Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Creations

Did you think it might not happen? I didn't, but I thought I'd be cutting it close! The fact is, being creative is very much part of my life, so even while I didn't do some of my bigger projects I had in mind, I created. :)

First: a baby shower invitation for my darling cousin Chela.

Second: I doodled! Here's my favorite.

Third: I have been redecorating and reorganizing and rearranging in our home. I am SO excited to do a Before&After when it's all complete. For now, I relish the suspense of the Reveal.
And I'm not talking about puny closet fix-ups (although I don't think those are puny...I adore my newly FIXED closet...ahhh!). 
This is a big deal. 
It's like some reality show remodel, to me. It's that big of a difference. 
And I obviously can't seem to stop talking about it!
(And now I'm stopping!)


DAY16 - Something I Could Live Without

Well, I obviously live without a lot of things. 
On the other hand... (I've told this before I think)... 

One time Michael and I were talking about girls who seemed so high strung and high maintenance and I said "I'm so glad I'm not high maintenance." 
There was a lengthyish pause. I glanced up at Michael. "Um...right?"
Michael smiled and said "You kind of are high maintenance, but I like maintaining you." 

Aw. Well. Then I can't be offended. :) 

Guess what? Sometimes I think about taking things away from myself, like as if I lived on an island, and I try to think about what would be the hardest to live without. What it comes down to is that I'd survive if I were forced to. So I could technically live without any nonessentials. 

But! Let's make this fun and easy, because I'm wasting brainpower here when I could be eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream (sinfully good when I eat so little chocolate). 

I could live without:

Artificially flavored strawberry ice cream. 

Chocolate is so much better, and I never want to touch the pink stripe in the bucket of Neopolitan. Now I'm going to eat.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DAY15 - Share First 10 Songs Played on Shuffle

My iPod is broken. It won't hold a charge. That's okay, though, because it was free (it had been left behind for at least a year when we managed girls' apartments at BYU-Idaho). I still played my music on shuffle...on the computer.

Amber - 311

Teardrop - Massive Attack

I Get Knocked Down - Chumbawamba

Major Tom - Shiny Toy Guns

If You're Gone - Matchbox Twenty

Fields of Gold - Sting

Vogue [Edit] - Madonna

Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode

One Wrong Door - A Silent Film
(can't find "One Wrong Door" for streaming online, here's "You'll Leave A Mark")
Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel 

And I cheated! *GASP!* Because among the songs, "Beautiful Girls (Remix)" by Sean Kingston played. And I think that's a pretty fun song...but I don't like Sean Kingston much, if at all. Isn't that silly? I mean, here I am telling you about it...
Otherwise, I like all those songs. I just won't get all verbose about it--I'm not in the mood today. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DAY14 - Something I Ate and 10 Confessions

I ate two of these. 

  1. And then I ate several bowls of cereal (too many) and a big bowl of chocolate ice cream.
  2. A lot of my meals are like that, not very put together (it's a pregnancy thing).
  3. Aside from pregnancies, I have weighed the same since I was about 14; the muscle v. fat changed at different times, but the number stayed the same (just shows how much numbers don't show).
  4. I like preteen movies. Once in a while. Like a guilty pleasure.
  5. I like teen fiction.
  6. With this pregnancy, Doritos give me farm animal gas. It's atrocious.
  7. I avoid taking medicine (and I'm not always sure why).
  8. When I butter something, I use a lot of butter. Michael uses even more! We're a perfect match.
  9. In my head, I'm kind of a drama queen.
  10. I think dogs are stupid. Don't be bitter.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

DAY12 - A Picture of My Room (w/out cheating and cleaning) | Share a Secret

It just happened to be clean. As in, it's usually clean. Maybe this thing should have specified "take a picture of your DIRTY room!" Hah. I am above ye for my cleanliness leaves me godly.
I'm kidding, guys. Guess what? After I took this picture, it got messy again. Like, immediately. 

What, you think I'm cheating?
I'll distract you with a secret:

I'm wearing false eyelashes today.
(What?? You think it's OBVIOUS?)
(Well duh. Guys, I don't tell my secrets. That's why they're secrets).
(I really only used this picture so I could show off my cool eyeshadow, which I finally figured out how to do with lots of eye primer and creamy stuff).
(Besides, I conveniently can't think of a secret right now).

Or maybe the whole secret-sharing thing was referring to the fact that I'd be putting up a picture of my dirty room? That's my secret? Looks like I've failed. :D 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DAY11 - A Picture of Something I Dislike

I greatly dislike feeling claustrophobic.
I've discovered it's the basis of many of my pet peeves.
Here I have doodled my frustrations in a slightly sloppy manner to illustrate my feelings.

My older siblings used to play a game with us, deftly named Hot Dog, in which they would roll us up in a blanket. It was good fun...for 0.25 seconds. And then I'd panic and kind of scream and insist they unroll me.
This Hot Dog feeling happens in sleeping bags, too.
And if I ever had to have a CAT scan, you can bet they'd have to knock me out to get me in there.

If anything is pulling my hair down on my head, I don't like it. I don't even let my pillow do that; I have to fluff my hair over the pillow so that it's not even touching me (and nothing is touching it).

Ew. Not kidding. This applies to scrambled bed sheets, too. Hey, twisted socks/nylons fits in there, too.

See how I have a big "X" on my face? When my nose is stuffed, it's as disconcerting as if I had no nose. I really, really hate it. And I feel trapped, suffocated.

Extremely dry hands and feet also give me the sensation of being trapped. It's like my feet or hands can't breathe through my skin, and I truly suffer for it. Good lotions are as necessary to have around as bandaids (even more so).

Do I need to explain this one? 

Really, anything. I do not like having my face crowded. NO. Like staticy hair. Or a ski mask. Or a scarf that's pulled over my mouth and nose. Gah!!!!

Well who DOES like muffin top?

I have witnesses: I will pull over to get out of my coat if I have to.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh, Just Tell it to My Face!

Leaving church, Someone (I will not tell you who) said 
"Oh, Mommy has her coat, but where's Ender's coat?" 
I felt like smiling sarcastically, rolling my eyes...really? Really?! You'll put it that way so it will seem less offensive? It was warm outside, a little breezy, and when we had left the house, Ender did not WANT a coat, and I did because I often get cold easily (especially in the primary room). And our walk to church takes less than a minute since it's exactly across the street. So big deal. And I didn't really feel offended--just surprised that this woman would say it that way! Gah! I know it happens all the time, but seriously! Who talks like that?! It's worse than saying to ME "Where's Ender's coat?" Because then I can easily answer "He didn't want one; besides, isn't it nice out?" Addressing it to Ender or, strangely, the air, is more offensive. It's like 
I'm hinting that you are selfish and should have gotten your son a coat--hope you noticed! 

DAY10 - A Story About a Past Relationship

has now been illustrated. 
Take a look!

It's impossible to recount every awesome thing Nigel and I did together, or to explain just why he's such a special cat. He was my buddy. I loved him so much, and he loved me, too. I miss my little kitty friend.
Nigel was my favorite Christmas present, aside from the harp. He was my present the Christmas before I turned 12, and my parents selected him from a little farm kitty family. All the kittens were adorable, but Nigel went right up to my papa and started purring--much like the revving of a motorcycle. Perfect!
He always purred a lot. He was so content to just be with me that he would often sit gazing at me while I went about my business, and he'd purr and purr and purr. 
 Nigel was patient. He had to be, being MY kitty. I played with him all day...sometimes playing games that were not kitty-games, like dress up (but it's so irresistible)! And the best part was that Nigel still worshiped me. He followed me around the house and sat with me wherever I was. I loved his company. And he really loved me--some cats truly are independent, but Nigel was more like a dog in his submission to me as his master. He slept on my bed and purred me to sleep. He was always so affectionate. 
 Nigel's meows were really weird. In fact, he was really weird. But of course, that's why he was perfect for me (or did you not know that I'm weird? Surprise!). When he meowed, it sounded like a garbled mess of German and ...something like a Scottish accent. His most commonly repeated meows were "McGah" and "Gank-G-Nyow!" He liked to talk to me while I sat at my desk and drew picture after picture. And he'd follow me if I got up, especially if I was heading to the bathroom. He loved running water, and he knew I'd turn on the sink for him. But it could be annoying; he'd come all the way to the door and then stand there looking up at me waiting for me to grant permission, like a dog, and when I had to go to the bathroom really badly, he'd stand there unsure for way too long. One of my favorite memories of Nigel is watching him leap onto the edge of a basin sink. As he got older, he developed an udder-esque sack of fat on his belly. It was so hilariously gross. He was HUGE, but his face always stayed the same babyish, kitten face! So he'd leap up onto that lip of the sink and teeter on the point of his four paws, looking a little frantic while he waited for balance. Sometimes I gave him a sneaky shove into the sink. :D 
This drawing by Maddie documents a crazy story. :) One time I woke up to Nigel clamping his teeth into my buttocks at 4am. I jerked and turned around to look at him, and he sat there staring at me with wide eyes, completely shocked, as if saying "Oh, you...uh, you woke up...I didn't expect you to..." Then he shifted his paws and adjusted his face so that he seemed to be trying the innocent look, like he had no idea why I was still awake. I laughed and either rolled out of bed or went back to sleep (I often did get up at 4am).
 Nigel was not very um...catlike in his grooming, shall we say. I think part of it could be that he got used to having baths as a kitten (which he loved) to help cure him of some ringworm. Yeah, that's disgusting. Like I said, he was a farm kitty! He stayed in my bedroom for the first few weeks until he was better, and I didn't mind at all. But I think the other part of his dirtiness was plain old laziness. Or stupidity, I don't know. He was such a silly cat! This picture (above) is Elroy giving him a bath. Elroy tolerated Nigel and sometimes played all buddy-buddy with him, but his friendship seemed to come with conditions: Elroy would get to bathe Nigel once in a while, and Elroy would get to keep his favorite snoozing spots. (When it came to food, though, there was no negotiating; Nigel was such a hog, he'd budge in and knock Elroy over to snarf down as much as he could before Elroy finally got annoyed enough to shove him away).
I had Nigel till I was almost 17, I think. Over the years I'd become a little allergic to cats (especially my un-bathing little Nigel), and I had to let him live with my sister Rae. I was okay with the arrangement, but I missed him a lot. I knew that as cute and crazy as he was, he wouldn't have as cool a relationship with Rae as he had with me. The day came finally that Nigel ran away; he was always obsessed with the outdoors (understandably but a little bit psychotically), and when friends came to visit Rae, they left the door open long enough that Nigel made his escape. I'm not sure if he was too daft to find his way back or found more fun out in the wild or just died really soon after...but I'm excited to have him back when I go to Heaven. :) No allergies there!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DAY9 - Something/Someone I'm Proud of

Boatright Family ca. 1990 (Madelyn not born yet)

Wahlquist Family ca. 2002 (Lillian not born yet)

Our Family 2008


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DAY8 - Short Term Goals For This Month and Why

  • Create something. My New Year's Resolutions! And because I really, really enjoying having to come up with a "project" every month.
  • Post on my cooking blog. I've got so many recipes to add, and poor La Quisine de Q is in desperate need of update!
  • Prepare for General Conference somehow. I don't want to come "empty handed." If I expect to get so much out of it, I'd like to be ready with a lot of pondering accomplished.
  • Relax. I've had some high-stress weeks lately, and I don't like to be stressed. It tends to make me a little cranky, edgy. I need to have more fun with Ender and Audrey, get outside more, bake yummy things, and read a book. 
  • Make appointments. Did I tell you my secret that I've only yet had ONE appointment for this pregnancy? That ultrasound and all the accompanying tests. It was a great visit. I can't currently go back to that [lovely!] clinic because my health plan isn't accepted there...but it's possible it could be in April. So I keep stalling. But! I've got to see a chiropractor for my awfully achy back, get my eyes checked because I squint at street signs, get my teeth checked because I haven't for 4 years, and get Ender updated on all the stuff he's missed for a year or so. :\ It's all weighing on my mind, surely part of the stress aforementioned. I need to make it happen!
I know that's rather month's goals include the exciting details of planning our anniversary celebration! Woohoo! :D Some of which I probably wouldn't share anyway...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Blog (just a note)

In four months of 2008, I wrote 18 posts.
I've written 16 in this month alone (counting this post, 17).
In 2010, I wrote 37 posts (less than 2009's record of 49).
This is the 38th post of this only the third month.

I know that past record doesn't represent a ton of blogging, the kind you'd see from a wonderfully dedicated blogger. That's okay. :)

I like the way my blog has grown--my posting style has changed in some ways, and I'm liking it so far.
It's been really fun to discover this hobby and how much I enjoy it more and more!

I hope that you do, too. I feel really grateful for this blog and what it means to me, and I love all the comments I've received. Comments are such a great part of blogs--I wouldn't have a blog if I couldn't read your thoughts as well. It's more fun to share.

Just noting!

DAY7 - A Picture of Someone/Something That Has the Biggest Impact on Me

30 Day Challenge

There's no denying it! The lack or acquisition of sleep has a HUGE impact on me! :D
I have to's kind of weird to see myself sleeping. 

I could say so many things impact me, but try this on: having a baby in your belly! I feel all of her little (or big!) movements, I eat for her, I rest for her, I sacrifice my body for her, and I love it all. Being pregnant really is a beautiful thing--I even thought so during my very sick and difficult pregnancy with Ender. It's an incredible, incredible gift to carry a baby in my womb.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Invasion of the Crumb Snatchers

When we first moved in, we discovered a heavy ant problem. But with my nifty Sevin-5 Dust Bug Killer, it was no stress. That stuff is used on farmer crops. It's effective. We sprinkled cracks and corners, and the ants died. Hooray. They've been gone until very recently.
It started in the bathroom, for whatever reason. I'd like to think that bathroom "stuff" is not food for ants, but sometimes ants are gross, so I wouldn't put it past them. I sprinkled the corners they seemed to be coming from, and for good measure, I "dusted" in the kitchen, too.
They kept coming out, but they kept dying. One day in the bathroom, I saw an ant carrying a dying one. I felt just a touch of pity as I imagined the groaning ant saying "A good soldier never leaves an ant behind!" and the dying one saying "Bless you, brother."
But then I flushed them down the toilet while they sang "he ain't heavy, he's my brother." It was a very undignified death for a soldier.

Then a couple days after that, I spied an ant toting a ball of play-dough from the floor under the table. I laughed. I narrated the ant's thoughts to myself: "Oh Sally will be so glad I've brought something for the kids! Won't they be delighted."

But after another little laugh, I killed the ant. I convinced myself it didn't have a family, so it was okay.
The ants kept coming, much to my frustration and great efforts in sweeping at least once daily (and removing all traces of crumbs in the kitchen). They kept dying, but it just wasn't enough. Michael and I thought maybe they were coming from behind the oven or fridge.

This last weekend, my cold had me feeling particularly tired. I let the dishes grow arms and legs and let those arms and legs grow hair. It just didn't matter. I love my housework, and because I do it regularly, it doesn't bother me when on occasion I let things slide. It just doesn't happen much, so I forgive myself. But these dishes were dirty. Not rinsed at all, filling the sink to the point that the faucet was hard to access. They looked worse than they were, but they spread onto the counters anyway. A greasy bacon tray crowned my counter. Evidence of cookie-making sprinkled the counter. An oily butter wrapper graced the surface.
What an invitation! Party at my main counter, ants! Bring your cousins and make it a family reunion!

I didn't notice at first. When I finally went into the kitchen before going to bed, I went in with no intention to go crazy and start cleaning; I just wanted to be sure there were dishes and space for making breakfast in the morning. I started piling a few more things in the sink, clearing the table a little...and WHOA! Suddenly! Just like that! I realized Ant Moses had brought his entire tribe of Israelants to my counter!!!! No kidding! And my pregnant belly was super close to them, too, brushing the edge of the counter.
I hollered to Michael--ANTS ON MY COUNTER!!! MY COUNTER--IT'S MY KITCHEN, NOT THEIRS! WHAT ARE THEY DOING ON MY COUNTER?! THEY'RE NOT DEAD! ANTS!!!! Michael came to witness the ants celebrating the idol of bacon grease, playing on the slip-n-slide butter wrapper, having food fights with our cookie mess crumbs. The war was on.

We cleared the counter, pulled out the oven, swept, vacuumed and dusted the saintly pesticide of Sevin-5 in every crevice. I made an outline on the counter, trapping the ants in a barbed-wire prison while sneering at them, snarling that they were only getting what they deserved for trespassing in MY KITCHEN--on the COUNTER, no less! After most of the ants had been plucked up in Michael's paper-toweling fury (he says he was imagining dive-bombing them, aren't we so perfect together?), I saw a couple of ants clinging to each other. Gross. They said through sobs "Juliet, I will never leave you." "We will die together, Romeo."
Bah. I squashed the stupid lovers.

After the cleaning frenzy, I scanned my kitchen with hawk eyes and felt my revenge had been satisfied. And then I felt a tweaking burn on my foot. Looking down, I saw an ant scurrying away. Poor Tony just wanted to let out a little aggression, I suppose. I killed the lonely ant with no sympathy.

This morning? A crippled ant trying to escape unnoticed along the edges of my counter. Almost like Moroni wandering the wilderness, the last of his people. Except not righteous like Moroni. So I killed him.

Does this great massacre have anything to do with the fact that we're suddenly getting more bug bites? It's as if Tony had a whole gang of Sharks and Jets combined who'd witnessed the deaths of their beloved Romeo, Juliet and Tony. And that gang wants revenge.
Well, bring it on, you puny ants. I've got my Sevin-5, and you're just a bellows for the fire of my fury. We may even bring out the fatman and littleboy of ant killers this time.


Wonder why I have no pictures to document these battles? How about look at all the above paragraphs of wrath. I have no tolerance for ants, not even for the minuscule moment it would take to grab the camera. Especially ants on my counter. 

DAY6 - A Hobby I Have

Mary Kay - and all things Beauty. Cosmetology feels like an artform to me.

Doodling - not just drawing! Doodles, specifically, make me laugh or at least smile.

Organizing - I count this because I enjoy it so much that I'll look for opportunities to do it even if the "need" isn't there.

Baking/Cooking - I enjoy food on so many levels, but creating it is especially exciting and rewarding!

Reading - just about anything. I sure love the alphabet and its magic. ;)

Blogging - no duh! :D

Exercising - I absolutely love exercise and the way I feel (during and after)!

...and that's the basics! Just ONE wouldn't be enough, of course!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DAY5 - A Picture of Somewhere I've Been To

We went on a vacation to Denmark while we lived in Belgium! We visited the beautiful island Bornholm, a lovely Danish castle (owned and lived in by its family still, partially open for tours), the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and Legoland. It was one of those vacations that Maddie and I knew was special...I remember being especially cooperative instead of complaining if I thought something didn't look fun--or if I was asked to smile for the camera (that was a big deal; at that stage, I didn't like pictures of myself).

An incredible castle surrounded by water; the rooms were in pristine condition.

Same castle? (Could be a Belgian scene, sorry...) I remember being fascinated by a story of a daughter being locked in her room, forbidden to marry her love, and after spending so long receiving food through a small square at the bottom of her door and seeing no one, she jumped out her window into the moat. I still don't remember if she survived the jump or not.

Quilt in Hans Christian Andersen Museum depicting his stories.

 A white beach on the island of Bornholm, with Bird family (Brother Bird was a missionary companion of my dad's). I don't know what I'm doing here! It makes me laugh!

Maddie and me enjoying the water (we didn't go too far out, though, because there was such a huge spread of slimy seaweed that we were too disgusted with). On a side note, during this no-smiling-in-pictures stage (thankfully abandoned for our Denmark trip), I was also very into wearing oversized t-shirts. I didn't even like Winnie the Pooh. That t-shirt stage lasted a REALLY long time...

The Denmark Vacation seems perfect to me. Everything was beautiful.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DAY4 - 15 Songs That Represent My Life's Soundtrack

My life is a world of music. In the impossible task of roping down 15 songs that would perfectly document my life like the perfect soundtrack, I'm sure I've missed some poignant favorites. Many of these songs are favorites because of the way they drive me when I'm running. Or because they make me want to run... Mmm, running with music! One of my most favorite things ever. Those are the times I really feel like music becomes my soundtrack. 
  1. Shout - Tears for Fears
    I seem to remember my brothers listening to this a lot; many of my favorite songs have become favorites out of nostalgia. I always looked up to my older siblings so much that I practically worshiped everything they did--including the music they listened to. But I've favored this song for my own reasons, too. It seemed to yank out my angst as a teenager, in all its pounding 80s grandeur. When I listened to this song, I wanted to stand on a rooftop and shout, even wordlessly, ripping out all of the feelings that were too big for silence. 
  2. Return to Innocence - Enigma
    This is maybe a weird song to most people. I love it. In its organic ambiance, I feel meditative and full of spiritual renewal, even if only on a superficial level...more so, I connect this song with my brother Isaac and always have for whatever reason (more apparent reasons now, but he has changed and it might not have been as natural a connection so many years ago). It makes me feel like a raw soul like him, real and in tune with the earth and my spirit. And as a kid, I clung to anything that seemed to bring me closer to him. He left home when I was about six or seven, and I missed him so badly, in so many ways.
  3. Chariots of Fire - Vangelis
    This song is so abused! I understand's so easy (and fun) to make fun of it and stick it with epic, slow motion comedic moments. But beyond the humor of it, this song gets my adrenaline pumping. This song makes me feel on fire, ready to burst from the start line in the race of my life to valiantly leap over the finish line. Gosh, I'm getting teary. ;) If you've seen the movie, you'd understand, too, that it's meant to embody determination and perseverance, etc. I just feel like it takes my willpower and motivation to a new level, makes me "ready" for all my greatest expectations.
  4. The Luckiest - Ben Folds
    Never much of a Ben Folds fan, I had never heard of this song before Michael introduced it to me. And I never actually heard it enough to know it until Michael had it played for our dance at our wedding reception. Listening to the words and looking into Michael's eyes, I really did feel like I was the luckiest...and I knew he felt like he was the luckiest. I still believe that. So I love this song.
  5. 1981 - Lepo Sumera
    (short version here)
    I feel so deeply touched by this music; it is a sort of minimalist work, its changes occurring slowly and minutely. It evokes a pensive heart, and it gives me a feeling of...time. The emotions brought up by this loveliness is so very similar to how I feel when I meditate with my feet frozen in a cold ocean, alone and wrapped in my thoughts. I love the ocean, I love what it does to me, and I love a cold ocean the most. This song comes very near to the ocean's effect on me.
  6. In My Room - The Beach Boys
    I've always been rather introverted, introspective, INWARD. I knew it as a kid, too. And I loved the Beach Boys for agreeing with me on the fact that My Room was quite special. That's where I found my peace and clarity all my years of growing up at home. Now that I'm married, my whole house kind of feels like my room, so it's not the same, and I have to find "My Room" in other ways, but this song is still the way I feel about it all. 
  7. Beautiful - Smashing Pumpkins
    I discovered this song through Rae when I was about 10 in Heidelberg, Germany. It melted me. I had a crush on this song. I wanted to have a guy think I was beautiful in such a way that he'd be inspired to sing a low, lazy-beat song like this in a kind of rusty voice. At this point, I don't even care if Michael likes this song (I think he tolerates it); it makes me think of him and how I know he thinks I'm beautiful. 
  8. Blackbird - The Beatles
    I loved this song before I understood what it meant. It's said (maybe somewhere as legitimate as Wikipedia?) it was written with black women in mind, wishing inward freedom for them. I love that, but I feel like it applies to me just as much. I do imagine a blackbird, and I imagine it flying alone and quiet...a poor thing, broken, but still flying. And while I never tried to map out the symbolism, I never needed to. 
  9. Take a Bow - Madonna
    Ah, the 90s. This one might have come around with some nostalgia, but I've genuinely loved it. First for its cool 90s-ness when I was little enough not to notice its words or get its meaning. Once I was old enough for it to mean anything, I definitely felt like it could describe me. As much as I was admired by boys, I was also somehow unapproachable. Not that that surprises me much (then or now). But it left me feeling melancholy sometimes, invisible. Oh unrequited crushes!
  10. Danses Sacree et Profane - Debussy
    Nicanor Zabaleta's performance of this work touches me the most, I think. This is ONE of the many harp pieces that have pulled me toward the belief in my virtuosic potential. I first heard it when my favorite harp teacher, Mrs. Patricia Anderson, performed it. I gushed my love of the piece, and she smiled and said maybe I could learn it in a couple years. I'm sad to say we moved too soon, and without her supervision (and with several gigs to keep me busy), I seemed to grow no closer to my goal of making this piece mine. I still drool over it. I still want it, I still crave the victory of performing it and being its artist. I adore the harp. Passionately. And this is one of the songs I must do someday. It makes me ache with the desire to play it because it seems to come from my soul as much as it did from Debussy's.
  11. Scheherazade - Rimsky-Korsakov
    I cannot find a good version of this on YouTube. This snippet of the gorgeous violin solo will be good enough, though, because that's my favorite part. Like Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, this is part of my earlier musical memories where I felt transported by the music. I felt the music create grace and movement in my body, and even as the child I was, I felt that I had a connection to great music--that my life would be full of great music. I would see to it somehow, either by becoming a ballerina driven by the force, a harpist billowing the music from my fingers, or a composer pouring it into the hearts of the world. MUSIC...
  12. Storms in Africa - Enya
    I know, I know. Enya is pretty much new age. But I've grown up listening to it, and this song has always been a favorite of mine. I love storms. And Africa is pretty fascinating (which is probably the only reason it's in the title, you know, giving the song some sort of exotic feel)...I used to like to lie on my bed while I listened to this. It made me smile. And I would think of nothing in particular, which is quite the accomplishment (and quite relaxing). The song is a kind of simple happiness for me, even an embodiment of how I approach life. This will no doubt sound dorky (but that's okay since we're talking about Enya here)...basically, like dancing in a storm! It's too thrilling to be bad!
  13. Cantus Arcticus: Concerto for Birds and Orchestra - Rautavaara
    Movements 1, 2 and 3 in two parts (The Bog, Melancholy, Swans Migrating).
    For my favorite part, go to about 4:00 in the second video--have the patience of at least two minutes if you feel like it isn't beautiful yet. I actually think it is, in an eerie sort of way. And then it becomes incredible...a world of such beautiful sounds and atmosphere. This work of Rautavaara's has made it to my list because I can hardly resist it. When I try to think of some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard, I can't help but think of this. It's enchanting, otherworldly. It's heavenly. The first time I heard it, I felt transformed by the gift of hearing such beauty. I felt so deeply moved. It has changed me somehow. I couldn't even begin to pinpoint just what it has done to me, but it's done something.
  14. Cold War - Janelle Monae
    Ah, now here's a real star. Janelle Monae is an impressive artist. This song especially, though, is art because of her performance. She definitely captured me as an instant fan. This song resonates with me-- "you better know what you're fighting for" is a powerful message, there's no way around that. It's the kind of powerful that I feel when I stand up for my visions, my beliefs, my understanding of life. 
  15. Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi) - John Rutter
    This one...will always calm me. This is so very much how I feel in my heart, my HEART, that I use this song as though it were a prayer of my own. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

DAY3 - A Habit That You Wish You Didn't Have

Um, gee.

Well, I'm so perfect that there aren't any habits I


Michael says perhaps my habit of disgusting booger disposal. I'm wicked: that just makes me laugh. Apparently that habit doesn't bother me as much as it should. I did suffer embarrassment for it once, though. I took the car to get it cleaned all fancy-like as a present for Michael after a particularly messy trip (the weather and my early pregnancy persuaded me not to do it on my own). The cleaning deal included some inside things, though not a brand-new-looking detail job. When they opened the door for me, I saw more obviously than ever before a little farm of dried boogie swipes collected on the side of the driver seat.
It felt like everyone's eyes were on the cluster of crusties.

I could say it bothers me that my brain keeps an ongoing to-do list that will stress me if ignored.

Oh darn! I just thought of one, but then Michael kissed me, and I totally forgot what it was.

That was a nice kiss.

I'm serious, I'll have to get back to you on that. I sat here and tried to remember, but it is completely swiped from my memory.

Maybe that's a bad habit! Erasing my faults from my memory! But...I wouldn't say I wish I didn't have that habit! >:)

Potty Training...What Else

There's a lot of information out there on potty training. I've done gobs of research. I've also listened with an open mind when I'm reminded that every kid has his own timeline, it may be a control issue, and I should be patient and let him go when he's ready.
I know that.
I've learned that Ender's "case" is unique as far as internet help goes. I'm not going to find someone else's question to fit mine exactly. But who really wants to pose the question out in the Random Internet? I'd prefer the acquainted side of the internet. That is, my blog readers.
First of all, here's a little background of Ender's current status after about six months of  potty training.

pull down his pants
pull up his pants
climb/sit on potty
wash hands with soap
dry hands with towel
avoid pee accidents (stay dry at night, stay dry during naps, stay dry when he wants!)

aim [pee] properly - we've had a tiny bit of success a few times
wipe properly
avoid poop accidents

And Ender wears only underwear. We have put him in pull-ups when he's had diarrhea, and that's it.
I'm not too concerned about his peeing habits; he never wets his pants. We've trained him to pee sitting down, and he has recently started learning to go standing up, too. He's good at it, and he's willing, so it's not the main issue on my mind.

Ender knows when he has to go, but he'll only tell us if he has to pee. He knows that poop belongs in the toilet. He's not scared of it, he's seen how the whole process works, he loves to flush, and he has had some success in pooping on the toilet.
I think one problem is that he likes to poop standing up. But I don't want to bend to that because that method isn't applicable in every bathroom. He'd have to completely pull his pants off, and he's not tall enough to make it work over a full-size toilet.
Ender changes his mind over which toilet to use, trainer or not, and he doesn't seem to care either way except that it's fun to have a choice.
Sometimes he will hide when he has to poop. Hiding can be something kids do when they want privacy to poop. Boy do I understand! So we've tried different ways of giving him privacy; sending him to the toilet by himself, getting him situated and then leaving, standing behind a closed door, etc. We ask him what he'd like, but he changes his mind all the time about whether he wants us there or not.
On the other hand, maybe he hides because I tend to get cranky when he poops in his underwear. You can bet I know I'm not supposed to make a big deal out of it! And you can bet I try so hard not to--with success most of the time. But you know what, I'm very human when it comes to poop. Poop is gross. Poop is not pleasant. Therefore, I am not always pleasant when I have to deal with poop.

Also hard to deal with is Ender's 3-year-old logic. He knows the poop goes in the toilet, but he doesn't seem to care. He'll say cheerfully after we flush some poop from his underwear, "next time go in the toilet!" Yeah right, this was that next time. He used to get washed in the tub after these incidents, but even when it was cold water he kind of liked it. He even seemed to poop on purpose so he could ask for the bath/shower, so we scratched that method.

I ask Ender often if he needs to go. He'll give me a panicked look and say "NO!" if he seems to think I'll rush him to the toilet. But I don't do that. Ever since he was teensy and still in diapers, I've been careful to leave that choice up to him. Still, it's not fun when he poops just half a minute after I've asked the question. It does make me wonder if he's afraid to poop on the toilet, but we've talked about it with him, and he has gone on the toilet some few times (with great rewards/praise). It does make me wonder if it hurts his stomach/bottom to poop, since he will often wait long periods between bowel movements. It's totally possible. I'm totally considering a child-safe stool softener.

I have read SO many suggestions, and I've finally compiled a list of all the many things we will try (it is a BIG list, I'm not kidding). We will try each thing for at least 2 weeks, if not more. We will do our best to be consistent with whatever method we feel will be best.
It's important to me to potty train Ender completely. I know he's young, but I know he can figure it out. I feel like he needs to be potty trained completely when Scarlett is born (I am aware it's possible to make things work otherwise, but I'm sticking to this). When Michael was a kid, he pooped his pants for years, and his mom just dealt with it, including having him clean up on his own.
But I don't feel like this needs to take years.

...Was it really as easy for my mom as she made it sound? She just expressed her sadness and gentle disappointment when we had an accident in our panties, and we felt so sad and disappointed ourselves that we made a greater effort to use the potty. Drinking juice on the potty and enjoying books helped, too. Voila! (It didn't work with Ender, and I tried that method the most consistently. Maybe she was only talking about the girl potty training, since she did that five times).

In the beginning of it all, it seemed simpler...there weren't any bad potty habits yet. :( The scale has tipped a little to the other end since then, and the negative seems to outweigh the positive. I certainly try to stay optimistic...

Please indulge and tell me your suggestions or success stories, if you have any. I have a lot of suggestions already, but I don't think it would hurt to ask for more. I just feel tired of the process. It's getting old, that's all.
I do feel right about persisting with training him.

To see the suggestions and information I've gathered in a big list, click here.

Oh help! Please!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

DAY2 - A Picture of Something I Can't Live Without

30 Day Challenge

I could not live without my Savior, Jesus Christ.
If I lost everything else and had a wretched life like Job, 
life would still be worth it with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DAY1 - A Recent Picture and 15 Interesting Things About Me

In keeping with the 30 Day Challenge.

Me today (dyed hair--you can still see a streak of blonde, though)

  1. As a kid, I was mostly a tomboy because I knew the boys would be more likely to hang out with me. Actually, I used the same tactic in high school.
  2. I'm an Army brat; we moved about every 2 years. Maybe that fact is less interesting than how its effects on me are interesting...
  3. I'm quite often a lucid dreamer. Whether or not it makes a difference, I decided I wanted to dream lucidly as soon as my brother Isaac taught me what it means.
  4. When I draw, I often end up crouched on the floor in a terribly uncomfortable position. My legs crawl up on their own until I'm huddled on my knees and breathing through my mouth in the inevitable congestion that follows.
  5. I love aimless, long walks in freezing weather (bundled up).
  6. Colors are deeply connected to emotions to me. Not so much that colors make me feel certain ways, but certain feelings will make me lean towards certain colors.
  7. I categorize my memories by the places I've lived. I think it's a big part of why I have a good memory.
  8. I would love to read to old, lonely people.
  9. I throw my head back when I laugh. And mine is a loud laugh.
  10. I don't really like baths if I'm just...relaxing...(but I did use to do my homework on a makeshift tray in the tub).
  11. I ALWAYS have knots in my shoulders. 
  12. My bellybutton is crooked, about 1 inch to the side (a post-baby development).
  13. I have a childishly deep imagination, and I frequently get lost in it. I have stories!
  14. Cellars and unfinished basements creep me out.
  15. I like to sit in corners or similar spots that give me a view of the full room. I suppose it's a safety precaution, but I don't feel like I do it out of fear. I just like watching.

The Ever Popular 30-Day Challenge

I'm guessing it's popular.

I'm taking the plunge! Making the commitment! Here we go!
As I complete each day, I will link them here:

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself.

Day 02- A picture of something you cannot live without.

Day 03- A habit that you wish you didn’t have.

Day 04- List 15 songs that represent your life’s soundtrack.

Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to.

Day 06- A hobby you have.

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you.

Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why.

Day 09- Something/someone you’re proud of.

Day 10- A story about a past relationship.

Day 11- A picture of something you dislike.

Day 12- A picture of your room & don’t cheat by cleaning it. Share a secret.

Day 13- Write a letter telling someone something you could never tell them.

Day 14- A picture of something you ate and 10 confessions.

Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle & share the first 10 songs that play.

Day 16- Something you could live without.

Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why.

Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have.

Day 19- Nicknames you have & how or why you have them.

Day 20- If you had 3 wishes, what would they be.

Day 21- Share a picture from your day.

Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else.

Day 23- What is something you crave.

Day 24- Share a story about your past that you are ashamed of.

Day 25- What I would find in your bag.

Day 26- Places you want to visit before you die.

Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge?

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned.

Day 30- A picture of you today and 20 goals you want to accomplish

*and here I guess I could say something like "yay, fun" or whatever, but I don't really have anything to say...bad sign for 30 days of blogging ahead of me?!*

I Found a Cure!!!

But not THE cure. Just a cure for me.
Well, and maybe I'm getting excited too soon...okay whatever, forget the title.

I've felt a cold coming on for the last few days. Instead of taking my usual route of ignoring whatever's bugging me, I decided to take every precaution I could to keep it at bay. And guess what? I think it's working! I do have a cough now...and it's gone from "just coughing up gook" to a "cardboard cough." That's how I've thought of it since I was a kid: it makes the sound of sawing through cardboard with a serrated knife. Like if ribbed fabric had a sound, this cough would be it. And in my head that is a perfect description, so I'll leave it at that.

I've been resting. Real rest, in the bed. I slept pretty much all day Sunday after church, went to bed at a mostly normal time, and then I slept in until nearly noon (wow). Then I slept in until 8:30 on Tuesday, which really does count as sleeping in with our schedule. This morning I slept in again until about 10:30. I'm not necessarily sleeping all that well, but the rest has helped quite a bit.

And I've been blowing my nose instead of snooking the mucus back in. Isn't that a great word for it? Ew, the sensation...snook snook

Vitamin C. Ender peeled an orange all by himself, but I think it was all too exhausting because he wasn't very interested in the orange when he was done. Thank you, Ender. :) It was yummy.

Hot drinks! Cocoa is kind of banned from my low-oxalate diet with this pregnancy. It has a LOT of oxalate. But hot drinks are wondrous for killing cold germs, so I happily indulged. And it was a really hot cup of cocoa. Mmm. And I dipped buttered toast in it, so it got a sort of buttery hint. And I started reading an Ayn Rand book.
Um. Not that that was especially luxuriant, actually. I'm still partway through the introduction. It's not terribly exciting yet.

A hot shower. This helps me feel better rested...not just because I can blow my nose in a shameless stampede of boogers that would kill any respectable tissue (hah, yeah! Gross!) but because hot/warm water does that to me. Swimming, washing my face, washing my hands, sitting in a jacuzzi (but not a bathtub)...

Watching a movie. Maybe I messed up on this one because I folded laundry while I watched, and it happened to be "Little Women," which got me to cry when Beth died (despite my best efforts to have no sympathy for her whatsoever). Crying is not very fun with congestion and a sore throat.

Speaking quietly if at all. Even when my throat didn't hurt, this just reminded me that I was maintaining a restful day.

So this is apparently what I need when sickness is on its way! At least, I think so...this cough is pretty nasty.

POST-EDIT:  and the most essential part: A loving husband. Michael just brought me a jamba. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Facebook v. Blogger - The Epic Battle!

(Just kidding)
So THIS is why people link their facebooks with their blogs! So they don't go crazy (or drive anyone else crazy) putting the same stuff in both places!

Well, I have been feeling this a lot lately, so I wanted to share:

Being pregnant this time has a slightly different sensation as far as how I relate to my baby. Ender happily ricocheted all over the place in my womb.
I get the vibe Scarlett's very content to just chill with me, very mellow. I really love it because it's like I get to have "girl time" before she's even born. I love her.
I need my little girly, so it's sweet that she's already a comfort to me.

Buoyed Up

*Just in case you wonder, buoy is pronounced BOO-ee, as long as you're American. I guess everyone knows that, but the spelling throws me off so badly that I have to remind myself, and I figure there's someone out there enough like me that maybe you didn't know!

A post like the last one kind of needs an epilogue, don't you think?

I am so blessed. I needed relief today, and while I secretly hoped my harp student would surprise me and cancel her lesson, I geared myself up (and put on nice clothes) and determined to make it the lesson she needed.
Guess what? It was the lesson I needed, too. After all, service is the best medicine for me. So when Judy came for her lesson feeling guilty that she hadn't practiced, I helped her feel better by genuinely caring for her needs instead of worrying about the technicalities of expectations--or whatever you'd call it. Judy left feeling very encouraged and excited about being more involved with the harp even in little ways.
As she left, I smiled to myself (and really, to Heavenly Father) that that had been just what I needed, too. I needed to doctor someone else to get my own dose of medicine.
Audrey's mom (who is also my friend) called, and I felt that I should remind her how I enjoy watching Audrey. I told her honestly that I really love to take care of Audrey. Even on the hard days. She is a sweet baby, and as I talked with her mom, I knew I really don't have any hard feelings towards Audrey.
There was a series of days, even weeks, that I struggled with my temper. Watching Audrey those days was really trying sometimes. But even during that time, when I was something of a Jekyll&Hyde Mother, I tried to be clear-minded and careful about what I said and did because I felt so eager to grow out of my temper problem. I think I did, with prayer.

By the way, as an interesting thought I'd like to share, I think those difficulties came not only from some unruly hormones--oh yes, this pregnancy definitely had a hand in it--but from a worry that Audrey and I would become too attached to each other. I worried for her sake and her mother's that we would grow too close. After all, I watch her about nine hours a day. It's a real concern...although at the same time, I know I can't replace Audrey's mother. I know I don't mean the same thing even in my best love for Audrey. It's just that when Audrey crawls to my feet and says what sounds like "mama," I want to shake my head and remind her it's not me. What I think it comes down to is faith. Audrey's mom and I both prayed about taking this on. And we both felt right about it, in every way. I need to have faith that because this is right, Heavenly Father will bless Audrey and her mother. Me, too. I can love Audrey as much as is possible for my heart (and I'll be frank--I've got a lot of love in my heart to go around), and Audrey will know she's loved and will know her mother loves her. You can't give a baby too much love.

The biggest difference from this morning to now is that I've felt very blessed, very loved. Heavenly Father knows my heart, and even if the rest of the day proceeds like the beginning, it's alright. I've still got my buoy from the first round.

POST-EDIT: When I wrote the last post, I felt tempted to joke about how nobody had better call me today since I felt weepy...but I thought to myself Oh that's stupid, that's like me saying I don't need anybody, and I know I do. Well guess what? Long-time friend Keri from Germany called and we're hanging out this Saturday. And my sister-friend Lynnae and I are figuring out some time to hang out this weekend as well. This reminds me of the time I prayed for help to stay awake during devotionals in college and Heavenly Father blessed me with not one but...five? six? boys asking to accompany me to devotional. 
Heavenly Father likes to do that. I guess I forget how much I'm loved. :)

Kryptonite Strikes!

Blogging is certainly therapeutic when some days don't hold up as well as the SuperDays. It may seem like a bipolar flip flop here, but that's okay. I didn't expect today to compare to yesterday.
But I also didn't expect it to be so opposite.
I'm being a nice mommy, and I really am doing well today in that regard. Ten points for efforts.
This morning was alright, pretty cheerful and pleasant. But Ender was not happy that Audrey woke up. Everything she did bothered him, whether she was touching his stuff or crawling towards him (oh no!) or playing at my feet. So while I put a shower curtain up, I heard a shriek and then Ender hollered. I came to see what was the matter, and Audrey was about a foot away from Ender's train tracks. I repositioned her and talked to Ender about being nice, bla bla bla, and he said "I squeeze her."
Yikes. Audrey was okay, but I talked with him about that, spanked him very gently and "shamed" him very sternly that he must never squeeze people, especially babies.
Things went alright from there, for the most part. And then Ender started whining that he was hungry. We'd recently finished a very hearty, filling breakfast, so even though it's possible he was hungry, I told him he needed to wait just a little bit because it wasn't time for lunch--and he'd had a snack just barely, anyway. He whined again and again, and I told him to stop asking me (and honestly, I was using a kind voice. I promise). He was quiet for a little bit. And then as I turned back to the computer (which by the way I had not sat at for long; I really wasn't neglecting him), I felt his little fist punch into my arm. Pretty hard.
That hurt my feelings more than anything...It's so confusing. I understand that children sometimes do those things because they feel a pretty natural urge. And I understand that despite our efforts, he may have seen some punching action before (even in kid movies it happens). But really, we just don't do that! Michael and I are gentle, both with each other and Ender and everyone else.
I held Ender's hands firmly at his side and looked in his face. I felt like I was pleading with him when I told him to not ever do that...and I couldn't help but ask him why. He still doesn't always understand that question, but I had to ask. I pulled him into a hug and cried. We talked about it.
Standing behind him for a short time-out in the corner, I cried some more while he told me to stop being sad and that he wasn't sad. In all of this, Audrey had decided she was sick of her Johnny-Jump-Up and started shrieking (I'm sorry, I know that's not the nicest word, but I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the unearthly sounds that can come from the cutest of babies...and it's simply the appropriate description here, at the least).
Even as I felt the stress levels surge up, I shoved them down by surrendering to my tears and tiredness.
I stayed up till 2am with Michael while he finished his homework and got up around 7:30 or so. I sent wordless prayers to Heavenly Father and let myself be comforted, knowing I'm tired and that being upset won't help anyone. I'm so tired it's hard to believe that frowning takes more muscle than smiling. Does it really? Maybe technically I'm not frowning, my face is just sort of dead. That's one thing crying does.

Things haven't calmed down by much right now, but at least Audrey has realized she's not in the J-J-U anymore. It took a long time for her to calm down even after I took her out. Ender is entertaining himself with the toys strapped to it, pretty much oblivious to his naughtiness... He's such an innocent toddler, which can be frustrating when I'm trying to impress upon him the seriousness of what he's done.

I'm really, really hoping that nap time lasts at least a little longer than the harp lesson I'll teach during it.

I think I will call a babysitter and take Michael's offer to go to that mandatory concert of his tonight.

*sigh* Especially since the dog-pitch kryptonitic screaming has started again. (Actually, dog-pitch would be nice because then I couldn't hear it, right?) *yet another sigh* Well maybe kryptonite is Superman's weakness, but it can't be Superwoman's. Because first of all, I'm too tired to be angry today. But second of all, I just will not let myself be angry. I will be kind and gentle even though it makes me cry that today my efforts don't change Ender's behavior.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Just Have to Say


(Where's my awesome Superwoman doodle?!)

We have all had an awesome day. We've all been happy, even during Ender's trying hours of constipation--I'm most amazed that he was happy, too! By the way, we had success. He did indeed poop in the potty, which was such a relief for BOTH of us. And Audrey was incredibly easy to watch today, which is partly because Michael had fun carrying her around while he was home, but also because she was just especially mellow today. Even when she was constipated.
And I rearranged some furniture. Our living room looks magically bigger with the harp back in its first corner (although now I need to rethink where pictures are hung).
Plus I did the dishes and cleaned up yesterday's mayhem (is anyone else super inclined to be piggish slobs on Sundays?).
And I did a load of laundry. So far it hasn't caught up to me again yet--somebody give me a big Army HOO-AH!!!

THEN! Or wait, I guess I should, NEXT. But that doesn't sound as exciting.

We packed everyone up and dropped Michael off at work and then went grocery shopping.
In the rain.
BIG, delicious, fat rain.
And I hauled Audrey's carseat, my pregnant belly (which totally counts), a huge Netherlands-heavy-duty umbrella and Ender into the store...put Ender in the car-like grocery cart and secured Audrey's carseat in the front seat thing, and proceeded to get all my groceries with speed and relatively smooth rolling.
I hate those car-carts, but I needed Ender attached to the cart. He was angelic. So was Audrey, who liked having me stick my grocery list in her lap and smile at her as we went through the aisles. And I stayed very much within my budget (by a huge amount)!

THEN!!!! When we were all done, I hauled all the groceries, umbrella, babies and self with huge cart out to the car! Packed everything and kept at least the kids dry (wow). And no groceries are damaged.
THEN!!!!!! At home? Swapped Audrey over to her mother, got Ender inside, and brought all those tons of groceries into the house in TWO trips.

My hair is like Hermione Hair from the rain, but I had so much fun! It was a great adventure, and I so love the rain that it made everything exciting instead of...I don't know, difficult.
All of this on a day that I barfed this morning. That is great. Not the barf, the accomplishments--I rarely recover all the way on a day I barf; it usually leaves me very low-energy. But Michael brought me a jamba even though I thought I was fine. My sweetheart! :)

Now! I'm going to go to the bathroom finally, eat something, draw something and then read a book.
Oh yeah, after I put away the groceries!!!