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 ('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+)
Apr (B) May (A) June (A+)
Jul (A) Aug (A+) Sep (A)
Oct (A+) Nov (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.


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.