Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Heather, like her father, can sleep in pretty much any position.
One of my favorites. What an expression!
I call the following collection
"Girl in a Yellow Dress"
(Thanks Aunt Donna! (Dorothea))
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It's not as bad as it sounds. Actually, it's pretty ideal.
I'll work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Eric's classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays don't start until the afternoon, so in the mornings we'll share in Heather-care while working on homework (Eric) and opera work (me). On Mondays and Wednesday afternoons, Heather will spend quality time with her Cantwell Grandparents, and on Fridays and Wednesday mornings, she'll explore the wonderful world of the Utah Festival Opera with me. To be honest, I'm actually not certain that the situation could be better, either for me or for Heather.
And yet, I'm anxious about it.
I've been dreading this day since the night that Heather and I came home from the hospital. That's when I realized that one week of my six-week maternity leave was nearly over, and that it had flown by without me even realizing it, and that the next five weeks would fly by as well.
They sure did.
I've wanted to be a stay-at-home mom since I was a little little girl. When I went to college, I determined to study accounting for three reasons.
1. I was good at it.
2. I enjoyed it.
3. I knew it was a skill with some inherent flexibility, and that it could fit in well with my other life goals. (i.e. I planned on being a stay-at-home mother, but I knew that if life circumstances forced me into the workplace, accounting was something I could do on a more flexible schedule than some of the other careers I was contemplating).
As it turned out, I graduated with my accounting degree(s) a full eleven years before my Eric burst on the scene of my life. I started work at Utah Festival Opera, fully intending to stay a couple of years and then move on to something else.
That was twelve and a half years ago.
It's been a great ride, working at the opera. I've absolutely loved it. The people there are kind, intelligent, and good-hearted. The work I do is challenging and interesting. In addition, working there has allowed me to do and see all kinds of things that I wouldn't have been able to do and see if I had been working anywhere else.
It's been a great ride. Now the ride will change, but I think it will still be a great ride. I'll still be at the opera, but I have a new priority to juggle in the mix now. A new adorable, angelic priority. When I think of my situation, I feel more blessed than I can say. To be able to have the kind of flexibility that I have now is (in my opinion) an absolute miracle.
To say that I am grateful doesn't even come close.
After years and years and years, I'm going to be using my degree in the way that I intended to use it, and for the reasons that I earned it in the first place. Sure, I'm anxious about it, but really, I'm a lucky lucky girl, with a lucky lucky daughter.
And everything will work out just fine.
Monday, October 27, 2008
One of those songs is the infamous "Muskrat Love".
For years, I never really paid much attention to this song, or gave it a second thought really. However, now it's a song that has sentimental value to me. As silly as it sounds, when it comes to songs that Eric and I would classify as "ours" (as in, "They're playing our song" kind of thing) "Muskrat Love" is probably it (although "Never Saw Blue Like That" by Shawn Colvin, and "Pure" by Lightening Seeds are definitely in the running as well).
How could that be, you ask?
I'll tell you.
When Eric and I were dating, he would often call me up at work, and if he didn't catch me at my desk, he would leave these wonderfully random and quirky messages on my voice mail. I LOVED getting those messages. Anyway, one day, when Eric and I had probably been out three or four times total, I checked my voice mail, and heard the following message (copied verbatim as it was recorded):
Hey Charlotte, this is Eric. Hey okay, as, as punishment for not being in your office, you now have to listen to part of the . . .one of the strangest songs that has ever been written. It's still a good song, but it's very odd. So, here you go, here's your punishment.
Then we hear the following music:
"Muskrat Suzie, Muskrat Sam, do the jitterbug out in muskrat land, and they shimmy, Sam is so skinny.
And they whirl and they twirl and they tango . . ."
Then the music cuts out, and we hear Eric again:
Okay, so you had to listen to that portion of "Muskrat Love" by the Captain and Tenille. Anyway, we'll talk to you soon. Bye.
Looking back, that might have been when I knew that I wanted to have a future with Eric J. Cantwell.
Oh yeah, nibblin' on bacon, and chewin' on cheese. Does it get more romantic than that?
Friday, October 24, 2008
I'm SO glad that about two months ago I got bloggers block. Because of that malady, I started thinking about some things I wanted to do with my (then unborn) baby, and I decided on some songs I wanted to sing to her (you can read that post here). The thing is, invariably, when I want to sing a song to Heather to distract her from the fact that I'm changing her diaper (which she hates), or putting a shirt or a onesie over her head (which she hates), or am unable to rush over and feed her at the exact moment that she decides she's hungry (which nearly drives her insane), my mind goes completely blank, and I can't think of what to sing.
However, when I put her to bed at night, if both of us are up to it, then I go through the four quiet songs that I thought of back in August. Sometimes it works like a charm. Other times, not so much, but that's okay. I still enjoy the singing. I don't have the English words to Suo Gan memorized (and I haven't even attempted to sing the Welsh yet), so when it comes to that one, I hum through it once, and then grab my handy cheat sheet and sing through the English words of one verse, then hum through it again. I think that one is her favorite. It could be my favorite as well. At least on some days it is.
* * *
For those of you who were looking forward to our after-Halloween post, I'm sorry to report that we do not have a Chewbacca costume for Heather's first Halloween. After thinking it through (with no input or guidance from me, I might add), Eric determined that he would have more fun with a little baby Chewbacca next year, when Heather will be a bit more alert, and more prone to be interested in trick-or-treating than she currently is. So, on Friday Heather will be sporting a bright orange sleeper, with an orange pumpkin hat. That is, until she cries loud enough that I break down and take the hat off. Heather's not so much of a hat person I'm afraid. I wonder if that will change in time. Church is about the only place you see Eric without some kind of a cap on, and, as I've mentioned before, being able to wear a hat in the wintertime often feels like a lifeline to me.
What about this post? Anyone wondering how the whole diaper changing thing is going? Are Eric and I taking turns? Not really. We've found that neither of us really has a problem with diaper changes (at this point at least), so we pretty much just share that responsibility as it comes. Isn't it nice when it works out that way? Tune in when we introduce Heather to solid foods. I have a feeling we both might feel a little differently about the whole diaper change issue at that point. I'm pretty sure I will, at the very least.
* * *
And finally, remember when I took y'all on a virtual tour of our nursery? Remember how there wasn't anything on the wall over by the crib? That was because I was nervous to put something over there. I didn't want to run the risk of having something accidentally fall off the wall one night and landing on my Heather. I didn't mention this to anyone, but I remember wishing that I was a quilter (I'm SOOOO not a quilter), and that I could quilt a cute wall hanging or something soft that I could hang there. Something that wouldn't be very heavy, and wouldn't cause me heartburn to have hanging over my little preciousness.
Well, without even knowing my thoughts, Melissa came to my rescue! On the day we came home from the hospital, I found to my joy that a package had arrived from Indiana for us. What was in it you ask? Only the cutest quilt I have probably ever seen. Here's a (blurry, low quality, not centered, doesn't-do-it-justice) shot that I took the other day.
And there you have it. The rest of the story on four fronts. As for current events, things are going well for us. This past week has been kind of a tough one, between a few Heather adjustments, some anxiety I've had over returning to work next week, and some other events that are too personal to be shared here (but don't worry, everything is fine). However, there were definite high points to the week as well. On Wednesday I was able to spend the day in Salt Lake with my parents and other family members, and yesterday Heather and I had a near perfect day. Naps were had by both, and good moods and smiles prevailed. Don't you just love days like that?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Interestingly, as I thumbed through the book that I did by myself, I saw a picture that I had nearly forgotten about--a picture that looked quite familiar to me now. Past the picture of the silly woman hula hooping, past the picture of the couple sharing a great afternoon playing together in a canoe (no, Eric and I do not own a canoe or a hula hoop--but Eric and I have spent and continue to spend many great afternoons playing together, and I often spend time doing things that are every bit as silly as hula hooping), past the picture of the couple outside of the LDS temple.
Past all of those photos, you come to a photo of a small infant, lying peacefully asleep. A photo that has been flashing through my mind off and on ever since September 16. A photo that I couldn't remember where I had seen it before until I looked through the Dream Book.
And that's all I have to say about that just now.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Last night Heather slept from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., woke up for a little meal, and then slept again until 5:30 a.m.
While I like to think that this could be the beginning of a new, beautiful trend, I'm taking everything a day at a time. So, Heather and I celebrated her auspicious achievement by . . .
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Scene: The bedroom of Eric and Charlotte Cantwell.
We hear a cry from the nursery, two doors down the hall. Charlotte (who has been up to feed Her Highness three times since 10:00 p.m. the night before) groans. She silently counts to 30, trying to determine if this is a real cry, or just a false alarm. After a bit, she determines that it is a real cry.
CHARLOTTE: Hey honey, will you go in and check on her? She shouldn't be hungry again so soon.
ERIC (drowsily): Huh? Oh. Okay. . . What should I do?
CHARLOTTE: Just check her diaper and stuff. Or, maybe she just wants to be cuddled or something.
ERIC (a little reluctantly, but willingly): Okay.
Eric wraps himself up in the fleece blanket that Charlotte's sister gave her two years ago for Christmas and leaves the room. Soon the crying stops, and we hear muffled baby talk coming from Eric. Charlotte lays there, tensing her muscles, trying to determine whether or not it is safe to relax and go back to sleep. Soon we hear some more whimpering, alternated with Eric's baby talk, then quiet, then whimpering again. Eventually, we hear some bona fide crying, and then nothing. Charlotte hears footsteps in the hall and Eric appears, sans Heather.
ERIC: Sorry, She's not going for it.
CHARLOTTE (confused): What do you mean? She's quiet, right?
ERIC: Well yeah, but that's just because I just said, "I'll go get mom".
CHARLOTTE (laughs): WHATEVER! Like she understands what that means!
ERIC (also laughing): I'm tellin' you, she does! I say it to her all the time, and as soon as I do, she settles right down.
CHARLOTTE (sarcastically): Oh-sure. Right, I'm sure she knows exactly what you're saying.
ERIC (still smiling): She does! You watch. She's chilled right now, but as soon as she figures out that you're not coming in, she's going to freak.
As if on cue, we hear a scream from the nursery. With a resigned sigh, Charlotte gets out of bed and follows Eric to the nursery. Once they enter, Heather settles right down. Charlotte assumes the nursing position, while Eric checks again (and then changes) Heather's diaper. Eric hands Heather to Charlotte, and we fade out.
And there you have it, just another average day at the new-and-improved Cantwell home.
One more thing, and then I'll close. I have a new mantra that I repeat to myself. In the past month (yes, Heather is exactly one month old today), I've rotated through several phrases that I repeat to myself when I'm feeling weak, nervous, unsure, or exhausted. some of them have been:
"I will not doubt, I will not fear, God's love and strength are always near" (Hymns # 128)
"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10)
"Strive for a full feeding at each feeding" (On Becoming Baby Wise-I don't know what page, and I don't want to look it up now)
"You can't spoil an infant at this age by picking them up too much." (My mom, Heidi, and 'What to Expect the First Year')
But, now, as I said, I have a new mantra. You want to hear it? I got it from Amanda, who left it in a comment to the "tummy time" post. Here it is.
Indeed. Thanks Amanda.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
So, I was basically oblivious to the whole financial crisis that was brewing during that time. By the time I did tune in to what was going on in the world, newscasters and regular people alike were panicking, telling the gloom and doom stories, opining about the wisdom of a multi-billion dollar bailout, and (most concerning to me), predicting that the U.S. was headed into another Great Depression. I tried not to panic.
Since then, I've reminded myself often that when I worry about things over which I have no control, I invariably get myself into trouble. I take deep breaths, avoid listening to the news most of the time, and pray. I take comfort in the fact that Eric and I are currently living on less than we earn, that we have some emergency savings, and that our house payment is very affordable. I also recently put a moratorium on Eric telling me how much the Dow has lost each day.
Doing all that has helped me to quell the fears and the "what-ifs" that would threaten to overcome me if I allowed them to do so. All the same, I'd been looking forward to this month's General Conference with more fervency than I had since the fall of 2001. I was hoping and assuming that as the prophets and apostles spoke to me, that I would find peace, calm, and even some practical advice as to what my course should be in these turbulent times.
The General Conference was held last weekend, and as usual, I wasn't disappointed. I leave you with some of the words that were most helpful for me. (The entirety of the conference can be watched or read on line at this site.)
Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good” as we follow the counsel of God’s prophets.
--President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor to President Thomas S. Monson (emphasis added)
* * *
Those of us who have been around a while . . . have recognized certain patterns in life’s test. There are cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness, and times of plenty as well as scarcity. When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us—to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic. Perhaps when difficulties and challenges strike, we should have these hopeful words of Robert Browning etched in our minds: “The best is yet to be”. We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond the shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come.
--Elder L. Tom Perry, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (emphasis added)
* * *
The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.
[Another] thing we can do is understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.
--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles* * *
I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He would fight our battles, our children’s battles, and the battles of our children’s children.” And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing. Then all things shall work together for our good, if we walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith we have covenanted.” The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants.
--Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (emphasis added)
* * *
We see increased conflict between peoples in the world around us. Those divisions and differences could infect us. That is why my message of hope today is that a great day of unity is coming. The Lord Jehovah will return to live with those who have become His people and will find them united, of one heart, unified with Him and with our Heavenly Father.
You have heard that message of unity from me more than once. . . The Lord’s prophets have always called for unity. The need for that gift to be granted to us and the challenge to maintain it will grow greater in the days ahead, in which we will be prepared as a people for our glorious destiny.
My message is that we are doing better.
--President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor to President Thomas S. Monson (emphasis added)
* * *
Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey.
--President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Thursday, October 09, 2008
So, with that, here we go!
MORMON FOR DUMMIES
WHO: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and anyone else who feels moved, compelled, or so encouraged.
WHERE: Anywhere. Many homes belonging to LDS people are built so that there is a storage room somewhere in the basement, specifically for food storage. When my parents bought the home I grew up in, there was such a room, right next to my bedroom, actually. We called it "the fruit room". It was un-carpeted, unheated, and consisted primarily of shelving lining the walls, and a big 50-gallon drum (full of wheat) in the center. In addition to this, my mother had a pantry, where she kept the goods that we used more frequently. In my home, I've tried to do something similar. Between Eric's man room (which has now been converted to my "work-from-home-area" incidentally), Heather's baby room, and our bedroom, we don't have an extra room that we can dedicate to storing our food. So, we store it in our crawl space. Here are some pictures of that space that I took this morning.
Notice all the boxes in the background. Each of those brown boxes theoretically contains 1/2 of a one-month supply of food for one person.
Wheat, Oats, Macaroni, & Flour combined with . . .
This is my favorite thing about the pantry. I have all the shelves labeled. This shelf, for example, is where all the protein items (dry beans, peanut butter, etc.) go. Let's just see what is considered as protein in the Cantwell family, shall we?
Okay--enough of the show-and-tell and silliness, back to our briefing:
WHY: Now we get into my opinions. I think there are several reasons why having a supply of food is a good idea. Here are some of them:
And finally, we have the big final question:
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
And, more importantly,
Friday, October 03, 2008
- Anyone that comes into our house immediately has to use hand sanitizer, even if Heather is upstairs in her crib. You never know when some kind of airborne germ might find its way up the stairs and into the nursery, you know?
- If Heather nurses even 2-3 minutes less than normal, I have to fight down feelings of panic, since I'm absolutely certain that this must mean that she's becoming malnourished, and will bear the scars of that for the rest of her life.
- When Eric rolls over in bed, I wake up absolutely confused, because I've been dreaming that it was Heather and not Eric that's been sleeping by me, and I can't figure out how she grew so big (and so much facial hair) so quickly.
- A few years ago, when one of my nephews was born, he had kind of big eyes, and it was during the Lord of the Rings era. I adored this particular nephew, but he did look a little bit funny to me. So, I gently teased my sister that he looked a little bit like "Golum" from that movie. With my new perspective, I now see that my sister is an absolute saint. If anyone were to call my baby "Golum" or any other name that was the least bit deragotory, even in jest, I would probably deck them (and I've never decked anyone before).
And finally . . .
- I took 52 pictures of Heather this morning, because I've noticed that she keeps her eyes open much more often recently. Here are a few of them.
(Again--if you're suffering from Heather overload, feel free to tune out for a while. I'll probably stop posting so much about her in a bit, say when she turns 13 or so.)