Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ballet West's Bolero

I convinced Michael to write about the 
beautiful experience 
of attending Ballet West's performance of Ravel's Bolero! 
You've got to read about it. 
It would be even better if you could attend a performance of it, 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monkey See Monkey Do?

Being a parent is hard.

I feel a little brave saying that, too, because it seems like--in the church, especially--it's tradition to call it something else. We say parenting is a challenge. Or it's "a little rough sometimes" or just that it takes a lot of work. It seems like I've encountered lots of euphemisms. But it's true, isn't it? I'm not one to dwell on the negative--never have been--so I can see how these "euphemisms" are ways to think healthy, be positive, and rise up champion. Still...parenting is hard.
I'm feeling a bit ground down by it lately. Maybe that's the wrong way to say it. But I'm at a point where it's hard to see how well I'm doing.
I suspect I'm being a good mommy, but sometimes that's not quite enough encouragement!

When Ender poops his pants, he seems completely oblivious to every approach I take in trying to help him understand why he needs to poop in the toilet. Today he had a little victory and pooped in the toilet--we celebrated, we praised and congratulated. It was very exciting. And then he pooped in his pants. And his attitude was exactly the same about it all.

Lately, Ender has become a picky eater. I try to see the ways this is normal, since I know there are lots of picky eaters among children. Kids often like plain food, and they often narrow it down to an exclusive list of what plain foods they like. But I've had a hard time putting any meals together with this pregnancy. I don't blame it all on the pregnancy, it's always taken a little more work and effort for me to do what most mothers seem to do naturally when it comes to mealtimes. So when Ender's hungry, I feel guilty somehow, and then I have the problem of figuring out how to feed him a meal that he'll actually eat so he doesn't starve.
I'm all about encouraging him to just eat what's put in front of him...but if he doesn't think he'll like it, he won't touch it. He'll sit at the table forever and never once touch the food.
I'm kind of worried that it has become a control issue, even though I've always been wary of that and done everything I can think of to avoid that problem.

I was a slow eater as a kid, and I'm still comparatively slow. I was never aware of it bothering my mother. I remember being the last at the table pretty much every meal. But I was eating...and I knew my mother's gentle rule of at least trying a bite of whatever "weird" foods were part of the meal. The only way it ever became a problem was that sometimes I felt rushed in our lunch period at school, and eating fast is simply less enjoyable to me.
Ender is a slow eater. Especially when it comes to lunch time. He knows nap time comes afterwards, so he's in no rush to begin with. And he's sometimes sleepy already, so he slows down even more. I've thought about ways to flip the schedule, but he really does take a better nap when his tummy's full, and the nap is more likely to happen after lunch than before (and if it's later in the day, he won't go to bed on time, so that's not an option I like to take).

Things have been like this for something like a year, probably. I've mostly just dealt with it, in various ways. But lately Ender has a geared up temper, and it hurts my feelings when my "fruitless" efforts are met with yelling or something. I'm so sad to see Ender get angry. I feel like it's my fault, even though I know I try so very hard to not be the example for anger. I make a valiant effort in controlling my own voice, and even if I have to restrain him firmly, I'm ever diligent in making sure that I touch him with gentleness. I often tell him to look at me when he gets angry so he can see that my face is calm...and so that hopefully he sees the love in my eyes. Sometimes my voice strains in the effort to keep calm, but honestly, I rarely break! So when Ender yells "LOOK! Look at me!" and then talks back with alarming attitude, I feel almost mocked. I feel hurt. It makes me wonder if the way he's acting is what he sees in me.

And then I feel upset that I'm upset...as if the way to better deal with it all would be to remain unaffected. I probably set myself up for that, thinking that my success is based on how much I let his actions bother me or rile me up. That's what parents are often told, right? To remember that your kid's just being a kid, this might be a phase, don't let it get to you, bla bla bla. Am I wrong in actually feeling hurt then? Because I do! Sometimes, parenting is hard, and sometimes, parenting hurts.

Plus...I just have to throw this in...I want so badly for these main problems to be behind us by the time Scarlett's born. Ender shouldn't be having regular outbursts of anger like this, and I hope he'll be at least a little better about eating (and pooping in the toilet). I know I'll have to deal with things like that once in a while, but I guess I mean that I worry about Ender's temper becoming a habitual problem.

My son's not a bad boy. I'm not, for example, embarrassed by him. I know he's an innocent 3-year-old sweetheart, and I know his spirit is an especially tender one. Maybe that's why it hurts when he gets like this...it's just so not normal for him.

I know I'm not alone! Other mothers have faced this! But I've never heard them talk about it...

It's just gotten especially tiring, I suppose. I hope it's not tiring for you to read about. I suppose I just want a little sympathy, since I feel like my efforts have been all but ineffective with getting him to eat well and to close the poop chapter on potty training. Michael and I have had some encouraging discussions, and he's ever loving and supportive in what I do as Ender's mother. I've already cried on his "cellular shoulder" today (while he's at work, on the phone), so I don't mean this as a plea for help outside of his help. It's not like the burden is impossible with only the two of us (and our prayers). Not impossible, but maybe it could be lightened with a little extra help...
Maybe I don't even know exactly why I came to my blog for this. After all, it made me cry again. We all know I don't like crying.

*sigh*

My apologies for getting lengthy on the personals.
And...my love to you for reading. Thanks.

I'm going to take advantage of this beautiful thunderstorm and curl up with a book. I have a gloriously enormous stack of books from the library (I doubt I can get through all of them before the due date). It's wonderful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

POOP!

This is funny:
When I think Ender's doing something sneaky and I ask "What are you doing?"
He says "I not doing."

This is not funny:
When Ender and I have a pleasant, seemingly understandable conversation about pooping in the toilet instead of his pants, he does it again. Not five minutes later.

I tried to be patient. My irritation still made itself evident in my voice. Ender said "I love Daddy."
Yeah, me too.

Hmmph. >:(

Saturday, April 16, 2011

4th Anniversary

After such a continuous streak of posting, I actually miss blogging with the very few days I've "missed." Hah, how many days would that be...two? That is silly. :)

But the fact is: I am sick. I have been sick since Sunday, and what began as a head cold has turned into something very nasty. I'm stocked up on medicine till I get to see the doctor on Monday. In the meantime, being up gives me monstrous coughing fits that leave me sore and exhausted (those infamous "cardboard coughs," which have morphed into the worst of their species by now). At least my medicine is helping me breathe through my nose finally! I let myself get distracted while putting together some food for Ender and me today and cleaned out the fridge a little bit, being up for a total of 30 minutes or so, and that completely wiped me out. After I ate, I dozed on and off for a couple hours.

Ender is very good at following his daddy's instructions in taking care of me. This morning, he came in and kissed my arm (better than the face right now!) and said "You will sleep now." Then he went out and closed the door. I heard him laugh, and he opened the door and said "not so loud!" like it was so silly of him to forget and close the door roughly. So he tried again, a couple times, and finally managed to close it without making a sound at all.
He's been very polite and sweet with me all day, very patient with my tiredness.

We were graced with a little miracle this week, though: I felt markedly better on our anniversary. We reserved a room in the Peery Hotel for a great deal (it's a lovely, quaint little place over the Macaroni Grill where we had one of our meals on our honeymoon--coincidentally). We ate in wonderful restaurants and went to the ballet. The Ballet West performance of Ravel's Bolero was perfect! Incredible! So artistically inspiring. I'll convince Michael to write about it on his blog.
We had a wonderful time! The little miracle really was a blessing, an answer to prayers--the very next day, my body crashed back in to full sick mode!

Do you know...people used to look at us incredulously when we'd mention that Michael and I have never argued. They'd say "Oh, give it a few years. You're still newlyweds." Guess what? We still have never argued, and even though 4 years may seem like nothing to the couples who have been married much longer, it does stand behind our word quite nicely. Long before we ever met, President Hinckley said he and his wife had never argued. Both Michael and I were impressed by that and wanted the same in our eventual marriage.
I used to say that Michael and I are just not the personalities to argue, but it's more than that. We have simply made it a priority to communicate as clearly as possible from the very beginning, and it's fully worth it.

We don't consider ourselves better than other couples for not arguing. But our marriage is sweet, everything it should be...and we know our efforts to communicate have been a big part of that.

Four years! Four really beautiful years where we've honestly grown to love each other more and more! Even with difficult trials, there's been no strife between us. That's made these four years happy.
I love Michael. He loves me.
Our anniversary was the sort that makes us even more excited to spend the rest of our lives together!

That's all I wanted to say, really. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

DAY30 - A Picture of Me Today and 20 Goals I Want to Accomplish


This post is prescheduled because no way am I blogging today--
IT'S OUR ANNIVERSARY!!!
And you've already seen plenty of recent pics of me throughout this 30 Day Challenge, so this is what you get today! Pictures by my wonderful photographer sister Rae in April 2007.
One thing I love about this picture is remember how very much at peace I felt about being engaged to Michael. I was engaged to another guy before him, and that was not a happy time. 
The difference was (and is) amazing.

My ring is a trillion cut; this is symbolic to me, representing the way a marriage must include God. The closer Michael and I grow to Heavenly Father (the top of the triangle), the closer we grow to each other.

Don't we look so happy? Because we ARE!

I think this one is Michael's personal favorite.

Undeniably happy.



I love knowing with such certainty that Michael loves me.
I love him, too. 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Having been given no time frame for my 20 goals, I will include anything I think of!

  1. Prepare for a natural, unmedicated birth with Scarlett (mentally, I actually feel ready! It's the physical part that will take the most work).
  2. Get a harp teacher this fall!
  3. Bake regularly again...
  4. Keep up my exercise routine
  5. Sew more and more
  6. Be outside more often
  7. Finish scanning photographs for my mom
  8. Read some educational books and watch some educational documentaries
  9. Get a perfect haircut and maintain it
  10. Help Ender complete his potty training
  11. Someday: leave the hobby-level of Mary Kay and get back into it big time
  12. Someday: have a Honda Odyssey for family and harp gigs (the harp gigs especially, though)
  13. Someday: sooner than later, I'd hope: get back into harp gigging!
  14. Someday: live in a house (not apartment) with a fenced-in yard
  15. Learn Tailleferre's piece for harp and piano to play with Michael
  16. Have the couches cleaned
  17. Illustrate a children's book
  18. Drink more water as a habit
  19. Copy all of our VHS movies to DVD
  20. Someday: get Lasik surgery or something like it...*sigh*
THIS CONCLUDES THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE; I SINCERELY HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Story Time: A Kidney Stone Adventure

An old story in the form of excerpts from an email to my sisters--this takes place back in Rexburg, Idaho in October 2007 while approximately 18 weeks pregnant with Ender:


"Well


our official ultrasound will verify it, but yeah we're quite sure it's a boy! Now we have to think of names... it's hard to be serious. We keep thinking up really doofy ones. 
Thanks for the compliments on my pictures! It's been hard for me to gain weight with all my barfing (and I have barfed a LOT lately, I don't know if it's the medicine or what!). I know the weight might not sound like something to complain about! Most of the time I'd be glad to report that my legs are thinner and my face is thinner etc but I worry for the baby in this case, and I don't need to lose weight pregnant or not. 

Guess what! My belly button sticks out a little now! I think it's so gross! Michael thinks it's cute and he even likes it when it pooks out of my shirt! Usually it doesn't show through clothes (or I'd put a bandaid on it!) and it lays flat when I'm lying down/reclining on my back. 
I've got to brush my teeth too but we already packed that stuff in the car for our trip to Salt Lake...kind of stupid of me I guess, since that means I have morning breath + barfbreath + spaghetti breath. NASTY!!! :D 


Can you relate to this?--my bladder hurts! Of course, I kind of hurt all over my middle, front and back. But if I move anything that even slightly shifts against my bladder, RARRRRGWOOOF!!!! hahahha that sound is perfect for it. 
When I've told people I had surgery, I think most of them are thinking I was cut into. I guess I never really realized before now that surgery doesn't always involve an incision. But I'm not really anxious to tell them that the doctor went up my "downtheres," as one nurse called them (hah!). Ew. No thanks. 
I really want to tell you what it was like, since I'd never stayed in a hospital overnight and never had surgery before! Are you interested? I was asleep for the surgery, of course. Which was actually the scariest idea about all of this. It made me cry as Michael had to leave me when they took me away. :'( I wasn't worried, I knew I'd be okay, but it really was scary! Can I tell you about it? 

 
Before Michael had to go, the nurse wheeling me apologized for not being very skilled at moving my little bed thing, and I joked that it was okay, she was a better driver than I was. She didn't get it. I think she was sort of strange. Maybe it was because I said it so straight without smiling or anything (kind of out of it...) but she thought I meant I worked there. Whatever. So she started wheeling me away from Michael, and while I wasn't thinking anything like "oh these empty sterile hospital halls are frightening," I just couldn't stop crying. I tried telling myself I was just crying from the pain, which wasn't too hard to believe, but I knew I was scared too. 



Michael told me later he felt so awful having to leave when he knew I was scared. I prayed and felt somewhat better but kept crying. They brought me to this area (curtained to create "rooms") where another nurse gave me an IV and a soft showercap-like hairnet. She was all "Now stop that crying!" And I could tell she meant it humorously, especially because she said "I'm a social cryer, so if you cry, I'll cry!" It actually didn't bother me even though I only found it vaguely funny. It took a while to stop crying though. Kind of quiet sobs, if you know what I mean. I talked to her a little and she helped me cheer up some (and I remembered to pray again with thanks for that).  
Then another couple nurses came in. The guy was named Jan (weird, isn't it? I forced myself to be serious about it) and the woman was named Lillian. I told her about my sister-in-law, that she's 4 years old and an absolute drama queen. The nurse laughed and said "Oh I'm not going to claim that!!" And Jan said, "What, because you are a drama queen?" Lillian nodded all embarrassed-like. I decided I liked her. I tried to remember to thank all the nurses as they helped me, giving me lots of heated blankets to help me stop shivering. They were being really gentle and patient. 

They brought me to the X-ray room. Usually, you do not take x-rays of pregnant women (duh). There is too much risk for the baby. In this case, the surgery was the best option if I hadn't passed the kidney stone because the pain those stones cause can trigger labor--and boy do I believe it. So they took the x-ray with as absolutely minimal electric shock as possible, covering my left side and the baby as much as they could. 


*Michael told me later that the baby actually poked his head into the x-ray a tiny bit! The little punk! But the doctor was sure that was okay*


I think I cried again at this point, I don't remember very well. But they had to slide me onto the table and laying flat on the somewhat hard surface hurt so much! I felt really, really cold. They put blanket after blanket on me. I told them I hurt, so much--I said it almost apologetically, because I knew they were trying to help me. Then a nurse gave me some pain medication through my IV...what really bothered me was the oxygen mask. I don't like having things on my face, and my nose was stuffy. I felt so claustrophobic, it was hard to keep calm. Once the IV was in, and I had several warm blankets on me, I said "Thanks, I feel much better..." 
The medicine started working really fast. It was kind of a gross feeling--I felt very lightheaded and everything was hazy and warm. I felt like my whole body had been stuffed full of hot fog. But at the same time, the pain was becoming distant and I felt more submissive to the oxygen mask. I didn't even notice when I fell asleep. In fact, it was a surprise when I woke up to hear them say "It's all over!" 


This next part feels a little unlike myself, but I think you'd understand. :) 
I woke up feeling extremely panicky--I wanted the mask OFF my face NOW and I couldn't open my eyes. I couldn't tell if I was just too groggy, I just couldn't get myself to open them. I kept trying to move my head away from the mask and a doctor and a nurse were over me trying to shove it back every time. They both kept urging me to open my eyes to see where I was, to breathe deeply, to calm down, etc. It seemed to take forever, but I did try to be a good patient for them. I hated that mask but I held still for just a bit and barely slit my eyes open. They were goopy. I learned that they put "ointment" (basically vaseline) on your eyes so that they won't dry out--I didn't even ask if my eyes had been open during the surgery. I think that's disgusting. They wouldn't let me wipe my eyes either because they thought I might scratch them. I wanted to roll my eyes--I'm not a BABY! but I obeyed.



Just as I was past these first distractions, I realized I HAD TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. Worse than I've ever had to go before--and the nurse gave me a bedpan. I asked her--I think I asked her 3 times-- "won't it make a mess?" She says "No, the bedpan will catch it all, sweetie." What?! My whole bottom is in the bedpan! I don't care about the bed, it's going to make a mess on me! But I tried anyway, and my muscles just screamed at me. They couldn't do it. The bedpan was just some awkward rubber box-tray thing that was starting to print its shape into my bottom. :[ Oh, so comfortable. Best invention since...whatever those medieval people considered as cool as sliced bread. 

I tried not to bug the nurse but I probably asked her hundreds of times if I could go to the bathroom--in a toilet.



I think it's kind of funny now, actually, but I was sincere. She said we needed to wait and it was normal that I couldn't go yet because of what those muscles had gone through with the surgery. 
I think the most helpful thing they did in getting me to calm down was letting me hear the baby's heartbeat. It was strong and healthy! I was so glad to know that while I was something of a wreck outside, the baby was safe and well in his womb-haven. 

I was supposed to tell her my pain on a scale of 0-10, and as soon as it was down to 4 I could go. That was motivating! So she gave me some more pain meds and sat by me while filling out paperwork. I half-heartedly kept the oxygen mask on my face (she caught me every time I tried to tilt it off). That's really making me laugh now, actually. 

I got a little more used to the "urge" in my "downtheres" and was able to "relax." Which really just means I consented to feeling like I had to pee-like-crazy-so-much-that-it-killed and decided I would do everything I could to calm down. I very excitedly told her when I thought finally my pain was down to a 4. 

They asked me to rate my pain SO OFTEN that day I got so sick of it. It's hard for me to "rate" it; how do you tell?! But it was just for my personal welfare, they said, so they knew whether I needed more medication for my tolerance. Smart I guess, but it got dumb real fast. 

When they brought me to Michael and his parents, I was so happy to see them finally! 
Michael's dad said "We've signed you up for the 15k, get dressed quick and we'll get you over there!" 

It made me smile, which felt really nice finally. I said "Oh sure, I'm ready for it." 
"They give you a free T-shirt!"
"Then it's all worth it, of course!" 


I felt so glad to be with them again! Michael said he waited for what felt like ages. He prayed for me, and while he felt terrible to have had to leave right when I was scared, he also felt calm. I told him that I had too. It was really sweet to know that neither of us had to worry. We'd had such a comforting prayer together beforehand and knew that the baby would be alright and I would be alright. 
Michael's dad commented on the baby's head being in the x-ray and said irreverently, 
"No serious damage, you know, it'll just be able to say every other word or something." 

We laughed at this idea and he started saying 1 Ne 3:7--"I - go - do - things..." 
Even though it hurt almost every muscle to laugh, it felt so relieving anyway just to be with them! 
 
(in case you were in as much tense suspension as I'd been, I did finally get to go to the bathroom and it was not a relief, much to my disappointment. It stung like some kind of liquid fire and I had the nasty surprise of discovering it was bloody. They told me that's normal and it would clear up within 3 days--thankfully it cleared up by evening. But the sense of urgency, of having to go, didn't leave after going. It's still like that sometimes. Poor muscles...) (and sorry if that totally grossed you out!) 
 
I hope you didn't feel like you were reading an elderly geezer's medical saga of detailed accounts from every time they had diarrhea to every nauseating detail of exactly what kind of party their organs were throwing. :) 
And of course this isn't the whole story. More before and more after. 


I love you, sisters!"



I've thought about this a little more lately, this whole story of how difficult things were when I was pregnant with Ender. What a huge blessing that everything is so great with Scarlett! And I'm sure grateful that Ender isn't stuck with saying only every other word. ;) 

A Gloomy Car Day

I consider myself a good driver. If I'm ever impatient, it's with the car I'm driving and not with other drivers. And even though my driving is definitely marked by my having learned in Atlanta, Georgia (crazy traffic there), it's still good driving.
So on Monday, as I set out to do my errands, I drove with my usual intent to be careful and safe--consciously! And as I backed out of my parking spot at Walgreen's, I thought to myself "This is a tricky spot for backing up; I'd better check all sides of the car as I pull out."

I couldn't win! As I checked, checked, check...yeah, that was a bump, wasn't it. When I had been checking the right side, the left side gently thumped into the bumper of a car sitting at the pump.
Oh dear.

No one was there, and technically I could have driven away without anyone knowing it was me. But I really couldn't do that, it would be wrong. And if someone had bumped my car, I'd appreciate them being upfront about it. I waited several minutes before someone came out of the gas station (I would have gone in, but Ender was in the car, and I'd risk not finding the person and having them leave before I could talk to them).
I called Michael, and even though we were stressed, we weren't angry. I'm so grateful he wasn't angry with me.

I felt very levelheaded while I looked at the damage-- mostly cosmetic on the other car, an ugly patch of scraped paint and a thumb-sized dent. Our car? A long dent by the back wheel, a streak of scratches, but still nothing very terrible. We could live with it. If the other car had been mine, I wouldn't have minded. It looked like a kind of old car, too. Gold Nissan Maxima, probably at least 10 years old if not older.

Finally someone came out and claimed the car his. I explained as simply as I could that I had backed into his car while pulling out of my parking spot, and that I just hadn't seen it. He nodded and muttered something, and when I mentioned that Michael was checking with our insurance to see what it would cover and what the costs would be, the man said we could call the cops and file a report.
That was okay. He didn't say much else, just muttering here and there. He had an accent, and with the muttering, it was untraceable, which I found very disconcerting. I realized I didn't want to talk to him, because I could hardly understand him, and having messed up his car, I didn't really like the idea of asking him to repeat himself and risk frustrating him. So we waited in silence, avoiding eye contact.

In the few minutes, I felt a tiny twinge of crying threaten to come up, but I shoved it down and cleared my head. I just felt so terrible; I'd never had a car problem like this before, never involving someone else's car. And he seemed to be very annoyed by the whole thing, even though in my eyes the damage was purely cosmetic and could be fixed with a little paint job.

When the cop showed up, he said congenially "Is everything alright?" and BOOM! There came the tears!
I nodded helplessly and gestured to my eyes and tried to apologize. I just couldn't keep them from coming! Oh, I don't like crying! Feeling like a miming monkey, I pointed at my belly and "laughed" that I'd just blame it on the pregnancy...finally I caught my voice and was able to start talking. The cop was nice, but sometimes that makes it worse. :\ Not that I'm complaining, it just made me cry!

*sigh* This has already turned into a longer store than I felt like narrating. To be briefer, the cop said he could  write a report if we wanted, or we could just work it out together. The damaged-car-guy said to me "Whatever you want to do." Really?! Like, I could just go home and be forgiven and it's all okay?! Of course not, whatever I wanted to do in the form of paying for his car being fixed.

Michael was able to come from work and help out...which I suppose could embarrass me, but I was strangely uncomfortable with this guy, and I felt like I needed Michael's approval on anything I decided between insurance or paying out of pocket. I sensed that the guy thought it was sort of dumb that I wanted Michael there, but so what!

When Michael joined us, we all drove to a car place to get an estimate on the cost, and it turned out that out-of-pocket was indeed the cheaper (and even smarter) course. :\ I must say, almost out of a duty to having an attitude of gratitude, we felt blessed that we even had money to do that. Do you know what the estimate was for fixing that little scratchy-patch on the man's bumper? More than $500. Michael got the guy to agree that was baloney, so they chose to drive to another place for another estimate. I opted out of following them. I secretly confided to Michael that I felt uneasy around the guy and overall very emotional and gloomy about the whole ordeal. What a great husband to understand!

The other place estimated about $700. GAH! These car people! Have you ever seen their paperwork details? $42 per hour with some things, $28 per hour with other things...wow. That's fancy living right there. I'm sure it's justified somehow in the system, but I'm not about to be the one justifying it.
While I finished errands, I prayed that the guy's heart would be softened somehow. I felt so very terrible, and I felt somehow WORSE that it had happened despite my cautionary efforts! I was checking so much when I backed out! Maybe if I'd been careless it would have been easier to take the blame. Anyway, I felt sad. I didn't want to keep doing errands, I wanted to go home, get out of the stupid car, and eat ice cream and watch a movie and be a vegetable. An overcooked vegetable, drooping and frumpy. That sounded very agreeable.

But I went on, dropping things off at DI, stopping by the library, heading to the bank...and Michael called to tell me that he'd ended up chatting with the guy (I still don't know his name, and I prefer it that way), and they talked about their families a bit. Michael made a couple offers of covering part of the cost, and at first the guy refused. But finally he said Michael made him feel bad, talking about his poor family in school, and he gave in. Grudgingly, but with a signature on the papers and everything.
My prayer was answered! His heart was softened just the teensiest bit, enough to let us go with a payment of $400 towards his car's fixing.

(By the way, the library was a very comforting place to be. It wasn't quite as leisurely as it might have been because I had to go to the bathroom VERY badly, and I couldn't find one, and I didn't want to leave Ender or my purse or our growing stack of books while I went--silly? I ignored the urge as best as I could and found great comfort in grabbing any book that sounded mildly appealing).

I wish I could say that cheered me up for the rest of the day...I was rather stuck in gloominess. I felt sick, tired, hungry, upset at having cried, and quite sad that I had messed up the guy's car. A bad head cold had hit me Sunday, so I had a roaring sore throat, my head felt overstuffed and feverish, and I had a really disgusting cough. Plus, I had to eat something even though I wasn't "hungry." And there were tons of people smoking outside on such a lovely day, which was extremely nauseating (do they not notice how far their clouds of smoke reach? It's awful! Second-hand smoke is AWFUL)! I just wasn't in the mood to cheer.

Ender was patient all day. He was quiet and good-natured, and I think inspired, because he said many times to me "Mommy, I love you." Just matter-of-factly, out of the blue. What a darling sweetheart. I love my son. He and Michael made the day sweet, in the end. Michael managed to help me feel completely better about it all and convinced me that it was okay. Behind us, over and done with.

Isn't it a huge blessing that we were okay? It wasn't even a valid "car accident." The car hardly registered the bump, and we could have gone on without noticing a thing. We are not even barely hurt. There's no bad mark on our insurance, and the cop didn't end up having to write a report. For the record, Michael and I are still accident-free. And the money we paid is simply paid. And I will [hopefully] never see that guy again, right?

So that's a long story, and I didn't make it brief, but I felt like telling it.
You know those moments where you've been holding out on crying and then someone comes and pops the cork by, of all things, being NICE?!
Oh, which totally reminds me of a story that I've never put here on my blog. There was this nurse who told me not to cry, and she said it very sharply, which made me cry more, but then she explained that she was a sympathetic crier. I still cried.
Coming up next!

My Adventures in Kidney Stone Land (hah?)

DAY29 - In This Past Month, What Have I Learned?


I will stick this to the theme of AUDREY. 
I have been a sort of nanny for Audrey all semester. 
And at first it was very hard.

I love babies. But when I'm pregnant, my love for babies seems to pull inward and devote itself to the very precious baby growing inside me. I feel less interested in anyone else's kids. Add to that some crazy hormones, and we're talking about a potentially dangerous Jekyll&Hyde woman. No, I am not proud. 
So there were times this semester that I struggled with my temper--a temper I thought was left in the past with the last tantrum I ever threw at age 9 or 10, my last "hurrah." I discovered that I could snap at anything, and I didn't like that. I'm so glad Audrey's mother is my friend. I felt able to be perfectly honest with Rachel when we had hard days, and she understood me. I felt comforted to know that if I ever did feel like I needed to back out, I could. Without being judged. 

As I struggled with all of this, I held on to the hope that I'd conquer my temper and rise up champion at the end of the semester. That's where my important lesson comes in. I learned that even if it was only for this semester, my temper was to be a constant struggle. The constant effort to maintain self control would strengthen me more than a one-time showdown reminiscent of Rocky's amazing debut thing (sorry, I've never seen the movie, so if I'm wrong, whatever). 
And that's how a lot of the most important challenges work. Time is always a key part of trials; it's the endurance that really matters, the endurance that can teach us to be Christ-like. 

That said, I love Audrey. And she is darling. And we had a great semester. I learned all kinds of awesome things, especially about my skills with babies (not just with Audrey!):

  • I actually don't mind changing diapers. It's like, so what, change it. (Isn't that cool?)
  • I am good at spoon feeding babies and keeping them clean--and myself! 
  • While I'm not 100% successful, I'm good at calming babies and helping them fall asleep. 
  • When I sing, I cannot be angry.
  • I can deal with the tricky choreography of keeping two kids happy! And...
  • I can forgive myself and be calm when I can't keep both kids happy.
  • I love to serve, and in the long run, it means more to me than my own comfort:
  • I can get up in the morning even when I'd rather not (don't you agree that's a big deal?)
  • I cherish alone time. I knew this before, but now I know it even more.
  • If I decide to do something, I can do it.
The teaching semester for Rachel has ended, and I am finished watching Audrey. I feel extremely proud of Rachel for completing the year and graduating (!), and I am really excited to have a few months to focus on Ender and growing Scarlett and summer fun. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DAY28 - A Picture of Me Now and Last Year - How I Have Changed



LAST YEAR
This is me standing in the hallway of Michael's family's house. The bedroom behind me is ours; we lived with the family for about 8 or 9 months. It was both a trial and a blessing!


 NOW
Now I am pregnant (so catching me eating is not hard...not that it was before, though). I think this is a funny picture. My hair is obviously dyed dark, and it's actually very long, to the middle of my back, even though you can't tell so much here. We now live in our own apartment, and I am so very grateful for that every day. My gratitude is not even close to wearing off.


The changes most on my mind after looking at these pictures together are the changes that came about from our experience living with the family. It was hard for me to share a living space like that, and I think it was hard for Michael's mom, too. There were lots of days that we both seemed to want our privacy very badly, and the very presence of someone else in the house (when everyone else was at school or work) felt somehow very obvious and hard to ignore. Maybe only I felt like that, but I know things weren't easy for Mom.
At first, I cried about once a week. The pressure would build up, and I would tell Michael that I was having a hard time, and the tears would start. He was very patient with me. He knew I was trying very hard to be helpful in the house and grateful for a loving family. But he pointed out to me that this crying was kind of a regular event--perhaps knowing that would help me recognize when the emotional outburst was on its way and therefore help me to avoid it? Yes, it helped me a lot. After that, the crying lessened to about once a month (which is pretty normal anyway), and sometimes even less than that.
I felt so determined--even anxious--to be helpful to the family, to show my gratitude. It was too easy to hole up in our bedroom all day and "stay out of the way." So I began helping in the kitchen, the place I felt most capable. 
Over the weeks and months, I got into the habit of cleaning up immediately. I didn't dare leave a mess in our wake. I washed dishes just about every day, tidied from room to room, and when it was my turn to do laundry, I did it all start to finish so it wouldn't have a chance of bothering anyone. I made our bed consistently so it wouldn't gross anyone out to see our bedroom at the top of the stairs. And I tried very hard to keep Ender happy--it was a difficult balance at first because it was so easy to let him play with the girls that sometimes it seemed like I was letting the girls "babysit" him. I couldn't just shadow him all day, but sometimes I felt guilty for not doing that. I eventually got better at knowing how to manage being a mom in a house of "moms"--knowing when to let Ender be and when to step in and take charge again. That lesson took the longest to learn, I think. 

The way that style of living has changed me seems incredible to me. I'm still grateful, and I still feel the effects: I am quite good at keeping up with my dishes. Also, I'm so glad to feel okay about having a sinkful of dishes right now (and it's because I don't often let it get like that that I don't mind now and then). I still really, really enjoy having the house to myself when Ender takes his nap. I love decorating and cleaning my home because it is my home. I have kept my habits of cleaning, and I used to think those habits would take me years to develop. I'm not a saint with laundry so much anymore, but I'm not anywhere close to the deplorable procrastinator I was before we lived with the family. I've never even minded laundry, it's just one of those things that doesn't catch my attention as urgently as it maybe should. :) I keep finding other "priorities." 
I've changed in a lot of other ways that are hard to pin down to words. I feel a great spiritual growth, and the best part about that is while it was extraordinarily hard to grow to this point, the current growth I feel is a constant and happy one. 

If you read through all of that, my apologies for being long-winded! There's so much in there that's not even said...

Monday, April 11, 2011

DAY27 - Why Am I Doing This 30 Day Challenge?


The first thing that intrigued me was the fact that these questions are not quite so mundane as the typical "Do you prefer beaches or cities? Summer or winter? Vanilla or chocolate?" and required a little more thought, a little more self exploration.
I do believe some questions ended up being a little bit Stupid. But that's so okay.
My main reasons are: to introduce myself to my blog more and to blog more. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

DAY26 - Places I Want to Visit Before I Die


I would love to go BACK to many of the places I've been, to begin with! 

L-R: Reed, Mom, Papa, Liz; baby me, Isaac, Rae, Abby
PANAMA

Stephano Damm, Maddie, me (see that Winnie the Pooh shirt? Oh the shame!)
BELGIUM

Me, Maddie
GERMANY

Rae, Maddie, Mom, me, Annie (Hinkle) Taylor
(NEUSCHWANSTEIN)


ANYWHERE IN EUROPE!

I've never been to Italy, Greece, Egypt, Russia, Canada (haha), or Africa.
I really love to travel and "explore," so I'm not terribly picky. :)

On the "small" scale:
the ocean
my brother reed's grave, again
all the homes my family has lived in

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This Dream Came From MY Brain?

I didn't sleep well last night. And I'm not going to complain, since the last couple weeks I've slept like an angel baby (uh, that is, a baby who actually DOES sleep through the night). The funny thing to me is I couldn't sleep well because my arms or legs kept falling asleep! Hah! Oh, the irony. And I even tried my back in desperation, but that made both legs fall asleep at the same time, which was quite unpleasant.
So I don't know, maybe my limbs got some good rest last night. ;)

But! With all my heavy sleeping, I haven't dreamt much. Last night was the first in a while, and it was weird. Nowhere near as cool as my sci-fi dream. And not quite as hilarious to me as my crazy albino turtle dream.
No, this dream is just weird.

I was in the hospital, in labor. Everything felt relaxed and nice, and I was cheerfully chatting with my mom, I think. Michael was at work, but nobody minded because everything was going so breezily. Yep, so breezily that the baby was born in about 20 seconds. No pain, minimal pushing (it was easier than passing gas).
Surprise! The baby was a boy! But I hardly thought about that. I held him out at arm's length to admire him, like "aw, how sweet..." and then we put him in his carseat and drove home.
At home, I got out of the car and was proud to show off my inhumanly flat stomach while I announced that the baby was here. Michael's aunt Anne came up with a couple of her girls to see the baby, and when I opened the car door, the carseat was empty.
I was simply puzzled. Where was the baby? But oh, then I saw a little gnat crawling affectionately on my hand, and I said "Oh there he is! That's my baby! See?" and I cooed over him while Anne sort of backed off. I don't blame her. As I let this gnat weakly crawl on my fingers, watching adoringly (ew!), I realized that was why the labor had been so easy and fast, and it explained my skinny stomach.
As I brought baby stuff into the house, I was mildly worried that a gnat would be hard to keep track of. 

Seriously?! I woke up thinking what the heck? I mean, I liked the easy labor part, that was kind of fun, but a GNAT? Well isn't that nice.
I fell asleep again to dream something else stupid, not worth remembering, and then I slept too little after that to dream anymore. I only finally found a comfortable position when I was completely awake and it was time to get up...

A GNAT?!

Scarlett Estelle

Ultrasound Pictures! 
I know these pictures often look like just a bunch of beans. 
But I still love taking a peek at my baby!








If I were to show you hers next to Ender's, I think you'd see how different they look.
Her forehead doesn't seem quite as round as Ender's, and her nose seems less "dipped." 
I love my babies. :)

DAY25 - What You Would Find in My Bag


I know the answer to that! You'd find TOO MUCH! Let us have the fun of spelunking in the depths of Qait's purse...

  1. IKEA receipts
  2. Fluoride prescription for Ender
  3. Gum
  4. Headphones
  5. Toothpaste
  6. Floss
  7. Coins
  8. Mary Kay lip gloss samplers
  9. phone case
  10. wallet
  11. eye drops
  12. Mary Kay lip sunscreen
  13. sunglasses
  14. gum wrapper(s)
  15. apple in ziploc (for the core if there's no trash)
  16. very good hand cream
  17. pens
  18. keys
  19. mirror compact
  20. MUSE cd
  21. reminder notes
  22. notes with driving directions
  23. napkin
  24. Medicaid papers
  25. checkbook
  26. WIC pamphlet
  27. notepad
  28. paper bag (usually accompanied by spare undies for Ender)
  29. hotel reservation for wedding anniversary :D
  30. ULTRASOUND PICTURES OF SCARLETT! Which reminded me to scan them so I can share them... :) 
That's "it." I typically add my phone and a heavy water bottle to the purse. 
Did you know I don't like to carry a purse? One reason is that it makes it too easy to take so many things with me (because why not be prepared if you're going to the trouble of hefting things around with you?). 
I would rather carry nothing. So when Michael takes me on dates, I rarely bring stuff with me. I enjoy the freedom, and I enjoy letting him carry any necessary stuff. :)

So you're supposed to be able to tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse, right? What does this tell you? It tells me I have an obvious reason for shoulder aches and should STILL probably add a book to the pile...you should always have a book with you...

Friday, April 8, 2011

DAY24 - Share a Story From My Past of Which I Am Ashamed


One time, I wanted to carve my name on the bathroom cabinet by the toilet, but I realized I'd be caught if I wrote my name. So I wrote Maddie's name instead. My mom caught me anyway because, duh, Maddie couldn't write yet.
Oh wait, I don't really feel ashamed by that story. In fact, I hardly did then--I just carved my sister Abby's name the next time (and she did get in trouble).

Well one other time, I had the evil temptation to squirt shampoo down Maddie's panties. And I gave in to the temptation. She was red-hot-angry, so I pretended to squirt some in my own panties to cheer her up. She was convinced, and I was...oh wait, not ashamed!

This one time, I cut off half of our cat Spiffy's whiskers because I didn't like how uneven they were. I got in trouble. But surprise! Wouldn't you know, I was not ashamed--I felt quite justified in my reasoning. Who'd want uneven whiskers?

How about this time. I wore Rae's clothes all through 6th grade, even if they didn't fit me, because her clothes were so much cooler than my Lands' End and Winnie the Pooh stuff. Seriously, why was that Pooh shirt even in my closet? I was ashamed of my wardrobe!
But not of taking Rae's clothes. With her amazing 90s collection of outfits, I was well dressed for 6th grade, hence confident and cool.

We're getting closer! Are you having fun?

Here is a sad story. It breaks my heart. Every single time:

Colorado Springs, ca. 1995
I had a "friend" named Bobby Arroyo. He was wild. And I had an inexplicable crush on him, so in order to impress him, I played wild, too. One day we were hogging the tree house and wouldn't let Maddie and Bobby's brother David climb up. We declared a childish war, intent on driving them away at all costs. Bobby threw a yellow plastic Little Tykes chair off the tree house balcony. Harmless, since Maddie and David were a good distance away. Then Bobby got a fire in his eyes and wanted to throw the tree house table down. That table was Maddie's. It was a little round thing, just painted particle board, but she loved it. I told Bobby we shouldn't. He started dragging it to the balcony anyway, and when he told me to help him hoist it over the edge, my balance broke between my loyalty to Maddie and my crush on Bobby.
We tossed the table over the balcony, and when it split in several un-fixable pieces, I saw Maddie's sweet face break into an expression of deep hurt. Her table! Her very own little table! Ruined!
I gasped. The fun had ended long before the table broke, but now the terrible guilt washed in.
I didn't know how to explain myself. I wished I knew why I had chosen Bobby's side over my darling sister's.
I didn't want to play with Bobby anymore. I vanquished my crush on him.
And I felt like I couldn't make it up to Maddie, no matter how sincerely I apologized, because I had no good reason at all for what I had done.
 

I'm still sorry, Maddie. I'm sorry I broke your table. I know it's all been long enough that we both understand the psychology behind the unkindness. But I felt so ashamed. And I'm still sad that I did that, because I don't think I will ever forget your face when your table broke.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little Educational Rant

Alright, I'm going to force myself to be quick because I'm hungry and tired (a terrible, terrible combination in my condition).

I had an eye appointment today, and I felt very hopeful! My eyes have gotten worse in the last couple of months. It's not a surprise, since it happens to lots of pregnant women, but it didn't happen with my first. I have felt pretty bummed about it because my eyes are already really bad, and now I'm having to squint to read road signs.
Well, I wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses. They shape the eye and fix astigmatism better than other contact lenses (the difference between RGP and "hard" lenses is that the RGP are more "breathable," I'm told). The way they mold the eye has some fairly lasting effect, which is wonderful for the health of the eye, but it can make things tricky for obtaining a prescription.
So I thought I was prepared. At my last appointment, the doctor explained that he couldn't get the precise prescription for my eyes because I'd come to the appointment wearing my contacts. Bah! When he hesitated and gave me the simple end, he should have trusted my challenge and told me all the hairy details. Because he left some important things out. Here's what I learned at my appointment today:

  1. If you wanted to get a perfect GLASSES prescription, you would have to go 3 weeks without wearing your RGP lenses for the initial molding to dissipate and an additional week for every decade you've worn RGP lenses in your life (for me that equals 4 weeks). 
  2. That above statement is only helpful if you are permanently switching to glasses or are planning on having Lasik surgery (or any comparable eye surgery). 
  3. Which means that if you simply want glasses with a matching prescription to let you see correctly when you remove your contacts in the evening to read your book in bed, well gee, keep your contacts on right up until the appointment because your eye will be the molded shape it takes every day when you switch to your glasses. So my 3 days of wearing glasses? Pointless. Oh man. That bugs me worse than the "waste" of time my appointment was today (it wasn't, in the end, but still!)
  4. If you want a contact prescription, same deal. You can wear your contacts. The optometrist will just take a reading from them or something wacky like that--I apparently missed the details on why that works, but it doesn't matter. The doctor didn't try to explain that part, anyway.
  5. Last of all, don't freak out if your eyes are changing during pregnancy, because SURPRISE! It may likely be temporary! Wow, how did I miss that?! Did you know that? Is that supposed to be given knowledge? AAAAH!!! Somebody give me a good, annoying Cathy Guisewite "ack!"
  6. To drive legally and safely, you supposedly only need to be able to read the top line of the eye chart. I can read all the way through the last line with my contacts on. Oh, so nice. But really? Because I still have to be so close to the street sign at the lights before I can tell what they say! I come up slowly like a granny if I'm afraid I'll miss my turn! *sigh* I'll just have to trust that other drivers can forgive me. And if not, too bad. 
Yes, I could humble myself and try regular contact lenses (but remember that if I'm making that a permanent switch, I have to go 4 weeks in glasses--UGH!). But one reason I chose to switch to RGP when I was about 13 or 14 was because I have such terrible astigmatism, and these RGP lenses give me the sharpest prescription compared to the others. Another good reason? My mom wore them, and her optometrist was so grateful she had when some other eye problems came up for her. He said that the RGP lenses had saved her years of degeneration in her eyes (I'm not sure it was macular degeneration, probably not cataracts, but something of that seriousness). My mom's dad has horrendous macular degeneration. So if I've got anything of my mother's genes in my eyes--which I seem to, since my eyes are SOOOO bad--then I'd like to save some years, too. I really like being able to see.

That's why I really didn't enjoy wearing my glasses the last three days. They're just not good enough. They're cute, sure, but I can't see very well still. Plus the hinges always manage to snag little hairs; after three days, I pretty much have bangs with all the hair snapping that's been going on. And it's hard to put on makeup with glasses! How do you glasses-clad ladies do it?! I'm so blind with nothing helping my eyes, it's horrible! It's really, really horrible the way my eyes have worsened in the last couple months. :( Oh, boohoo...
I'm grateful Michael isn't upset that his time was spent in a waiting room today. I had him drive me since driving with glasses is out of the question for me. We lugged Ender and Audrey along--thankfully they were well-behaved. And the doctor was kind enough to check my eyes anyway just to see how bad they are after 3 days compared to when I'm wearing contacts (it's significant). 
Kind of scary. After 4 weeks of not wearing contacts, would I be legally blind??? I'm definitely considering a future investment of $5900 for that crazy liquid-contact injection...sign me up! Save my eyes! (Another "ack" would be appropriate, I believe).
I think the doctor thought I talked to much. He seemed a little annoyed at all my interjections, but I couldn't help myself from gasping in shock when he said I needed so many WEEKS of going without contacts! Really?! I said that sounded horrible, and he came back with how some other woman went 6 weeks without hers so she could get her special operation (lucky pants)--and it seemed like he was saying I should just suck it up, you know? Like "other people do it, so big deal." I was only commenting...it would be really awful to have to stick to glasses so long. :( Really, really awful. For me. 

Ah, well. I'm terribly sorry if this is completely irrelevant to you. Not many people wear RGP lenses. But maybe you didn't know a prescription change can be temporary in pregnancy? And therefore not worth the exam cost? 
I had to get it off my chest. I feel a little bit miffed, a little bit sorry for myself, and still very hungry and tired. I do not call this a short post. I let a little too much ranting happen to keep it tidy. ;)

PS: I do not like the looks (real or imagined) that people give me when they see me pregnant and hauling a carseat baby. With Ender in tow. I'd like to wear a sign that says "NO, this is NOT my 7 month old baby next to my 6 1/2 month pregnantness." And if it were? "YES, I chose to be like this." Or maybe just a sign taped to Audrey's carseat that says in very large caps "BABYSITTING!"

DAY23 - What is Something I Crave?


Spinach salad.
Oven roasted sweet potatoes.
Danish soft-serve ice cream from Denmark.
Real Belgian waffles from the vendors in Mons, Belgium.
Hot roasted chestnuts from the cold streets of Paris.

That's all. :)

(Why don't I throw in a rupunzel lettuce? It's just as accessible--perhaps more so!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DAY22 - What Makes Me Different


Gee. What does make me different?
Exploring the shallow end, we could mention how I spell my name with a Q, I wore duct taped leopard print slippers for much of high school (an "I don't care" statement more than a fashion statement), and sometimes I put my plastic dishes in rainbow order if the mood strikes me.
Or we could talk about the sweet little tidbits of the chic-flick sort--you know, the guy says he can prove he loves the girl because he knows she has 12 different smiles and can name what each smile means. Hah. I have issues with those love schemes, but they're cute enough. So about me, we'd say...Qait's different because she...
No, that's not working. Let's get to the deeper stuff.

I'm not different because I play the harp. I'm mostly different because of how I feel about the harp. I have a great passion for it, and my passion stems from my deepest belief in the eternal power of music combined with mankind's eternal potential for greatness. It's a little Ayn Rand sounding, but it's the foundation of my passion. That and the fact that harp really does seem to resonate with my soul, all the way back to before I ever played.

I'm not different because I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm not even "different" as a Latter-day Saint who has her heart wrapped around the gospel. There are so many like me. But I am different from nonmembers because of the way I live what I believe.

I'm not different because I'm a woman, but I am a different woman because of how I feel about womanhood. This facet of my character, if you will, was so important a detail to Michael that it was one of the first questions he asked me when we became serious about our dating: "How do you define the role of a woman?" And I answered without hesitation (almost to my surprise, since most questions like that leave me anxious in the worry that I'll leave out something important). A woman has the potential to become a wife and a mother, and that is a core part of her existence. We are built to nurture, to care and sacrifice for others. At the most natural and sensitive parts of our hearts, we are angelic. We love to love. We are happiest when we love. And somehow, the way this separates a woman from a man is not really in the definition of all of that but in the soul of it...women are especially tender creatures with most incredible power. We are not only beautiful in our purest womanhood, we are beauty.

I find a lot of pleasure in proclaiming "I am ME!" As simple and obvious a phrase it is, I love it because it's undeniable. I have often felt--and by often I mean ever since I was a child, with true pondering on the topic--that my spirit is ancient. I have been around for a long time. I have existed longer than my body has. I have had a place in the universe beyond the reaches of time. And the amazing thing is that it's true for all of us; before our spirits were born to Heavenly Father, an intelligence, a light, a something existed from which those spirits were created. I am a child of God, and He did not create me out of nothing. There is no "nothing" in me.
So while I am not always separable from the billions of people in the world, I am an individual. I am ME!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DAY21 - Share a Picture From My Day

30 Day Challenge
We're 2/3 through!



That is where we're at today. 
I'm wearing Michael's robe, Ender is in his pajamas. 
We are between breakfast and showering/dressing.
It's nice to have a slow morning sometimes.
(Especially after staying up until about 4am doing yet more house redo...yay!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

DAY20 - If I Had 3 Wishes, What Would They Be?



  1. All the money I'd ever want OR need.
    Just being honest! It would be great to not worry at all about money. And also being completely honest, I would love using my money to help other people. I wouldn't mind building my dream house, too, but I would SO love to help people with money things, you know? The kind of service that requires money. I don't feel like it trumps all other service, but I'd love to add it to my list of Service Capabilities.
    It sounds fun and exciting to be rich, especially since I'm not wanting it as the way to find happiness. I'm already happy.
  2. Perfect health (for me and my family)
    That's something I wouldn't feel guilty about wishing for! ;) It would be awesome...
  3. Um...well here we'll go more magical than the others: do you remember how Sabrina the Teenage Witch could snap and have an instant outfit, whatever she wanted? I think she wasted that magic on some really hideously ugly 80s/90s clothes, but I wouldn't mind the same little snapping power. I'd LOVE to be able to do that! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

DAY19 - My Nickname and Its Birth


It's not as fun as, say, Slartingbartfast, but I love my nickname. 

Qait. 

Like "kate." 

I am originally Kate. By now, it feels so weird to spell it that way! 
I was just having fun experimenting with spellings when I was 13. 
I tried some really dumb ones. And some fairly cool ones.

Keight
Caet
K8
Keyte 
(that's by far the worst...and Maddie's favorite for teasing me at the time)

I was emailing my brother Isaac regularly and signing my name a new way every time. 
And then he wrote back spelling it Qait. 
I have loved it from the start! 
It's not on legal documents, but it's on everything else. 
I find it very fitting. 

And a sweet nickname that has blossomed from it: "Q." 
I love that, too. 

Can't remember where I found this image, so sorry! I will admit it's not mine...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

DAY18 - Plans/Dreams/Goals I Have


Even though the title implies plans, dreams and goals are all pretty much the same, I don't feel like pulling out a huge list that those words entail. So I'm breaking it up and making it very straightforward for myself.
Not that I have to be so strict with this Challenge...I just...whatever. You get it, don't you?

Plans:
Spend lots of time outside this summer and enjoy being pregnant.
Have a beautiful labor and delivery, and have a beautiful baby girl.
Enjoy being busy this summer in a very Summer-ful way.

Dreams:
Since these aren't especially different from my goals in the grand scheme of life, as I see it, I'll take this very literally. :D As in, guess what I dreamed last night? Nothing. Nothing that I can remember; I have been sleeping SO deeply this week, it's incredible. I love it. I do miss dreaming, though.
Here's one of my all time favorite dreams: HERE (it is SHORT).

Goals:
Do what I do now with much improvement (which is technically cheating as far as listing goals because it covers so much...)
Have a home someday that is large enough for family to visit and stay comfortably.
Be rich. Yes, it's true.
Be amazing with the harp.
Run a marathon in 2012.

That's all you get for now!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Caring Within Boundaries

We have some neighbor kids who, um...like to play? Except the problem is, no one watches them outside when they play. And they are both the age and the type of kids who need watching. So when Ender wants to play with them, I end up watching all of them. Solution: Ender doesn't play with them. And no, I don't feel mean about that-- there is no reason I should be watching someone else's kids like that.
Yesterday while chatting with Michael's grandma (who is just as much MY grandma, I'm just being clear is all), the dad was calling for one of the boys to come inside. After much calling, the boy finally turned to run home--BUT RIGHT INTO THE ROAD WITH AN ONCOMING CAR! The car was so close, and he ran right towards it so that he could run down the middle of the road. Really, he ran away from the sidewalk he'd been on so that he could run down the road. That car slammed its brakes and waited until he had completely passed before it went on. Grandma and I were frozen to the steps, holding our breath. As I watched the boy run up the steps to his home, I realized my stomach hurt a lot. I'd had a kind of miniature contraction in that tense moment where I feared for his life. And it was a really yucky feeling. My stomach took its time unclenching. Grandma and I breathed sighs of frustration; that was our reaction, being frustrated because it had been "unnecessary" fear.
The dad didn't really seem to have any reaction at all as his son went into their house (I would like to hope I judged that incorrectly).
Today the neighbor kids were calling through my open windows to get Ender to play. I felt pretty annoyed, honestly. First, you ask me. Second, you don't yell through my windows. Third, Ender and I were having a nice little moment talking on the couch about a Hawai'ian CD my sister Maddie had sent. I wanted to yank the blinds down in their faces, but as I walked to the window, I just couldn't. They're kids. I feel bad for them. So I smiled and told them Ender cannot play, goodbye. And I waited until they walked away before pulling down the blinds.
Oh, these kids. Oh, their parents. Their parents are divorced, and it's quite a sad case. I really don't think it's appropriate to go into details on a blog (it hardly is in private, either). And I do not gossip. When I talk about anything that's not technically my business, it is done very carefully.
But I do want to talk a little about how I feel in this situation. Where it concerns a single dad, I do NOT feel comfortable (or obliged) to get very involved in helping their family. Michael is gone often, but even with him here, there's nothing I want to do to foster even a friendship with the dad. It would simply be wrong. That leaves the kids. And I am not their babysitter, but that's what I'd be if I tried to help them. I do not let them in my home (stories...but it would be gossip here), and a huge reason for that is no one would be aware of them coming in. That would leave me accountable for anything that would happen to them, and they are not my responsibility.
Understandably, it's hard to find a balance here. I really ache for those kids. I want to be kind and Christ-like. I want them to know I care. But I have got to keep a distance. I feel really awful when I can see in their eyes and their body language that they think I'm just the neighbor mom who never lets her son play, the neighbor mom who smiles but isn't interested, the neighbor mom who is always going to say no even if she seems polite and kind. It hurts, because that's not me. And they may always remember me that way.
It's definitely one of those times that I have to remind myself what the boundaries are, and I have to remind myself that Heavenly Father understands perfectly.
It can still be kind of emotionally exhausting.

Have any of you been in situations like this? Where you want to care in a more obvious way, but it just wouldn't be right?

Laundry Day is Enforced

Ender woke up super early this morning, but Michael comforted him and shushed him, and Ender eventually fell asleep again--at the foot of our bed, between our legs. Very cute, like a cat. I thought it was sweet.
Until I found out later this morning that the reason he woke up was that he wet the bed.

That was a pretty tricky April Fool's trick, Ender. I'll be watching my back!
Or your pants...

DAY17 - Someone I Would Want to Switch Lives With For One Day (and Why)


Well I wouldn't. I prefer to be me, not because I'm the BEST but because that's who I'm meant to be. 
If it were about trying to think of someone who has a better life than me, I just can't fathom swapping because I really, honestly, sincerely LOVE my life. 
But guess what? I suppose I wouldn't mind switching with someone less fortunate than me for a day. It would be pretty heartbreaking, I'm sure, but I would most likely learn a lot (at least gratitude for my own life). And since there are no rules to speak of, let's say that in switching lives I could still be me, at least in some ways. So I could find ways to help make that person's life better...at least for their family or situation...in that case, I would love to make a better difference for someone. 
And since we're talking switching, that means they'd get my life for a day (HEY! Hands off Michael!), and they'd have the blessing of experiencing that. I'm completely serious, my life is one to love. I suppose some people in the world don't want my life, but that would only be for superficial reasons (or because they too LOVE their life). I have love and happiness pouring in from every cracked window and door of Heaven.

To get personal with you, I'll tell you: sometimes I can't help but think of my life as a sort of fairytale in its beauty. That's not a shallow thing, either, because fairytales all have their problems. But they all have a happily ever after, and my life does, too. Throughout. Problems have solutions, pain has ointment, sorrow is eased with comfort. Of course there's no question it's because of the gospel.
WHY, oh why, would I ever want to trade in my happiness to be someone else? For even a day?