Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Many Children?

A week ago, I had a striking dream.
Michael and Ender and I met up with a version of Karen Thomas at a bus stop. She had come from California to bring my "second child" back to me; somehow, we had been unable to care for him when he was born. She held him in a boxy shopping back padded with blankets. For a moment I felt critical of such treatment of my own baby, but I realized how grateful I should be that she took care of him at all. As I peeked in the bag and pulled my child out to embrace him, I tried not to feel the pain of having left him. Would he never think of me as his mother? Would he never feel able to fully trust anyone? Would he know love? I took him to a room our family had stayed in the night before. His hair was slightly darker, slightly longer than Ender's. Though this would be unrealistic in life, his eyes were a mossy brown. Those eyes sparkled as I held him up. I knew that look: love. My baby knew somehow that I loved him, that I was his very own mother, and he was mine. How could there be that much love in my little baby who had hardly known me? I determined to give him all the attention he would need, to let him sleep between Michael and me so he would know he was not alone. As I gazed at this loving child, I woke up.
The room was light from the snow outside. I sat up and looked around. Where was he? I have two children! Where is he?! He's gone! He's gone!!! I lost him! Where's my son! He's not here, he's gone! I've lost him! I can't find him! I ran to the bathroom and prayed--"Don't I have two children? Heavenly Father, how many do I have? I can't find him..."
It makes me weep to remember the loss. It makes me bawl. I loved him.
I finally, finally remembered by trying to name my children that I have Ender. My one, sweet son.
You can imagine a lot of pondering and praying followed this experience. I know I'm not pregnant (and this time that knowledge even brought some disappointment). Most of my thoughts have not changed, but it is as if a window has opened to my future, and I see a little more than I used to.

Twenty One

After two weeks or so of following my goals, I noticed that each time I excelled in one thing, another thing dropped. I exercised a full week without fail, but the house got messier and messier. When I finally cleaned, I missed a couple days of exercise. When I began cooking meals regularly, I didn't do so well with the cleaning. I didn't feel angry at myself, and I knew I was doing fine. But that little feeling whispering around in my mind brought my mood lower. These things were simple--and I wouldn't even call myself the busiest woman--and I still couldn't do them consistently. Why couldn't I manage to exercise in the morning, cook meals, and clean up after myself?
While driving home from Megan's after helping her with Audrey and doing a little yoga, I pondered gently. Maybe it was the atmosphere in the car from listening to Cranberries' "21" that did it: I abruptly started to cry. And because I felt kind toward myself, I just let it go. It only lasted probably four seconds. The kind of cry that just happens sometimes. I am a girl, anyway! I felt a lot better and just put the last few weeks behind myself and knew I could start again. Announcement: I have exercised at least 3 times a week since I started on the first Monday of this month! Except for perhaps 3 of those workouts, they have been early in the morning! Now even at 5:30AM! I have managed to put meals together each day! And I have recognized those pivotal moments where I could decide to continue reading or clean up the little mess on the couch or unload the dishwasher--and I have been choosing the right!
I'm so glad that I have had so little stress this month in achieving my goals. At first, sadly, the worst days were Sundays because I felt so anxious to get there on time (and it hardly happened). Michael prayed for me one evening that I'd be able to enjoy a relaxing, calm Sabbath. Just remembering his prayer the next morning helped me to feel at peace even when I had little time to get ready.
It might have been the same drive home while listening to Cranberries that I spun a donut. No cars were too close around me, and I simultaneously laughed and prayed. I spun 180 and just had to grin at my foolishness for not slowing down carefully before the turn. It was kind of fun! But I had to seriously consider my driving; I talked to Mom just days before, and she commented offhandishly that she no longer worried about her daughters with children, because that makes us better drivers. I completely agreed. But after driving Michael back from the seminary, he breathed a sigh of relief at home and said he'd been praying the whole time! What?! He must have been joking! But no, he was a little worried that I was driving too fast. Well, I figured out that I really do drive carefully when it's just me in the car, but being with him automatically gives me a sense of safety (even invincibility). I forget then to be careful. Sweet, I know, but it's true. So I made the conscious effort the next day to drive like a smart grandma. ;) It's necessary with all the snow and ice, albeit a tad annoying when people follow too close and make me feel like I have to go fast. It actually makes me miss Atlanta highways for the thrill of having to go supersonic fast to avoid accidents. That's weird, isn't it.
I'm loving Rexburg in new ways this winter. Last winter, I was pregnant. Different story. The winter before that I was a freshman new to not only the school but the vicious, blustery winters. I remember biking downhill on a bike WITHOUT GLOVES. I just forgot them. The bike picked up more and more speed and the wind gnawed through my skin till surely it would peel back and flap from the bones! It kept my fingers from being saved by merciful numbness! When I finally reached the other side of campus for my art class, I went straight to the sink and stayed there nearly the entire period trying to revive my knuckles' mobility. I vowed to always dress for the weather, even if it meant sacrificing style. By doing that this winter, I find poetic delight in the glittery snowflakes and white dunes filling yards. I have felt bitter only once--when the cold was bitter. BITTER COLD. -22 COLD. And of course, I was outside at 5:30AM trying to scrape a glaze of frost off the car. I pulled the hood of my sweater around my face till only my eyes were showing, and my EYEBALLS were cold! Definitely booger-freezing weather. I hated it. I hunched my shoulders and chattered my teeth uncontrollably all the way to the gym (sure it's closeby, but it was still painful). I stayed in side the rest of the day, cozy with my book and fireplace! Nothing was going to budge me from my comfort!
Ender and I are dancing to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." I have been playing with my little boy more lately! Yesterday we cuddled in bed while he drank his bottle and I read a book, eating potato chips. Mmmm! I read a lot now, and I think it has boosted my sanity quite a lot. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I like books from the library's Young Adult section more than most others. I do know the importance of reading classics and history and nonfiction, and I have a very cultured background of reading. But those YA books are fun...I even read one about a fifth grader and enjoyed it. Why not? I hope I never forget what it felt like to be a kid. I hope all the awesome memories never become dull. Those emotions of childhood and inbetween then and adulthood are so vivid and valuable to me!
I've been finding my favorite songs this month--I have always loved the music my older siblings listened to because I idolized my brothers and sisters. So it's kind of funny to me that my list of favorite songs includes tons of 80s and 90s! I created a playlist for myself that has only my very favorite songs (to be added to gradually), and it's such a great feeling to have a no-fail collection of music! I guess other people have been compiling theirs for all their lives, but I just barely have! I love it! No song I want to skip over. Ahhhh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Just a quick note, really.
I've been blessed with gentleness towards myself. I have felt very guided in my efforts of keeping the goals I set for myself. As I considered how ready I was to begin adding another to my attempts, I knew just how much to expect. And if I didn't exactly meet those expectations, it would be okay. It honestly would.
And for example, I've been sick with a mild flu today. I missed my workout badly, reminding myself that sick people don't exercise. But I smiled to myself, too, and knew that I was doing fine. I stayed in bed all but maybe two hours of the day (which were spent on the couch). The aches are finally subsiding--now that it's time to go back to bed--and I'm hopeful I will feel better tomorrow. We'll see how I feel when the alarm goes off.
I'm glad, though. I feel so good and calm about the person I'm being every day. I'm really trying and at the same time I'm doing so without hurting myself. A nice (and big) change for me.
Happy New Year indeed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


As I got dressed for my Mary Kay meeting, Ender got into the chocolates I left on the coffee table (yes, I was eating them. Lots of them). I looked down at the incredible mess he'd created and just didn't feel like being angry. I grabbed the camera and tried to laugh about it. He was shoving the wrapped kisses into his mouth and sucking the chocolate out, somehow getting it everywhere: the carpet, my coat, his face and clothes, almost the camera...I admit I grumbled a tiny bit when he got mad at me for taking the chocolate away, but who wouldn't be mad about that? Chocolate's good! So I surrendered and gave him one [unwrapped] kiss while he was secured out of the way in his high chair. He is clever when he gets in trouble; if he has been sucking on kleenex and we take the wads out of his tight, unrelenting fists, he swipes another piece while we're busy shoveling the soggy strips out of his mouth. It almost makes me laugh, he's SO fast!
He sat still for what must have been fifteen minutes today while I read to him. I knew he was tired, but he resisted the rocking pretty angrily. And as I read, he gazed at me and really listened. When I did yucky voices (especially the robotic one), he squirmed and grunted until I finally went back to the normal voice. I felt really special to be soothing him like that. I talked him to sleep!
So I mentioned the chocolate...I had an interesting day. It was good--how could it not be? I started it right and did what I really needed to. But I didn't clean up after Ender's little tornadoes. Hhahahha, just thinking about him zooming around the house makes me laugh! But he got into books and CDs and movies and cereal and pots and trash cans...I tried mainly to keep him happy. But I felt tired today. I'm glad my cold is receding! All the evidence left is my congestion and froggy throat (a woman at the gym got really concerned when I started talking with my mix of morning grog and throaty frog hah! rhyme!). Even though I know I spent my time in good ways, I kind of wonder what I did all day. It was nice to read a book and lie to myself about how many chocolates I really ate. :) It wasn't that bad, honestly. Having exercised softened any guilt. Sure I know that's not the point of exercising, but it's nice once in a while! I really needed to rest for some reason. My guess is it's the effect of a big change in schedule. It's a lot to adjust to, however good it is.
My verdict for the day? Spankin' good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Day

This morning's yoga was a bit less relaxing. We did standing poses--but I found that my balance is much better than I thought! What a pleasant surprise. I'm excited to get better at it. And tomorrow, I WILL SWIM!!! WOOHOOOOO! I can't believe how excited I am! Not just because I got new goggles for my birthday. I just love water. :)

I'm still sick, but I didn't let myself take that drowsifying medicine (yesterday, it gave me a 2 1/2 hour "nap" after I fought it all morning). At least I breathe better! I noticed while driving that my posture is naturally correcting itself--such a blessing! And I cheered myself into teaching my harp students instead of rescheduling again. I knew I could do it! It's not like I didn't want to, I just felt wretched.

Michael's mom must have been inspired to call today and ask if I needed babysitting "just to give [me] some time for myself." She said she would have loved having a mother nearby for that kind of help, and today she had time for it! I tidied in the house just a little bit, but I let myself use the time to relax, too. I made a CD for myself of my favorites...although...and Maddie would delight in this oversight of mine--I didn't listen to the entirety of one song I added. After the first half-minute, I thought it was pretty cool (and I thought it was something else). Turns out that song is THE DUMBEST. It doesn't deserve to be anywhere near my favorite songs! NOOO!!! I don't know why, but I haven't yet succeeded in making a CD of just the best songs. One dumb one always creeps in.
That's okay though. I can laugh. A little.

I might not keep posting as frequently as I have been. Lately, it's been to keep myself pushing for my goals. Now I will assume things will go well. So if I don't write, it's not out of guiltiness. ;)
Not that you'd think so...but I would.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I am victorious!

I went to the gym and couldn't swim because I didn't have my I-Card.
I rushed home and miraculously found it right away!
I still couldn't swim because I'm not currently a student.
When I tried to register as spouse under Michael's name, I couldn't because he hasn't signed up for all his classes yet as proof that he's a full-time student.
Still I did not give up! I thought "Everyone's rooting for me! Including myself! I can't not exercise! I won't kid myself into doing it later today because I just WON'T!"
So I went home and did some Pilates.

Ahhhhhh. It's done! I did it!

* * * *

After exercising, breakfast, prayers and scripture study, I went to the temple with a couple sisters while a babysitter stayed home (with the baby still asleep). Unwittingly, however, I took some cold medicine so I wouldn't have to blow my nose every five minutes. I had been warned it could make me drowsy! But I didn't think of that; yesterday I took a DEEP, SOLID nap after my first dose, but I just thought it was because I was sick. Really miserable, actually. My cold was at its peak yesterafternoon. And I took the medicine again before bedtime, but it's no surprise to fall asleep at night. So at some point in the temple, I think I dozed! Suddenly I was in one room when expecting to be in another! I asked the sister working there "Is this the right room?!" She nodded and explained--but I didn't remember the last couple minutes! It was like a black-out! That worried me a little till I realized why it had happened. I spent the rest of the time with my eyes peeled wide open and my back as straight as it would go! It's funny to me now that I finished everything!

This day is just beautiful--Ender woke up just barely before I arrived home, and he's snuggling with me, drinking his bottle while I type. He is such a good boy. I think sometimes it's the only reason I'm a good mommy. He really does make it easy.
I feel soooooo relaxed! I've been breathing deeply all morning, praying fairly constantly and keeping mindful of my posture.

I feel very good about my resolutions. They are accessible, and I will be gentle on myself when I slip in any way. They are all things I love to do and need to do. Maybe it's silly of me, but I thought of my blog while running back and forth to the gym. I thought how I could write about my success (before I had succeeded). Even if no one read this entry, my blog is public, so I am making myself even more accountable. It is motivating.

* * * *

Not to gloat--more to support myself in this great progress--but I did well yesterday! During my errands, I started feeling very, very sick. My head felt overrun with heat. So much so, that I wasn't even alert enough to take off my coat, which would have certainly helped! My cold felt like some kind of disease ruling my body. (And here I am glad for my positive attitude: I could have given up exercising because it's supposed to keep me from feeling like that. Very easy to believe that rationality. But I reminded myself it had been only one day, and things would for sure improve).
When I came home, I pushed myself to do good things and be useful. I made rolls for the first time as a wife and mommy. My pasta primavera tasted delicious! Michael heaped seconds on his plate and thanked me enthusiastically for the delicious meal. Everything turned out well. It was even worth having to clean dough off my hands with baby wipes while the water was turned off!

Speaking of which, I now wonder if it really was my fault because I had prayed the day before for help in recognizing blessings! ;) I thought of the pioneers or any early settlers while wiping dough out of the grooves of my fingernails. They had to collect their water if they didn't have a pump, and they had to boil it if they wanted it even a little warm in the winter! When I finally took my HOT, LONG shower last night, I just had to sigh...a hot shower is really soothing! Maybe that's why I always take ten minutes instead of five. It's worth it!

* * * *

I love mornings like this! Even with all the other things to do today, I have begun the day right no matter what else happens. I can breathe!

I really am relaxed! At peace! This feeling is what has been missing for so long! I feel so in tune with my body, thoughts and spirit!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yoga Put the Fire Out

It's a fun comfort just to open a page for a new post and sit here. I like my blog.

I am making progress! Good, gentle progress. Over the weekend we eased into our new schedule, and even though the alarm guillotined my dreams quite unexpectedly, I got up on time to go exercise at Megan's! YAY FOR A GOOD DAY! Even if it didn't happen tomorrow, I'm so glad I could make myself do it today. Of course, I expect myself to do it tomorrow because I did it today...
So far, at 10:09 AM, my day looks like this:
  • 6:00AM get up
  • 6:15AM pray aloud on way to Megan's
  • 6:20AM begin Yoga
  • 6:55AM finish and leave
  • 7:15AM arrive home (the clock must have been wrong--I was astounded!) and have family prayer and scripture study with Michael
  • 7:35ishAM get oatmeal cooking and load dishwasher in the meantime
  • 7:40AM calmly diminish great fire under pot of oatmeal, laughing inside at said calmness (must have been the yoga working)
  • 7:43AM continue
  • 8:00AM finally stop loading dishes and eat blueberries with oatmeal while studying scriptures
  • 8:30/9:00AM (I might be off in the timing) check voicemail and find babysitter and ride for temple visit tomorrow morning
  • 9:30ishAM brush teeth (and FLOSS! Bravo!) and make bottle before greeting Ender and changing his diaper

Yes, I am off in the timing. That doesn't matter though! I'm just so glad to begin my day so nicely! Yoga is surprisingly effective. I always believed it would be, but I didn't realize exactly what it is: I breathed and relaxed this morning. I felt the stretching and tugging but hardly because I focused on my breath and releasing tension! I felt it leave my lower back completely, my hips, my shoulders and neck and especially my stomach!
I felt this new power over my body, a clean connection that I have missed for so long. I suspect yoga will put out more than my oatmeal's fire!
I do have a cold, so the breathing was perhaps more laborious than it needed to be, but I still enjoyed everything!

Tomorrow I will SWIM! I love the water. I am SO excited to swim--SO EXCITED! What is it that gets me so stoked about swimming?! I'm so thrilled at the prospect! In the winter semester before I got married, I took a swimming class. Every time I left the Hart building, I felt so fluidly calm and relaxed. I breathed very deeply and had this inexplicable inner warmth so that the bitter Rexburg frigidity had no hold! I strolled across campus with my coat unzipped, my hair damp and beginning to freeze in its toweled shape, completely happy. When I got to the Snow building, I would lie down on a bench while I waited to meet up with Michael. It was all a very restful moment of the day, and even though I felt relatively no stress over wedding preparations, it revived my energies!

Aside from all the things to do today, I still need to shower. I feel no motivation whatsoever. But this is not what it seems! The reason is that we have no hot water. None at all. The hot setting is as icy as the cold. It's so cold it burns. At first, I thought this was my fault--a couple days ago, I somehow forgot to turn off the faucet after rinsing Ender's poopy clothes (for probably the third time that day) in the sink. I suppose it all makes sense because we were in the midst of a great cleaning of the house. The tub had the cooler and a bucket in it. Ender's previous wrung-out poo-messes were drying on the curtain rod.
So something like an hour later, Michael exclaims that the bathroom is flooded...our neighbors get a cup of water in their bathroom downstairs, and the next day they tell us their water heater broke.
But it really wasn't my fault. The heater had about a foot of calcium caked at the bottom from all the hard water (yuck). The same night, they got a new heater and were told it would be working in a few hours, definitely by morning. *sigh* This is a day later.

Michael took a cold shower, easy for him! He got used to it on his mission. He'd get the water running and soap himself while he'd imagine an African drum ritual, the beats getting faster and faster and faster until they'd suddenly HALT! and that's when he'd leap into the freezing slashes of water to take the Shortest Shower in Russia.

Me? No.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Lord Wants to Bless Me

I feel so supported in my goals! My friends and family have designated themselves (directly or not) as fellow paddlers. Perhaps the hardest part in the voyage of HMS Motherhood will be admitting I am tired. Please forgive me for speaking metaphorically here, but it is clearer in this instance. It is difficult to hand my oars to someone else because it feels like I'm giving them the work I ought to do. That's plain pride, as much as it comes from a desire to be as little a burden as possible on others.
When I say thank you, I want you to know I mean it from my heart. Thank you so, so much for having the honest desire to take an oar alongside me, especially when it gives you nothing. Thank you so much for your selflessness in offering your sincere help. It's a little nerveracking that you all did, because I am going to ask for that help.
You are all examples of Heavenly Father's love. I couldn't thank you enough. Your offers to help me are evidence of Heavenly Father's mercy in answering my prayers.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I've made lists of how I'd like my days to go...and they haven't benefited me all that much. Lists can be like that. While I filter all my hopes and goals down to the most important, I'm going to record the reasons I want to achieve these goals. I can write goal after goal and figure out exactly what has to happen to reach those goals, but I must not forget why those goals are important.
In no particular order:

  • I will wake up consistently early and go to bed consistently early.
    WHY? I will feel so much better; I will provide personal time for myself by starting the day before Ender starts his; I will eat breakfast at the right time; I am supposed to.
  • I will be more affectionate with Michael and Ender.
    WHY? Affection is Michael's love language; babies need to feel their mommy's love; I will love myself better; I will be focused on the eternal priorities.
  • I will exercise at least 5 days a week (at least 30 minutes per day).
    Hah! Because I must! It is a commandment to care for this temple; I will be more in tune with my body, my spirit and the Holy Spirit; I will feel better; I will look better; I will sleep better; I will have more energy.
  • I will pick a private room in the house to pray aloud.
    My prayers will be more sincere; I will learn to align my will with Heavenly Father's will; I need divine help; my family and friends need divine help.
  • I will not take part in entertainment that is crude.
    It would show irreverence for the gifts I have been blessed with in life; I know better.
  • I will practice the harp at least twice a week.
    I love the harp; I have a talent, therefore I have a duty to share it; my fingers' muscle memory will otherwise decline.
  • I will figure out how to be the Mary Kay consultant I dream of being.
    I have prayed about it and feel it will be an immense blessing to all; I want to see myself work hard, prove myself and accomplish something I used to only dream of; we need a car!
  • I will be more fun!
    To be a good friend; to bless my family; to develop my personality even further; to be a child with my children when they need that special companionship in imagination; it feels so good to laugh; others will feel boosted by my enjoyment of being with them.
  • I will doodle every month.
    It's so fun! It makes other people happy! It makes me laugh! It awakens what I like to think of as "my deep well of creativity." Um, I've never thought of it in those words, but...that's the idea.
  • I will play around with my sewing machine.
    I suspect I have a hidden talent in there; this is another fun thing; I could see so many ideas come to fruition! It feels empowering; I ought to know how to sew better than simple mending (I just feel that way).
  • I will cook a lot!
    My family needs to eat; I love baking and trying new recipes (so it feels fulfilling); this may be yet another hidden talent.

There are always lots of things I could resolve to change for the new year, but I weedled them down to my spiritual parts in dire need of improvement, urgent physical needs and talents that need growth or development. Having "published" them on my blog, I now feel wonderfully obligated! Bravo!