Monday, June 29, 2009

pretend that they're artsy

Me: Hey Eric! Get the camera!





Photobucket

Eric: Man, you have the worst camera! All these pictures are crap.


Photobucket


Me: I know. Sorry.




Photobucket

Me: Oh, the flash isn't on. Here, let me see it.




Eric (reading with frustration): "Battery depleted."

* * *






I'm trying to get my fingertips all callused up for the Corry Reunion next week. I don't practice the guitar nearly as much as I used to, and between Heather's curiosity and my need to have Eric take pictures whenever her little highness is being particularly adorable, I'm not making a whole lot of headway.




And yet, it's hard to get too upset.

Photobucket

ya know?





On another note--have you participated in the polls yet? They're on the sidebar, and there will be more popping up there from time to time.

I'm not sure why I'm doing them, I guess I just feel a little curious lately.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

an added measure of hope



I watched this video this morning. Doing so has changed my perspective a little bit, and given me an added measure of hope.

I think there are more people like this in the world than we sometimes realize--quiet, unassuming people who do the right thing, regardless of how difficult the right thing might be to do.

It's a long video for a blog, seven whole minutes.

(That's because it takes seven minutes to do the story justice.)






Happy Sunday,


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Did you know . . .

. . . that if you type "licorice black sweet" into Google.com right now, my blog is the first entry you get?







Photobucket




I'm tellin' you, that Midwinter Musical Madness just keeps giving and giving.




Wednesday, June 24, 2009

chapter




Just over two weeks ago, our stake had a little bit of a "shake-up". Essentially, they (whoever "they" consists of) took four wards in our area and made five. As part of the shake-up, we were put into a never-before-created ward, received a new Bishop, a new Relief Society President, some new ward clerks, and (and this is the entire reason I'm even mentioning this), a new Young Men's President.

Yup my dearies, Enrique is no longer the Young Men's President in our ward. To quote something I heard Uncle Lee say (years before he was my Uncle Lee), I have mixed feelings about this.

I vacillate between ecstasy and elation.

No, that's too strong. The fact is, I have loved getting to know the boys in our ward. I have loved seeing Eric interact with them. I have loved watching them grow from goofy semi-clueless kids to respectable responsible potential missionaries (with just enough goofiness retained for added adorability). I have loved the zany messages that have been left on our answering machine from boys and other leaders alike. Most of all though, I have loved watching my Eric grow and become more confident through this opportunity that he was given.

Photobucket

It hasn't all been love and roses though. Quite frequently, Eric's presence was required at more meetings than I thought strictly necessary. Far more often than I would like to admit, I would find myself murmuring about that, as well as some other aspects of the situation that I didn't particularly enjoy.

That was kind of a surprise to me. I mean, I never planned on being a murmuring wife you know? I planned on being a supportive-you-do-what-the-Lord-asks-of-you-Honey-and-I'm-behind-you-all-the-way wife.

Funny that. I guess Eric wasn't the only one who had opportunities to grow.

Anyway, the "Eric is Young Men's President" chapter is over now. It was a good chapter. It was a chapter of learning and trying and struggling and laughing. It was a chapter that yielded us the best pizza crust recipe we've found so far (note to the Packers: yours is a close second, really). It was a chapter of giving broad obnoxious smiles, and getting shy embarrassed smiles back in return.* It was a chapter of growth.

All murmuring aside, It was a good chapter.

I hope we get more like it.

(Just--maybe not immediately. You know?)




*Actually, that part of the chapter is probably not over yet. At least I hope not.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

replenish

"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."
-(The Proclamation on the Family, 4th paragraph)

To elaborate on my feelings about this statement, I'll let you in on a little secret. When I stopped taking the pill, Eric and I weren't all that keen on becoming parents.

We had both been christened favorite aunt/uncle by many of our respective nieces and nephews, and we were getting quite a bit of fulfillment from that. Add that to the fact(s) that we were having a whole bunch of fun spending time together, that we weren't sure how long it would take Eric to finish his degree, and we didn't feel ready or qualified to be parents, and it all added up to a general feeling of not wanting to rush into parenthood.

But, we reasoned that one day we might find that we would want children of our own, and since it took us so (freaking) long to find each other, we really didn't have the luxury of waiting around until everything in our lives had settled down and we felt ready for kids. Then too, there was this commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.

As it turned out, we took a few months to enjoy and get used to being married to each other. Then, after some prayer and discussion, we decided that it was time. Not necessarily time to try to get pregnant, but time to stop trying not to get pregnant.

Two months later*, I was wading through a sea of first-trimester exhaustion, and Eric was learning just how emotional this girl that he married could be. Seven and-and-a-half months after that, Heather had arrived.

To say that we were nervous about parenthood would be the ultimate understatement. Those eight-and-a-half months were full of worry for both Eric and I. We worried that we'd mess up, that we wouldn't be able to provide for our daughter, that we'd be poor parents, and (although I hate to admit it) that we'd find ourselves unfulfilled and unhappy, mourning our carefree childless days.

Through all that time though, there were occasional glimmers, if you will, flashes of inspiration and comfort that helped me to know that we were on a good track and that we wouldn't be left alone. In particular I remember one time that I had one specific realization. It wasn't rocket science or anything, but it made a big difference to me.

I realized that as I looked back over my life, there hadn't been a single time when I had been obedient to the commandments of the Lord, and then regretted it.

Not a single time.

I took faith in that, and reasoned that surely, this wouldn't be the exception to that pattern.

It wasn't.

In fact, the decision Eric and I made to make it possible for Heather to come into our family has turned out to be quite possibly the most rewarding decision we've ever made together.

Talk about cups running over.











*We were lucky. Many couples wait much longer for the blessing that was essentially handed to us right off the bat.


As long as I'm writing an asterisked note, I'll take the opportunity to say that in writing this post, it is my intention to share our experience, NOT to pass judgement on the experiences, circumstances, or decisions of any other person or couple. Parenthood is a very personal thing, and the accompanying decisions are, in my opinion, best made by the (potential) parents and the Lord.




(For more of my writings along this line, click on the label "Family Proclamation" on the sidebar. I've written about the Proclamation on the Family a few times before, and I'm planning to write about it from time to time for the next little while.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Motel C

[picture]



We're nearly a regular hotel these days, and I'm lovin' it.

About a week ago, my cousin called to say that she'd be in town for a conference, and could she spend a couple of nights on our couch? Naturally, I was okay with that. As luck would have it, she got (officially) engaged the day before she arrived, so in addition to catching up on family stuff, we were able to talk about the excitement of her upcoming wedding, her fiance, and all that jazz. Eric and I did what we swore we'd never do, and dumped all kinds of unsolicited advice on her.

Hopefully she let most of it go in one ear and out the other.

It got me thinking. As the three of us were talking, Eric and I would banter back and forth a little bit, mildly disagreeing/teasing about this and that, and I would look to her and say,



"Two years!"
" This is YOU in two years!"


And it probably is. But really, is that so bad?

After all, I remember our glossy rosy newly-wedded days:


  • When I thought it was fun to have Hideous Higgins living semi-permanently in our living room.
  • When I would look at worn-but-not-exactly-dirty-socks on the stairs and think, "How nice it is to have this reminder that my handsome prince is living here with me".
  • When Eric used to think that my (semi-neurotic) worrying was endearing and not even the least bit troublesome.

Now the honeymoon is over, and well, things are a little different.

Different, but in about a million ways, oh so much better.

  • Better because I know many of Eric's faults and love him all the same.
  • Better because Eric knows that I'm no walk in the park myself, and he still wants to walk with me anyway.
  • Better because we can share together the absolute joy of watching our baby turn into a toddler, with all the accompanying discoveries that she makes.
  • Better because we've still got each other's backs, but now we know a bit more about the person whose back we have.

Better.




As it turns out, the Cantwell hotel is still open for one more night. Tonight my parents will be breaking their journey home from Yellowstone on our air mattress. I'm looking forward to that.



Friday, June 12, 2009

a good day


Why I love being a Cantwell in Cache Valley in June:


Today I woke up at 6:30, went running (walking), came home, fed and dressed Heather, fed and dressed myself, helped Eric make our bed, kissed both Eric and Heather goodbye, and drove to my very enjoyable job at the Utah Festival Opera. My commute was six and-a-half-minutes long.


At about 11:15, I was informed that the people who would be performing at "Noon Music at the Tabernacle" that day were people I knew. I put myself in high-gear, so I could be caught up enough with my work that I would be able to attend the concert, and enjoy it relatively-guilt free. At 11:55 I walked out my office door, and within 5 minutes I had walked to the tabernacle, snuck in the back door (which is actually the front door, but that's a different story), and listened to thirty-five minutes of calming peaceful music.

[picture]



At 1:30 Eric called to check in with me. We spoke of how he had taken Heather with him to an appointment he had attended at the lumberyard, and how she charmed everyone there. (It's always nice for me to hear tales of charming Heather). Also around that time, I realized I hadn't eaten lunch yet, and so I broke out the crackers and cheese, as well as the (sour sour) grapes that I had brought in my insulated lunch sack. Mmmm-mmmm, delicious! (except for the sour sour grapes)



Upon arriving home from work, we received a phone call, stating that the Eagle Scout project that Eric was supposed to be helping with at 6:00 the next morning had been rescheduled (because of forecasted rain) to that evening. After making a few calls, Eric left for a night of planting trees at Bear Lake.



Shortly after that, I loaded Heather up, along with the rag quilt that Kristi (Bell) had made for her, the diaper bag, the umbrella stroller, a winter hat, a jacket, a bottle, and a container full of cheerios, and we drove out to meet Grandpa Cantwell.



Grandpa Cantwell took us up the canyon where we met Grandma Cantwell, and eventually, Eric's brother Greg, Greg's wife Tamara, and their six children. It was Joseph's seventh birthday (also Scott's birthday, but not his 7th) and he had requested a hot dog roast in celebration. It was my first campfire of the year, and Heather's first campfire of her life. There was good food and log sawing, and wild-onion picking, and Happy Birthday singing, and smiles for and from everyone.



Around 8-ish, Grandpa took us back to the house, where I loaded Heather back into the trusty RAV, and we made the trek home. On the way we drove past two people riding horses right on the same (paved) road on which we were driving. A little later we followed a tractor for about three blocks. I listened to this song repeated on CD the whole way home, and felt that all was right with the world.









Thursday, June 11, 2009

a snippet

A couple of gems from our Eric:


"So, that wasp trap is like your new hobby, huh?"






"Oh man, I went to bed waay too late last night. I didn't mean to, but I started reading that book on cephalopods, and it was so interesting that I just couldn't put it down."

(kind of makes you think of gypsy moths-eh Jeri?)







[Photo of wasp]

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Experience the Excitement!

A few days ago, I was out for my morning run (which as you know, is really my morning walk-that-I-call-a-run-because-it-makes-me-feel-more-ambitious-than-I-really-am). On the way home, I stopped by a "for sale" sign for one of the townhomes in our complex. There was a flyer with the sign, and just out of curiosity's sake, I looked it over. The pictures were nice, the price looked good, and if we didn't already own a town home that was essentially exactly the same as the one for sale, I might have been tempted to check it out further.



I would have been especially tempted after reading a sentence that was featured prominently on the flyer. It proclaimed:



"Experience the excitement of living in a [name of our complex] townhome!"




Can you believe it? All this time, Eric, Heather, and I have been experiencing the excitement of living in a [name of our complex] townhome!
We didn't even realize it!




So, my dear readers, I've been thinking of you. The fact is, you can't possibly know all this excitement. I mean, you don't live here, do you? (Except for blog-stalking Janalee). Never fear though! I've got your back. Since you can't possibly experience this for yourselves, I've created an exciting little collage of the excitement we've been having around the old homestead lately.


Enjoy.




(Oh, and if you can't read the words, just click on the picture for a larger view . . . )






Sunday, June 07, 2009

I had to be married for two years to learn this?

Sometimes I think that Eric fits into my family better than I do:

Scene: The walkway between the town homes that Aunt Donna and Uncle Steve live in. Eric, Charlotte, and Heather are headed home after a night on the town (for E&C) and a night of dancing to country music with the assistance of Aunt Donna (for Heather). It should be noted that prior to leaving, Steve and Eric had discussed Steve's latest project, a (rather impressive) re-do of the master bathroom.

Eric (thoughtfully): I wonder where Steve learned to lay tile. Maybe he's worked construction at some point along the way.

Charlotte: Yeah, maybe. Hey, do you know how to lay tile?

Eric (somewhat cautiously): Well, if I needed to, I bet I could find some YouTube tutorials and learn enough to get by. The grouting can be tricky, but I think the rest of it is pretty basic.

Charlotte (with pleasure mixed with humor): And again we see further proof that I've essentially married my father. How nice to have a handy man.

Charlotte: Did you know that my dad pretty much finished the basement of our house by checking out books at the library on home improvement? He built the inside of our cabin the same way.

Eric (modestly) : Well uh, I could probably finish a basement if I had to.

Charlotte thinks to herself, "that's good to know, my dear man, because one of these days you might find yourself doing that very thing. "

* * *

Sometimes, not so much:


Scene: The car, about 10 minutes after the previous conversation. Charlotte and Eric have been talking about family members and which ones are more reserved or shy, and which ones are not so much. It will also be helpful to know that while growing up, Charlotte spent much of her Sundays, Saturdays, and other nights not watching the programs she wanted to watch on television, because she had four brothers and a father who gained great enjoyment from watching whatever (loud) sports event was showing on television at the time.

Eric: Yeah, my dad can pretty much chat about anything. He loves to chat.

Charlotte: Yeah, he's really easy to be around with that way.

Eric: Except for sports. He doesn't really follow sports.

Charlotte (happily, and with relief): You don't either really, right?

Eric (reflectively): Not too much . . . Well, actually when I have cable, I do like to follow a few sports.

Charlotte (with a little bit of panic creeping into her voice): But you don't like to sit for hours watching (thinks: noisy, obnoxious) football or basketball games (thinks: while yelling at the television all the time) do you?

Eric (casually): Nah. I do like the follow the NBA I guess. But the other two sports I like to follow are tennis, and women's pool.

* * *


Right.
Women's pool.
Now there's a nail biter for ya.

That's my man.



Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Miss Me?






To my esteemed public,


Have you noticed that I'm not quite as much of the star around here that I used to be? It's rough on my fragile little ego, but I take comfort in the following explanation:




The fact is, I've been growing and learning new things by leaps and bounds lately. Honestly, I've been so freaking adorable that my (amazing) mother has had story after story that she could write about me, if it weren't for two big problems.



Problem #1: Mom doesn't have hours and hours to write story after story about me. (shocking, don't you think?)



Problem #2: Mom has been feeling a little weird-ish about the amount of space that I've been getting here, and whether or not it is 1)safe for me, and 2)too boring for those (few) of you who aren't waiting anxiously to hear about every little breath I take.



. . . Every move I make, every smile I fake, you'll be watching me. Oh can't you see? You belong to me . . . How your poor heart aches, with every breath I take . . .



Oh, sorry. What was I saying?



Oh yeah, the explanation.



So anyway, here's the deal. I have my own place now. It's here. You can meet me there if you want to. All you have to do is prove that you really want to see me there, and that you are someone that I can trust to keep me safe.



How do you prove that, you ask? Well, why don't you just send my (exquisitely beautiful, but oh-so-humble) mother an e-mail? The address is just over there, to the right (on the sidebar). If you're personally acquainted with us, well then, things should go pretty smoothly for you. If not, then maybe you could submit a resume, a background check, references, a link to your blog, or whatever else you think might get you past the rigorous screening process.



And that's that. If you're not up for the task, don't worry about it. I'll still be showing up here from time to time.



As if those parents of mine could keep me away.







With Love,



Her Little Highness
The Princess Heather

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

well, if you really want to know . . .

In the comments to my last post, Jeff (see tangents below) mentioned that he favors the old "high-powered nerve spray" method of dealing with wasp control over the "bright yellow cylinder of death" method that I espouse.

I want to be clear and say that I do use wasp spray as an additional line of defense against my yellow striped enemies. However, unlike Jeff, who enjoys watching them fall, twitching all the way to the ground, I find that witnessing this often strikes me with a certain amount of irrational fear.

Often, as I watch my victim writhing around, my old friend, the overactive imagination kicks in, and I wonder if this is the wasp, the one X-Men-esque wasp that has finally evolved to the point that my weapon will only stun him, (kind of like those super germs that can now withstand many variations of antibiotics, you know?) and then, when my back is turned he will leap back to full health and vigor and come after me with stinger poised for battle again.

Except this time, he'll have brought his friends with him.

I won't have a chance.

It's a bit frightening.

And this is why I refuse to ever watch Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds ever ever ever again.




Tangents:

If you're trying to find Jeff in the comments, you'll need to know that his google name is something in German that starts with a "d" and ends with something like "-lander".

I don't speak or write German (obviously), and I am too lazy to go back and copy the name from the comments.

Unless I am mistaken, Jeff started his German-learning journey in a high school class taught my my very own Uncle Jeff.

Now he (Jeff my friend, not Jeff my uncle) is employed at UVU in Orem, where I believe he is the head of the foreign language department there.

Jeff (again friend, not uncle) and I ran around together (figuratively and literally-we were both on the cross-country team) in high school. A few years later, he married another one of my friends that I used to run around with (both figuratively and literally).

I've loved having some of my guy friends marry some of my girl friends. It makes them all so much easier to keep track of, you know?







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