Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Well, it's a full month later and we're still camped out in my in-laws' basement.  Hopefully we'll get out of here before my poor FIL's hair starts falling out.  On the plus side, I don't think my MIL has ever had such an adoring fan club.  From the moment my kiddos wake up in the morning (right at six) until they go to bed at night, they are completely devoted to spending time with their Grandma (which while sometimes annoying, is also completely sweet).

I did get to spend my birthday in CO though, which was fantastic.  We crossed over the the state line at around 10 pm, so it definitely counted in my book.  I joke that it's the most expensive birthday gift I've ever had.  I'm exaggerating slightly though, because it's also the most expensive (and best, but not because of the expense) Christ-mas gift I've ever had.  We are all so incredibly grateful to be back in the sunshine and under an azure sky.  We were a little disappointed to not have snow for Christmas, but after nine months of nearly constant precipitation, I think we can just deal with it.  We'll just have to console ourselves with 50 degree weather and sunny days at the park.

But I digress, I'm deathly short on original material to share with you guys (my camera cable is hiding in a fully-packed storage unit), so instead I'll share some of the truly amazing things I've run across in Blogland over the past month or so.

Enjoy!

Christmas Lovelies:



Felted Ball Garland from Say YES! to hoboken




Modern Gingerbread Houses












Christ-mas Ornament Mobile from Not Martha






Snowflake Table Runner from V and Co.






Snowflake Pillows from Noodlehead







Christ-centered Advent-ures from I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar  and Delia Creates









Christ-Centered Christ-mas from A Lemon Squeezy Home










Baby Jesus in a Manger also by A Lemon Squeezy Home








Felt Ruffle Wreath by design*sponge










Oh! Christmas Tweed Wreath  by Spincushion, which if you haven't checked out before, is definitely worth a visit.  I know I'll be putting the Scrubby Buddies on my to-do list.






--There are several others, but maybe I'll get around to posting them tomorrow.  This should get you excited for next year at the very least.  Can you imagine the tweed wreath in pink and red tweeds for St. Valentine's Day?  Mmmmm. Yummy.  I love fabric.  And decorating just makes my heart sing.  I can't wait to try these ideas out in our own house next year.  This year we've been blessed to have some time to just soak up being with family.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Quandaries of Christ-mas

 I have to say, I took a huge sigh of relief this week to see that I'm not the only mommy out there in the world who is having a hard time this year getting the wee ones to differentiate between Xmas and *Christ*mas.  Christmas for us is a little difficult this year.  We're incredibly grateful to be back in Colorado under bright blue skies and a gorgeous sun (Hooray! We can see it now!).  We are also incredibly grateful to my hubby's parents for granting us a place to stay while we try to figure out exactly where we'll be setting up shop.  I'm pretty desperate to get back into my own house right now, but apparently landlord-tenant laws in Colorado don't allow you to oust someone without a little notice (not that I really would anywho... especially during the holiday season. Yeesh people, who do you think I am?).  Aside from that, we have no idea where my husband's permanent position will be coming from yet, so it may not make sense to go back to the northernmost part of Colorado if my hubby ends up working waaaaaaaaaayyy down south. Who knows?

I was lamenting this weekend how little the holiday season felt like ... well... the holiday season this year.  We spent all of Thanksgiving week packing, spent almost a week getting here, and now we're locked down in my in-law's basement (no, not really).  It was hard when my daughter cried as she saw the Christmas tree box go back into a storage unit and not come out for display.  It's hard for my wee ones to understand a lot of things right now. 

"No, no.  We're not going back to the dirty house," I tell them. "Not ever?" my son will ask.  "No, darling, you don't have to go back," I reaffirm.  "But where is our house?" he asks.    "I don't know yet sweetheart.  We have to wait and find that out." 

By the way, I can't tell you how shocking it was to find out that our little ones had been referring to our Washington residence as "the dirty house."  Out of the mouths of babes, I guess. 

I was thinking over these things, while simultaneously trying not to let any of the play dough crumbs from the afternoon's escapades make their way to the bright white linoleum floors of my in-law's kitchen, as I heard my daughter telling my son about Santa Claus, yet another internal debate I'm having with myself. And I realized that we were going to have to start reigning this in quickly.  Almost every toy on the television is now a "gotta have."  Which I mostly find ridiculous, because the last thing my children need is another toy that they won't pick up or play with right now.  If it were humanly possible to get friends and relatives to listen, I would probably ban toys from all birthdays and major holidays (along with candy) for the next five years.  Books are great.  Games are wonderful.  Art supplies are fantastic. --But please, please, please don't give my children any more toys. 

I mean, honestly, can Christ-mas possibly get anymore convoluted and complicated?  As if it isn't difficult enough during a normal year ("No honey, the Christmas wreaths aren't for Jesus, they just put them up to look pretty."), but now we're hunting for a job, homeless, and all but broken in so many ways.  I can't decide if I'm ready to chew nails or break down and weep half the time.  But the simple fact remains that we just aren't home yet, and right now we aren't sure if we ever can be or will be again.  My husband is determined to be within a 15-minute driving distance of home, which is literally impossible with where our house is.  He thinks he might possibly settle for 30 minutes, but it would be cutting it close.  So now every time he talks to me about us moving, it's always to a new house, a new "home," which never was, and probably never will be our "home."  My home is being occupied by strangers, for the lovely benefit of me paying out of pocket every month on top of their rent to cover the mortgage, and my absolute terror that they are destroying my home, which is surrounded by "friends" who came to beg, "borrow," and flat-out steal from us before we moved.  Joy.  Is my home perfect?  No.  Is anything? Absolutely not.  I'm not expecting perfection, but what I desire more than anything right now is to go home and be left alone. 

I want my walls to hang pictures on, my floors to clean, and some space where I'm not constantly being shoved in a corner.  I want my kids to be able to run, play, and laugh, and enjoy the beautiful sunshine that they haven't seen in 9 months.  I want them to enjoy the fresh air that they haven't breathed.  I want to be around family and friends that really and truly appreciate us for who and what we are, not constantly push us away, lock us in separate rooms, or compare us to other family members or friends.  But since that last one is never going to happen, I'm content to let that one go.  I'm beginning to relish the thought of becoming a loner.  Being a hermit has never sounded so good.  Even my husband is seriously tempted at this point.  He keeps talking about compounds with ten-foot walls and shotguns.  I'm not worried quite yet, but if he comes home with a shotgun for Christmas, we'll have to send up some emergency flares.  But honestly people, that's how bad it is. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beautiful Colorado

So, what happened to all of those nifty tutorials I keep promising?  I'll tell you what: they're stuffed in various boxes in a U-Store-It place until we have a permanent residence again.  Sigh.  And right before Christmas too.  But, what's the best part of all of this?  The family and I get to have Christmas where it actually snows (yearly, and regularly, not just as freak snowstorms once a decade), and where the sun shines more days a year than it does in Honolulu, Hawaii (I know, weird, huh? CO is sunnier than Hawaii). 

So, for those of you who were wondering if we were moving, and if so, where we were moving to, you now have the official unofficial answer: we're in Colorado, but don't know where we're going to.  My hubby has a contract job in his old position in CO before we got transferred halfway across the country to WA, but some benefits and a permanent full-time position would be greatly appreciated (and necessary) before we figure out what happens after that.  Ideally, we will be going back to our house in northern Colorado (NOCO for those of you in the know).  I think that's exactly what will happen, but the time line is a little iffy.  For those of you that are the praying sort, some prayers (or happy thoughts) would be awesome. ; )    I know daughter would be ecstatic to be back in her "purple house" by her birthday at the end of next month.  Hubby and I are planning on painting her room purple when we move back in (hush, it's a secret). 

So, now that we're out of the storms in Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming, and internet access has been fully restored, hopefully some sunshiny-type things will be coming soon.  In the meanwhile, you may just have to settle for some round-ups of my favorite Xmas-y and happy type things.  I know, it's depressing, but true.  My only disappointment (and it's a very *small* disappointment in comparison) is that I won't be able to finish the kiddos their Christmas gifts in time.  But hey, maybe we'll just have our own Thanksgiving and Christmas when we move back in.  My Savior knows that that would be more than enough to be grateful for this next year.  Truth be told, I have a whole laundry list of things to be grateful for right now.  :-D

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall Favorite Things

Okay, so I'm honestly working on two three great things right now.  I've got one tutorial coming, and two re-do's coming.  It'll be a blast.  I have all the pictures.  I have all of the directions.  I'm all excited.  But wait, yeah, I'm still missing my USB to mini-USB cable.  <----- Not a happy camper.    Ah well.  So, while we are enjoying this lovely Fall weather, and getting one step closer to Christmas and Winter (hooray!), I thought I'd take a moment to commemorate Fall with some of my favorite things.  (And yes, I'm singing the "Sound of Music" soundtrack right now.)

Acorns:  Acorns are absolutely all over the place right now.  I crunched several and even, um, appropriated one on the way back to the car from the Temple Saturday.  I'm trying to convince myself that I was helping to clean up the temple grounds.  Yes, yes, that's it. 

There are some gorgeous crafts coming out of MADE right now, and she even has a beautiful acorn craft round-up going on here, including her own beautiful acorn wreath.

And look at this lovely acorn ball coming out of I Am Momma Hear Me Roar.

Then there's this amazing acorn display from delia creates, which if you haven't run into yet, you will absolutely fall in love with.  --Guaranteed. 

Sewing:  There's been all kinds of fun things floating around lately, and many that I have just discovered.  Am I the only person who didn't know about Disney over at ~Ruffles and Stuff?  I feel seriously ridiculous.  I can't believe I just found her.  And she's in my (new) neck of the woods too.  Sheesh.  Oh well.  Her tutorials are *gorgeous* and very well made and directed.  I really love this "She's a Lady" Cardigan Tutorial, but her amazing-ness doesn't stop there.  If you aren't a follower already, I would definitely add her in and go through her past posts.  They're simply too beautiful to look at to not add, even if you aren't big into sewing.  I'm actually in the process of making this "Bouquet" T-Shirt Tutorial for Ande as a dress, although I had a terrible toss-up between that and this "Gardens at Dusk" shirt remodel.  I don't know.  I may actually do both.  She's such an incredible inspiration that I'm not sure I'm going to ever stop sewing again!


Then there's this great tutorial on Made By Lex on how to make a pleater board.  This is beyond fantastic.  I desperately wish that I had found this a week ago before I finished daughter's pillowcase dress; it would have turned out differently.  But that's a different story, and a different tutorial for a different time.  Made By Lex is fantastic though, and another one of those that is absolutely fantastic eye candy even if you aren't in a sewing mood.  She specializes in refashions, and if you follow through to her tutorials, I promise that it will be a fun experience, especially for all of you Anthro-loving fashionistas out there. 

Cooking:  There are several fun things going on here too.  I'm especially in love with Delia's tortilla chip leaves; they just look like so much fun.  And Brooke over at the Cheeky Kitchen has an absolutely to-die-for looking white chicken chili.  Um, yum.  I'm making this for dinner, and if you follow me on Facebook, then you can catch the review tomorrow.  But heck, how can you go wrong with chicken, green chilies, sour cream, and bacon?  I've also fed my kiddos baked decorative pumpkins from Gingerbread Snowflakes in the last couple of weeks, and while I can't honestly say that my kiddos were thrilled, I certainly enjoyed my baked Jack-O'-Lantern (and it's a great idea for getting rid of those extra pumpkins today and tomorrow too!).  And while we're on the subject of pumpkins, I can't go without mentioning these fantastic looking baked pumpkin doughnuts, which I can't help but think are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. 

Anywho, this is all the fun I've gotten put together for this week, but there will be many to come.  Especially if I still can't find my USB cable by the end of the week.  Hmmm, I'll have to keep working on that.  But, rest assured, I have many (not-so-beautiful) photos on the way, a couple of tutorials in mind, and some re-do's that I hope will be helpful *and* informative.  And yes, yes, I promise, I am working on my photography skills.  Am I a blog-her in the making, no, probably not, but it's sure fun to pull together the best of the web for all of you lovely ladies. ; ) 

Have fun and let me know: Do you like the round-ups?  Should they become a weekly feature?

Thanks and feliz dia de los muertos.  ; ) 

Fay

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning to Be Happy

This post is a little off-kilter folks.  I would recommend starting here.

A few months ago when I was really struggling, as in struggling so badly that I still felt like I needed validation from a paid psychologist (or "rent-a-friend" as I call them), this wonderful, well-meaning woman told me that I needed to learn how to be happy, and that essentially, all of my life's struggles could be tied back into my not having learned the art of happiness.  I was shocked.  I was angry.  Of course I knew how to be happy.  I had been happy loads of times.  There were many periods of my life where I was really, truly, and serenely happy, if not entirely content.  Why did I have to choose to be happy when I had obviously been given a bad deck.  --It was unfair.  I wanted a do-over.  I wanted to call "foul," and have the hosts of Heaven come rescue me in what was obviously an egregious error on someone's part.

Boy was I conceited, huh?  I'm fairly certain that there's nothing quite like a psychologist to make you self-centered.  Go pay someone $100 an hour a couple of times a week or month, and see how small your world becomes.  Sometimes I feel like my time in therapy was like having an affair with myself.  This is not to say, by the way, that all therapy is bad. I can just say that the couple of times that I have been in therapy, while I'm sure have helped me in some ways, I feel like they have always left me worse off in so many other areas as to make the totality of the experiences negative.  So much so, in fact, that I can't honestly say that I would honestly be able to support any of my children going to get therapy, or my spouse, and indeed, we pulled our daughter out of therapy for just that reason.

I realized, and I'm sure that many of you are rolling your eyes right about now, that what I needed wasn't external validation, or a rent-a-friend, or any other kind of friend really.  What I needed was someone to seriously sit down with me and go through the Book of Mormon, so that every time some idiotic thing popped into my head about how Heavenly Father obviously loved all of His other children so much more than He loves me, or that Heavenly Father was punishing me, or that I was unworthy, or that I was so inherently bad from the pre-mortal existence that I needed this much refining now, I could have someone sit down and point out scriptures.  I could be shown real, tangible evidence of my Heavenly Father's love for me.  And yes, I'm sure I would have struggled quite a bit against it at first, and had to balk, and cringe, and swallow my enormous pride to admit that we all have sorrows and suffering to go through while here, and that there is no lifetime maximum allowance on trials and tribulations.  In fact, I'm coming to understand that there's really quite a bit more choice in just how many trials and tribulations we go through in the first place.  Some of them are unavoidable, certainly... but how we react to them isn't predetermined, unavoidable, or written in stone at all.  We can change ourselves, our priorities, our perceptions, our patterns, our very thoughts, at any point in time.  And sometimes, sometimes I think that's exactly what our Heavenly Father is looking for in the first place.

I can't believe how much more perspective I have on Heavenly Father now that I have children.  When my daughter struggles against me, refusing to eat her vegetables, which I know will help her to be healthy, and strong, and to have joy, and prevent future problems, and instead throws gigantic, fist-throwing, floor-stomping, table-banging temper-tantrums, I go "Oh! So *that's* what I've been doing this whole time!"  --Just because we can't always see, understand, or even don't want to believe that what we're going through is for our benefit, that doesn't mean that it absolutely isn't divine intervention that's happening in your life to give you the ready-made plans and tools to turn your lemons into lemonade for you.  Sometimes Heavenly Father even provides the lemonade stand for you if you let Him.  I'm still learning this.

It's so difficult for me to believe sometimes that out of the literal billions of spirit children that He has had that have lived on this world alone, of countless worlds untold, that He can find the time to love *me.*  Maybe that is because I grew up feeling so estranged from a loving Heavenly Father, maybe it's my own pride in wanting to feel *special* (don't we all), or maybe, ironically, it's my lack of self-esteem, which seems to make everyone else seem so very much more special than I could ever possibly be in the first place.  There have been so many times, and are still moments, when I look around at all of the born-and-bred Molly Mormons with their perfect children, perfect husbands, perfect houses, and seemingly perfect lives.  And it is only now that I am truly beginning to understand that these seemingly perfect women, whom I have been comparing myself to since I walked into my first Fast and Testimony meeting, maybe aren't quite as perfect as I first thought they were.  And maybe, actually, Heavenly Father needs me to be who *I* am, and not just a carbon-copy convert.  I think that it is such an inherent quality in women (I won't argue nature vs. nurture on this one) to compare ourselves to others.  I compare myself to my mother, my mother-in-law, and all of my sisters-in-law with all of their numerous children.  I compare myself to the women in Relief Society, and in Primary, and at Stake Functions.  I do it, mostly, because I'm trying to make sure that I'm measuring up.  I do it, mostly, because I'm scared.  I do it, mostly, because I haven't learned that my Heavenly Father loves me... no matter what.

It's so funny to me that I have such a strong, powerful, life-changing testimony of the Savior and of the Atonement, and have so very little in my lamp when it comes to my Heavenly Father.  The perfect, all-loving, all-powerful Spiritual Being who took time out of the Eternities to create me, I lash out at more often than I thank.  I get so angry that really, when I compare myself to my daughter, the similarities are so striking that I can't help but laugh most of the time.  At first I didn't really realize that I was putting my emotions between myself and my Heavenly Father, now I do it and cringe.  I know that what I'm doing is wrong, and I know that it's going to hurt me, but sometimes I want to shout out just for the sake of shouting, and because I have no one else to be mad at but myself.  And really, who of us wants to be mad at ourselves all of the time anyway... especially when us "silly women" (see Sister Julie B. Beck's talk), can't help but keep comparing ourselves against every other woman that walks in the door.  I want to know that my Father loves me.  And really and truly, I know that He does-- I just don't always remember that when I need to. 

I am grateful for my Father, and for all of the gifts that He gives me, even if I don't always recognize that they're gifts when they come.  And I can count my blessing all day long and sometimes not feel a change of heart.  It was heartbreaking the day that I realized that while yes, my psychologist had been wrong in a lot of ways, she had also been right.  I have learned the art of temporal happiness, I have not learned how to be eternally happy; that happiness is a gift of peace and joy that comes from having a testimony of our individual worth as spirit daughters and sons of our Heavenly Father, of our ability to overcome all obstacles through the tools that He has given us, and of His deep and heartfelt desire to have all of us rejoin Him and become perfected like Him.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me; I just don't realize how much.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

General Conference Treats

General Conference is still relatively new to me.  I started at first, just reading messages from the Ensign.  Then I would listen or watch messages occasionally online.  But I have absolutely fallen in love with watching them live via the introduction of satellite (now cable, but that's a different story) in our home.  I love listening to our Prophet and General Authorities will all my heart, and it's a very exciting experience for me.  This year, I really want to help share that excitement with my children.  We have been talking about and praying for the Prophet and General Authorities for the past couple of weeks.  We have given them descriptions of General Conference, and what it will be like, and what it will mean.  The kids have watched it with us the last two times, but it's hard to get kids excited about four two-hour stints of sitting and watching and listening reverently.  Sometimes one hour in Sacrament Meeting almost seems like two much.  So, I've resorted to bribery.  Hubby and I have talked with quite a few people recently, or have been reading online about families having special treats reserved only for General Conference.  These go the gamut from chili, to ice cream on top of waffles, to cinnamon rolls, to special cakes.  Now I don't know about you, but I'm definitely a breakfast food kind of person, and hubby is too thankfully.  But since I'm still missing my waffle machine (left in Colorado), and I'd be horribly heartbroken to only have waffles two weekends a year anywho, we've decided to go a different route. 

Right now we're in a debate.  Should it be crepes (hubby's idea), special sweet rolls, or a fruity coffee cake (yes, I can appreciate the irony of a non-coffee-flavored coffee cake during General Conference).  But we'd have to come up with a different name for the cake, because I can see that leading to some very strange conversations with the kiddos later: "No daughter, it's not coffee, it just has the name in it."  Eeesh.  I think I'll avoid that one as much as possible thank you. 

I'm a big fan of tradition.  And since marrying hubby, a lot of my old traditions have gotten quashed.  I'm thinking that now is the time to start creating some of our own.  But since "favorite casserole" (a baked combination of hot dogs, cheddar cheese, and spaghetti) is *not* one of my favorites, I'm a little lost on where to start.  I love traditions, but the general idea here is I want to create a tradition that my children will actually look forward to, not dread for weeks to come beforehand.  I guess the real difficulty is in trying to find something that you really, really like, but that you don't like so much that you're guaranteed to want to make it more than twice a year.  Hmmmm.  That'll be a toughy.  I'll post some recipes later today as I keep working on this one.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting Ready for Conference, or How to Keep Wee Ones Busy

The rain makes the days absolutely drag out here.  It's a little more complicated keeping preschoolers busy when you can't just send them outside to play in the dirt, and when all of the local parks are perpetually covered in "eucky water."  Yesterday we had a really fun experiment, my daughter and I, learning how to make, and play with, Oobleck

I couldn't believe how ridiculously fun it was to play with this stuff.  Add two parts corn starch to one part water, and you have instant, ooey, gooey, quicksand-like goop.  Daughter called it her "goobey," and was hugely disappointed when it spilled off the table.  Thank goodness, her "goobey" was as easy to clean up as it was to make.  A quick sweep of the vacuum cleaner, and all was well in the kingdom.

We're all super excited over here about General Conference coming up this weekend, and I've been on the hunt for kid-friendly "conference activities."  There's a Nursery and Junior Primary packet at Sugardoodle.net, and the church has a couple of different print-outs available here, but I think they're a little beyond my wee ones at home.  I was desperately seeking out a puzzle of the First Presidency, or of President Monson alone, but no luck.  Deseret did have a couple of beautiful puzzles of the Savior available, but they were all 500+ pieces, or "tray puzzles," whatever that means.  The packets from Sugardoodle at least have some coloring pages, but I don't really know what to do aside from that.  They're too young to take notes, and I don't want it to be a mad-cap game of "let's see who can still reverently the longest."  Last year the kiddos got to take breaks to go run outside on their swing-set.  I'm not sure what on earth we'll do this year.  John fixed the kid's trampoline for them last week, but Daughter broke the elastic cord while showing me what a big strong girl she is and doing "super giant jumps."  Aside from that, the kiddos get next to no physical activity, and I'm not about to run them to the play place at the mall to go run around for an hour when they get antsy during conference. Hmmmmm. I think this definitely counts as an exercise for my problem-solving skills.  What are your favorites for keeping young ones busy during conference?  I read a great post last night about a family that gave a Family Home Evening lesson about King Benjamin, and how all the families that came to listen to his speech turned their tents toward him so that they could listen to him better.  After their Family Home Evening, they set up their camping tent in their living room with the door open towards the television to watch our modern-day prophets give their own speeches to the people.  I thought that was such a cute, and memorable idea.  What kid isn't going to remember the time that they got to watch General Conference inside their tent?

Anywho, I'll keep up the watch for great ideas, and try to repost all the good ones that I find here.  Have a fun week until then.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

General Relief Society Broadcast

I have to admit: I'm a dork.  I'm sure that you all had come to that conclusion previously, but now it's official; now I'm admitting it to myself.  I had actually been looking forward to last night's broadcast for over a month.  There is just something so wonderfully comforting in knowing that the Lord's true, appointed leaders for our present-day circumstances are here, and are willing to give you words of inspiration to lead us onward in our own personal spiritual journeys while here in this earthly sojourn.  I am so incredibly grateful for our General Authorities and for the First Presidency of our church.  I am grateful to know that we have a true and living prophet on this earth.  And I am touched beyond measure to feel and to know that President Thomas S. Monson, a man whom I have never met, and most likely will never meet, loves me as an individual, and supports me in my efforts to raise my family in righteousness.



I love our prophet.  And my heart sorrows for him at the weight that I know that he must carry on his shoulders; the burdens of a world gone astray, and the iniquities of those both within and without the church. I am grateful for the General Relief Society Presidency, and I know that Sister Julie B. Beck is a truly inspired representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that she and her counselors are striving to do the Lord's work and to lead our worldwide sisterhood of women to embrace our essential roles as women and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with those roles.

That being said, I think that both Sister Beck and President Monson had quite a few interesting things to say last night, and just in case you missed it then, you can catch it now here.  I pray that we all can prepare ourselves for that which is yet to come, and that when the time comes, that we will be prepared to meet our Savior walking uprightly before him, with dignity.  I don't know that it's appropriate for me to discuss what I personally got out of last night's broadcast last night in this medium except to say that I think that our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and Sister Julie B. Beck had some very strict words for us sisters.  And I am sorry to say, that I don't think that they believe that we are living up to our true potential as representatives of Christ in these latter-days.  I think that our General Authorities are disappointed in us sisters, and that saddens me greatly.  I know that I certainly have fallen short of the mark in a number of the areas that they touched upon last night.  I especially loved President Monson's use of the quotation from Mother Teresa: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

I hope that we can all keep that in our hearts over the next year as we continue striving to do and fulfill the Lord's will for us as individual, worthwhile, beautiful spiritual daughters of our beloved Heavenly Father.  I know that I will be keeping my own eyes and ears peeled during General Conference this next weekend, and I hope that you will all join me in listening to the words of our Lord direct from His appointed speakers for this day and age.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ummm... sorry about the Pillowcases

So, ummm, I was looking some things over and realized that I had missed the 2nd half of my last post.  And, much to my utter dismay, it's disappeared entirely.    But, since I apparently didn't save any of it in a word file, and I can't find the original link to save my hairy horses, I'm afraid that I'll just have to describe it to you.  I know, I know.  Sad, but very true.  We're all missing out.  But really, what upsets me the most, is that I think some really great kids are going to be missing out. 

The link I had found, from goodness only knows where now (that's what I get for trying to blog while simultaneously attempting to entertain my children), was to make pillowcases for children with long-term illnesses who are stuck in the hospital.  I did find the picture at least:


Cutie-pie aren't they?  And I'm just willing to bet that if *you* or someone that you dearly and desperately love were stuck in a hospital bed for longer than a week, especially a small child-type person, then you would really, really want them to have one of these happy-looking pillows.  Here is the direct link for the project.

I know that this seems kind of random, but I absolutely love projects like these.  As a child, I was in and out of a wheelchair for years, with several recurrent hospitalizations, most of which lasting for weeks, and I will be one of the first to tell you that a hospital, even a shiny happy children's hospital, is *not* a very happy place to be. --Not at all.

Most hospitals do not have the facilities or space for parents to spend the night, or even have rules against it.  Children are left alone for hours, or days.  Very often without anyone to talk to, anything to play with, or anything to do other than watch whatever trash T.V. is on during the day (Maury anyone?) or whatever Disney movies haven't been stolen by the previous occupants (which yes, surprisingly is a real issue in many hospitals).  Hospitals are lonely, sad, cold, ucky places, and I don't think that there's anything worse than a child that should be happily running around instead fighting for its life in someplace barren, and absolutely devoid of the spirit.  I know that the deadline for this project is over, but ladies, gents, anyone and everyone with sewing / crafting talent, would you mind maybe making a few of these and sending them on to some kiddos who need them? 

I know that we all have a *lot* to do, and seemingly never enough time to do whatever our *lot* is, but this is one of those things that I promise will be absolutely worthwhile. I can't think of a single child that I met in any of my hospital stays that wouldn't have been over-the-moon ecstatic for a splash of color in an otherwise winter-white sanitized world.  Thanks in advance.

Fay

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Life... Again... and Pillowcases!!!

Wow. So I am an exceptionally bad blogger I've decided. That, or life just has it's grimy little clutches in me a little deeper than I thought. I promise, I really, really, really don't mean to neglect you all. You are fantastic! You are amazing! You send me really great feedback and are so, so, so completely forgiving of all those super depressing horrid posts I had way back at the beginning. But... you've stuck with me through it all(again, you guys are amazing), and I'm coming back in for a little update on the world.

Here are some of the things that we have been up to lately:

Fall has officially descended upon the greater Seattle area, and we've had rain for four or five days straight now. Today, I finally got the kiddos to go play "puddle ducks" outside.

The water runs off our front porch in kind of a funny way, so we always have this sinkhole where it drains.  Ande and Kyle love to play in it though.  Ande is splashing, and Kyle is sticking his naked bare feet into the water and then shouting "Ew! Ew! Ew!" which made me laugh hysterically.

We picked blackberries.
We picked blueberries.

We had Kyle's big boy second birthday (which is still a little scary for his mama).

My parents came out to visit us (for the big man's b-day).

We've gone to the zoo a couple of times.

We've gone to the aquarium a couple of times.

We visited Pike Street Market, about which --eesh-- all I can say is that I have absolutely no desire to ever go back again.

We attempted to go to the ocean, only to get rained out.

We visited Cle Elum, which has a very nice little bakery by the way.

We've shared colds (thank you local school district).

And watched more than our fair share of Disney movies.

We've also played lots of kick-a-ball and blown at least a couple million bubbles at the local parks.

So, while I am sadly remiss as a parent in my photo-taking, it appears that our Summer wasn't *entirely* wasted.  

It's still incredibly sad to me though that we've been ready to pick pumpkins for a month due to the chilly weather, and that the sun has apparently gone into hibernation until next July 5th.  

I'm beginning to think that Arizona could be a wonderful place to live....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shiny Happy Loneliness

I really liked this.  I think it's super cute, and a testament that we should all learn to be comfortable with ourselves.  And no, being on your laptop or your phone doesn't count.

Maybe there really is something to the whole "love yourself" mantra we keep hearing about. ; )

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Despicable Me



Oh my goodness.  My Mom and Dad took the whole family on Saturday to see "Despicable Me" for Kyle's birthday (omgoodness, totally can't believe that he's two now!), and we *loved* it.  When I say "loved," I mean loved like "you're totally not going to finish that box of Godiva chocolates, are you?"  I mean, "yes, yes, of course I'll take that Joann's gift card off your hands" kind of love.  It is adorably cute.  It may be a Universal Pictures release, but it's cute enough to be a Pixar.  Anywho, for those of you with the ticket monies and the 95 minutes to spare, it's excellent.  I was shocked at how well the kids did through the movie too.  They really, really loved it.  The minions weren't always, um, well behaved, but thankfully I think my kids were too young to really understand most of the crudeness.  They would just lean over and poke me to say "Mommy, that man's being mean."  So, full disclosure, there are mean men.  And an angry shark.  And cute girls in tutus.  Totally worthwhile.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Honeybee Documentary

Okay, please, please, please be nice.  It's dorky.  I know.  It looks like something the AV club at my middle school might have put together back in the day.  The story probably doesn't help that either.  Ah well. Sigh.  That's what you get with two weeks to put together a documentary I guess.  Eventually, assuming that I get around to it, I would really, really, really like to take out all the PP slides and just do voice-over and footage or pictures.  But again, two weeks people and I had absolutely no idea what in the hidy-ho I was doing.  So... without any further ado: bees.



Bee Movie: The Fate and Future of the American Honeybee from Fay Laverty on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I Just Had to Share

I found this online on a really sweet design blog.  I hope you like it as much as I did. ; )







And, since I'm in a sharing mood, here's part of my bee documentary.  Yes, that's right.  I really and truly did do a documentary on the honeybee.  And well... all I can say is that I tried.  Here's part one for you:





A fun, weird one from Vimeo:


ANTS in my scanner > a five years time-lapse! from fran├žois vautier on Vimeo.

The Glory of Beautiful Blondies

Omgoodness! Okay, so guilty admission here: I actually started these to give to a friend, eep. Now... well... now they are deliciously in my family’s respective tummies.

Look, here is how they started:















Yeah, and now they look like this:















Sorry Amy : (

Anyway, such beautiful delicious caramelly, white chocolate, toffee goodness absolutely *must* be shared with the world. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it, lol.

Want to eat them, oh yes you do. –Even if you don’t like blondies, you will be totally deliciousfied. Yes, I just created a new word for the caramelly goodness. Deal with it. ; )

These actually started in an effort to try to recreate the Starbucks toffee bars of old. Sadly, there are no recipes to be found for this by-gone goodness. So, I’ve made a new one. And no, they are *not* a recreation, I’ll keep working on that, but these are definitely some pretty flipping amazing blondies if I do say so myself. Here’s your recipe and ticket to scrumptiousness.

Blondies:

• 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), plus more for the preparing the pan

• 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

• 2 large eggs, beaten

• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing the pan

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

• About 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I used Godiva, it was on sale), 1/2 cup toffee chips

• 1 bag of individually-wrapped caramels

• 1 can of evaporated milk (you’ll only use about a 1/2 cup though)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a small sauce pan melt the butter. Put the light brown sugar in a large bowl, add the butter, and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing just until a smooth batter is formed. Stir all of your yummy delicious chips and pieces into the batter.

Over medium heat, melt the caramels (I used about 20) with the half-cup of evaporated milk. Stir until melted into gooey goodness.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Then dump all that gooey caramel on top. That’s right, you heard me. Don’t ask questions, just do it. Trust me. You’ll like it. ; ) Swirl around the yummy-ness and then bake until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center come out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool the blondies in the pan slightly before inverting them onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut into 8 squares and serve.

That’s it folks. Enjoy. Hopefully there will be much more goodness where this came from now that finals are done. That’s right hooray!!!! I’m celebrating all over the place. I get to go play like all the big kids now. :-D

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thinking about … well… everything

I began this blog to talk about Carrick; the good and the bad. I still feel like that's important, but now I'm wondering if this is, indeed, the right medium to do it in. I can't help but thinking that so many people I know would heave a collective sigh of relief if I just… stopped. I started this to help others. Instead, I think I've found myself running circles, with no map to where I'm going. I think I'm honestly upsetting people more than I'm helping.

I hate being sad. I hate that it makes my children sad. I hate that almost every time I sigh Ande asks me, "Mommy, what's wrong?" I hate that I feel like nothing I do, I do right, or that even when I do do something right, it's met with resistance, anger, and even loathing. There are people out here, and at home, who shy away from my story. Some people avoid the subject, some avoid Carrick's name, and some avoid me completely. It's ridiculous. I am a person. I am sad, and alone, and in a strange new world, where apparently "friends" won't discuss the fact that my son died. It's old news. So what? I even had one person go so far as to ask me why it mattered. I don't know, maybe it's because my son, and it sucks. Maybe it's because even though it's been four months, and feels more like four years, I still can't say his name sometimes without choking up. Maybe I slightly resent everyone's apathy. I'm moving on. I get it. I'm working on it. I tell people I go to counseling, and they think I'm nutters. Some people think I shouldn't go. Some people quietly suggest (under their breath) that maybe I need more. Gee. Thanks. That's helpful.

But truth be told, I'm not that sad anymore. I don't walk around weepy. I don't tear-up at every little thing. I don't tear-up at all. I'm straight-faced McGee, okay. Some people tell me that I need to have more kids. Some people tell me how great it is that I'm "waiting." Gosh. Glad to know that this is public discussion but my son isn't. (Has anyone ever noticed that from the moment a woman gets pregnant, until she's through menopause, her uterus is public domain?) Weird. Anywho….

Yes, I still get sad, but apparently, that's healthy. (So they tell me.) No, I don't do it in public settings –unless it's completely unavoidable, and then it's so sudden and unexpected that there's nothing I can do about it anyway. I ran out of Sacrament meeting during a baby blessing. Woohoo. I didn't ask anyone to run after me, did I? No. And guess what, I bet most of you never would have noticed anyway.

There is so much more to me than my grief. There is so much more to me than the role that I play in my family. I'm in school. I love art. I love children. I love doing art with children at school. There might be a fox in a box somewhere in there too, but that's just ridiculous.

My point being, I didn't start this blog with the intention of it only *ever* being about Carrick. Carrick was, and still is, a part of my life. He is a part of our family, and always will be. He is also not all-encompassing in my life. Yes, I think about him every day. Usually quiet, happy little thoughts. Sometimes thoughts of Carrick barely even register. I know I have them, I know I think of him, but they skim over things. Thoughts of Carrick are ephemeral, not insubstantial. I really truly want to put together tons of crafting tutorials. I want to talk about all of the fun things in life. I wanted to write reviews about the places we visited in Hawaii. I want to write about the sun filtering through the upper branches of the pine trees in our back yard and illuminating our glassy bird feeder. I want to talk about the nasty, slimy, fat slugs that the Elders found in our garage yesterday while they were helping us mitigate the mold damage that's eaten away the better part of our belongings.

But I have a problem in that I don't want to write about everything. My daughter is having real, honest problems right now. My marriage is holding on by some bare threads and some super-glue. Our housing situation is an absolute disaster. Our house is completely infested with mold, and we can't afford to move. We're trying desperately to figure a way out, but we have lost all hope that we'll get our deposits back. Our landlord was supposed to remediate both the mold problem and the leaky roof, but that's apparently never going to happen. I found grey patches of mold the other day all over Kyle's crib when I went to wash his bumper pad, and now I'll have to throw it away. –There's no way that I could ever put a baby, even a stranger's baby, in a mold-covered crib. Not after what we went through. The bassinettes in the garage were the same: more mold. –And Kyle's new car seat. Ande and Kyle came down with croup over the weekend. We (mostly John) had seemingly endless hours of sitting and watching her breathe, listening for any wheeze or cough, feeling her chest for the reassurance of movement when we couldn't hear her any more. Ande's been running a non-stop runny nose since we moved in. I'm certain it's the mold. And now I'm trying to figure out how on earth we're going to replace every porous article in our possession so that I don't kill another baby. What do you do in a situation like that? We can't move, but we have to. We can't afford to move, and now I have to try and figure out how to replace almost all our belongings.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

School. Work. Life. Crazy!

Wow. So, honestly folks, I do have that photo tutorial half-done for you all. Honestly. Truly. And I have even more fun stuff on my external hard drive, except that the mini-usb hub just died on it.

Truth be told though, life has gotten just a wee bit more overwhelming than I was planning for the last couple of weeks. My two summer courses got turned from 10-week classes into 8-week classes. That doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but really, what it means is that two of those 8 weeks, I do twice the work (you know, we wouldn't want a professor to actually have to rearrange their curriculum). And since I have two courses, it's looking like it will be four weeks of twice the work. Joy. At least they're not overlapping. Honestly, it could be worse.

I think I've found a job. Maybe. Possibly. If the owner-operator will return my phone call before the next month is over I'll be able to tell. Maybe. Possibly.

The housing situation has gotten a little... er... um... interesting. Yes. Interesting. Interesting is a very safe word.

We started dog training. Wow. That is really and truly unbelievably cool so far. We just had our first session on Friday, and if this works out, I will be shouting to the rooftops how awesome these people are. So far though, it's very cool. I'm hoping that it will cure my labby-australian-cattle-dog mix of her aggressivenss.

Anywho, long story short, my blog is not making it to the top of my list of priorities. I have about four-hundred pages of reading to do in my grammatical texts (which yes, I actually do enjoy), not to mention the final draft I just turned in of a memoir about the night that Carrick died. I'm not thrilled with it yet, there was a 2,000 word maximum on the paper, and I think it's definitely going to turn into at least twice that by the time I'm really done, but for now, it's a good start. It was very ... well, healing, I guess too. I'm a living cliche` at this point.

Life is good, in a weird sort of way. But I'll just keep plugging along for now. Honestly though, I do have some really, really fantastic ideas for this beautiful little widget that I call a blog. And if I'm really, really good, one day, I might even deserve all of you fantastic readers!

Ciao for now. ; )

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We're Back

Glad to be back with my kiddos, but I'm definitely missing the sunshine here folks. Hawaii is worlds apart from Eastern Seattle, let's just leave it at that. My washer is broken, my freezer has died, but (aha!), on the upside, I have a tutorial simmering on the back burner for all you good people out there. You might have to be kind, because it's my first lowly little tute, but we'll just have faith that it will all work out anyway.

I promise, I wouldn't totally harass you like this if it wasn't completely worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawaii

I am in glorious, sunny, blue-skyed Hawaii folks on the island of Oahu. I know, I know, you're completely and totally jealous, and rightfully so. The ocean is a gorgeous crystal blue, the sounds are beautiful, the breeze is warm and inviting, and everything is so nice. Anyway, have fun, but I'm not going to be doing a lot in the blogging arena until I have a nice tan.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friends Are a Beautiful Thing


I am so grateful to have such beautiful spirits as part of my friends and family in this world.  I am grateful to know wonderful people who can help pull me up, inspire me to do more, and help me to see the best in myself when I can't see it myself.  I am grateful for a loving husband who really, really tries, even if he doesn't always get it right.  I am grateful to have two beautiful children still with me each and every day, and to be fortunate enough to have too many smiles to be able to count them all throughout the day.  I am grateful to have a warm, safe place to live, in a beautiful green country with flowers out my window.  I am grateful for the sun, and I am so grateful for the Gospel.  I gave a talk this past Sunday.  I think I'll share it with you, just for the heck of it. I liked this one, and it's kind of neat, because I've never been able to write one out in conversational style before, I have only ever been able to write outlines.  So here you go, my very first mostly filled-out talk.  Read it here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Carrick's Last Day

I finally got the courage to download
these off of the camera today. I figured that if I didn't get them off
now, then I probably would never take another picture again, and that's
not what I want. I'll let these go without the commentary.


The Seattle Aquarium



Green anemones



Ande and Kyle looking at fishies






Puget Sound, waiting to get into the aquarium




Tide pools



Beautiful fishy cookies



More tide pools




Tired Kiddos



A last goodbye

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Up waaaaayy early this morning.

Couldn't sleep without hubby. I have tons of new crafty tut's to share though when I'm slightly more awake and my fingers actually work again. This was fun, part of a really neat post I found on http://scribbit.blogspot.com/ about home and family, and about making sure that your spouse is the most important part of your world, something I think all of us need to remind ourselves of from time to time (I know that I'm definitely guilty). Anywho, I scored a six, check yourselves out and see.
Check out the narcissistic personality quiz

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rainy Friday

Wow.  So, long story short, but today was *not* the best day that I have ever had, despite a couple of good friends' best efforts.  Anywho, this absolutely made my day.  Now, off for some bead time with my beautiful baby girl. :-D

Friday, May 21, 2010

For the Love of Crafting

I have a small confession to make.  I am seriously addicted to craft tutorials.  I am incredibly, insanely in love with all things crafty, tiny, shiny, bright, and beautiful.  In another life, I could very well have been a magpie (except I hope with prettier feathers).  I was looking through my list of craft blogs that I follow, (those posted here on the blogroll are unfortunately, only a very small portion of those that I am pseudo-addicted to), and they number almost 100 (yikes!).  On top of that, I have well over a thousand saved tutorials on everything from scherenschnitte, to pastry (which, yes, I count as a craft), to quilting, and yada, yada, yada, yada.  It's seriously pretty ridiculous here on my end.  I have so many projects that if I stopped today, I might, just *might* have a small possibility of actually finishing them all before I have grandchildren, *maybe.*  But, the best part is, is that when I have a spare half-hour due to wonderful magic of Disney, I can immerse myself in the wonderful world of possibility. 

There are literally hundreds of projects that I want to get done for my kiddos.  I have bought tons of crafting books on top of it, and literally probably have 100 more in my Amazon shopping cart under the "saved for later" category.  If I had all the time in the world, I would just sit and craft all day, both with my kiddos and without.  Unfortunately, I am lacking in the time department, and so I never seem to have enough prep time to get things put together to craft with my kiddos, and I seem to never have time alone to work on my own projects.  This is besides the point that I am seriously hampered when it comes to coming up with craft ideas for my own two small widgets, because I have no idea what they're really capable of doing.  If I hand my 21-month-old a pair of scissors and some construction paper, will I end up with a child masterpiece, or a seriously frustrated toddler?  If I give my three-year-old a glue stick, will she figure it out, or just make messy glue "pictures" on my kitchen table?  I don't know.  I'm working on it.  I love making things.  And I by no means count myself as one of the incredible creative people who help make our world a little more beautiful every day, so I kind of sit, lost, waiting for my kids to grow up enough for me to know how to have fun with them.  The only art projects I know of for right now are pipe cleaners, beads, play dough, markers / crayons, and finger paint.  All of which are unfortunately hiding in boxes somewhere in the general vicinity of the house, but until I get hubby to bring in my craft cabinet, I have no where to put them (seriously depressed me). 

The most terrible part of all of this is that crafting, even when what I do is absolutely ridiculous and juvenile, is such a huge lift to me.  So when I have incredibly gloomy, sad, miserable days like yesterday and today, all I want to do is craft.  So instead, I settled for some instant gratification via craftzine.  There are some absolutely fantabulous postings up within the last week or so, and since I hardly ever get a chance to check them out anymore (at least not on a daily basis), it was so fun to be able to get a hardy, concentrated dose of the crafty-goodness. 

Today I think I'll take my MIL to a fun little fabric store in Renton, I haven't been before, but I've heard good things.  I'll give you guys a review after we go.  I'm also hoping to hit up the garage sales up on Snoqualmie Ridge.  Their once-a-year sales are supposed to be incredible.  I'm hoping to find both a couple of lamps for the house, and a wedding present for my niece.  I'm actually hugely disappointed to find out that her wedding is no longer cowboy themed.  I even bought a fun (and expensive) cowboy hat from a fantastic store in downtown North Bend last night.  But I also found a fantastic book on edible plants, which I'll pretend is for my preparedness kit, and not just for fun reading.  Seriously though folks, I might just have to get a job if I ever go back in there again, because I will definitely carry out half of the store on my back given the option.

We're also hoping to hit the Seattle Aquarium this afternoon given the chance.  It is so much fun to go to with the kids.  I am madly in love with their tide pool / petting zoo exhibit.  I would take the In-Laws to the Zoo, which while tons of fun, isn't as big as the Denver Zoo, but it looks like it'll be another drizzly day in the Gray Town today.  (By the way, the squirrels at the zoo completely make up for whatever lack of exhibits there might be, and the brown bear, sea otter, and apiary exhibits are so much fun, I think we could spend an entire day just at those three displays.)  I have no idea if we'll have enough time to take the kiddos somewhere fun like that though, because we got a little sideswiped last night with the news that my nephew is running in a track meet a full 90 minutes away from here at some unknown time after 4 pm today.  So now I'm trying to readjust the schedule so that my kiddos still feel like they got time with Grandma and Grandpa before the wedding extravaganza this weekend, because G&G fly out early Monday morning.    It's so hard for little kids.  Ande especially has her expectations so high, and I'm honestly not sure if she can survive a fairly intensive car trip tonight on top of massive car trips both Saturday and Sunday.  I hate playing it by ear too.  Ande's whole little world is so fragile right now, and it absolutely destroys her when someone tells her that she gets to do something and then it's canceled.  I want her to have time with her grandparents, she needs them desperately right now, I don't think they even know how much she needs them.  They are really the sunshine in her life.  But I don't feel like they're very committed to us, or to our family, and that's a lot more difficult to explain to a three-year-old.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Moving Right Along

I got a fantastic quote this morning from a wonderful talk.  "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson    All things considered, that really hit me this morning.  There is so much that I am trying to figure out, piece together, and reevaluate in my life right now, and there are days where it is next to impossible for me to understand that my Heavenly Father really does love me. 

We don't always get to make the choices that we want to make.  Free agency is a wonderful thing, but it can be hard to embrace and revel in that gift (or even remember that it is a gift) when you don't like the choices that are handed to you.  I always tend to get really down on myself when life isn't going well (or as I had hoped, I should say), and I was wondering this week if my lack of happiness was a lack of embracing my agency and utilizing it to its full extent.  There are times when it is hard to choose to be happy.  I am the type that functions well in emergencies, but easily gets bogged down by the day-to-day.  Right now, I have a really hard time choosing to be happy when Ande throws her fourth major meltdown in two hours of doing laundry.  The first time I'm patient, and loving and kind.  The second time, I'm sympathetic, and sit down with her to help explain the situation.  The third time, I try helping her to rationally see that beating her brother into submission isn't the best way to help her be happy.  By the fourth time though, wow. I really kind of have to restrain myself, because honestly, sometimes I just want to hit her.  So when she blew up as I was talking with our realtor on the phone about renting out our house in Colorado, and my predictably huge apprehension over letting other people into our house, I had a really hard time trying to be as patient and loving as I want to be, and as I know I should be with her.  I know Ande needs me, but yikes!  So free agency is a double-edged sword if ever I've seen one.

Hubby and I are trying to learn how to regroup in the aftermath of all of our recent events.  I think we're finding out that we aren't nearly as close-knit as we want or need to be.  And since neither of us feel like we grew up with wonderful husband-wife relationships to model our own marriage after, we feel like we're creating ours from scratch, and are generally completely lost on how to go about it.  I'm not sure that either of us even knows what a genuinely happy marriage really looks like, let alone how to get there ourselves.  I know that we're growing, because I have the growing pains to prove it. ; ) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Le Sigh

Yet another crazy day.  I did drop off the charm and bracelet to Julie's husband at their jewelry shop though.  Hooray!  And (shock of shocks), the engraver even did a completely fabulous job, despite the fact that my c's apparently look exactly like e's.  Oh well.  Maybe they'll let me write that off to the general level of craziness in my life right now. 

I think our cat officially got eaten this week.  I don't know by what for sure, but she's never, ever, ever run away before and apparently coyotes are really common in this part of the woods.  Come to find out, so are rabbit-sized rats, as well as an apparent smorgasbord of slugs.  I'm having a Monty Python flashback, "No, that *is* the monster."  Meh, well, what can you do?

I'm in a really funky mood the past two days, but at least I'm moderately happy.  I have totally and completely freaked out Hubby though.  Maybe we'll chalk this up as a "strengthening exercise" for him.  Something, man, yikes.  All I know, is that I don't care if the way I've felt is my fault, or the world's fault, or no one's fault at all, I just don't ever, ever, ever want to have to live that way again.  Even if I'm totally psychotic the rest of my life; I'd rather be happy.  I'm done with that part of my life, and I want sunshine and happiness.  I'm struggling with the general idea, but I'm actually starting to believe that maybe I really do deserve some sunshine in my life.  And moreover, if I can't depend upon someone else to provide it for me, well then maybe I'll just have to put on my "big girl" boots and go out and get it myself.  I've even decided to go and get a job.  I have no idea how I'll make that work, or where even I want to work.  All I know is that I'm done constantly stressing about money and whatever all else, so I'll just go start providing by myself for myself.  Wow.  That sure makes it a lot simpler, now doesn't it?

I can't even tell you what an incredible relief it was yesterday as I got to spend some time by myself in the car, to be able to think, to be allowed to think, that life didn't have to be this way anymore. I have some strength in me somewhere. I have to.  I've been through a ton in my life.  I really have.  And I must have come through it moderately well, because when I tell people even a small portion of it they go, "Wow, you're really put together.  I never would have had any idea that you'd been through all of that."  So there.  All you naysayers and skeptics (especially those living within the general vicinity of my own cranium), I really can do stuff.  And sometimes, occasionally, I can even do stuff really well.  I really like thinking of myself as a moderately capable woman.  I can be strong.  I have been strong.  And if I've been through all of the other junk in my life and handled it fairly decently, then I can do more than "just survive," I can *succeed!* 

I am so incredibly, terribly, devastatingly sick and tired of "just surviving."  Even the thought makes me absolutely want to yak.  Really, it does, no exaggeration included here (though that could partially be the massive tummy cramps).  And if that freaks Hubby out, and he thinks my britches are getting too big, or whatever, then maybe he needs to go put on his big-boy britches too. 

And, if I'm really on top of things, I might not even back down on myself this time.  That's it, my own personal goal: sunshine, lots and lots of sunshine. 

My therapist asked me a couple of weeks ago how I was able to survive everything in my life, and that question really bothered me.  I had never thought about it before.  Survival wasn't a non-option.  Survival had always been an expectation.  But then that got me thinking, maybe survival had been the only option.  Maybe, in between random, horrible, life-altering events and all of the "fillers" which have constituted my life, maybe I was so accustomed to "surviving" that when real life comes around, that's the only expectation that I have for myself.  And really, I think that it is.  I think that surviving is all that I have ever really expected.  I want more, but I have no idea how to go out and get it.  I have no expectations of success or happiness, just of surviving; of eking out one more day, every day.  If survival is all that you feel you deserve, then why strive for happiness?  If you feel like you have to feel grateful for all of the lemons, are you even going to try for lemonade?  I mean, I know that this probably sounds ridiculous, but honestly, I would sit in a corner (figuratively speaking) and go "Oh, wow, thanks HF.  These are some fantastic lemons, and wow, they're really tart, but at least they're a pretty yellow color, so I'll just sit them over here in a nice little pile in the corner with me and collect them.  Thanks, that's very thoughtful of you."

I mean, maybe I'm just the biggest bonehead that ever existed, but I'm not sure that I've ever even tried for the lemonade.  I think that I just look at my pretty little pile of lemons and stare sorrowfully at the other girls who have a bowl of cherries.  It's too bad that I don't have any cherry pie recipes to post here, because now would probably be a great time. :-D

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mondays

Mondays are pretty difficult for our family right now.  The weekends go waaaaaaaaaayyy too quickly, and inevitably, I only get about 5% done of what I had planned to get done, we spend the whole weekend rushing around doing errands and taking care of Ande's inevitable temper tantrums, and by the time 8 a.m. comes around Monday morning, I realize that I didn't actually get to spend any quality time with my family because I was so busy.  

Yesterday I got to go hang around with Georgia and her two kiddos, who are just slightly older than Ande and Kyle, so that was really great.  I think honestly, I worried Georgia just a tad with my little outburst on Sunday.  I am so incredibly grateful though to have a friend to watch out after me, because honestly, I'm pretty terrible at taking care of myself and learning how and when I need a break in life.

Today is kind of a downer.  I have another appointment set up with LDS Family Services, which while it will probably be helpful, I always dread having to feel forced into talking about my emotions with someone.  I realize that this is probably exactly what I need right now, but sometimes I feel a little resentful about it.  Inevitably, I feel like they focus on some part of my history which I really don't want to talk about, not because I'm uncomfortable so much as that I usually don't feel like it's relevant.   But then, I'm not the trained therapist, so what do I know.  Anywho, I always kind of freak out about it.  I try and pre-talk myself through imagined conversations with my therapist, trying to kind of prepare myself, and then, of course, it never goes the way that I plan.  I guess I should be familiar with that fact by now, but I am an absolutely obsessive planner-outter; I'm convinced that there's a genetic marker for it somewhere.  It probably shares an allele with the need to color-coordinate.  

I also found out today that I'm not pregnant.  And while Hubby and I weren't really trying, it's still a little depressing.  It's a relief though too in a way.  I know that I need to try for another baby, and that Heavenly Father has another "special spirit" ready to join our home, it's part of my Patriarchal Blessing.  I just hope that this spirit isn't quite as special as Carrick is.   I know that I'm afraid, and that it's normal to be afraid, but I feel really silly about it all the same.  HF has all but specifically told me that this next baby will be healthy and fine, and I'm still dragging my feet and throwing rocks in the mud, puttering around.  For a while, I even was telling myself that if I didn't lose the baby weight from Carrick, then I wouldn't have to get pregnant again!  Wow, huh?!?  That's the kind of interesting stuff your brain can do to you I suppose.  Talk about self-defeating behaviors.  It still had me in tears this morning though.

I'm at this funny crossroads where I can't decide if it would be really wonderful to have a break from being pregnant for a while, get healthy, get off of my anti-depressants (as terribly fun as those are --part of me is still terrified that they might have been what hurt Carrick in the first place, even though I rationally know that's not the case, it still terrifies me), get back into shape (those extra 25lbs. are pretty painful right about now, especially with no baby to show for it), and emotionally get back into a place where I can at least pretend to be able to take care of myself and my children.   I imagine myself taking the kids out for hour-long bike rides every morning, and us laughing and joking, and generally having a wonderful time.  I imagine Ande growing and blossoming, and really feeling comfortable and at peace here.  I imagine Kyle coming out of his shell and finally being able to take his own place in the sun.  But first, I suppose, it would be really helpful if there were any sun out here.  It *really* doesn't help that the house we ended up renting has NO natural light.  It's damp, dark, and the inside is fake dark wood paneling.  We're grateful to have someplace big enough for our family, but between not being able to run practically all of the time like we could in Colorado, and then not having any light inside, I'm going a little stir-crazy, and it's definitely NOT helping my depression.  I have to have all of the lights on indoors even when it's sunny out, just so that I can see enough to fold the laundry.  I'm being a total whiner, I know.  And it's not that I'm not grateful, I'm just kind of sitting in a corner right now pouting and going "Really HF, you couldn't give us just this one, tiny break?"    

Today I get to go pick up Carrick's charm though from the engraver's, and I'm a tiny bit nervous about it.  When we buried Carrick out here, the funeral home took Carrick's hand print and had it made into a charm for us.  My Mother's Day present this year is a charm bracelet to put it on, and I had his name and birthday engraved on the back.  I've been hugely nervous about it though, because the engraver called three separate times to check the spelling, even though I went over it with him twice in the store, and it's typed out on a sticker (compliments of the funeral home) on the back of the box.  I am honestly bracing myself for how I'm going to handle it if they really did mess it up.  I don't know quite how I'll do.  Knowing me though, I'll probably say something along the lines of, "Oh no, that's fine.  I'm sure it was all my fault. Thanks anyway." And then I'll go to my car and quietly bawl my eyes out and say some not so choice things in no one's general direction, but mostly be hugely disappointed at myself and the world.  I did find out yesterday from Georgia though, that Julie, who runs a really cool kind of co-op music time at the ward building on Wednesdays for kiddos, owns a jewelry store with her husband.  I am super psyched, because I still need someone who can solder metal, and I would feel *much* more comfortable having someone that I know would appreciate the emotional value of what I'm bringing them than some random person in a store somewhere that I'm never going to probably see again in my life.  Julie is an *incredibly* sweet woman, and I can't but imagine that her husband is probably the same way, so that makes me feel infinitely more comfortable with getting the bracelet finished.  I picked up two little charms to go on the bracelet next to Carrick's charm, but I'm not really sure if I should.  I found a cute little teddy bear (which I imagined being for Carrick), and a set of wedding bells (from our sealing).  I'm a little afraid that the two extra charms might detract from Carrick's though, and I'm not sure if that's right.  I feel like it might be betraying his memory a little, even though both of the other charms are kind of about him (which is why I got them at all in the first place).  We'll see. I'll probably get myself to the point where I don't feel quite so guilty about it, but I keep finding random little places in life where my head gets stuck.

Last Friday we went to Art Walk in Issaquah (which I highly recommend if you're into local artist displays, even though it's not really kid-friendly for the most part).  In any case, there was a really great local artisan there who had a really fun grasshopper sculpture that he had created. I saw that, and I about lost it.  It reminded me of the cute little "bed bug" jammies that Carrick had died in, and how completely awful I still feel for having the funeral home throw them away (even though they were apparently rags after the autopsy).  I feel a little like I threw away part of Carrick.  I have yet to forgive myself for throwing away those stupid pajamas, and so, to me, they mean the absolute world.  I saw that grasshopper statue, and I wanted it so, so, so incredibly badly.  There was absolutely no way though.  Our budget is *incredibly* tight.  Anywho, long story short, there was no way that I was dropping $40 of grocery money on a statue to commemorate my son and try and mitigate my grief and guilt (or at least that's what I told myself).  So anyway, I got myself pretty much okay with it, walked away, and then saw the same statue at a booth at the Issaquah Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  It was ridiculous.  I am still sitting here halway plotting a way to try and get this little statue.   In my defense though, it's an incredibly cute little guy.  According to the artist's website, his name is Lester.  I thought the little t-rex would be super cute for Kyle too, so maybe as summer goes on, I'll try to find a way to sneak it into the budget without beating myself up too much over it.

In any case, I absolutely, positively swear that I will get my laptop fixed and start pulling out some of my super-hot designer moves on this blog so that it's not quite so... well, blech, for lack of a better, or more appetizing, word.    I'll just think of this as my work in progress. ; )