Monday, March 14, 2016

Tender Mercies

Yesterday was stake conference. Which means over two hours of sitting (or trying to sit) in one place with a three-year-old boy and then hope to maybe glean some spiritual inspiration from the messages shared. Yeah, good luck to us.

But a few minutes into the meeting, another small family came in and took the two empty seats next to us. A couple with a young boy, who, it turns out, was close to Little Man's age. So, while we may not have had nursery, here was someone that could potentially be a pseudo-quiet playmate so we could get through the meeting without much blood, sweat, or tears. I'm not going to say the two boys took to each other immediately, but they did indeed distract each other so we weren't constantly trying to rein our kiddo in from running up to the pulpit while Pres. Staker spoke (as it was, there was only one time that came close to happening -- yay!). As the boys connected over airplane books and giving high-fives, the fellow mom (hereafter referred to as "Other Mother") and I whispered a few times to each other, complete strangers having this inexplicable bond because of children who are still learning the concept of whispering. (And if we're competing, my kid was much better at whispering. Go Team Us!)

I usually don't take many books with us to church for distraction purposes; cars are more Little Man's speed. But yesterday I packed many, many books, just in case. And, as it turned out, they were just what Other Mother needed, because her husband had not packed any for their son. Oops! I was more than glad to share, and she told me that I was an answer to prayer. All because of some books about airplanes and dinosaurs.

Now I don't think I was particularly inspired by the Spirit to pack six books instead of one; I was thinking more along the lines of, "How do I keep my kid reverent for two hours without resorting to cars that he'll probably roll around the gym and distract the entire stake?" And I'm sure that this couple was only thinking, "Hey, empty seats!" when they sat next to us. But they were a help to us, as well, not only with giving Little Man another boy to decipher, but during a tiny whispered snippet of conversation between Other Mother and me, I felt a small answer to an unsaid prayer of mine.

At one point, my sweet hubby had both boys on his lap while looking at the airplane book that fascinated them both. Little Man was a bit wary of this, even saying at one point, "He wants to get down!" when the other kid was clearly very comfortable while turning pages. This prompted me to say something I've thought many times in the last couple years. "This kid needs a sibling." And she turned to me and told me she thought the same thing about her boy.

We really didn't say much about our respective fertility issues -- how much are you really going to share with a stranger? -- but it was clear from the couple of things we said that she and I are in a similar boat. Not much trouble getting the first kid, but has it ever been a struggle getting a second kid in the picture. And do you really have the right to complain/struggle/be frustrated when there are women out there who haven't even been able to have ONE? At least we've got one, right? This has been the main thing that's kept me relatively quiet on the fertility front, because I don't want to tick off the families that struggle with getting pregnant and having it stick even once.

But here was a woman who understood what it was I was dealing with, so even though our conversation about our kids and getting pregnant was limited to about three sentences (and I'm amazed that we shared that much with each other because again . . . stranger), it was something for me that someone else gets it. And maybe my frustrations/regrets/struggles/resentments aren't so stupid or callous if I'm not the only one going through it.

Because what right do I have to complain? I've got at least one kid, and there are lots of women who don't, and while he keeps me busy, there are lots of women who have several kids who keep them busier. Don't I have it so easy in comparison to all the women in just those two categories? And yet . . .

I still cry every month. I still tear up when somebody "on the inside" asks me how the whole pregnancy front is going. I still look back on my ectopic pregnancy experience and get inordinately angry that something like that happened to me. I still resent a little that Little Man came along so easily and gave me the false impression that every pregnancy afterward would happen just as easily. I still wonder if it would have been so hard if I had gotten married at age 20 and started having babies THEN. I still get a little annoyed at the fact that at the same age I am now, my mom and sister were done having their four kids.

And the list goes on.

Look, I know all hope is not lost. I know I've got it good. I know many people in the world have worse struggles than I do. I can't help thinking right now that I sound like a whiny teenager who won't stop dwelling on what she doesn't have. I also am seriously considering deleting this entire entry because 1) my last blog post was a year and a half ago and it was about -- what else? -- period dramas; and 2) who really wants to know about this and maybe it's better I just keep this to myself -- at least I've written it down once. Except I've written this down more than once. I've thought this more than once. I've felt this more than once. And I've felt alone in my situation many times.

So that's why Other Mother yesterday was an answer to my unuttered prayer. There is someone else out there who goes through what I do, who may think and feel what I do. I know that I have support from others, and in that sense I'm not alone, but I often still think that they don't truly understand because they are in different circumstances. So even though I probably will never see Other Mother again, I sense (and even feel) a little better that I'm not alone.

I don't write this to elicit sympathy or stories that will give me hope that more kids are just over the horizon for me. That's not the point. I always like hugs -- quite frankly, I don't think I get enough of them in general -- so give me those. I just write, and that's the point. I just needed to write this to get it out into the universe. And to publicly say that there are tender mercies even in the midst of struggle, like strangers with airplane books and little boys that give kisses.


"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on." -Carl Sandburg

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

See You in the Movies

I have come to a conclusion about myself: I am in big trouble if I ever have daughters. And not just because I still don't know how to french-braid hair.

It's because of these.

I love these books and their respective miniseries adaptations. And when I say "love", I ain't just whistling Dixie. It is a very strong devotion. Just ask anybody who's ever watched them with me. Ask my dad, who remembers too well the way my friends and I would audibly swoon over Colin Firth the many MANY times we watched Pride and Prejudice as teenagers. Or ask my husband, who knows very well the smile that is plastered on my face after watching North and South.

Seriously, get through this scene without smiling. I dare you.

So I very much plan on introducing these books and movies to my daughters, should I have any. And I think it will be very painful for me if they don't love them, too. That's the first thing that could get me in trouble with daughters. Them not loving the books. See how I'm hopeful that I introduce them book-first, but that doesn't always happen. Not only did I see Pride and Prejudice before reading the book, I religiously watched Anne of Green Gables before I even knew how to read (boy, did my brothers love that). But while these hypothetical daughters are reading, I'm going to be so antsy, hoping that they love these books, and can I mask my disappointment if they don't?

My first "ship".

The second thing that could get me in trouble is wondering if they'll be able to endure watching the movies with me. Because there are times when I realize I have not changed how I watch them.

I was 13 when my mother first rented Pride and Prejudice. (I still can't believe I reached eighth grade without even hearing of it; I read it almost immediately after seeing the miniseries, though.) When she invited me to watch it with her, I had no idea of the love affair that was about to begin. This was in the days of VHS, and she had only rented the first half of the movie! So when it ended and we were left on a cliffhanger that I had no idea of how it was resolved, it was bad. And the only thing I remember about the extent of my mother's enthusiasm was that she wanted to get to the video store (remember those?) to rent the second half that same evening (fortunately, it was still available when we got there), and she knew the story and how it would turn out. So it's obvious she's into these movies and likes them. But she definitely isn't a crazy enthusiast like me.

If I have a daughter I introduce Pride and Prejudice to, will I be able to keep calm and act like a normal person? I am very good about watching beloved movies with first-time viewers -- spending the summer of '07 introducing North and South to allllll my friends trained me --, so I don't think I'd give anything away, but I react. Boy, howdy, do I react. Still! After seeing them countless times! Shouldn't I be the mature one? Here I am, 30 years old, very much an adult, and there are still things I swoon over. Audibly. And happily. And sometimes loudly. Shouldn't my behavior have changed since I was 15? Or is it all right that I still act silly?

Last year I watched North and South with my mom and sister. My mom was the one who introduced the book to me when I was 19, but I was the one who told her about the movie four years later . . . or maybe she'd heard of it, but she didn't watch it until I raved about it. So Mom had watched it before. My sister had never seen it. And they watched so calmly, so quietly. (I did, too, but again . . . my sis was a first-time viewer, and I'm very nice in those situations. I think.) I had no idea if my sister even liked it because she gave very little reaction! I think she did, but  I was going crazy inside because I had no outward confirmation! (Contrast that with my friends, whose reactions ranged from "best movie ever" to the memorable "I hate you, Megan" -- in the sense that I introduced her to a movie that ruined her for other movies.) I'm pretty sure my sister's never been as dramatic as I am, so it's only natural she doesn't watch movies the way I do. I'm not saying her way is wrong. What I am saying is: what if her way's right? And I'm just too insane? Have all my friends who were just as crazy and loud as I was now grown-up and able to watch them without uttering a word? I don't quite want to give up my enthusiasm, because I know it at least entertains my husband (seriously, he laughs at me and then tries to blame it on the water he's drinking), plus I have fun being a little loony. But what if I'm wrong and I just need to grow up and calm down?

Because any future daughters of mine should probably think of me as the grown-up in the relationship, and watching these movies with me could seriously undermine that idea.

But I guess that's what assigning chores are for.


"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." -Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Step in Time

One month down, more to go.

Well, my first 30-day challenge has ended, and it was quite, quite, QUITE successful. (hooray!) In a month, I lost 14 pounds! Whoa, baby! Five inches off my waist, and three off my hips. Again, I say, Whoa, baby!

Of course, this week decided to beat me down and bloat me up a couple of pounds just to remind me that everybody has off-weeks with their body. But aside from a couple of Halloween treats that I allowed myself (and to only have a couple is miraculous for me!), I've still kept to my goals and eaten well and knocked out exercise each day. So even if my measurements aren't going in the direction I want them to come Monday morning, I know I've done my best. And hope that next week goes better.

People are starting to notice, too. Glen told me a couple weeks ago that he can tell my waist is smaller when he hugs me (awww...), my pal Tiffany tells me basically every week that I'm looking great (i already miss you, girl), and another friend in the ward told me the other day that my face is looking thinner. (of course, she thought that was because i'm pregnant and have been throwing up. wrong on both counts, colleen.)

So, can I keep this up? Yes, I can! I've got to, if I want to be able to fit into my goal-shirt without embarrassing myself (which isn't just pre-baby, it's pre-marriage; so that's quite a ways to go!). Tried it on fifteen minutes ago and I could actually look at myself without cringing, but I've still got some more inches to lose before I'll willingly wear it in public.

But, as Angela Lansbury sings, "After all, it's a step in the right direction."


"Baby steps to the elevator . . ." -Bill Murray, What About Bob?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Go the Distance

And the lack of cheating pays off! Today I am officially ten pounds lighter than I was three weeks ago. Yay! I'm not just losing pounds, either; I'm also losing inches. Seriously, why was I being so lazy before? Oh, yeah. Because it's incredibly easy to do.

I've still got some tough terrain ahead, and my 30-day-challenge is still a week away from being over, but I'm pretty excited about this. Even as I stared at the chocolate chip cookie in Glen's hand last night, very tempted to just swipe it out of his grasp, I knew that I'd regret it the instant I succumbed to temptation. Not because it would make me feel physically terrible later, but because I've already gone this long and done this well, and I don't want to beat myself up.

So here's to another week of willpower! I think the fact that I'm seeing results is helping to motivate me to look beyond the month of October and keep up my momentum until I'm back where I want to be. (and then to stay where i want to be.)

Of course, the next couple of months will be a challenge, considering the holidays, but I think if I keep on doing what I'm supposed to be doing every day, I won't feel guilty for splurging on special days. And denying myself the goodies now are sure helping me to look forward to and increase my appreciation for those special occasions.

Because I really want a cookie. :)

More Isaac pictures for your enjoyment. I love my silly boy.

Megan and Tyler came to visit for the day, and we went out to Bluebell. Isaac reaallllllly liked the cow train.

Got some hand-me-down costumes from my sis and couldn't resist squeezing Isaac into this one, considering how cute it looked and the fact that in two weeks I won't be able to fit him in it.

My next challenge begins on Saturday, only this is an intellectual challenge. I'm finally biting the bullet and participating in Nanowrimo. My thanks go out to my supportive hubby for reminding me of and encouraging me to do it. Life's sure fun when you actually make and keep goals!


"I believe that every human has a finite amount of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine by running around doing exercises." -Neil Armstrong

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can't Hardly Wait

And now I am at the end of Day 11 of my 30-day challenge. And how am I doing? I'm impatient.

I'm impatient because it's been a week and a half and I want to be 10 pounds lighter already! I did drop about 4 pounds the first week (wow!), but I have a feeling that won't be the case this week. Which makes me a tad irritated. My brain is thinking, "Come on! You've been so good and haven't cheated on food and have worked out every day! Your body should already look wildly different!" And then I remind myself that I've got plenty of years of bad habits to correct, and it's not as easy now that I've hit 30 and have had a baby.

To that reasonable side of myself, I say, "Grrrrrrr."

But, yes, miraculously enough, I have not cheated. At all. The closest I came to cheating was when we went to Provo on Monday and went out to lunch. Somehow I avoided the bread at the table, and I didn't touch the croutons in my salad! Don't get me wrong; this diet does not deride bread/grain/wheat/what-have-you -- but it sure doesn't allow me to eat as much of it as I used to. (insert sad face here.)

I even have deliberately made myself sweat twice in one day the past two days! That is totally unheard of. But when your husband leaves you alone every Tuesday night for his night classes, you need to come up with something to do. So I've played Just Dance the last two nights for fun. And believe me, Just Dance is a lot more fun for me than my work-outs so far. I'm counting on them eventually getting fun, but for now I'm just glad that I've moved past feeling sick when they're over.

It's been interesting being part of this challenge group on facebook. These are complete strangers to me, so it's weird to see them "like" a post I leave about how I'm doing (or the "sweat" pictures we're supposed to post after each work-out this week, blech). But I'm picked up by their success stories and am always glad to know I'm not alone. And to know that if/when I cheat/slip up, I won't be alone in that. I have been surprised by how many people are reporting their slip-ups. I'd prefer NOT to be put in that position, even though they'd all be perfectly nice about it. Yay, accountability! It keeps me from succumbing to temptation.

Because there's temptation. Every morning when my alarm goes off at 5, there's the temptation to stay put. There's the temptation to stop a work-out early when I feel like it's too much (and to be honest, it never is; i'm just a wimp). There's the temptation of the cookies I made the other day for my boys (and my boys only!). There's the temptation of the tortilla chips I want to snarf down with some mango salsa we bought at Costco. I am successful so far, but there's temptation. Darn it!

But I'm going to make it. I am going to make it. Eating less food is definitely a TON easier than it was last week, I'm learning about what works for me in what I want to eat, I'm getting a little more used to the various routines/exercises, I'm training myself to STOP looking at the clock when I work out, and I'm still really good at drinking my water. I will succeed. I will succeed.

To round out the post, here are some more pics of Isaac.

It almost looks like he knows what he's doing at the computer 

 I'm still amazed that he can fall asleep like this

Dad's shoes. He put them on himself. Correct foot and all!


"I'm not waiting until my hair turns white to become patient and wise. Nope, I'm dyeing my hair tonight." -Jarod Kintz

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let Them Be Little

Just wanted to document some of Silly's antics. And give you folks a break from having to read about me. :)

I don't always keep a close eye on this kid, especially while working, and this could have potentially been verrrrrry bad (him getting a hold of his dad's glasses), but fortunately he wanted to put them on instead of pull them apart. Phew!

Of course we've gotten spaghetti shots of him long before now, but when there's a big pile hanging down from his mouth, it's still entertaining.

Another instance of me not paying close attention (which is usually when he's able to do these camera-worthy things, anyway). He got into the hamper and pulled out Daddy's shirt. It's even on right-side-up!

Hubby was trying to document him hugging me while watching conference, but of course the camera came out and Silly wanted to get down. Guess he didn't want to stay still while listening to Pres. Uchtdorf. Tsk. tsk. So much to teach him.

Very stylish walking around with his diaper bag. Yet another instance when I wasn't paying attention.

So even though I'm annoyed he shared his cold with me, he still finds ways to make us laugh.


"You can learn many things about children. How much patience you have, for instance." -Franklin P. Jones

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gonna Make You Sweat

If anybody's curious about my progress at the close of the fourth day of this challenge, here's an update for you: boy, am I hungry!

Even at the points of my life when I have eaten mostly healthy food, my portion size has still been on the large side of things. I guess you could say I'm a true American in that respect. So keeping my portion sizes down the last four days has been tough. When talking to my parents on Monday evening (the end of the first day), Dad asked me how I was doing, and my immediate response was, "Miserable." I said it partly as a joke, but of course there is a modicum of truth in every joke. I was eating enough to sustain me, but not as much as my stomach was used to; therefore, it was making me cranky. Fortunately, Dad took a positive spin on my response and replied, "Oh, so that means you've been successful today."

So, yes. No cheating so far. But we're only a tenth of the way through, so who knows what may happen next week, which is usually about the time I get lazy again. Good thoughts, though. Maybe I'll NEVER cheat! Wouldn't that be great? I'll hope that the hardest day, eating-wise, is the first day. So far that's true; let's keep it that way.

Mercifully, there is an easy part of this for me, and that is drinking lots and lots of water. Ever since my pregnancy, I've been really good at doing just that, so I'm glad that there's something in all this that I already did right. Yay!

As for exercise, today was the first day I had a more intense work-out. I'm following a suggested schedule in one of the many brochures I received, and the first couple of days were shorter and lighter work-outs to learn the moves and technique. So I'm guessing that tomorrow will be when I start to feel REALLY sore. There has been some soreness from the last couple of days, but now that I've upped the ante, my body is definitely going to make itself heard. Goody.

Which makes it wonderful timing for Silly to give me a cold. Thanks, kid.


"I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happier with buns of cinnamon." -Ellen DeGeneres