Thursday, December 31, 2009

Qait's Birtheve

Hey, here's a *funny* joke for you... McKayla said something about it being Christmas Eve-Eve, since it was the night before the 24th, and a friend said "No, it's Christmas Adam because Adam comes before Eve!"
We thought that was funny...and it's okay if you don't (McKayla's dad didn't get it at first).
Too bad I'm telling this joke the day after New Year's Adam... ;)

I don't think I've ever created resolutions that are so specifically tied to what will happen in the following year. I did once, kind of--I told myself I WILL GO TO BYU! But that's silly, because beyond doing my best, I had no control over being accepted there. And I went to BYU-I, so that's close enough. Whatever.

This spring, we'll hear from six more universities. We'll decide where to go.
In the summer, we'll have a family reunion.
In the fall, Michael will start school. We will have moved sometime before then.
And in the winter? Well, we'll be settling in!

I'd like to make my goals applicable to the events coming up. A few would apply anyway, but I'll alter them for 2010 (woooo...it's cool).

ME in 2010
  • FRUGALITY! Every penny saved will help so much. This year I will be disciplining myself to live without "those cute shoes" which seem bound to disappear if I don't buy them right away. What?! I didn't even used to care about shoes! What happened?! I used to wear duct-taped leopard print slippers to SCHOOL! You could call that confidence... seems more like utter carelessness to me.
  • HARP PRACTICE! Yay! I'm so excited about this! I've been fairly consistent, and now I have some set goals in my mind of when my skills will be needed. I'm planning on a deadline of learning my major pieces in 6 months. And by the end of the year, when we've moved, I'm planning to be able to advertise for gigs and lessons.
  • STRONG BODY! Yes... this is exercising and eating well. But I don't feel so uptight about it. It doesn't matter very much if I miss days here and there. My body is simply weak. And that's not good. It gets tired so easily. So I'm going to take care of it and help it be strong so that I can lift Ender out of his crib, play the harp, mooooove (AGAIN, unh!), and be confident in general.
That's the personal stuff covered. It would be easy to add to it. I don't care to, this is good for now. But! I have a few teensy things to add for the specific situation we're in now...

Living With In-Laws
  • I will not let myself feel judged. If I assume I'm being judged, I'm judging the judger, right?
  • I will continue to clean up after my micro-family.
  • I will ask for specific help in advance if I need it. (That's pretty hard).
  • I will find ways other than vocally to express my gratitude for the immense blessing all of this is! Yes, I want my own place REALLY REALLY REALLY BADLY but I will be patient. We have everything provided for us right now, nearly no expenses. That's pretty WOW. So I'll try not to forget that for even a moment.
That's the topmost of the list-y things jetting through my mind!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I always feel like the fireworks are just for me. :) What an awesome birthday.

I'll be staying up past midnight (which guarantees I'll be hyper...and mayhaps a tad gassy...but we have ever-so-forgiving friends and family). I will be loved.

hhahahha :D

And so will you!

PS: One thing that is really exciting to me about all my goals is that I've already secretly started them just to make sure they're good. :) Yay for regular harping, exercising and...well...I've done OK at saving money...Christmas kind of tipped that cow over.


2011 EDIT: Here's how it went!

Jan (A) Feb (A) Mar (B+)
LIVING WITH IN-LAWS DISCONTINUED
Apr (B) May (A) June (A+)
Jul (A) Aug (A+) Sep (A)
Oct (A+) Nov (A+)

December:
FRUGALITY: A+
HARP PRACTICE: C
STRONG BODY: A-
Yeah, the harp...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beware Mama Bear!


Ender was pretending it was taking a lot of effort to go down the stairs. "Unnhhh...ugh" with every step. At the same time, the kitten was prowling around on the banister, batting at the garlands and Christmas decor. The kitten skidded down a few feet and curled around the rail to bat at Ender and HIT HIS EYE!
Oooh, I got so mad. I stomped over there and picked up the cat and threw her over the rail into the other room.
She thudded on the tile. I panicked! She could've broken her leg or something! But she shook it off and stalked away with only her pride injured.
Ender was touching his eye and saying "face...'m face..." but he's fine.
Maybe that was okay that I threw the cat. It was just my instincts, wasn't it? I hope so.

Did I ever tell you about the time I threw the kitten in the tub and laughed evilly while it slipped and scrambled all over, trying to escape? Heh...still makes me laugh... but I swear, I love cats!

PS: the dumb thing forgave me. She is next to me purring right now, not even five minutes since I threw her. How sweet. :)

Back All Over Again!


When I blogged about harping, I really thought I had my old harpist self back, but wow, I had a wonderful experience that really put me up in the clouds!

I have missed performing, missed it terribly. It's one of my greatest passions. I've played for church and done a few concerts this month, but one in particular really ignited the spark for me.

I played with the Rexburg Women's Choir for their Christmas Cantata. One of their directors, Kathy, kindly suggested a solo since I'd be going through the trouble of bringing the harp for only one song with them. Of course I agreed! And I picked an old favorite, Noel Provencal.

I have to describe the little moments in the big moment! When the program reached my turn, I smiled and walked up to the stage. I felt simply excited. Not very nervous, if at all. I wheeled the harp to the center of the stage. I took my time arranging the bench, the music stand, the pedals. I glanced at the audience and smiled again--I hadn't really stopped smiling, really. Some kind of Happy Buzz was fizzing in my veins.

I sat. Scooted the bench, sat again. I'm usually too self-conscious to take the time to get comfortable. I end up imagining a surge of impatience from the audience. But this time, I felt completely in command of their attention. They could wait.

I placed my fingers on the strings, smiled at the familiar music... for a moment I realized that this could turn out like other concerts. I'd play pretty well, miss a few notes maybe, and be glad I could contribute to the performance. But I decided that wouldn't be enough. I said a little prayer. Please help me to play as perfectly as possible. Please let this be a gift to everyone. That was it! I took a breath and plunged in!

Lively chords, gongs, guitar-like chimes, a rolling arpeggio and a light gliss--and I reached a crucial point. Usually at this kind of point, my body realizes all the coordination going on and fritzes. "Oh my! I have to watch my feet, the pedal markings, the dynamics, the finger placements BLA bla bla bla" and things kind of glitch here and there until I can finally get back into focus. This time my mind surprised me; I thought, "I've gone this far without a single mistake...why not finish it perfectly? Why not? This will be perfect."

Agh! I want to cry! That feeling was so liberating! My body obeyed, not leaving any room for defiance. The lullaby section of the piece rolled and lulled, ending on a note that made me sigh. I felt the beauty of the piece translate itself into body language--body poetry--and the notes turned into art.

I finished. The breath caught in my throat when I paused, strings still singing: it was perfect. I said an emphatic thank-you-prayer and muffled the strings.

I just couldn't stop grinning the rest of the concert. I couldn't even stop smiling during the very tender Greensleeves rendition I played with the choir. I performed!!!! I really PERFORMED! And it was a gift! To everyone but especially to me. It lit my fire! :D

A Generous Christmas Spirit

Guess what? A few weeks ago, Michael and I got an unmarked envelope. Postmarked from Pocatello, but pretty much all our mail goes through there. It had an unsigned card and $100 in cash. Merry Christmas.

WOW. Thank you, anonymous. You became an answer to our prayers, even the unspoken ones in the corner of the mind. We wish we could thank you properly (as in, in person).

* * *

I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father who takes care of me and my family. I know He listens to my prayers. I especially feel His love and attention when I petition Him for blessings upon my husband and son. Sometimes the only reason I can give for asking those blessings are "because he's my husband...because I love him..." and it's perfectly alright. After all, I highly suspect that's the main reason Heavenly Father blesses me. Yes, I try to be good and as "deserving" as I can be, but like anyone, I fall short all the time. And He blesses me because I'm His daughter, because He loves me.

That anonymous and generous gift is an expression of His love. Whoever sent it was full of the Christmas Spirit and knew somehow that we would appreciate this gift. We felt really teary-eyed and heart-softened.

Thanks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In the Land of Dreaming

I had a dream that I was a turtle with three albino turtle babies. I got invited to a barbecue by some shifty looking neighbor turtles, but I must not have been very bright because I didn't realize they wanted to barbecue my babies.
In the end, they revealed themselves to be evil hamsters who loved turtle soup.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Have Some Tips

(He got in by himself)

My son is a good sleeper. I am grateful for that. I might not have thought much about it, though, if people* didn't talk about that as much as they do. People are almost congratulatory when they find out Ender still naps (and usually around 2 hours), and that he sleeps a full, uninterrupted night of about 12 hours or so. That is good, yes.
I've been thinking about it a little, and I wonder if maybe I have some tips. I don't know if it's more a part of Ender's demeanor than it's from anything I do, but maybe I can help!

I set a few rules for myself.

Ender with Alio the Snow Tiger
FIRST: The baby should have a room of its own.
That doesn't mean I think you're dumb if you let your baby sleep with you. I'm a tiny bit jealous, actually.
Besides the fact that it never really worked for us (yes, I tried breaking that rule on desperate nights), it kept Ender from sleeping right.
But back to how it never really worked: I would nurse for who knows how long, I'd leak on the bed (yeah, ew, sorry), Michael would hardly sleep, Ender hated our bed, I worried we'd smother him with our bodies or the pillows or the blankets, he'd fall off the bed, and I simply wasn't very good at nursing like that anyway. And most importantly, Ender didn't really sleep much when he was in our bed.
Because Ender slept separately, he knew when I left he was supposed to fall asleep. He slept through the night starting just before 3 months. Before then, he got into a routine of finally only waking 1 - 2 times per night. A drastic change from the first week or so! To get a solid hour of sleep felt incredible for me, so I relished the long, sleeping nights when they finally came.

Ender is actually posing for this picture.

SECOND: Let the baby cry a little bit.
It's not fun, I know! I felt so cruel when he'd shriek every ounce of air from his lungs! But it didn't last that long, honestly. I'd wait 10 minutes (or go by judgment appropriate for the situation...things aren't usually black and white with babies) and distract myself with something so I wouldn't hear him too much. And I would not go back into the room.
We had a little apartment, by the way, no baby monitor. And I'm glad. I don't really like baby monitors, even though for some people they're necessary.


THIRD: Either put the baby to bed/nap with the first sign of sleepiness or don't wait for it.
When Ender seemed to be less interested in sleep and fought to stay awake, I'd put him down for a nap anyway because he needed it (I needed it, too). But I read somewhere that if your baby shows any sign of tiredness, you should put them down for their nap/bedtime right away or it will get harder because they've had to fight the sleepiness for a while. Have you ever done that? If you push past one point hard enough, you can pull an all-nighter, you know?
When it's naptime (and sometimes when it's a little past, oops), I tell Ender. Doesn't really matter whether he's upset about it or not, really. He's usually quite good-natured about it. We have a very simple routine. We change his diaper, grab his favorite stuffed animal (whose name is Alio, named by Ender) and "foff" blankets. We tickle and chase a tiny bit. He turns on the humidifier, I turn on the heater. I tuck him in, we blow kisses ("pahh!") and say "night-night" or "buh-bye" and I love you. He's so cute about it, I think it might be his favorite part besides the tickling. Then I close the door. That's it! He sometimes chatters/sings to himself a while, but he stays pretty still and falls asleep.

I guess I could say a lot of things, but I didn't want this to be all preachy. I just have some ideas, and this is what I do, and it works. Maybe some of it will be new or helpful to someone! :)


*PEOPLE: pretty much just women; the topic comes up often enough that it's obviously a big part of life for them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chiropractor Visit

I DID go to the doctor! It took a little prodding, though. I wish I had seen everyone's comments and just gone yesterday...

Last night I was really stressed in my dream. I was trying to apply for school at the same time as Michael and just had a rotten mood about everything. And then in the dream, I tried to look over at someone. I must have tried to in my sleep, too, because I suddenly woke up to immense pain.

I don't usually cry from pain. I can name just a few events:

  1. Getting my eye wapped by a coat hanger (foggy vision, had to see a doctor who told me my contact was dirty and infected my eye. Whatever).
  2. Kidney stones...extreme. Really, really, really extreme.
  3. Giving birth (except I really liked that, and I only cried when I was done, so that's kind of different)
  4. And last night!!!
I was sleeping on my back like a good girl. I had Michael read his book aloud to me to make the time go faster and keep my brain from bouncing around my head. I fell asleep to his voice. ;) I think that's Romantic. Anyway, when I woke up--still on my back--my head was turned to the side a little. It hurt. But it hurt worse when I tried to turn it, either more to the left or to the right at all. I had to use my right hand to turn my head, because the neck muscles wouldn't budge in the face of so much pain, and my left shoulder hurt so much that I didn't "like" moving my left arm. I felt so stuck, I couldn't help but cry! Hurt, hurt, hurt!
It was probably 4am. I'm lucky that Michael cannot fall asleep while reading. He was at page...oh, 500 or something of Harry Potter 7. I love that about him, by the way. So Michael was immediately at my side and talking to me and bringing me some medicine. He helped me sit up for a moment to chug down some pills, after which I begged to lie down again so the pain would stop spreading down my spine. He gave me a blessing (yeah, that's Mormon talk, but whatever, just ask me if you don't know).
The pain didn't disappear immediately, but it seemed to shrink. The pain condensed itself to a spot between my shoulder blades, allowing me to finally relax a bit. I whispered to Michael here and there over about fifteen or twenty minutes before I finally fell asleep again.

So! This morning, I scheduled a chiropractor visit. Can't quite afford the masseuse yet. ;) The doctor was so kind to us. That $25 per visit fee is actually quite incredible. And it was kind of fun to be clicked and popped around.

Here's what was going on (we guess): I have always had somewhat tense shoulders from playing the harp since forever. I sit slightly to the left when I play, stressing my shoulders a tiny tiny tiny bit. While I had full usage of my shoulder for years, the "stress" built in little bits until my usage/ability went from 100% to perhaps 80%, at which point I began to feel some strain. That percentage shrank more and more until I couldn't really do much at all.
It's not all from the harp, that's just our best guess. It probably escalated with sleeping in cramped positions, hauling huge laundry loads up and down stairs, lifting Ender into his high chair and moving my harp all by myself (gee, shame on me for being so wonderfully independent). HAhahha... basically, for continuing on as though nothing happened. Because I thought nothing had.

You should have seen the doctor's face when I said I had a headache about once or twice a day. Shocked big eyes. I thought "oh...that's bad, isn't it." We talked about my messy hip situation and lumbar scoliosis. He is a very kind and helpful doctor. I felt so taken care of!!!! THANK YOU, Doctor W.! Thank you SO SO SO much!!!!!

I'll be going back Friday and a few more times until everything's resolved. My neck was tight before my nap (isn't that nice? I relaxed today). My back is a little tired, and I had to cut my harp practice short, but I feel incredibly better. I will continue to sleep on my back as long as I can bear it, I think. Better for the body, darn it. I'm trying to just enjoy the moments of daydreaming while I wait to fall asleep.

I came up with a pretty fun daydream the other night; I was filthy rich, so I could afford to call up all my sisters and arrange to have us all fly to London for a professional bra-fitting at the wonderful Bravissimo store (whjch is only in London, that's why). I guess that's more exciting to me than it would be to my sisters, but who cares. In my daydream we were all excited anyway because I was paying for babysitters, and we were going to stay for a week and shop for super stylish European clothing and eat delicious food (at French restaurants probably, because all the Londonese food I've ever tasted was barfalicious at its best - sorry, Rianne, I'm just not built for it!). I would pay for everything, including a glorious hotel room with everything you'd want. We'd maybe even travel away from London, why not? What a fun daydream. I'd love to spoil all my sisters like that.

One scene I couldn't resist popping into the daydream was walking down an avenue with shops all along it, bundled up warm against the grey, beautifully sharp cold...with a hot, chocolatey Belgian waffle rolled in a napkin, warming my hands. That memory comes from Belgium, but I think of it anytime I miss Europe at all. I miss those waffles. I even miss the roasted chestnuts on equally wintry days. I miss walking around those old, cobbled streets. I miss having all my sisters in one spot with me.

It was a nice daydream with which to fall asleep.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Tale from the Burg of Rex


"Doctor, my shoulder hurts when I do stuff."
"Well, then, don't do stuff!"
"But...but..."

A very, very long time ago (not) in a land called the Burg of Rex, a young-at-heart and young-in-age woman woke up on the wrong side of her bed. Or was it...just sleeping on her wrong side on the right side of the bed? As in her own side? On the proper side of the bed?
She waited for many years (or weeks--alright, about a month or two) for her shoulder to get better. Unfortunately, she couldn't just sit still while she waited. So her shoulder got worse.
She still had to lift the little mancub, who weighed something less than 30 lbs. She still had to practice her 88 lb. harp, balanced between her knees and right shoulder. She still had to haul baskets of laundry up a winding staircase all the way to the tippy tower of the castle (wait, she's not a princess, oops! Let's call it a chateau). And yes, even folding the laundry and brushing her hair and doing something as simple waving hurt. Pretty soon the pain spread from one shoulder to the next, slipping down her spine and firing up her neck.
What was she to do?
She tried stretches with Sir Joseph Pilates who was not of the Burg of Rex. She tried sleeping on her back. That was torturous, by the way. Her brain would not shut off in that position. She felt cold lying there, "unable" to curl into a rolly-polly ball for warmth. So she used a heating pad and eventually fell into deep sleep. When she awoke, she found that the sleep must have been the wrong kind because it did nothing for beauty. And she couldn't get up! To the left side, to the right side, straight up--she hardly budged off her back! Oh, it was an annoyance. (Obviously, she eventually did get up--but with excruciating pain in the effort). What a pity.
What else could she do?
Two answers hid in the back of her mind. They seemed too much to ask.
Masseuse? Chiropractor? The former would be $30 for half an hour. The latter $25 for the first visit (and the oh-so-young yet not-so-young-in-the-shoulder woman could only hope the first visit would take care of everything). What a bad thing to beg... but what else was she to do?

Oh, I'm just kidding. I wanted to talk about how my shoulder hurts, but I wanted to do it without complaining. ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Harp the Hurling Angel Plays! Woops...

I asked for it! I love to play the harp for an audience... and now I will get to four times so far this season! A ChoirFest, Rexburg Women's Choir, Young Women program and best of all: I get to premier Michael's Lovescape for the Student Composers Concert.
Most of this is happening in a week. :| And I've been sick, yikes! Yes, I do feel the stress. A little more openly than I mean to. But I'm grateful, too. That's why I couldn't say no to any offers. It's such a gift to everyone, and not just because I'm some awesome harpist or something.
The gift of time is considerable, but my favorite is when you combine that with music. Really practiced, learned and lovingly performed music. And it's true, everyone loves it.
I know there are a few people out there (I've met the sister of one, but that's as close as I've gotten) who do not like the harp. For whatever reason. But most people love it! They will even sigh when you play your scales and arpeggios. It's almost embarrassing to me--worries me that I'll look like I'm showing off. Which is easy to do with all those heightened reactions. Maybe harpists are lucky that way. They can take the easy track and strum some glissandos (I promise they're EASY) for the finale and take a nice fat check in return.
If that has ever happened to me, it was an accident. I like to put a lot of work into my pieces. TRANSLATED: I will take 6 months to 6 years to learn a piece if that's what it takes. It's somehow worth it. It is possible to reach perfection--in this one instance--so I seek it.
It's exciting to me that I've reached that perfection many times, too. By the way, that's NOT a bragging point; remember how hard I work?
Eg. I love math. Math doesn't love me. I work really, really, really, really, really, really hard on it. Then sometimes I get a 90 for a grade. Brag? No way! If I didn't try too hard and get a 100, yeah, I'd better look out that I don't brag because I'd totally have the rights.

What this all comes down to, though, is that I have a week or two to put these pieces together as close to perfect as I can. *heehhhhh....* Stress! Eep!
But then! Heroically, in steps a favorite mantra: I DON'T DO STRESS. Because I simply choose not to. I don't avoid the situation, but I control my feelings and reactions in it. Remember that one? I forgot it, apparently. Well, it's a timely reminder. For my sake and the family's (as beloved as the harp is, I don't imagine anyone likes to hear the strings get virtually ripped off while I yank out some poor excuse of a song, barely disguising my dissipated patience for clumsy fingers).

Sometimes at concerts I imagine weird things while I wait out the tacet measures.

"What if I barfed into these little holes on the back of my harp? Ew."

"What if I suddenly sent a gliss into this very quiet moment? Yes, Qait, that would be dumb."

"What if I got up and danced? Oh, don't smile. Quick, think of something less ridiculous."

Back to the harp bench. Again. breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ingenius Costumery



McKayla used my costume this week for her school's Spirit Week thing, and she was Sally Ride (first female American astronaut in space). Maybe that's what I was??? It was just too funny. Found it at D.I.
Michael was... Mozart? George Washington? The Scarlet Pimpernel?
Ender was a very quiet, serious kitty. And a giraffe when we got home. But we forgot to take pictures, so maybe we'll just cheat and recreate the whole thing...

My Haircut



Even though you wouldn't know it from the photo of me holding the scraps, it was about 8 inches off. Now it's got lots of body, too! Like: fooooof, really.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Trippiness!

I fell down the stairs today.

The bruise is more like a goose egg (is that meant only for injuries to the head? It's just as bad, anyhow).

I was trying to save the laundry--so neatly folded--instead of myself. Oops!

And of course, the funniest part to me is my reaction. Following all those thumps and bangs, the family called out "Are you okay??"

I calmly answered "Oh yeah, I'm fine." I had to save my pride...I guess...
Just got up and kept going...but that's what we do when we trip, right? It would just be so embarrassing to sit there (even laughing).

Anyway, I've been really clumsy the last few days! Yesterday I was putting away a tupperware of sweet'n'sour sauce. I swear the lid was made wrong, it just wouldn't go on. While I fumbled with it, suddenly the container leapt from my hands and the freshly boiled sauce splattered down my hip and onto my toes. My toes screamed for a second until the boiliness kind of numbed them. It was a hot, STICKY, gross mess. All over the floor, the counter and myself. Ew.

Oh yeah, and I also hit my hip on the counter (???) and dropped several dishes. Pff. Dumb. And I have a question---has anyone ever hit their hip with their elbow?! Please tell me yes... Usually it's when I'm lying on my side. My elbow just swings back and meets the hip bone *schmakk* in the point. It's painful and very annoying. Cause who does that?

The same evening, Natalie and I were doing the dishes. I noticed the dishwasher was leaking some suds, and when we opened it, we were treated to a movie moment! HUGE SUDS flowed over the bottom rack and onto the floor! We've got a picture, too. I'll have to update this with it. It's taken after we'd cleaned some, though. We just thought it was funny...Nat had put regular dishwashing soap in there instead of dishwasher stuff. :)

The floor was very clean by the end of the day!

Oh, suds reminds me! When we lived in Hinesville, Georgia, my sisters and I snuck some Bubble Bath into the hot tub. Against my papa's advise, I totally recommend it! It was so awesome! The suds got...I'll try to be accurate here...two or three feet above the water! We fluffed up handfuls in our arms and threw them everywhere (including all over the neighbor's lawn).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh, the Memories!

I want to tell a story. Because otherwise I'll drivel about how bored of sickness I've become after running a fever for nearly a week. Ugh, I'm so useless when I'm sick.

Long ago in a place called Colorado Springs, Colorado...

Rae and I were in the basement. Ah, that basement was everything a basement should be. Stuck in the 70s with its barf-orange carpet, creaky bathroom and overflow of earwigs (EW, maybe nevermind that being a "should" with basements). Even the dinosaur computer belonged.

We were playing a game, a REALLY fun game. One of those kid games that just make you laugh so hard. I can't even explain why it appealed or why it was fun, but that's how a lot of childhood games are (and I love them like that).

I would run up to the couch with all the speed I could muster, and Rae would stick up her feet like a battering ram at the last minute and thrust them at my stomach. It felt like flying backwards! And a bit like being chopped in half, but not enough to make us stop. It was just too much fun...

About, oh I don't know, a hundred kicks later...

Something churned in my stomach. Ooooh, it wasn't good. I had to tell Rae the sad news: we should be done now. But for some reason I couldn't tell her from across the room in my safe landing zone. I had to go up to her, there at the couch, at the launching station.

I believe she didn't see the wooziness in my face. I am ...mostly... sure that she was focused only on my belly, aiming her uncannily strong legs with great precision.

I got out "Rae, I don't feel so--"

And then the feet met the stomach!

And the stomach gave in to the feet!

As the poo heated my pants, I thought: "What a day to wear overalls."

And Rae laughed. She cackled. She howled!

Once I was cleaned up I think I laughed a little, too. After all, poop is just so funny to kids. For whatever reason. I couldn't imagine why...

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Boys













*I adore Michael's profile. He is gorgeous.*


Fake Eyelashes (just a note)

Fake eyelashes! And I colored my mole (blush blush)...because otherwise, I don't like it.

The eyelashes are the type that come in tiny bundles, not as one strip for the entire eye. So I put on maybe ten per eye.

And guess what....

No one noticed. Is that good? I had to point it out to Michael, but once he realized how much longer they looked, he really liked it.

I felt very daring!

Before & After - Kitchen


The sad part is: I can't find the BEFORE picture! Isn't that silly? So imagine my sink piled high (about a foot and half higher than the edge) and every surface of the counter covered with yet more dishes. I know, it's embarrassing. The original Before had Ender in it, too, just so you could be distracted by his cuteness. ;) Love how his hair looks like it's all piled on top.


*the date on the bottom right corner is totally wrong. Dumb camera--it's been spazzing.
And AFTER! Those are laundry keys on the counter. It's a cute kitchen, isn't it? It's also very little. There's nothing next to the stove besides my fridge. Not much to work with! But I liked it. And I really did keep it about this clean most days.

Monday, October 12, 2009

SPUDNIK: Potatoes Handled Like Babies


I know I just posted, but guess what!!!


MICHAEL IS DONE WITH SPUD HARVEST!!!!!


No more 16+ hour work days!!!

SPUDNIK, thanks for the job.

We're so glad it's done, though.


We'll get to be together more! Ender will get to see his Daddy more! A LOT more!!!


This totally calls for celebration.

Christmas at Halloween

You know how it's kind of annoying that stores decorate two holidays ahead? They're ready to sell ornaments before it's even Halloween...
Well, this year I've decided to tame my typical annoyance and be grateful that it's getting me to think ahead. :) And here's what I did today when I had some time to relax after cleaning the bathroom and bedroom!

My Christmas Wishlist
My style is to give specifics so that it's easier for the giver. I also list a good number of things so that there are at least a few things to choose from.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (#3), by Trenton Lee Stewart (paperback, please)
  • New Journal (with nice pens, preferrably black Pilot)
  • Chocolate (I love Hershey's with no nuts; Kisses; Snickers; Milky Way; 3 Musketeers, etc.)
  • Perhaps a clothing budget ($30 is actually plenty sufficient. Even $20 is. Heck, $10 is nice). OR fabric budget (no clue $$)
  • Germaine Tailleferre's Harp Concertino sheet music, Piano Reduction
    OR Nicolas Flagello Harp Sonata sheet music (for any other sheet music, ask Michael)
  • Tempera paints (so far, my favorite to play with--I've never owned any; I'd like to expand my art skills)
  • Wristwatch: either simple, pretty and water-resistant analog (silver or silver & gold) OR plain waterproof sports watch with timer and stopwatch, digital. A dainty, pretty watch with all the sports watch features would be ideal, but those things are usually so stinking expensive!!!
  • Audrey Hepburn movie (not How To Steal a Million, we own that) or pretty much any movie from that classic period
  • Cute socks! Ankle or knee-high
  • Pretty scarves (decorative/accessory, not winter--although I wouldn't object to those)

I promise I'm not too picky. If you're concerned, you could talk to Michael. ;) In any case, I'm not posting this to guilt you all into getting me presents already! It was just a fun thing for me to do today. Besides, I like Christmas a whole lot more than Halloween.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Visualizing

My sister Rae ran a marathon!!!
And wow, what a powerful woman she is. So much so that while I read, I knew a marathon is somewhere in my future. I looked at her beautiful victorious pictures and wondered how I'd feel at the end of a marathon.
I'm silly, so get ready: I wondered what I would do once I saw the finish line... and I decided I'd probably be about to fall over but I'd grit my teeth, a ferocious fire glowing in my give-up-less eyes, and I'd belt out a great big hurrah of a roar (or something, you know), and then I would bolt to the finish line with all the heroism of a True Marathoner. And because I'm the only one home... and Ender is asleep... I actually made the sound! And the face! It made me blush.
I also wondered about what crossing that line would feel like. Maybe I'd throw my arms up in a huge Y and yell!!! Just a yell of victory, accomplishment, the last strains of strength! And yeah, you guessed it, I actually tried it out.
It was terribly silly-sounding, but it made me laugh. Besides, I'll sound cooler when I'm actually doing the running to accompany it.
I have to visualize, don't I? :D
If I do end up looking/sounding so cool (hahhahaha!) like I've described, just be sure it's genuine. I don't think I'd be able to pretend something like that at the end of 26+ miles.
Rae, you're my hero.

New Habits

Living with the family, I've finally built up some habits that should have been deeply instilled a long time ago.
Any mommy has a day where she simply doesn't want to do the dishes--and simply decides not to. Same goes for laundry. And any cleaning, any chores.
Because I don't want to leave a trail of debris in the way of the rest of the family, I've tried particularly hard to clean up messes right away.
I've always known that a lot of times it's just the Starting of the Job that is the hardest to get past, but passing that block over and over every day has really proved it to me. The Start can't trick me anymore! :)
So now it has become quite natural for me to simply do the dishes (and then the question of wanting to never really comes up). Laundry? Done. Folded and put away, even!
I still have some days that I don't want to pursue as many cleaning adventures, but messes don't get in my way anymore. It's a nice feeling.

I know this is a short blog; I'll have more later, including an old set of before/after pictures I took one day of my kitchen, insanely messy and then brilliantly clean. I don't even live there anymore, but whatever! It's still exciting to see the result of good work! So gratifying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Medieval Ages

I've been reading some books by Karen Cushman, mainly the ones she's written based in the Medieval Ages (ca. 1290s). They're sort of historical fiction. In an author's note, Karen concluded from her studies that most people of the era didn't have the same sense of individuality that we have now; medieval people didn't have as much reason to think of the future in the sense of the next few years because their lives weren't affected in that pattern as much as they followed a circle of seasons and a tradition of lifestyle that went unchanged for such a long time.
She explained it really well--convincingly--but I just have to disagree. I have to at least hope that People can't help but be very involved in their individuality. Who's to say it was unusual for a peasant to wish they were given a different lot in life? Why ever would they just decide being born a peasant meant an entire lifetime of misery? *not that peasants were all miserable*
I just have to think that every person has wanted to search themselves deeply and find purpose for their existence...and then do something about it...
I know there are some dull people here and there, but I really have a hard time believing an entire mass of people throughout the Medieval Ages were like that.
Maybe that's just because I'm so accustomed to a very free life. Maybe I'm just a little shortsighted as far as the world goes, and there are countries with people as unquestioning now as they were in the Medieval Ages.

Well, then. I will just conclude that no matter what time I lived in, I would be me. My personality would have different highlights depending on situations, but I would be me.

(And thank heaven for living in this age where toilets flush and medicine is based on more than superstitions).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spud Harvest - HUZZAH! for Idaho

*gasp* I just revealed where I live!
Is it really bad of me that I don't care? I guess we'll see who's laughing when my identity gets stolen. What a crisis that would be... (teehee, identity crisis)

Michael is working 16 hours a day, 6 days a week (we have ASSUMED he gets Sundays off) for the next three weeks. Oof. My poor man is exhausted. He drives a big once-garbage truck, which would be easy except that it's pretty dangerous trying to keep the truck in the right spots and stuff. Plus, it's the "tricky truck," so its parking gear breaks often. And he had two flat tires. One cool thing: he's growing a really handsome beard!

:D I don't usually like those things...anyway, he'll have to shave for Church. (I give a whistful sigh of surrender...we'll never see what he'd look like as an island castaway or something. So much for those dramatic daydreams).

We get up at 6:25 for scriptures and breakfast, and he's gone at 6:45. He gets home around midnight, and I'm most often asleep. I'm in bed by 10:00 and asleep soon after. But last night, I had reason to be awake! I worked at Snoasis from 7:00-11:00 because none of the girls wanted to work, so they were in a tight spot. I worked there for a short time about 2 years ago when I was pregnant. My poor employers. I wasn't that helpful! I had to call in at least twice a week (at LEAST) and excuse myself from work else I'd barf all over the customers. I don't think they'd like that.
I like working. Like, I really like it. I know I work all day as a mother, but I enjoy all of the people interaction and simple service of working a "job." I like to smile at everyone and make them feel happy. I like to be given a task I'm expected to fulfill quickly. Some people feel like any regular job is just dumb, brainless monotony. Well, I LIKE it.
I was talking to my mom about this a few weeks ago. Michael was (and kind of still is) looking for a job. I said how I kind of wished it were me getting the job because it just sounded fun to me. She gently reminded me that being a mother is the best thing I can do, and I should trust Michael to provide for us. And I do. I really do. But I appreciated her words anyway, because part of me felt a very tangible pull to the work force outside the home. Michael's mom is very willing to help with Ender...I wouldn't have to work very much...It would really help financially...I'd have even more motivation to keep to a schedule...It would be so fun! Mom said she never felt a desire to work aside from mothering. She so loved being with her babies that it never became even the slightest temptation.
At first I felt a little guilty. I DO love Ender! I love being his mother! But it's true, she's right: it's a sacrifice. And once you decide to be a mother, some things do need to be over. Mom wanted to be a chemist--and she'd be a famously good one, I guarantee it! SERIOUSLY! My mother loves education, and she has carried hers to the point that she's now studying in Harvard (yes, that's what I said, I'm the offspring of a genius). But she made a lot of sacrifices along the way so that her mothering never suffered for it.

Ahem. Here, I must interrupt myself to be a mother. Ender is stinky. *done!*

Basically...it felt really, really nice to be working, and I so enjoyed earning extra money (I got paid quite generously for four hours. Quite). The time went fast, and then I got to be with Michael!

Maybe some women feel that the best way they can help their husbands in financially tight times it to work. I have considered it a couple times, myself. I always come to the conclusion, though, that it would be infinitely better to be the mother of the home while he's the father of the home. We support each other in our best (and divine) roles. And Heavenly Father blesses us for our faith in living His family pattern!

While I wrote to one of my friends, I mentioned how hard times are often the best for learning things you couldn't otherwise learn. I haven't always liked that truth (who has?). It seemed to sink in better when I wrote that, though. I admitted to myself that it might be a while before we could describe ourselves as financially comfortable (which stretches into a lot of other kinds of comfortable). It's probably also true that people who gain that financial comfort early on with considerable ease never really learn just what it means to survive on a budget or to follow a budget by the tightest pennies. When I'm honest with myself, I really don't want easy money. I wouldn't want to be a rich person who has no idea just how much comes in and goes out. That's dangerous!

I'm sort of babbling...the short of it: yes, I want to be rich because I see so many ways I could bless others if I were. Ways I couldn't otherwise. I would love to have plenty for my own family, but I'm being honest when I talk about "silly" daydreams where I have the money to help people and family in ways they can't help themselves. I take those daydreams very seriously.
But when we start making that money, I want it to be Michael that's bringing in the bacon. Even if it means 16-hours a day for what will seem a very long time. It's a sacrifice for both of us--in a number of ways.

So I'll be a mommy. That's already a "job" anyway. ;)

OH! P.S. - and I will get paid handsomely for it. Some now, lots later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

She's Back?

No way! Am I really back? For real this time???



The worst part of this is that I could write about SO many things (because I've been "gone" for SO long). I could write about moving (uggghhh). About hiking (and nearly killing my poor toe). About family (one of the best subjects sometimes). About my nursery-age baby (weep weep).

Nay, I shall write about the harp.



If you've read Rae's blogs about her cello passions, you'll have an idea what things have been like with me and my harp.

The above picture is the only one I can find; I am sorry the harp is covered. At least this time I actually put up a picture! Yay!


Dot dot dot.



Well, I'm afraid I won't wax very poetic here, but basically, I've not touched the harp much. If I took the dust cover off (which makes the harp uninteresting to Ender and his toys), I would sit down for perhaps ten minutes to run some boring arpeggios and try to think of a memorized song. First Arabesque? Oh, but I play that ALL the time. Noel Provencal? No, same deal--and that's a Christmas song. Chanson dans la Nuit? A favorite! Alas, I've been so neglectful that I have forgotten even that one. I think I used to play it every day, too. It was engraved in my finger muscles' memory. (By the way, did anyone else notice that all those song title are in French? Maybe it's just such a pity to put an ugly English title with a harp song since the harp is notoriously romantic). If I actually got out the music, I felt frustrated that my fingers didn't pick up as automatically.

But enough! GUESS WHAT?!!! I've been practicing! Really! Almost every day! And tuning the harp, too, which is sometimes more than half the battle. 47 strings, guys. You violinists think you have it hard. Silly people.

So today I played a number of songs, among them (yes, in French again) La Joyeuse and Le Bon Petit Roi D'Yvetot. With La Joyeuse, I played it slowly through the first time, and it simply felt good to re-remember it. The song is entirely made of descending arpeggios with the top note sounding the melody. I promise it's beautiful! Just as I was about to put it away, though, I decided to run through the beginning (which I have never unmemorized) as quickly as I could.

*goosebumps*

I sounded like the virtuoso albums.

*shivershiver*

Please don't laugh at my description, I'm just telling how it felt: my fingertips tumbled over the strings and beautiful, rippling, bubbling harmonies rose from the depths of the harp! One of those exhilirating moments when the vibrating sound waves literally (I'm not using that word for the heck of it) enveloped me. Mmmmmmm. Music. Art. Passion. Heaven!

Then I played Le-etc. (The Good Little King of Yvetot. I know there are some really hokey arrangements out there, but mine is rather the coolest by Marcel Grandjany). Fun, fun. And then the END!!! Weee! I ripped out this whizzy-fast scale thing with bestartling chords erupting inbetween and finished with a zip down the strings and a most gratifying grace-noted finaleful blOOM of a chord.

I smiled. :)

And I thought,



"I'm back!"

Friday, July 10, 2009

P.S. to Marathon

I still do it! Tuesdays and Thursdays. In my last run, it only took me 25 minutes, and I jogged almost the entire way home without stops! It was the weirdest little game; I'd say "let's stop at this curb, Qait. That's a good point." Then I reply to myself "but I ought to just cross the street so I won't have to wait for any cars--and they won't wait for me, wondering what I'll do." So I'd cross. And then Qait2 would point out another really good stopping point and Qait1 would laugh an evil cackly laugh and pass it. Darn, missed that last one, so I guess we have to keep going!
I feel particularly proud of myself for that last run...my mp3 was too dead to even bring with me. (A few runs ago, I'd brought it and it eeked out its best effort on the dying battery. I could totally relate).
Tuesday's run will be accompanied by a fresh battery! Both the mp3 and me! :D
I've also been exercising Mon-Wed-Fri. Not running, no. Easier, more pleasurable exercising. Like Pilates and Yoga and stretching and bodytoning stuff.
Yay for me! These habits are positively affecting the rest of my life. That's what they're supposed to do, anyway.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Marathon in Miniature

I lied in that last post! I wasn't back! But now I am.

Last Saturday, I went to the Smith Park where the Dam Marathon was being hosted. I got there, with Ender sagging on my hip, just as the last runners came trotting in. They looked tired, but instead of sagging like my baby who refused to hold his own weight, they didn't bother slowing down (or speeding up). They'd reached their steady pace.
I've only ever reached that edge of endurance once. Swimming. My turn to swim the 500 in a meet for the first time. Just before I reached the half-mark, I felt like I'd honestly throw up and die, right there in the water. Images came to mind of the coach and fellow swimmers peering into the pool at my raggedy, floating body. They'd scratch their heads and say in wonder, "but the 500 isn't that hard!" But I kept swimming. No barfing, to my surprise. No dying, to my surprise. And everything changed. Suddenly it felt good. I could do this forever. I could swim and swim and swim...slowly, but forever. In fact, I didn't even realize when the 500 had been reached. I flip-turned and glided on, smiling quietly to myself. Why was everyone shouting?
Oh. I was done.
I watched these Dam runners thinking it must be the same for them. I wished it were the same for me. I want to run a marathon!
As the winners' names were announced for fastest, most enthusiastic, fastest in age group, etc., I thought of Rae. She's going to run a marathon! I already feel proud of her for declaring it a decided goal. Would I dare even start such a goal? I couldn't ever say I'd do it and then NOT do it--that would be worse. Worse than trying. And worse than trying would be to not finish.
I've actually been encouraged with running for most of my life. As a kid I was unashamedly good at it. Fast, full of energy to spare. As I got older--into those blessed teen years--I slowed down. My excuse was being heavy-chested. How could I run without proper restraint? I'd get a black eye!!! But Liz and Pat were excited for my goals (to run every day, super fast, super far, surprising everyone including myself). I ran with them one day and realized I had a looooong way to go. I pretended it was because Pat had run a marathon and Liz had been in track all through high school. But Rae and Phill were supportive, too. Phill bought me the best running gear I'd ever owned. Rae believed I could do it because she could. I told myself that because I loved running, I could do it.
A lot of people love music and fail as musicians.
I forgot running (almost) and joined the swim team. I love swimming, always have. I'm not the fastest, but I have beautiful technique--especially with the stroke deemed most difficult: The Butterfly. When I first learned it, I grinned up and down the lane. I felt like...a worm. With batman wings. But as it came together more fluidly, I felt like I melded with the water, bursting out to fly and leap across the surface again and again. Three freedom-gulping explosions before I even cared to breathe! With The Butterfly, the coach placed me in lane #1. The fastest.
After that, it didn't matter that all my other strokes lived in lane #6. The slowest (and I always came in last out of those four or five girls). Who cared? I was the butterfly of swimmers.
In the corner of my mind, I always envied the cross country kids or track kids. Even the football players, since they had to run for their training. Even after a year of Pilates and a semester of serious swim practice, I had no endurance for running. It hurt in more than physical ways.

All this I've recounted as prelude to today's little victory: I ran.

After watching the marathoners, I thought what a rewarding accomplishment that run must have been for them. I wanted the same proof of willpower. What would it take?
Over the weekend, I began to compare running to my spiritual progress. As the thought sat brewing in my mind, I realized that had to be the key. And why running instead of swimming? Swimming is easy. If you stop mid-lane, you sink! Not much choice there. Running is hard. You can stop any time you want. Hear the Satanic appeal? Mmmm, stopping, yes.
So I determined to run a few times a week. Know what happened last time I decided that? I jumped outside and shot off across the sidewalk, happy that I had to tell myself to slow down. I jogged and jogged and ran and ran and then realized I didn't feel too good. No, not at all. Maybe my time was almost up. I looked at my clock: I had been running four minutes.

Today I voiced my goal as a destination rather than time. I wanted to run up to the temple. Don't laugh at me...yes, I live really close to the temple. Across campus. And only one side of campus. RIDICULOUSLY close. I can save just a pinch of pride by pointing out that it's very uphill.

While I ran, I chose to look for spiritual symbolism, grateful for the privacy of thought while passing people who might think a) it's stupid I think such a short distance is such a big deal, b) those are stupid and obvious comparisons and c) that I am way out of shape if this is such a struggle.
But here is what happened to me.

I hopped down the front steps and shoved into an easy jog. I had started! Wasn't that half the battle? Wasn't it? I smiled as I coasted along the sidewalk, proud to look like any jogger in town. I ignored my quickening breath and reminded myself that I wanted to do this without stopping. My music plodded me onward. Just around the corner, I felt the strain of every muscle complaining loudly. My pace slowed so much that my jog accomplished less forward motion than walking. I seemed to be going more up and down than anywhere in front of me. But the point? I kept going. If I were to compare this to my spiritual progress, I wouldn't want to say that I stopped. I never stop.
Uuuuup...hiiiiillll.....
I realized with surprise that my legs weren't so tired. My lungs were the thing killing me. I diligently made my comparisons: my legs are the effort, the day-to-day motions of life. My lungs are the intent, the sincerity and heart of life. I felt a little sad to imagine doing the right things without feeling the right things, but it happens. And it is actually good. I trusted that eventually my lungs would catch up with my legs. It is part of faith to keep trying even when you see no growth.
After a few blocks, my lungs constricted so badly that I stopped to breathe. I bent over and concentrated on inflating them as far as possible, trying not to dwell on the fact I had broken my promise to myself. But even this turned into a spiritual "tada" for me. I've hit spiritual mesas before. There have been a number of times that I wondered why I saw no progress. Wasn't I being righteous? Wasn't I sincerely diligent? What was this pause all about?
I believe those times are a trial of their own sort. A way of testing us--will we go on even if it looks like there is no reason or hope? And I have. So remembering this, I stood straight with recovered lungs and continued running.
Two more times I did this, the last when I was so close to the temple I wondered why the sight of my goal wasn't enough to keep me going the last bit. I simply had to breathe.
It was there, my goal. I could see it, I knew I'd get there. But in all my humanness, I had to wait just a little before my body would let me go on.
Isn't that a lot like life? I want so many things so badly. I have to wait for some of them--I had to wait (not long, admittedly) to find the right man before I could actually get married. What a mistake it would have been to step ahead of myself!
And again, as before, I started to run once my lungs recovered a little. As I crossed the street, I turned my head up to the commanding presence of the temple and grinned. The driver waiting at my side didn't likely know that this was a major accomplishment of a relatively tiny goal. I jogged to the temple. I made it!
With moist eyes, I crumpled to the sidewalk and sat smiling at the temple. I easily could have looked silly. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did since I discovered while changing at home that my sports bra had traveled up and beyond, abandoning the weaker bra underneath. How embarrassing.
I bent my head down and thought of what it had taken to make myself really run. Turning my mp3 off (yeah, I'm not as cool as those iPod people), I realized it had helped me focus. I had used the music to keep pace, keep moving. Life needs focus. And a funny thought hit me. Or maybe it just felt funny to my sweaty brain--when I run, everything gets sweaty. It didn't get easier as I passed the last distance to the temple. Not even the last few feet. It was the same pulling strain, the same effort up to the moment I collapsed to the ground. So what was different?
Even before I'd truly gotten there, I'd made it! There it was, there I was! I saw the temple and knew I'd get there.
And getting there, the halfpoint, was even more than half the battle. The rest was downhill!

I still paused a few times on my way down. I kept comparing and found lots of ways to look at running as a symbol of life. Going down can be hard because it's so easy to go too fast. But I could pause when I needed to. This reminded me of Heavenly Father's gentle ways in guiding me; He'd never make me go faster than I can. He'd only push me as much as I asked.
That made me want to ask for more, to say "but I really can do it! Show me how I can do it!"
Along the way, I realized a true principle was at work: my lungs felt fine! My legs were tired! But the strength of my lungs made it easier to keep going, no matter how clumsily my legs threatened to trip me! It's true, isn't it? If we keep exercising our faith, we'll catch up with ourselves and finally gain testimony of the truth. My lungs not only caught up with my legs but surpassed their strength.
I believe the spiritual drive of our sincerity and love is what pulls us through the most difficult of trials. It is perhaps not as necessary for the smaller trials. In those, we just need to prove we'll keep going. But in harder trials, keeping a strong heart is the real force behind winning.

Arriving at my house, I considered going through the back door (closer than the front). Passed it. Cut across the grass? Made the sharp-angled turn. Walk up the steps? Hopped up them with as much energy as I'd hopped down at the beginning of my run.
I opened the door and fell to the carpet. Ohhhhh, it took so much effort to turn over when I realized I didn't want to lie on my face. I breathedbreathedbreathed breathed breathed breeeeeathed..... would Rae laugh at me? She runs like running is nothing to her willpower. Is this unhealthy? Would a doctor discourage me from running if he saw what a spasm it puts my lungs in?
I burned. I breathed. I didn't move. I didn't like the idea of doing this again. Hadn't I made enough comparisons?
But I had already asked myself what I'd do for my next run when I was a block away from home. I believe I will always find a way to connect running to life, whether in a grand scheme way or whether running will feel like a mirror of one specific day.
Today's little run took 30 minutes. It felt like a miniature version of a marathon! Besides, a dictionary definition of the marathon is this: any contest, event, or the like, of great or greater than normal length or duration requiring exceptional endurance. Well then, by my standards and past experiences, I have just run a marathon.

And some day, I will run a real marathon. It will probably take me a few years to be ready. But I will do it.
I still don't want to think about running again on Thursday. Oh, barf. Barf barf barf.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Return of the Qait-I

I feel like I disappeared from the blogosphere! It was sad! And I have mountains of stories stuffed in my sleeves; I wrote blog entries in my mind while I washed dishes, moved furniture, dealt with maniacal managing duties, and suffered two-second bouts of crying.
Michael went on a jazz tour for two weeks (during our anniversary, too). He left the day after we moved into this apartment and the day before the family left for their week-long vacation.
Me... stranded...
Oh, just kidding. I felt like a champion for getting through it all. And still humbled because my mother and my sister Rae do this all the time!
Bluhhhh. It's done! Life is getting a little more put together, and so am I! Eventually you'll see that hitting my blog. Yay!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Big Friendly Giant

Do you ever imagine you're being spied on?
Sometimes it makes me be a better person.
Sometimes it just encourages the sparks of a budding temper (someone saying "yeah, I'd be so annoyed, too" just doesn't help).
Yesterday I imagined Roald Dahl's BFG somewhere out there hearing our pleasant conversation from miles away. I imagined him telling little Sophie that the Wahlquists really love each other. He knows because he's heard their kind words--in fact, he'd say, at this very moment the wife is gladly ironing her husband's shirt as dinner cooks. The husband is helping with the baby, who keeps getting into things (naturally).
I didn't like the idea of the BFG hearing me get cranky with Ender.
And even though this is all very silly, it helped me decide to be spied on in a good way and "inspire the listener" instead of letting the listener inspire me.

Do you all think I'm crazy now?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Button-Pin Collection


I went to a Flea Market on Saturday and passed a booth where a girl was selling handmade button-pins. Some stupid but most pretty funny. I thought how I'd like having one or two of them just because the art was cute or the phrase was clever, but I don't really "do that" because it's too much of a statement (I like to make my own). Then I remembered how my brother Reed liked pins and collected funny ones... "I know Karate and ten other Japanese words." He might have gotten one just for fun. And something happened to me that never has before, not really like this... I missed his company. I felt like I'd just seen a semblance of his personality, and even if it was the tiniest bit of one, it made my eyes mist over and my throat bunch into a ball. I wished so badly that he was alive. Reed died when I was four, so I have a small handful of memories. Each one self contained, like a button-pin picture of love. This little collection will never be added to, but it means more and more to me over the years. I can never forget any second of these bright memories. I have always felt the loss, but it's been a calm sadness most times.



I had to move on to another booth so the girl wouldn't see me cry over funny button-pins.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bedraggled Puppet

Leaving the little red house is hard. Or maybe easy, just sad. I looked around tonight after cleaning...the gleaming hardwood floors, vacuum-lined carpet, spacious rooms, sparkling kitchen and blindingly clean bathroom... It's just sad that the house got the most attention now that we're leaving it. It should have been so clean and wonderful while we lived there. And I wanted to start over, move in again with less furniture and less junk so I could love it more. I feel jealous already of whoever moves in next. Part of me thinks but it's my house. I want to keep it.

Also, I am sick of cleaning. Sick in every way. I bent over the tub scrubbing till I thought I'd throw up. I vacuumed and revacuumed and swept so much that it made me ridiculously outraged to feel the slightest dust on my bare feet. I believe in leaving a place cleaner than you find it. To be honest, we could have gone away without dusting anything and we'd be clear for that--it was bad before we moved in. But I'm something of a perfectionist--that and perhaps proud? I couldn't leave it dirty because that dirt had my name on it. I lived there, so in the minds of the Next, it was all mine for the blaming. So I cleaned a lot. A LOT.
And now my "new" house is a wreck from moving into it. Oh, this process. I love my mother more and more. When I was a kid, I really only had the fun things to think about with moving. Yay, I get my stuff back!
Please don't think I'm complaining bitterly; this has all turned out as an enormous blessing to our family, and I'm grateful that I haven't contracted the flu-like head colds that Michael and Ender have. I've been well and capable for all this taxing, gross work.

I kind of want a break.

But I hate to have my house so yucky! And right now it smells like TUNA! EW! I think it's all because I drained the tuna cans over the dirty dishes (mountains of them). I knew this would happen...but the smell has infiltrated the entire house. It kind of hits you like a boxing glove when you open the door! Maybe I should wish my nose was congested like the boys'! Woof. The darned womanly impulse. Or qaitly impulse. Whatever. I feel like...I don't know, maybe imagine some bedraggled puppet all ripped at the seams and stinky and limp. It's ready to be thrown away. But no! There's one more act! It must go on! And maybe the poor little bedraggled puppet wants to, even. It just has no more umph.

Where's my stand-in? Who will be my stuntwoman?

*I nearly forgot to mention--and how could I??--that we had so much help from the family today! Aunt Denise helped sweep and clean/polish the floors, and the men of the family helped move furniture and miscellaneous loads with their hulky cars. Mom watched Ender for us the whole time. We do so appreciate all of their loving, willing help.*

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pack Till You...crack?


16March2009Monday

The morning began slowly.
And a little painfully, because it took me hours to fall asleep last night (torture...except I ended up designing a gorgeous gown for myself--I'll draw it nicelier soon enough). Really, hours. But we had a large and very scrumptious breakfast! Deliciously buttery blueberry muffins. Soft. Perfect bacon and cheese omelet. Frothy fresh orange juice...and a few weird sausages, but they don't matter because everything else was SO good.
I packed up the kitchen/emptied cabinets while Ender slept (at the red house). He had been asleep already for 3 hours, but when I brought him to the red house, I rocked him because I've missed that. *we've been in the process of moving* He was so cuddly. And he just fell asleep again! He has been miserable today. Even after napping 2 1/2 more hours, all he wanted to do was lie in his swing with his binkie. Michael and I tried several times to get him to drink some apple juice. Ender was content to watch us pack everything. We finally did get him to drink by the time we were nearly done, and that helped him perk up and start talking to us.
In fact, he perked up enough to have a blast in the bathtub...a poopy blast. From the kitchen, I heard Michael laugh the hardest he's laughed in a long time! And then he called for my help.
We're exhausted from packing and lifting (Michael lifted, I packed--my back doesn't like me when I lift too much). I'm so glad I'm not sick! Michael's feeling pretty rotten, so both my boys have had a rough and yucky day. It's the worst Ender's ever been sick besides the time he couldn't stop throwing up. :(
This evening I made those oreo gourmet balls. They're good. And I'm tired.
Tonight I had better not have time to design another outfit. Or redo my dreamhouse. Or imagine up crazy scenarios. AGAIN.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sitting Pretty in Sweats

I won't let it get to my head,
but I've had lots and lots and lots of compliments this week. Ladies of varying ages have told me that I look like a celebrity, a person you'd see on TV, and a movie star. They've told me my hair is lovely, beautiful, gorgeous. My MK Director, Tammy, stopped in her busy conversation tracks to say "Qait, you look really beautiful."
Please don't think I'm on a boasting rampage--
The best thing about all of these compliments is that I said "thank you" honestly, and I really felt beautiful. FELT it. Inside, unstoppably, goodly so. Even better is that I still feel that way, with my dirty hair frizzed on one side from chilling on the floor with Ender. Even while I sit here in a gargantuan sweater and cutoff sweats. This week, somehow, I've been able more than ever to forgive my stretch marks and extra post-baby skin. I've even been able to ignore the manly hairs infesting my legs for lack of time to shave!
Michael always makes me feel beautiful. On another dimension, however, it's really nice to look nice to other people, too. Especially when I'm trying not to be absorbed with the details only I know, such as:
"but this is towel hair,"
"my mascara is a day old,"
"this outfit is totally thrown together last minute"
and "but I have this mammoth zit blaring in your face like a stop sign, don't you see it?"
I think this plethora of compliments have come as a confidence booster when I've been feeling so sick I'm paranoid I'm pregnant and as tired as someone with mono. Why is moving so hard? Why am I exhausted from the first blink of the day till the last?
So you see, it's a really nice blessing that other people have been so kind and gracious to me when I've felt...you know...it's welcomingly unusual to feel pretty in sweats.

Princess and Her Prince

11March2009Wednesday

I think I did next-to-nothing useful today. I've learned my lesson: never even think of picking up a Patricia Wentworth mystery novel until all the necessary things have been done for the day! And only then if it's not bedtime already!
You know, I have The Most Patient Husband. He came home to see me curled on
the couch with "The Benevent Treasure" and instead of drawing guilt out of me*
for letting Ender be a wild man (why not when so little is off limits for him
finally?), he remarked at how cute he finds me with a book. It honestly doesn't
happen as often as I wish, but when it does it's as if I'm in another world.
Ender gets his diaper changed, and I play with him and get him fed, but the
house gets no such attention. Michael is never upset with me...dear, loving
husband. Every girl would believe her daddy's claim that she's a princess if she
had such a prince as my man. I love him, and he never leaves room for me to
wonder if he loves me back.


And one morning, when I stayed in bed all morning like a spoilt, rich princess, he just felt glad for me that I could enjoy some time to myself and be pampered like that. He's all the handsomer for his gentlemanly lovings.
*he'd never, I'm just saying...

Gourmet Goodness

We've been moving down the block this week; it takes lots of umph! Sometimes more than I've got to give!
Such a happy thing: our new ward meets in an old chapel...the one in which Michael and I first met. [pictures soon, I promise!] We had an aural skills class together in one of the classrooms, and he gave me a ride to retrieve my forgotten books from across campus. :D And again. Day after day! As in, a ride to classes every day--I didn't forget my books every day.
Our ward is very little, and I LOVE IT. It feels so cozy and welcoming! And in the Relief Society, they're trying to promote a cookbook everyone has contributed to, so they pass treats out. Today's treat:
D ~ E ~ L ~ I ~ C ~ I ~ O ~ U ~ S.
I melted. Or fell in love. Or died and went to heaven. I don't know.
It looked so deceptively gourmet and fancy, I was amazed to find out it's actually easy to make! No baking, even! Here it is from Jessica, in all its simplicity:

  • Get a package of Oreos.
  • Also get a package of cream cheese.
  • CRUSH AND COMBINE! Yes, the entire oreo, filling and all. Put in fridge.
  • Melt almond bark--mmmmmm! Also melt a little white chocolate for garnish, if desired. Makes it look super fancy.
  • Roll the oreo stuff into little bite-sized 1-inch balls.
  • Dip oreo droplets in melted almond goodness and lay out on cookie sheet or large serving plate. When cooled, swiggle white chocolate over the little chocolate treats.
That is it! And it tastes divine. Absolutely deluxe.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Dumbest Post Ever

So I was doing this party a while ago and felt some gas creep up. Oh dear! What to do?! I moved stiffly and at one point had to bend for something. The prisoner escaped! A thunderclap! I didn't even blush. I kept the same half-smile from before the incident and moved on as if nothing in the world could stop me. My behind-the-scenes eyes scanned the faces of the girls, and they behaved commendably.

Nothing happened here...

Mr. Boogeyman Has the Wrong Victim

It's been a kind of funny day...
(and I sat for a minute or two wondering what sentence comes next).
I mopped the kitchen floor again to get rid of some mysterious Ender gook. But when I came back probably five minutes later, Ender was leaving yet another trail--only this time, it was worse than mysterious gook. It was obvious gook. Gook that I smelled before seeing. That kind of gook.
It made me laugh. And mop again. Ender turned his bath into a shower by pulling the little faucet trigger and thought it was hilarious! He's such a goofball!

I had three parties lined up for this evening, and they all cancelled. Sort of. Two did...and the third? Never heard back from those awesome girls (we're good friends), and I'm not quite sure I ever found the right address. Who can get lost in Rexburg?! I really do fine with directions, but it's a different story in the dark. Dark dark dark. When I drive at night, I talk to myself way more than usual.
"Well if there's anyone in the car, at least you get to come to a Mary Kay party!" And then I imagined Mr. Boogeyman shaking his head and deciding I just wasn't the right victim. Too confident, too daring.
It's still a good day, and I have several more parties in the books.

A good portion (bad portion?) of my day passed in reading Nienie Dialogues. She's amazing. I get a strong mixture of feelings when I read about her; I want to be like her, and sometimes I want to so badly it hurts. I remind myself that my life has been a whole lot cozier lately, and I would never want the same trials. Mostly I find myself wishing we could be friends. And wondering if I have as much pizazz and color to my personality. I look around my house and feel like the decorations aren't as interesting as they should be, or that the kitchen is maybe TOO clean. Which I admit is pretty funny. :) You know, the biggest thing is that I hope I'm as romantic with Michael as she is with "Mr. Nielson." I love Michael and do my best to be affectionate. There are some days when my mind is so encased in its glass tunnel of focus (Maddie, you know exactly what I'm talking about) that I hardly take a moment to do nothing. The important kind of nothing.
Hahahha...and then I get a little jealous about the blogging. I get locked in the quicksand mindset that my entries must be deeply thought-provoking, epic, perfectly expressed documents.
Anyway, it was one of those times I had to remind myself that I really am cool.
*Michael has his headphones on and just bumped Ender's musical-tiger-with-felt-hair-who-catches-plastic-balls-in-his-purple-basket-and-whose-nose-lights-up-and-he-cheers-toy and didn't even notice when the bouncy music tinkled out. I love it when silly things like that make me laugh!*
And a blog post can be as short as I want. As DUMB as I want! *GASP!!!*

Just to prove it, my next will be quite dumb.