Tuesday, December 29, 2015

End of the day

Two-year-old Nathaniel is really good at pushing my buttons. Which says a lot more about me than it does about him. I mean, I have a lot of buttons to find and push. Teaching him each day, you can tell that he really does want to obey and wants to always be good, but it's really hard when you're only two!

Yesterday, Nathan was particularly good at finding all my buttons and pushing. each. one. By bedtime, I was more than ready to clock out from my job of being a momma. Once the littles were in bed, I turned on a show and folded some laundry. It took me just under an hour, and since the kiddos had been quiet for some time, I figured I'd risk sneaking into their bedroom to put their clothes away. Eva was sound asleep, but little Nathaniel was just quietly laying in bed with his eyes open, staring at the Christmas lights we put up in their room.

I didn't say anything to him, just put the clothes away. But once I finished I went over and gave that sweet head a kiss and told him I loved him. He asked in his sleepy little voice if I could get his teddy for him. No way I can turn that kid down when he asks me in that tired way. I found his bear, and you should have seen the big, slow smile that spread all across his face when he saw teddy. He whispered, "Thank you for getting my teddy, Momma!" several times as I hugged and kissed him goodnight.

Closing their door, I felt like the luckiest momma in the world. The least I can do to show my thanks for these small charges is to try once again to take the less traveled road of patience. Especially when they find my buttons and push. every. one.

That's my boy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wonder Struck

I want to remember this phase. There is such beauty, it almost melts me.

I am a home-body. I love being at home. I could stay in the house all day for even a couple of days and not miss going out. And I get to spend my days with my two small children.

Nathan says the most hilarious things. Today he said brightly while riding in the car, "Oops. I left my ear. I will pick it up." He loves to joke and tease you. Especially saying things the way he knows they aren't just to hear my reaction. Nathan loves to read too. He laughed a full belly laugh the other day when we read a book about a cat looking for his purr who was startled by a cuckoo clock. He brings me a book every day and says, "Mommy, read it, Please!" in his sing-song way. And anything that goes (trains, big-rigs, dump trucks, planes, cars, motorcycles) just fascinate him. He is so sweet to his sister. They sometimes giggle and play through nap-time and I often can't bring myself to put a stop to it. Nathan sings and dances and remembers so much. His mind is like a sponge that soaks up everything it sees.

Eva is learning how to show she understands what's going on around her. She'll mimic back several animal sounds if you do it first. Her horsey sound is a slobbery raspberry, she softly hisses like a snake, and her lion growl is so much fiercer than her petite frame belies. Eva crawls quickly and walks around the furniture. She loves taking hold of a finger from each of my hands and walking around the house. Eva will also speed-crawl into the kitchen when you aren't looking and forage for any food she may have dropped during meal time. Sometimes I think she drops the food on purpose so she can snack on it later. Eva loves to give open mouthed kisses and has 8 full teeth with two molars on the way, so you better believe those kisses are wet! My favorite is when she'll sneaky-kiss my face as I help her say her prayers at night. My eyes are closed and of a sudden slobbery lips are touching mine. Eva says "Ma-Ma" and "Da-da" and has started saying "hi!" especially when she sees herself in a mirror.

I've lived in a dark hole of anxiety and depression for so long, but since moving here my days are overwhelmingly bright and full. My mind and emotions aren't yet whole, but there is such a difference to the degree of depression. I feel more resilient, more able to become who I want to become. My home is staying cleaner than it's been, I'm finding time to pursue creativity through stitching, sewing, quilting, knitting. I feel more like me. Sometimes I dance in the grocery store just because I'm feeling bubbly. I'm sillier with my kids and have the emotional resources to imagine games with Nathaniel.

I don't know how to describe all the beauty in my life right now and this list is far from comprehensive. And too, not all is easy and perfect and good. The children scream. The dishes still pile (not to mention the clean and dirty laundry). I falter often and still have raw, fragile emotional times. But the predominant feeling is one of grateful wonderment at what a season of life this is.

I know it won't last. Some financial or physical or spiritual or mental or familial hardship will come. It has to, or I wouldn't grow into who I'm meant to. But I wanted to record this tranquil oasis in my life. I want to look back on it when the seas are rough again and be able to treasure that feeling and trust that the calm will someday reappear. It is a bliss I hope we all will have a chance to taste.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Impenetrable Fortress of Iron

I read this blog post and looked closer at the scripture she describes. It's in Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 18:
"...I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land..."
I had to look up "defenced". It turns out it's the past participle of the verb "defence." Not the noun, mind you, the verb. "To defence" means to fortify, to furnish with defenses. So if I understand correctly, God is telling Jeremiah that He has made him into the equivalent of an impenetrable (brasen) fortress (defenced city) complete with iron fortifications. Pretty strong stuff.

Then in the next verse:
"And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."
I have to remind myself that God has also covenanted with me. I covenanted to always remember Him and keep His commandments when I was baptized, and I renew that covenant by partaking of the sacramental bread and water each Sunday at church. God promised me that I would always have His Spirit to be with me. In essence, that He would be with me.

I can't give in to my weaknesses and failings. I've been made into sterner stuff: a walled fortress that cannot be penetrated.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Baby signing

About 2.5 months ago, I checked out a book on baby sign language for Eva. She was screaming all the time. As in, if you sat her down on the floor she'd let out a really loud scream and then play for a minute happily as if nothing had happened, and then scream again, and then play some more. She'd scream in the car if she felt she'd been in there too long, or if the light was red for longer than she wanted. It was really not our favorite phase. Ignoring the screams helped, and so did some other things we tried, but I just felt like my girl needed an extra way to communicate... especially in a way that wasn't so grating on our nerves!

So, with a little bit of knowledge and an eye towards the long term, I began teaching her to sign "more".

And today, after many weeks, she started signing it. I'm so excited! She's starting to grasp the concept! And it makes my heart so happy!

Take a look:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sharing suckers

When I was a kid I would have thought this was so gross.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bind up

Do you ever see the turmoil in another's soul and yearn to make it all better? I see fellow women, sisters, brothers, and men, friends and family, hurting and aching. Perceived and real injustices. Tragic health challenges. Selfishness. Thoughtlessness. Heartache.

When my little nine-month-old is sad, it's relatively easy for me to help make it better. She usually needs a hug and attention. Sometimes she just needs to be held or fed. Kisses and smooches go a long way to helping her feel at peace again.

With older humans, it seems not so simple.

I want to bind up the broken hearted. I want to proclaim liberty to the captive. I want to give praise for heaviness, beauty for ashes.

But I in my limited mortal mind haven't the foggiest idea of what to do.

Thankfully and joyfully, I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that He suffered and died that He might know perfectly how to do all of those things: bind up, proclaim, and give. And because I believe those things, I also believe that He expects me to do what I can to aid Him in this work. And like the prophet Nephi, "I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

I am but a fallen mortal, who can do nothing of myself, but I wish to try. Do you want to try with me?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Adventures

Back in January, Chris started looking for a full time teaching position. Last month, we finally found one! Quickly everything fell into place and we're now living in beautiful Boise, Idaho. We are near family and are making lots of new friends. Our ward has been particularly welcoming and we are loving it here.

Since it's been a few months since the last post, here's an overview of what we've been up to told in pictures.


In March, we visited our friends the Smith's in the Bay Area

Nathan chasing after his friend, Jackson

Smiling with the view from the Oakland Temple behind us

Eva at the Oakland Temple

Chris and Nathan at Golden Gate Bridge

We also visited Chris's Great Aunt Kathy and
Great-Grandma while in California

Chris's Great-Grandma with Eva (So that's her Great-Great-Grandaughter)

There's a span of 5 generations in this photo

Aunt Kathy making Eva smile
Nathaniel turned two!

Bought a potted plant, Nathan liked watering it
Aunt Abbie came and visited during her spring break

We went and stayed at my parent's house for General Conference/Easter

Easter Egg hunt in Grandma's basement

Grandma sword fighting with Nathan, she taught him to say "En garde!"
 which he pronounced, "On dard!"

Provo City outdoor event at Rock Canyon Park

Nathan got to ride a pony at the Provo City event

Eva's first time swimming

Chris's graduation!

I embroidered bacon and eggs on the inside panel of his robes
Nathan and Grandma drinking chocolate milk

Eva playing with cousin Luke

Big smiles at Grandma Kimi's house

A new dress to match her big smile

Siblings. This picture melts my heart
Our backyard! (well, at least one corner of it)

Our front porch--it wraps around!

Walking to the library (only a 20 minute walk)

Shopping with Grandma Kimi at Winco

Ward campout in Montour, ID

Daddy and the kiddos hanging out in the tent

Nathaniel is saying "cheese!"

Life is very sweet!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Joy of Motherhood

Ok. So it's been my experience that lots of people talk about how hard being a parent is. There are lots of well-meaning warnings about less sleep, long hours, challenges, emotional struggles, etc. And it's also been my experience that these things are certainly part of being a parent.

But it's not the only part.

I've talked to moms who seemed hesitant to describe the joyful things of parenthood and I myself have felt that reluctance. I think it's because I'm worried about making other moms feel bad if they aren't having a jolly good time. Most women are hard enough on themselves without anyone else's help thank you very much. But I just feel even more strongly that there's just not enough talk about the joy of parenthood. And to you, mother or father who isn't having fun and it's just feeling hard. That's. totally. ok.

And right here and now. I'm going to share some of the joy I get from being a mom.

  • Sometimes I pick up Nathan from nursery at church. His whole face lights up and he runs over to me shouting, "Mommy!" This boy loves nursery, but he loves his mommy more.
  • Eva smiles at me and Chris like we are the coolest things she's ever seen. Yesterday she giggled at me just because I looked at her.
  • Nathaniel brings me books to read to him many times a day. He always laughs his "sheep/goat" laugh when he can tell I'm going to stop doing whatever it was I was doing and read to him.
  • The other day I was clacking a toy together and Nathaniel did this darling little dance where he grabbed his hands in front of him, and he twisted his torso back and forth while bobbing up and down. "I'n danseen!" he said with a huge grin on his face.
  • Eva talks to me and tells me everything. It comes out as grunts and snorts and coos, and she always looks so grateful that someone is listening and talking back.
  • Sometimes Nathan falls down or gets hurt. He comes running over, looks at me with those big beautiful eyes and asks sadly, "a better?" Of course, I kiss it better. How could I not?
  • Nathaniel wants to communicate. When I don't understand what he's saying, he keeps trying and sometimes will describe what he wants in a different way so I can understand. I'm amazed at his patience with me as I struggle to get it.
  • Eva has this little vibrating rocking chair thing. Nathan likes to pile toys on her while she's sitting in it. More than once I've looked over to see her half covered by teddies, car-cars, and toy tools.
Everything worthwhile has its ups and downs. We keep at it though because we feel like we're doing something meaningful. Being a mom is the most meaningful thing I've done in my whole life. So you know? I think I'll just keep on doing it.