Saturday, November 29, 2008
(Incidentally, did you notice that I used the word (or a derivative of the word) "gather" three times in the preceding paragraph? That's got to be some kind of record.)
Come to find out, the baby monitor (receiver) was still on downstairs, and since our transmitter was turned off (something that hasn't happened in the last two months), it was (I'm assuming)
receiving the transmissions of the baby monitor belonging to the couple who live two doors down from us. They have an 18-month old you see. An 18-month old who apparently has only recently begun sleeping through the night. I try not to to think about that so much.
Anyway, since yesterday morning, I've been wracking my brain, trying to remember what things I may have said or sung in Heather's room with that monitor on. We live in a townhome community, and so baby monitors (and babies) are a fairly common commodity. I wonder if any of our neighbors have heard me singing to Heather, or telling her stories (some of them kind of embarrassing ones from our family history). I wonder if they've heard me use the monitor as kind of a walkie-talkie to send one-way messages to Eric downstairs. Who knows? I haven't noticed anyone giving me strange looks as I take out the garbage though, so we might be in the clear.
One things for certain though, that monitor is going to be turned off a little more frequently now.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Anyway, as I was lying in bed, feeling decadent around 7:24, I got to thinking about the different Thanksgiving memories I have.
Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday. I have pretty distinct memories of the different ways I've spent the day, and every year it's been a little bit different. Most of the other holidays, I more or less do the same thing every year, and it's more or less in the same place. Christmas used to always be in Cedar City, now sometimes it's in Logan. The Fourth of July is always here, with fireworks, often a barbecue, and sometimes a hike. Easter, Valentine's day, Halloween, all of the others, generally celebrated one year about the same as the previous. Not Thanksgiving though. Oh, there's (almost) always a great turkey dinner, with homemade rolls (my favorite) and several different varieties of pie. But, for all that is always the same, there's quite a bit that varies.
Last year I spent the holiday here, eating with Eric's side of our family, and watching Eric show his robot designs to the nephews.
The year before I spent the day in Paris, eating far too much French food with Tayneshia.
Then there was the year that we all loaded up and headed to my brother's two-bedroom duplex in Denver. His wife was eight months pregnant with their second child, and so traveling home for Thanksgiving was out of the question for them. Another of my brothers was engaged to be married around the time of the due date of the aforementioned child. We all wanted Melissa (the fiancee at the time) to be able to meet Robert & ShaLiece (the brother and pregnant sister-in-law), and so (with their permission) we all made our way to Denver to eat our turkey there. My brawny brothers and father had to move the sofa out of the living room and onto the front lawn to make room for a table that could seat us all. Luckily, the weather was mild, and the sofa was no worse for the wear. That was also the time that those same brawny brothers taught my then-three-year-old niece how to positively identify Peyton Manning anytime she saw a picture of him. Not a bad day's work.
On three different occasions, Thanksgiving has given our family the opportunity to 'circle the wagons' and get some much needed peace in the face of unpleasant changes. A few years ago one of my cousins, a young man that I pretty much grew up with (although I grew up a few years before he did, being a little older) died rather unexpectedly right before Thanksgiving. The funeral was held during the Thanksgiving holiday, and I remember the peaceful feeling it was to be able to all be together, and to lend each other strength at such a difficult time. Then, both my maternal grandparents passed away shortly after Thanksgiving, about five years apart. In both cases, we were able to be involved with their final Thanksgiving, and in both cases, it remains a sweet memory to me.
I have great memories of the traditions of Thanksgivings passed. We played soccer (weather permitting) before the feast when we went with my mom's family, and we played lightening in the church gym after the feast when we went with my dad's. When my dad was on call, often my grandparents would travel to spend the holiday with us, when he wasn't, we would be the ones traveling. And always after the meal, no matter who we were with, there was lots of visiting, and laughing, and do-you-remember-when-ning in the living room.
Thanksgiving just might be my very favorite holiday of all the year. Why not? It's all about gratitude, family, and food. Honestly, what's not to love about all of that?
Here's hoping that this holiday was as special as you wanted it to be, and that the season that now starts brings you peace and happiness. After the craziness that the world has been handing out over the past few months, I think we could all benefit from a little bit of the joy.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have the following:
Between Eric's gray morning light, and heather's penetrating steel, I'm grateful for
Blue Eyes, Smilin' at Me, Nothin but Blue Eyes, do I see . . .
Happy Tuesday to you all.
(For more Gratituesday entries, head over to Catholic Teacher Musings)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Also yesterday, as I was driving back to work after having spent my lunch hour at Eric's parents' home, I drove past an interesting sight. There was a wrought iron fence, and stuck in it was a medium size fawn. At first I thought it was a dog, but no, it was a little deer. Eric's parents live somewhat close to the mouth of a canyon, and he's told me that they used to see deer in their backyard all the time growing up. Anyway, there were these two men trying to help the deer get untangled from the fence. One would hold the (struggling) deer, while the other would try to move its legs so that it could get untangled from the bars of the fence. Meanwhile a third man was on his cell phone, I assume calling for help. None of the men looked all that official, and while it was tough on me to see that struggling deer, it warmed my heart to see those three (probably random, ordinary) men, taking the time to help this deer.
Speaking of things that were tough for me to see, today Heather had her two-month check-up. You know what that means, right? Yup, the dreaded immunizations. I had thought this might be a hard day for us, and I spent much of yesterday psyching myself up, reminding myself that I would much rather see Heather in pain for a few minutes because of a shot than see her in pain for several days or weeks because of one of the dreaded illnesses that the immunizations prevent. I reminded myself that Heather had spent the first two days of her life getting poked every three hours for blood tests (due to a low blood sugar issue), and that she was no worse for the wear now. I remembered how it hadn't really bothered me to do her PKU, and I told myself that if I could hold a screaming girl while a nurse saturated five different spots on a piece of paper with her blood, then surely we could all survive this immunization business without too much trauma.
What I hadn't realized in all my reminding and preparation was that Heather is more of a little person now, and less of a precious tiny eating and pooping machine. I hadn't realized that at the moment that she would get the shot, she'd be very happily and unsuspectingly gazing off into the distance, cooing and contentedly looking around at all that she could see. I hadn't realized that I would hear a cry unlike anything I had ever heard from my Heather the instant that the shot needle went into her little chubby thigh. I hadn't realized that her face would go from such contentment and happiness to such fear, surprise, and pain in a split second.
More than anything though, I hadn't realized that witnessing all of this would be so painful for me. What was I thinking? It was agony! Finally, I understand why people say that a mother is only as happy as her least happy child, and that once you have children, it's like a part of your heart is out there, walking around in someone else's body.
I'm beginning to understand why my parents have been willing to sacrifice again and again and again to support me and to help me throughout my entire life.
And maybe, just maybe, I understand a bit more of how a loving Father in Heaven feels about His young and imperfect Charlotte. I imagine Him allowing me to experience things that hurt, but are for my best good, in spite of the fact that watching me be in pain must be nearly unendurable for Him.
As soon as the nurse was finished, I scooped my Heather up in my arms. I held her close and stroked her little head. I gently bounced her up and down, and I told her, again and again, in my most reassuring voice,
"I've got you now. You're okay, it's okay. It's over, and I won't let anything else happen to you. It's okay Heather honey."
It makes me wonder--how many times has God scooped me up in His arms and told me that it was over, that He wouldn't let anything else happen to me?
A hundred? A thousand? A million?
Every time I've needed it, and more and more and more. That's my guess.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
999 ABC Street
Close to Logan, UT 84000
Dear "Sleep-Deprived and Hanging-on-by-Your-Fingernails" Charlotte,
I know you are exhausted and overwhelmed, and you think that life is absolutely too hard to be endured at the moment. I know that you are feeling sorry for yourself, while at the same time feeling completely inadequate as you contemplate all the areas in which you are falling woefully short of par. I know you are thinking and feeling a myriad of other thoughts and feelings just now as well, but let's not go into that right now, okay?
Anyway, my dear girl, you are in luck, because I have some killer advice for you. So, sit back, relax, and listen to the words of a much wiser woman:
- GET SOME SLEEP! This may seem like an impossibility, however, if you are able to sleep, go ahead and go for it. You'll be AMAZED at how all your problems will disappear while you're sleeping.
- If the sleep option is unavailable, find some way to distract your thoughts. Read a magazine or a book (preferably one that has nothing to do with parenting), watch old episodes of The Cosby Show (you know, you own Seasons 1,2, and 5), or call a friend you haven't heard from in a while and catch up on what's going on in someone else's life.
- Remember that now is NOT the time to inventory all that needs to be done in your life, nor is it the time to perform self-evaluations of your performance as a mother, wife, employee, daughter, sister, niece, visiting teacher, or any other role that you may fill. Trust me on this one, there will be plenty of time for evaluation on another day.
- Trust me, you will be able to sleep soon. You know you will. Be rational, and remember that Heather typically sleeps for 4-5 hours at a time now. Sure, there are those 2-3 hour nights, and they ARE agonizing, but more and more, those are becoming the exception and not the rule.
- It might be helpful for you to avoid (for today at least) anyone you know who has told you stories about how their child didn't sleep through the night until they were two or three years old. Trust me, you don't need to hear that just now.
- When your dear Eric pleads with you (for the third time) to stop thinking about all that's wrong, for heaven's sake, indulge him. When he chuckles at you as you tearfully list all the unsolvable problems in your life (for the third time), rather than being annoyed or hurt, be grateful that you have a husband who is there for you, even when it is clear that he is completely powerless to make you happy at this point.
- And finally, if you are so fortunate as to have Prince Eric ask what he can do to help you, don't ask him to dust or clean the bathrooms. Rather, ask him to use those magic hands of his to give you the longest shoulder or foot rub known to man. He offered, right? And really, what's a clean bathroom compared to relaxed shoulders huh? No contest.
You're going to make it my dear. In a day or two, you'll be back to your old chipper self, and you'll look back on today and laugh about how silly you were being. Then, when you're done laughing, maybe you'll look back on your life a few years ago. You'll remember how you used to be able to sleep-in on Saturdays, how your house stayed clean virtually all by itself, and how it seemed that you you were always either just coming home from one adventure or planning another one.
You'll remember doing laundry for one, and emptying the garbage once a week. You'll remember frequent lunch dates with girlfriends, and days when you could just pick up and go wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted with hardly a thought or plan beforehand.
You'll remember all those days, and, as you take the Stain Stick and rub it furiously on yet another one of Heather's darling outfits that is just one dryer cycle away from being ruined forever, you'll smile.
And you'll be grateful beyond measure for the life you have now.
It will happen dearie. And it will probably happen within the next 48 hours. So, hang in there, and for heaven's sake TRUST ME.
With infinite love from your dear friend,
"Well-Rested and Much-More-Rational" Charlotte
(I'm fine. Actually, at the moment, I'm great! We had an offline day (and night) a few days ago, and after it was over and I was able to get a few hours of sleep, I realized (again) what a vast difference there is between Sleep Deprived Charlotte and Well Rested Charlotte. So, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about the whole thing.)
#229-Being married to Eric is a little slice of heaven.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Please note that our friend, George the Alligator has been given a prime spot in the living room. Wow. Am I an amazingly supportive wife or what? (really I just got tired of tripping over him when he was living in the nursery.)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sunday night, I informed Eric (who rarely checks here) that he should read the blog this week. He hemmed and hawed around a little bit, but then he did end up going to the blog. After reading what I wrote, he was a little bit embarrassed (as I expected him to be, which is part of the reason I'm even doing this. I love to make my Eric a little bit embarrassed). I told him that if he wanted, I could just post something the next day, saying that Eric preferred that I not write all these great things about him quite so publicly, and that since it was his birthday, I was going to honor that wish.
He thought about that for about a second, and then said that that wouldn't be necessary, that as long as the kinds of things I was writing were along the lines of what I'd already written, he wouldn't be too embarrassed. And then he said the clincher--my favorite Eric quote of the night. Are you ready? Here you go . . .
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Well, here's the deal. My parents as well as two of my brothers (and their families) made the trek up to Logan to attend Heather's blessing. They arrived Saturday afternoon, and so we decided to head out and find some recreation. There's a really fun park out here that basically celebrates the old west and all that was in it. They were having a kind of fall festival, complete with corn maze, hay loft, skeet shooting, and some other things. And, as you see below, there was also plenty of roping opportunities.
Keep in mind, we are not a cowboy family. I bet we can count on two hands the number of times any of us have been on a horse for longer than 10 minutes. But anyway, here are my brothers. Robert is on the left, and Mark is on the right.
They each spent about 5 minutes trying to rope the hay bale bull that was provided . . .
And when that wasn't fun anymore,
They started trying to rope each other.
They turned their skills on their big sister. (The video is only 38 seconds long, so don't be afraid to watch it)
Unsurprisingly, Heather (happily) slept through the whole thing.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Since I'm not doing birthday poems anymore, I've decided to try something else here to commemorate this auspicious event.
As you may remember, I have a gratitude book in which I write a little line or two every day (or as close to every day as I can get). What you don't know is that I also have a specific "Eric Gratitude Book", which I write in every day as well. I started doing this when Eric and I got engaged. Someone told me way back then that I should be certain to notice all the things that Eric did and was that I enjoyed, and strive to focus on them throughout our engagement and married life. They warned me that after marriage, it was far easier to let little annoyances creep in, and if I would focus on the fabulous (my words, not hers), that both Eric and I would be happier, and our marriage would be better.
So, I did. One way I implemented that advice is that I started writing a bit in this book each night. Now, nearly two years later, I've almost filled up one book. Sometimes I go back and read some of the entries. That's pretty fun, let me tell you.
Oops-Eric just came downstairs and wants to use the computer, so I'm going to end this and let him get on.
So anyway, in commemoration of Eric birthday week, each day between now and Sunday I'm going to write one of the (less personal) entries from the Eric Gratitude Book. Each entry will have a separate blog post (meaning that they will be separate from the other posts of the week), so if you aren't interested in knowing all that I love about my Eric, you should be able to skip them without too much trouble.
And with that, here is the first . . .
Friday, November 07, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
That is mostly a rhetorical question. I file Heather's nails, and I'm not interested in anyone telling me that I should clip them. I tried that once, missed the nail and got her thumb. She woke up, crying the cry of a betrayed daughter, and I cried the tears of a remorseful and agonized mother. I honestly don't think I have it in me to try again for at least another 2-3 months. Although, as I remember, when I was growing up it was always my dad who clipped our nails. Is that because he was(is) the dad, or is that because he was(is) a doctor? Come to think of it, I bet my resident construction estimator/graphic-designer-in-training could manage this little chore without tears by either of the participants. Hmmmm . . .
In (somewhat) non-Heather events, I'm getting back into the swing of things at work. I've discovered that I didn't forget how to do my job, which was a relief, and Heather seems to be adjusting well to her new routine, or lack thereof. Poor kid. Every day it's something new and somewhere new. She manages though, and so do I. We're all blessed blessed blessed to have the kind of help and support that we have.
This Saturday Eric and I are going to be able to go to the temple together. We haven't gone together in several months, what with pregnancy complications, and newborn babies, and all that jazz. I'm looking forward to the outing. Like many Mormons, Eric and I sometimes have a bit of a challenge making the time to attend the temple each month. I have no right to complain of course, it takes me exactly 8 minutes to drive from our home to the Logan temple. My parents drive 45 minutes to get to their nearest temple, and many of the other people reading this blog drive far more than that. Anyway, the point I was making before I went off on relative distances between homes and temples is that it can be a challenge, but well worth the effort. Every time I go home after having been in the temple, I feel better about myself, about my Eric, and about the world in general.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
All is well with us. As you can probably guess, today was Heather's blessing day. What a special day in a young girl's life. Heck, what a special day in a thirty-seven-and-a-half-year-old girl's life. It was lovely. Just absolutely lovely.
And now, I'm going to feed my baby and see if I can manage to take a nap. Tomorrow I leave Heather with her grandparents for six or seven full hours.* That could conceivably be traumatic (for me, Heather will be fine), but I think I got all my trauma out on my first day back to work last week. It helps that Eric's parents are such capable, loving, quality people.
Again, I'm a lucky lucky girl with a lucky lucky daughter. (Eric's pretty lucky as well, come to think of it)
Have a glorious week,
*But let's be honest, we all know that I'm going to run out there on my lunch hour right? I mean, like I could stay away!