Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Environmentalism

Here are my thoughts for the day:

Neal A. Maxwell: “True disciples … would be consistent environmentalists – caring both about maintaining the spiritual health of a marriage and preserving a rain forest; caring about preserving the nutrient capacity of a family as well as providing a healthy supply of air and water…. Adam and Eve were to 'dress the garden,' not exploit it. Like them, we are to keep the commandments, so that we can enjoy all the resources God has given us, resources described as “enough and to spare” (D&C 104:17), if we use and husband them wisely."


Friday, January 29, 2010

Summer's First Word

There is one good thing about having a rather large, possibly dangerous, mole in the center of my chest for everyone to see: Summer loves it. When I hold her , she points at it with both index fingers and babbles. A few days ago, I started calling it “mommy’s dot.”

When I was browsing in a store, Summer starting pointing to the mole and saying “ba ba ba ba.” I starting saying “dot” over and over again. She looked at me and then started saying “duh duh duh.” Hmm…

This morning, when I woke up, I showed her the mole and pointed to it. She pointed to it too, and said, “duh duh duh duh.” (The sounds were sharp and staccato – it didn’t sound like she was suggesting I was dumb, by the way.) I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I really wanted her to have made some progress in the language area. I was totally excited.

Later this morning, I picked her up and she pointed to my mole and said “dot.” In a very baby-ish way, but it was there. I was thrilled. So was Nathaniel. We danced and hopped around like idiots.

So this is why I think “dot” is Summer’s first word. Knowing her, I probably won’t hear it again for a long time, but I had to document it.

By the way, after hearing Summer say “dot,” I flipped through What to Expect The First Year to see if it’s really possible that an 8 ½ month old baby would say something (very unlikely, according to the authors, so I’m probably making the whole thing up). A section on toilet training caught my eyes, and I couldn’t help but share this gem with you guys:

“Children are great imitators, particularly of people they look up to. So instead of barring baby from the bathroom while you use the toilet, invite him in for a live demonstration, accompanied by a running commentary on the goings-on.”

This coming from the same people who eschew the word “poo” in favor of the more delicate “doo doo,” presumably to avoid offending their gentle readers.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Helping Haiti - A Step Toward Unselfishness

As I was writing the last post (you know, the one when I wanted to become foam), I felt a bit silly writing about how awful and terrible my life is when all signs suggest otherwise. I have a perfect (for me) husband, a beautiful, easy-going daughter, wonderful, giving friends, and two incredible families. Even though we live off student loans, we have a great apartment (relatively speaking) and we always have more than enough to eat. I am blessed to be doing almost exactly what I always wanted to do with my life (full-time mom, part time law clerk, soon-to-be attorney). I love my church and my Crohn's hasn't acted very badly in months. Life is awesome. (And so are parentheticals.)

But I forged ahead with the rant because I think it's important to validate feelings. If you feel bad, it's healthier to acknowledge it, as silly and unjustified those feelings may be, than to brush it under the rug.

So I acknowledged and went to bed and felt 100 times better the next day. And then, with a great night's sleep, I saw clearly what I had been only a vague inkling in the back of my mind: Summer had almost nothing to do with my terrible day. It was all me and my selfishness. I wanted a day when I could do what I wanted and I wanted to do it easily, and couldn't, so I got upset and placed the blame where it didn't belong. I was only thinking about myself.

I should know better. How many times in church, personal study, family home evenings, firesides, etc., have I heard warnings against self-centered thinking? And how it leads to misery and divorce and war and pretty much everything that's wrong with the world except physical illness and pleated pants?

So when I stopped thinking about myself, I started thinking about Haiti. When I first heard about the earthquake there, my heart sank. I hated it that there was so much suffering going on and I couldn't be there to help somehow.

So Nathaniel and I donated a little money to the disaster relief fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It wasn't much, but I figured every little bit helps.

Later, after I decided to try and stop being selfish, I saw this. The Church was calling for more donations to help Haiti. We don't have a lot of money (well, none, really if you consider our debt), but we can forgo something that's not that iportant (Avitar in 3D? A dinner at Communal? A new dress? My first-world needs are so silly) so that our brothers and sisters in Haiti can get the help they need.

So I recommend that if you can donate to Haiti, you do so through the LDS church. Just click here. First, they actually put 100% of your donation to disaster relief (I can't figure out what the Red Cross's percentage is, but I know it's not 100). Second, their relief efforts are extremely well-organized and efficient. Areas that have suffered disasters often have a problem with organizations who are trying to help but are really just in the way because the supplies they bring are one big mess. But relief workers are always happy to see the Mormons come.

Also, as the request for more funds stated, people need more than food and water and shelter. They need our prayers. So everyone really can do something.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Just Breathe

Today was bad. Very bad. I had big plans to put off my work project and head to the store for some parchment paper, because I really wanted to make graham crackers and I needed parchment to do it. I planned to read my scriptures when Summer was taking her morning nap and then take off as soon as she woke up.

It didn’t work. Summer decided that rather than sleeping, she would just whine and cry and fuss in an exhausted, serotonin-fueled state. All day long. Thrice I attempted to let her cry herself to sleep in her crib, and thrice I failed.

What did this mean for me? No getting parchment paper. No earning money. No taking lunch to Nathaniel. Nothing but attempting to placate my child for hours on end in a 10 x 12 living room. And two and a half long hours of listening to my beloved child scream her head off.

If you haven't had the experience of listening to a baby cry for multiple hours in one day, I sincerely hope you never do.

As I lay on my bed, listening to Summer's cries, I wanted to sink into the mattress pad. I wanted to become the foam – no ears, no emotions, no screaming babies.

On days like today, I have to tell myself to just breathe. I have to tell myself that it’s okay to me frustrated and mad. It’s okay to feel inadequate and long for another life. Sometimes, things happen that make the life of foam look enviable, things that make you wish that you could check out of motherhood just for the day. But you can’t. And you wouldn’t, even if you could, because these days don’t last long, and really, life is actually amazing.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sometimes you just have to complain about your husband

Today, I checked the mail and pulled out a package. Our address is on Wymount Terrace. The package was addressed to "Wymount Ter."

When I see Blvd., I think boulevard. When I see St., I think street. When I see Rd., I think road. When I see Ter., I think turd.

I have explained this to Nathaniel, and he refuses to stop.

But I forgive him, because he does stuff like this:


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The inevitable spit up pic

You should click on the picture to really appreciate its glory.

When I look at this picture, a few things come to mind:

1. It was taken right after we bragged to our friends that Summer almost never spits up.

2. I love Summer's look of triumph - like she's saying "I never spit up, huh? Ha!"

3. My husband is very attractive, even with spit up on his face.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Not A Happy Post

Warning: many might find this post a tad bit depressing. Feel free to skip it.

I had a miscarriage in March of 2008. It was the most devastating experience I’ve ever had to go through. I was working at the Attorney General’s office in Salt Lake City when I started spotting. I remember as I was driving home I prayed, crying to God that he couldn’t do that to me because a miscarriage was the one thing I couldn’t handle. I loved that baby so much and losing him or her was unfathomable. 
Before that day, I thought that I could deal with a miscarriage. My mom had a miscarriage and she explained to me that sometimes things just aren’t working right and a miscarriage is nature’s way of taking care of it. I hadn’t realized until then that she could talk about like that because it had been over a decade since she lost her baby.
The next day, when I started having intense contractions at 11 weeks, I wondered why God would do this to me? To us? Why would he make me think I had a baby on the way, only to take it away from me? With every other trail I had experienced, I found a way to make sense of it: I learned an invaluable lesson, I came out of the trial with more empathy for and understanding of others, I was a stronger person, etc. But I could not, and still can’t, understand the good in losing a pregnancy.
One of the most difficult things in losing my baby was that people downplayed it. No one was rude, but comments that were meant to be helpful like “You really need to rest more,” and “That sucks. Well, at least you’ll have more time to study,” and “Maybe you weren’t really pregnant,” hurt. Most just pretended everything was the same, even thought I had already told everyone about the pregnancy. Some people were wonderful. My mother said, “I don’t know what to say, but I just really love you.” That was exactly what I needed to hear. My gastroenterologist, of all people, was also very validating. He left me a voicemail saying, “I’m sorry about your baby.” He didn’t say “Sorry about what happened,” or “Sorry about the miscarriage.” He recognized that I had a baby and the baby died. A woman from work gave me a hug when I returned and said, “No one really understands until they’ve been through it.” Nathaniel, of course, was wonderful. He just let me cry on his shoulder and cried with me.
One of the worst things about a miscarriage is blame. That’s why well-intended comments like, “Next time, you need more rest,” can hurt so much. Women who have had miscarriages constantly second-guess their every action, wondering whether or not a different decision at some point would have saved their baby’s life. This morning, I read a blog post about how the author miraculously avoided miscarriage, through prayer and faith and the grace of God. I am so glad she didn’t have to go through the loss of her pregnancy, but I do hope no woman reads that post and wonders if an extra priesthood blessing or more faith would have resulted in a different outcome. Well, I hope no one aside from me feels that way.
I spent a long time in the temple and although I cannot understand the reasons for losing a baby, I made my peace with what happened. But I have to renew that all the time. It’s easy to go back to being angry at God, but prayer helps the peace return.
When I was 7 months pregnant with Summer, I was chatting with a friend from high school about the bar. He mentioned something about my being a mommy, and I replied that I wasn’t a mommy yet. “I’m Catholic,” he responded, “and for me life begins at conception. So you’re a mommy in my book.” I liked that. So in a way, I’m a mommy of two.
I said I don’t understand why God would let me loose a baby, but perhaps I’m starting to make sense of it. Soon after the miscarriage, I was listening to a radio program about caring for trees (not something I would ordinarily do, btw). In response to a question from a listener, the host of the show explained that in order to properly care for a fruit tree, the blossoms should be plucked for the first couple of years so that the tree can grow strong and be prepared to bear fruit. When I heard that, my thoughts immediately went to the baby I lost. But I shoved aside the notion that God would let my baby die so that I could grow up a little more before I was charged with caring for one of His children. I’m still not sure that that’s the answer, but every time I think of the little one I lost I think of that experience. So maybe that’s part of it. I’m not sure. And now, that’s okay.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Toy Station

Thanks to my mom, we have an extra dresser. (Why is this centered? I really shouldn't use programs I don't understand.) Here's what we did with it.

I'm pretty proud of myself. So I'm bragging on the internets.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going Private!

Hahaha....just kidding.


My wife is trying to kill me...

I'm starving...almost dead. Why, you ask? Because my wife is starving me to death. Here's the story:

I was in the middle of wasting time on the computer by looking at some blogs and improving my facebook-me by making nice comments on other peoples' statuses when I noticed my hands were shaking. No, it wasn't because I was nervous my facebook-friends wouldn't like the comments I was making (they always love them) was because my body does not have enough food in it. Now you want to know why the heck my body doesn't have enough food in it....well so did I! As I stared at my shaking hands I thought, "wow, I'm really hungry." Thankfully (and contrary to my wife's diabolical plan) that thought persisted and I did something about it (well, honestly I haven't yet eaten but I'm going to right after I post this). I'm pretty sure that my wife was hoping that I would never make myself food and I would slowly die of starvation. No, I have no idea why she would want to kill me, I'm perfect in every way. But that's beside the point. Here's how she was trying to kill me:

Step 1) Make food for Nathaniel on a regular basis.
Step 2) Make food for Nathaniel so often that he never makes food for himself.
Step 3) Make Nathaniel absolutely dependent on the food that I make him.
Step 4) Stop making food for Nathaniel
Step 5) Hope that Nathaniel has forgotten what hunger feels like so that when it hits him he won't respond by making his own food but will die instead.

I thwarted her plan on step 5 (again, technically I'll thwart it by eating as soon as I'm done typing this post with my shaky hands). I will live another day, wife! Better luck with your next evil plot.

The End.


Yes, I love to use parentheticals and yes, my wife is making me food while I'm typing this...does this mean she thinks her plan might still work?


A letter to Summer three days after she turned eight months old

Dear Summer,

Three days ago, you turned eight months old. And I'm sorry, but I did not write a post about you on that day. I was really tired. Oh, wait. You're only eight months old. You don't care. Goody.

You've been crawling for a couple of weeks now, but it's nice and slow so you can't get into too much trouble. And you stand up and cruise a little (which is when you get around by holding the side of the couch or something). Sometimes it's really cute when you crawl to me and climb up my legs, just standing there, waiting to be picked up. Sometimes it's awfully inconvenient when you do that while I'm holding a knife and have raw chicken all over my hands. I haven't quite figured out what I should do at that point because you can't stand up all by yourself and it seems a little mean to walk away and let you topple over. Good thing daddy was there.

And speaking of your daddy: Summer, we need to talk about something. Your daddy loves you just as much as I do. He is just as good at holding you, and probably a little bit better at playing with you. When I give you to him so that I can go to the bathroom, you are in safe hands. There is no need to scream when I leave the room. As much as I need a break, I promise I'll always come back when I go to the bathroom.

See? Here he is, feeding you a bottle. Oh, and this picture was taken the day you turned eight months old.

What? You don't like the lighting? Neither do I.

Today I fed you blueberries. As it turns out, it's not a very good idea to give messy babies something that stains almost black. Maybe we'll save them for when I don't have to puree all your food. Or maybe not, because you didn't seem to like them that much this time. So I gave you leftover chicken and dumplings. I'm not sure if you're supposed to give babies stuff like that, but you loved it, and that's good enough for me.

Today, I tickled you for the very first time. Well, I've tickled you before, where my hands start about a foot from your tiny body and they slowly inch toward your rib cage. That, coupled with threats from the tickle monster (me), usually gets a laugh.

But today, as you were laying down on my lap looking at our new cool orange rug (or maybe the wall, I'm not sure), I just gave you a simple tickle just above your tummy. I was rewarded with a dimple in your cheek and a nice upward curl in your lips. I did it again and got a laugh. We just sat and laughed for a few minutes. It was so great.

Your favorite game is full body peek-a-boo. I love how I get a big smile and laugh out of you when I jump around a corner or hide under your chair, then back again. And you look for for me when I hide out under your high chair. You are so fun.

Well, most of the time you are fun. Sometimes, it's very difficult dealing with a baby who is teething. You're just not your happy, smiling, laughing self, and you want to be cuddled and carried a lot. I'm sorry you're so uncomfortable most of the time. I'm sure I'd be a big grump too if I was dealing with that.

I just love you so much. I am so glad to have you in my life. You are the perfect eight-month old.



Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sometimes I think Summer's head looks massive

But I sure do love her!

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