first day of third grade. It tears me up to see how big he's getting! He's so full of life and energy, pictures like this always surprise me because he's not even still when he's asleep! I just love this boy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chloe - #3

I've got to go with Chloe next. She's my firstborn and my only daughter. I've always thought she looked just like Brian's mom, but when I re-found this picture just now, I can't believe how much she looks like me!

Chloe's birth was the usual first baby trauma. She was 8lbs 1oz and 19in long. I was in no way prepared for the gigantic personality enclosed in that (relatively) small package!

We tease Chloe that she came out blue as a Smurf with her eyes wide open. She WAS actually blue as a Smurf and unbelievably observant. Right from the start she wanted nothing to do with being held (except at 3 in the morning when we were trying to sleep :). I think she was afraid she'd miss something!

Brian worked at a computer lab on campus when she was born and he used to take her to work where he kept her under his desk in her carseat. She was perfectly content!

I feel so blessed to have a daughter, especially this particular daughter. I often wish she wasn't my oldest, though. It seems like I'm constantly trying to protect her from the danger lurking all around but she'll have none of that! She's smart and fearless and passionate and volatile and determined to make her own way in this world. The tighter I cling to her, the farther away from me she goes. I really have no idea how I'm going to survive her childhood and I'm actively blocking the idea that she's going to be a teenager soon.

Tomorrow she's off to 6th grade, which around here means middle school. A school that's 20 minutes away from my house. Full of strange adults and kids who are big and mean. She's super excited but I feel like I'm going to throw up! This is way harder than kindergarten!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brian - #2

This is Brian, and even though I'm posting about him second, he's anything but #2.

He is my better half and the love of my life. He's smart and talented and funny and kind and frugal and faithful and WAY more patient than me. He works very hard to support me and the kids so that I can be home with them. He also likes to make funny faces when I'm taking a picture of him (so these pictures are your own fault, honey!)

We met in college (in the band) many years ago when the earth was young and dinosaurs roamed. Maybe that's why our kids are so dino-crazy?

He had to shave the beard when he got called to the High Council which was very hard for me for awhile, but now that I'm used to it he's just as gorgeous as ever!

Lest he develop a big head from reading this, he does occasionally drive me nuts with his quirky ways, but he truly is the perfect match for me. I love you, Brian!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ashlinn Mary - #1

You may not be aware of this, but my 38th birthday is fast approaching. That's right, 38 years old in a few short weeks. After talking with my sister (who turned 40 this year, ha ha she's older than me) I decided I wanted to do something different and meaningful for my birthday. So, I decided to do 38 posts about people other than me. (Well, I'm sure they'll still partly be about me, but it is my blog after all!) I haven't decided yet whether to do them all before my birthday or stretch them out a little. You'll just have to wait and see!

Since I'm trying something new, this first post is about the newest person I know. I'd like you to meet my niece:
Ashlinn Mary

She was born Friday, August 20th, 2010 after much pain and travail. She weighed 8lbs 13oz and was 21 in long. (If you had seen my sister before the birth, her size wouldn't surprise you one bit!)

She is beautiful and sweet as all newborns are (I think it's a defense mechanism) and I got to hold her when she was brand-new!

Here she is with her Daddy and her big brother.
A few hours after she was born, my sister almost died. A massive blood clot had formed inside her that was preventing her body from healing itself after the birth. Fortunately, the doctors and nurses rushed her back into surgery and saved her life. I will never forget how I felt after hearing the news. It ranks among the top five scariest moments of my life, but she's doing much better now.
I'm really looking forward to knowing this new little person, but no matter what her personality is, she will always remind me how fragile and valuable this life is. My sister is young and strong, yet she almost died. As I've thought about this fact (over and over) since Friday, I've been reminded of how silly it is to let anger and hurt rule my actions. Holding a grudge and refusing to forgive past offenses are my biggest weaknesses and they are the biggest waste of my time. I hope I can always remember that. Welcome to this world, Ashlinn Mary!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nobody But Me

We went to Cedar City/St. George last week for the annual Rural Summit that Brian attends. We had a good time staying in a hotel, visiting cousins, shopping for school clothes and just generally getting out of the house.

On the way home, we passed a semi-truck with the words "Nobody But Me" written in big beautiful cursive letters on the back. I couldn't help contemplating those words just a little. That statement was probably the trucker's working motto, something along the lines of "the buck stops here", but I was struck by the potential tragedy of those words. Does that man really feel that he is all alone in this world? Is he that lonely? or maybe that selfish? Has he cut himself off from the multitude of caring souls who are alive now and who came before? At the very least, can't he feel the loving touch of his Savior's hand? And how many people like him are out there?

I admit that sometimes I feel all alone and forsaken in my life and trials. But I know that I'm not. I know that Jesus Christ came to this earth and was crucified and resurrected for me. I feel the loving touch of His hand. I want to live my life by this motto:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lagoon, Walking Wounded and A New Ring

We've been promising the kids a trip to Lagoon for more than a year now so, finally, we went. Our camera battery died (of course) so we only got a few pictures. I do have to say that the camera dying was the only thing that went wrong. I know, I'm amazed too! In fact, we left home around 10:30 am and got home around 11:30 pm and for that entire time there was no fighting, no disobedience, no meltdowns; I was starting to wonder who these children were!

Here are Graeme and Kai on the little bumper cars. We went on the big bumper cars later. I can't believe all my kids are tall enough for the big bumper cars! They weren't terribly brave though, we may have to wait a few years to go back because the kids are all going to be too big for the little rides and too scared for the big rides.

Chloe's the one in the pink hat and sunglasses. I swear that was the expression on her face the entire day!

They all loved the merry-go-round. Kai and Graeme (typical boys) sat in the spinny thingy every time. I thought they were going to get sick but thankfully no. We really had a great time. It was hot and humid but between the borrowed squirt bottles (thanks Mom!), the twelve water bottles and gatorade that I carried around in a backpack, we did pretty good. And I have to admit that it was great having everybody potty trained, napless and able to walk around THE ENTIRE DAY on their own two feet!

It seems like I'm always blogging about the kids so here's some about me. Saturday was an interesting day; I smashed my toe (it's hard to see, but I broke my nail and it hurt terribly) and broke one of my molars (went to the dentist today; it needs a crown but he did a temporary fix until we can afford a crown). Also, about a month and a half ago I lost my wedding ring. We've looked everywhere and can't find it so I bought a (hopefully temporary) replacement. I had to have it re-sized since I have enormous fingers but it finally came back today. Hooray!

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sick of being me

Do you ever get tired of being yourself?

Today I'm sick to death of being me. I'm tired of my crazy brain; of constantly needing attention, of the mind games and drama. I'm exhausted from my inability to control myself when the kids misbehave (for the gazillionth time) or when there's chocolate in the cupboard. I'm fed up with looking at my fat self in the mirror, wondering what the scale will say today and why isn't the exercise helping?!?!
I can no longer avoid the fact that I'm a bad, selfish, mean person pretending to be a good, caring, nice person. I would dearly love to be someone else for awhile.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about trading lives with someone else. I love my life! I have a great family, a comfortable home, lots of modern conveniences, neighbors that I get along with. Life is good! I just want to change who I am fundamentally, from the inside out. You know, look at a new face in the mirror, listen to new thoughts in my head. Do you ever feel that way? or is my BPD just getting the better of me today?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Garden and giggles

I love my garden. I remember being a little kid, sitting on the edge of the garden staring at the rows that I was supposed to be weeding. I hated weeding! Now I can't seem to get enough of it! I love seeing plants growing beautifully like this corn.....

...but that OCD part of my brain would much rather see this recently weeded patch:

I know, I'm crazy. What can I say? Here's our great potato experiment (it's going well, in case you were wondering):
And the green beans are starting to flower. Hooray!

Now for the giggles: Kai has had bowel issues since he started potty training. Namely, once we introduced the toilet, he stopped pooping.

We tried everything to get him regular again and finally settled into a good routine, part of which is M&M rewards. When he poops, he gets M&Ms.

Anyway, since he's starting kindergarten in a few weeks we've been discussing dropping the M&Ms from his routine. Not surprisingly, he hasn't been real pleased with that idea.

So last night he did his business and then came into our bedroom and said: "So am I going off M&Ms?" Trying not to smile, I said: "Are you a big boy?"
"Yes" Came the sad reply. "Do you think you can poop without M&Ms?"
"Yes" Even sadder. Big sigh. "I'm hungry!" And he skipped out of the room.

Now, I don't know if we're done with M&Ms, but I sure got a good chuckle out of that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The nose knows

When I was pregnant with Chloe, I developed "super pregnant sniffer". I discovered a whole new world of smell and most of it was bad. I assumed (foolishly) that things would get better after she was born. HAH! The following two pregnancies just made things worse and worse until now when I have a sense of smell equivalent to a mega super cyborg whose sole purpose in life is to sniff things.

Anyway, because of this new handicap, um I mean ABILITY, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about smells. Especially in the summer when everything around me is twice it's usual temperature which leads to aromas of unbelieveable strength and pungency. Take hay, for instance. We live in a rural community with lots of farms and dairies (more about them later). I'm a big fan of the smell of fresh cut hay (even though it makes me sneeze) but after the hay has been fermenting in the sun for a few days I'm really wishing for a little more Febreeze! Then there are the dairies. I think most barnyard animals (including cows) smell good and natural until the natural byproduct of their existence is laying on the ground at the dairy in the hot sun for about a week. That smell just about puts me off milk! Of course, not all natural smells are good. Skunks smell bad alive or dead by the side of the road. Phew!

I guess I shouldn't complain, our old house is very close to some oil refineries where they burn off chemicals at night. Those smells will peel the paint off your house! Not to mention the Great Salt Lake. When the wind was just right we got to enjoy the smell of acres and acres of marshy, rotting vegetation. Ugh!

There are good summer smells, too. Warm strawberries and raspberries smell fantastic. Freshly turned dirt in the garden is good and also new mown grass (which also makes me sneeze). Oh, and onions still in the ground make for a lovely, fragrant garden. Mmmmmm. Maybe I'll go eat some chocolate. That smells good!