Friday, December 11, 2015

She's Here!

Grace Eliza Kate came! She really really did!

Tuesday night we took the boys over to my mom's for a sleepover so we could go in to the hospital at 6:30 am for induction. It feels weird to have the hospital on the schedule and not be going because I can't survive a second more if we don't.

Packing their bags to last a few days while they shuffle from Grandma to Kate and Sarah before we are ready to come home is a lot of working around and shuffling. But we got it all worked out.

After dropping off the kids, we came home and packed and tried to sleep the best we could knowing it would be our last chance for a while.

Wednesday morning we got ready and headed to the hospital with all our stuff (SO much stuff!)

We got checked in and met Jen the world's nicest nurse who would be with us during labor and delivery. She was so so nice. We sat around and talked and watched tv. I wasn't dilated very far when we first got there and I told her that the Dr. had rounded up to 3 last week, but he noted that he was being generous. I told her so she wouldn't say I was only 2 or 2.5. She laughed and told me that she was willing to be as generous as the Dr. because we don't go backward in L&D but that it was generous. Then we sat and waited and waited and waited. And took a bunch of drugs.

I was planning for an epidural, so when the anesthesiologist arrived for the morning he came straight for me. I really love having babies in quiet hospitals. Mountain Point is still new enough that there isn't a ton of traffic so we had all the attention we needed. I was more aware during the epidural than I was with either of the boys. I could feel everything he was doing, and he kept asking me which side I could feel it on. I leaned on Josh while Anesthesiologist was doing his thing and started to slump a couple of times, but he was able to get it in and I gladly stopped feeling the contractions that matched what had been happening for me for months.

They checked me regularly, upped my pitocin and did all the normal stuff and I got to know Jen. She and her family moved here from Tennesse (or somewhere like that) for a business opportunity for her husband, and it all fell apart as they were driving here. The landlord of the home they were planning to rent called to tell them he had rented it to someone else, the business deal dissolved and there they were in a moving truck with the life and kids. Remarkably they continued on knowing that they felt it was right and figuring that they'd work it out when they got here. They arranged a place to stay for the first few days while they looked for a place to live. An incredible story. Everybody has one.

I made almost no progress all morning in spite of the drugs and broken water, and when Jen checked me (still stuck at like a 4 or 5) she said "Oh she has a lot of hair!" and Josh and I looked at each other and laughed, because we have bald babies, not hairy ones. We just don't. So we laughed about how we knew better than Jen and surely Grace would be bald like her brothers, but it was cute that Jen thought she felt hair. She set up all the stuff, the sterile table and everything just because she had the time not because it was anywhere near time.

Then when she checked me again, there was another big gush of water, and we realized that the first time they broke my water, it didn't really go all the way and when she checked me she accidentally broke it the rest of the way. So yay for that. Jen guessed that thing would go quickly now that baby wasn't resting on a water pillow. So she left and said to call her if anything changed.

Serious contractions started almost as soon as she left. I couldn't breath and within 15 minutes I felt like I wanted to push. But when Jen left I was only at a 6, and it had only been 15 minutes so it seemed stupid to ask her to come right back. But between contractions I gasped at Josh to 'call the nurse' which he gladly did, though he had no idea what to say. So he just said "she's not doing very well...." and they came in to check everything. Done. It was time, I was ready. They got Dr. Ollerton (who I'd never met before) and by the time he was in the room I was already laid back and ready to go. I couldn't hear very well, my ears were ringing and I thought I was going to pass out, but I could tell Jen and Dr. were talking, I just didn't know it was to me. Josh was standing by my side and when I told him I couldn't hear anything he told me to push. One push and Grace was here! It was all so fast, I could hardly believe it and I was still thinking maybe it wasn't really time and I was just exaggerating the pain and making stuff up. But whattya know! There she was. In all her slimy squirmy glory.

They immediately put her on my check wrapped in a towel and my arms were far too weak to hold her up. I was laying flat on my back and when they laid her on me I knew for sure she was going to fall off me. But I couldn't imagine them taking her away. Josh held up my arms while I held her and shook and cried. When Tom was born he wasn't well and they had to take him away immediately to get him unpurple and full of oxygen. When John was born I wasn't well and had just passed out and they took him to get him cleaned up before I held him.

So that moment was new and especially beautiful for me. I cried and cried as I held her filthy little self for what couldn't have been more than a minute while she cried. They took her off to warm her and clean her and gave her right back to me. (bless them)

She had so much hair! Lots of dark dark hair! I could hardly believe it.

We took turns holding her and marveling at all that hair!

She made the classic Egbert pouty face within that first hour and had all of the Dr.s and Nurses convinced that Dad didn't stand a chance against that lower lip. Which is, of course, absolute truth.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Chocolate Bars

Early in November my Sister in Law Wendy sent me (and  other people who they love the most) this email:

Taege says:

We're selling chocolate for the PTA so they can make it more fun for our school. How much it is is $1(per bar). There are five different kinds. They are: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Caramel, Crisp, and also Almond. Two weeks is how long we are selling them. If you don't want to, you don't have to. My goal is to sell sixty and get an animal hat for a prize. Also my favorite kind is caramel, so you know.

from, Taege

Wendy says:

If you are interested in "The World's Finest Chocolate" bars let us know how many you want and we will set them aside for you. We can bring them down to Utah county around Thanksgiving. Love you all!

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Lessons learned from this message: 
a) I am a sucker for a cute kid
b) Wendy is a marketing genius
c) I have 2 of my own boys who make me biased and I still think that Taege about the cutest kid in the whole freakin' world. 
d) Taege will grow up to sell all the things to all the people and all the people will love anything they ever sold him, because DID YOU SEE THAT TOOTHLESS GRIN? 

So that's why I bought a bunch of chocolate bars. Besides he's the kind of kid who you hope will meet ALL of his goals and succeed in every way, so you do anything you want to support him. Plus chocolate! Win-win.  

Anyway, that month-old email is why I'm eating a subpar "world's finest chocolate" bar with my lunch today. And every bite is delicious, but really it's just chocolate. (Except the carmel ones, which really were the best. Why didn't I just buy a million of those? I knew I'd like them best...but felt obligated to try the others just in case.) Also it's broken into 4 sections and when I stuff a whole section in my mouth I think that about that missionary who told me once that a dove chocolate was 4 bites. (That lady is nuts. but also probably happy with her life choices and able to walk more than 10 steps at a's that. Anyway, these sections are definitely more than one bite big, but that won't stop me! I'm an overachiever when it comes to chocolate consumption.)

The boys and I are reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Sometimes it's lost on John who has the attention span of a gnat (but can run up and down ALL the stairs 9 times in a row without getting tired), and sometimes Tommy has too much energy for reading too. But mostly it's magic to watch Tommy get lost in the story and act out what's happening "Charlie held his nose high in the air and sniffed the magical smell of melting chocolate as he walked past the factory" and get totally wrapped up in the story asking for one more chapter as we snuggle in my bed at night. It's been more than a week since we started, and for the last few days in a row, it's been one disappointment after another. (Spoiler alert!) Charlie's birthday chocolate bar didn't have a golden ticket. And he was never ever ever going to get another one because all they could ever have around there was lousy cabbage soup. But then Grandpa Joe wasted his money on another bar, and they didn't get a golden ticket, and clearly that was the last shot. And then 2 more golden tickets were found and there was only one left in the whole wide world anyway. So Tom kinda lost interest. Because Charlie wasn't going in there anyway. So what was the point of reading the rest of the story about 4 old people in bed eating cabbage soup? 

Last night I convinced them to snuggle up and read another chapter with me. (but only after an Elephant and Piggie book and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and the singing Silent Night book) and when Charlie found the 50 pence buried in the snow and used it to buy chocolate and scarfed down a ticketless chocolate bar Tommy didn't even care that there was no golden ticket, in fact I don't think he noticed because he was busy imagining wolfing down a chocolate bar. (It's SO fun to watch him imagine things!) But then Charlie used one more of his leftover two-pence to buy another and saw the golden ticket and Tom gasped and jumped up and down on my bed and all the people in the chocolate shop freaked out and the store keeper was nice, and people offered Charlie money for his ticket, and Tommy's eyes were as big as dinner plates and HE COULD HARDLY BELIEVE IT!!!!!! Charlie got a golden ticket!!!!! (I think he'll ask for some "chapters of Chaw-lee" tonight with no encouragement from me at all.)

Today while I'm opening my subpar "world's finest chocolate bar" I half expect to find a golden ticket. And I'm thinking about what a shame it is that Tom has probably never ever opened a full sized chocolate bar in his whole life. And that's why even though he has a cold and shouldn't be eating sugar, I think today I'll find him a chocolate bar, and let him open it carefully from the top corner and wolf it down Charlie-style just so he knows what it's like to peel back the wrapper from a chocolate bar for real and see the glorious deliciousness inside and maybe care or maybe not care about the golden ticket that isn't inside.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Preparation

Spence and Em came to visit from Reno - which is always fun, and totally exhausting because it means we party ALL the time.Josh worked Thursday and Friday, which I spent with my family. Thursday I was barfy-sick. Friday I was tired-sick. Saturday morning when Josh was with me at my mom's I passed out, then had a breathing/heart episode that lasted just shy of an hour while the adults in the family watched/listened to me gasp for breath for 45 minutes on the couch and Josh held my hand and told me to stop it. Which is all they would have done in the ER, but I think everybody wondered at what point you take a person to the hospital when everything seems to be going wrong. I'm glad I didn't go, because the breathing thing passed, and really they couldn't drug me in the ER anyway. So. There's that. My mom is now finally on the "get out Grace!" bandwagon, which she hasn't been on until now. 

Sunday I was determined to go to church. I've been wondering if this would be my last week at church for a while. Will Grace really come this week? We sat in the short bench where we always sit and I thought about how huge her carseat is and how much space we'll take up at church. The morning getting ready for church was remarkably peaceful, but Tommy kept telling us he was too sick for church - I told him to come to sacrament meeting with me and we'd see how we felt at primary time. For both of us. Because the truth is that sitting up for that long is hard for me too. Only all through sacrament meeting he kept coughing this awful cough and he sounded miserable and everybody around us must have been convinced that we were spreading the plague. So I took him home just after the sacrament in the middle of a sick-nasty coughing fit. And when we stood up to leave, John just followed us. So I took both boys home and Josh stayed at church. At home we finished putting up Christmas (Fontanini!!!) and balls on the tree and snuggled and snuggled. It was lovely. But I tried hard to make sure we weren't skipping church so we could watch a show or play video games. We need to fix that being home is so much more fun than being at church. So there was no screen time until after church. When we had family movie day. Also lovely. It was the right amount of productive, and helpful and relaxing and fun. And it only took 4 days of holiday to do it! Miraculous.

Letting Tom decorate the tree is my favorite thing ever.

"I know it looks dangerous - because it is, but Santa's really gonna love this surprise."

In between the passing out and the not breathing on Saturday, Josh and I were trying to motivate ourselves to go home from the party at my mom's and I kept saying "we just really need to run the errands before we can't..." and it was starting to look like people were starting to talk about what fun thing to do, so Josh stood up and said "I bet I can run to the store and back before we figure out what we're doing" so I started to hand him my list. But in those 2 minutes, the guys got out a fun new game (which was a dude game, Josh would love and I would not) and the afternoon was decided. I whined about not being able to do the shopping, because I have seriously missed being able to do it by myself. Really. Truly. But I really really don't trust myself to stay vertical that long, or to be able to take that many steps in a row, or to reach the things on the bottom or top shelves. But honestly, I miss it. I was mourning the loss and appreciating the free time I now have and Wendy suggested she take me and we go to Walmart and ride in a riding cart and she'd take care of me if I passed out and we'd just be able to drive around shopping. The idea was thrilling! So we went. I've never even driven one of those cart things (holy slow.) and we shopped and shopped and shopped. I got some Christmas items taken care of (something to wear, a few stocking stuffers) and we went through the fun Chrsitmassy things, and shopped the regular old boring things, and it. was. lovely. And totally exhausting. 

This morning I unpacked the remaining totes in Grace's room, and now it's ready for Josh to haul bins up and down the stairs again. And then we're there! There's a space for The Chair and her clothes are hung in the closet, and Em gave me a bow board which Josh hung on the wall and the crib has bedding and the package of newborn diapers is opened and in the diaper changing station and aside from relabeling some bins, we have all the things taken care of! I need to pack my hospital bag, pick a "come home from the hospital" outfit from her closet and the snuggliest blanket in the whole world to take to the hospital. Dare I say we'll be ready before Josh goes back to work on Wednesday? Because then he'll work Wed-Tuesday and on Tuesday the hospital will call to schedule a time to go in and be induced. How's THAT for insane? Unless of course these contractions are doing things, and the swelling in my hands and feet and size of my nose are accurate in which case I'll burst at any second and it won't matter when they want to schedule my induction

Friday, November 20, 2015

Induction Day

When I saw the Dr. for my regular check, they (again) said that everything looks and sounds great and "anytime she wants to come she's welcome" we've been in the "we wouldn't stop labor" safety zone for so many weeks and I've been so miserable, that I feel like she could come any second. But today when Dr. told me I could pick an induction date I realized that she might not do exactly what her brothers did and break the water 2-3 weeks early. She might wait! 

So we picked a day a week before her due date when Josh is heading into a week off work a that is now the day. If she doesn't come on her own before then, she'll be here on the 9th. I can't imagine waiting clear until the 9th, but at least I know it won't be longer. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Baby Guh-luh gets a name

First a story about names from months ago:

This evening as I scrolled through facebook I came across a friend's photo of their (adorable!) baby snoozing in a crib.

Little John was watching over my shoulder and asked "who's dat baby? Is Baby Me?"

I told him no. This baby was my friend's baby.

John : "His name is called Baby?"
Me: "No. His name is Cooper."
Tommy: "Ooops? They accidentally named him Cooper? Did they know he's a bad guy?"
M: "Cooper is a bad guy's name?"
T: "Like King Cooper from Mario. He has spikes."
J: "Him only got one name?"
T: "Yeah, how come I got 3?"
M: "His first name is Cooper. (Which is different from King Koopa, but don't tell Tommy that) and his last name is Berry"
J: "Because him loves to eat all the berries? Like blackberries, and raspberries, and BLUEberries! My name Berries too!"
T: "No. You're John."
M: "So what should we call this baby?"
T: "Baby. Cuz it's just a baby."


So you see, naming the baby with The Naming Committee (including Tommy and John and Josh and the ever opinionated Mother-who-has-known-Baby-Girl's-name-since-well-before-we-were-even-pregnant) has proven to be a challenge. At first the boys wanted to name her Koo Koo Head and Poopy Face and Tommy really was sold on the idea of High Note (like the high notes on the piano, because she's a girl and a baby and that's what she'll sound like). But eventually they started getting serious with names like Pink Heart Sweetheart and Darling Baby because they figured out how sweet babies are.

As for me, I knew her name was Elizabeth Katherine (or Catherine? Or Kathryn?) Egbert. Elizabeth is my sister Sarah's middle name and Katherine is my sister Katy's name. And Elizabeth Katherine is beautiful and traditional and royal and perfect. She could have any nickname in the whole wide world (Ellie! Elle! Liza! Lizzie even Beth if she must or Kate Katy Kat!) She could be anyone she wanted. It was perfect in addition to making me tear up at the idea of one sweet little girl holding SO much goodness in her name. She'll grow up knowing her aunts well, and to carry even a tiny piece of them with her through life would be a dream.

So I told it to Josh who crinkled his nose and mumbled something about how he does not love the name Elizabeth and immediately vetoed the perfect name.

A few weeks later he told me it didn't matter if he vetoed my idea because he already had the perfect name for her. And it is Grace. Which is actually a name I truly love. But how on earth do you combine any pieces of my sisters' names to create one perfect middle name out of theirs? (spoiler alert: you don't.) Grace is a lovely name and a beautiful life-changing concept. Grace comes in your life and helps you gather your courage to keep going. Grace is a gift from God whether we deserve it or not. Grace is THE game-changer. Grace gives you what you lack. Grace is unearned and undeserved and Grace is...well....she's just everything.

For a few weeks I thought if I just started calling her Elizabeth he'd catch on and it would grow on him. It did not.

For a few more weeks we talked about Elle or Eliza. Which also didn't catch on.

For all the weeks he just kept telling me how perfect the name Grace is for this sweet one and kept calling her that.

About a month ago, I said "What about Grace Eliza Kate Egbert - she'll just have a little too many names, but they'll all be perfect." We tried it on for a while and the more I say it the more I love it. I don't even mind that her initials are GEKE. And having 4 names seems just fine to me because they are all the perfect name.

When we took "Grace Eliza Kate" to the The Naming Committee, Tom said "why won't she be an Egbert like us? Cuz she's a girl? Only boys can be Egberts?" and John said "you mean Heart, not Gwace." It was a statement not a question. When we explained that she'd still be an Egbert, like us, she'd just have 4 names they scrunched their noses and wondered how that was even possible. Then we told them that she could have LOTS of nicknames and if they called her Heart her whole life that would be perfectly beautiful. (In fact, I'd love it.)

So even though it's a mouthful, there's not even one name we can leave out without crying. So, (we think) she'll be Grace Eliza Kate Egbert. And we might call her Heart or High Note or GEKE or Grace or Gracie or Elle or Eliza or Kate or Katy or any other thing we think of. But whatever we call her, we're whooped.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Snowball the First

In fall of 2005 Josh and I started dating. But more importantly we started the epic battle of "who threw it first: the first snowball of the year" he wins WAY more often than I do. Mostly because he has better aim and the ability to dodge when we're both playing and he makes me feel guilty when I sneak attack him in bed. But when I win? It is with grace and beauty and exceptional planning and sneakiness. 

And since I know you're Team Amy (or you're a traitor!) I know you'll be thrilled to know that even in my "too pregnant and sick to cook or clean or shop or stay our of the ER" I THREW IT FIRST THIS YEAR!!! In my bathrobe. While Josh sat on the sofa staring out the window at the beauty of freshly fallen snow - like a chump. I threw the most perfectly packed snowball across the house up the stairs and pegged him right in the chest.

Then I threw my hands up in the air and did a little victory dance (waddle) and whisper-shouted "2015 is MINE baby!" and Josh laughed the "I can't believe I'm married to the coolest person on the planet" laugh and we all lived happily ever after. (And the effort of it all didn't even send me into labor.) 

Last year I couldn't find the score and was too embarrassed to look hard for it. I'm pretty sure that this year, on the 10th anniversary of the Greatest Snowball Fight Ever, the score is 
Amy: 4 
Josh: 7. 
(Unless I get double points for the first ever EVER from 2005. Or triple points for "pregnant while balling". Both of which I think are totally legit bonus points. And would make it a tie this year.) 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When Brene Made a Fool of Me (again)

I haven't purchased yet (but plan to) Rising Strong for a Brene Brown class I'm starting in January. So I started just listening on audible while I was at work this morning. Not listening closely, just kindof taking comfort in Brene's friendly and familiar voice and knowing that I'm soaking up goodness even if I'm not really listening. 

But then she starts telling this story (not a spoiler) about going to the lake of her childhood and Steve blowing her off when she was sharing a beautiful moment with him and the fight they could've had in their sleep because they've had it so many times ("I dunno what's for breakfast, let me ask the breakfast fairy, oh wait! there IS no breakfast fairy, because on vacation just like every other part of life *I* have to make the breakfast and do the shopping and make the plans and watch the kids and and and and.....") and that's when Troy (a guy in my office) said "are you OK to meet right now?" and I realized that I have totally stopped working and started crying at my desk and the guys have gathered at the conference table 3 feet from my desk and are waiting for me to join our weekly coordination meeting. 

I grabbed a tissue and a notebook and spun around trying to look like a professional while some other thing she said earlier (when I wasn't really listening) was running through my mind. Something about how there's not a neat and tidy and business professional version of vulnerability you can use to get through the middles at work. That you still just have to dig deep and be authentic and look stupid. 

And that's how passing out in the middle of a business strategy meeting with a guest professor a few months ago became my 2nd most embarrassing moment in this office.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grace Eliza Kate Egbert

We talked and talked and talked about what to name Grace and couldn't quite figure out how to incorporate all of the things that were important to us. I knew that she would be named for my sisters, and really really wanted her to be Elizabeth Catherine, but Josh didn't love the name Elizabeth and really did love the name Grace. It's a beautiful name, and an even more beautiful concept.

We talked and talked and talked, and eventually (I) decided that she'd just have to have 4 names. Because Grace is perfect for her, and being named for both of my sisters (Sarah Elizabeth and Katherine Mae) was something so perfect and beautiful I couldn't let it go. We played with Sara Katherine and Mae Beth and finally finally landed on Eliza Kate. I know it's weird, but I love it so much that I don't care.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Night Sky

Bedtime didn’t happen until nearly 10 because of all the summer fun going on after the baseball game. After the kids had been “in bed” for about 20 minutes they both came running into my room to tell me something amazing. They’d been told to go back to bed at least 5 times, but this was something they couldn’t not tell me - so the risked the wrath of the post-bedtime parents and marched boldly to our room. Tommy was the brave spokesman. He took a deep breath – the only way you can tell that the words coming next are coming out fast. “Mom. We found the moon! It’s out there in the sky! And there’s also STARS!!! We can see it! Right out our window! You gotta come see this.”

Apparently they know I’m a sucker for a good sky. I followed them to their room, they ran to the window. I hope that the picture in my head of their mismatched pajamaed bums sticking out just this side of the window while they knelt on the window seat never ever fades. They’re still small enough to fit 2 boys in one open window. They showed me where the crescent moon hung just above the mountains. The showed me the stars and they told me that there were even “moving stars” out there. (satellites? Or perhaps the magic of a real live shooting star….) And when the stars stopped moving you could just keep your eyes open and shake your head back and forth and ALL the stars move. Little John shakes his head like a maniac and Tommy shakes his like a very slow metronome. And lookit! Some of the sky is blue and some of it is green! Plus the moon! Mom! Did you see the moon?! We found it! I knelt over them and stuck my head out the window to join them in the magic of it all. We pointed to all the things we saw and we looked and looked at looked. We soaked in the beauty together.

We talked about other times we might see the night sky. Camping. 4th of July! Tomorrow!!! It was kind of a perfect moment watching them discover something as magical and beautiful as the night sky. And I loved them for sharing their moment with me.

Then I told them that it was so dangerous to stick their bodies out the window because they could fall and it’s a LOOOONG way down to the driveway from way up here, and it was not ok to bump the screen out of the window and they should never ever ever ever ever open the window without mom there and if they kept playing with the blinds they would break and the sun would come in too early in the morning and they absolutely should not under any circumstance climb out of this or any other up high window ever. EVER. And to get their sweet little bums back in bed because it’s way too late to be up. And seriously. DO NOT GO OUT THAT WINDOW.

Miraculously the lecture about window safety didn’t ruin the moment. They gave me hugs and kisses and got their butts back in bed. And I can only assume they dreamed of the moon and the stars and the magic of the night sky.

Tom Hanks doesn’t know anything….

In general I think I’m a pretty good mom. I have consciously chosen some of the most important things I want my kids to know and I focus clearly on doing all I can to make sure that those are things they come away with. Primarily I want my kids to know that I love them. All the time. No matter what. More than anything. Because I firmly believe that a child filled with love can do anything else they want. So I tell them about a million times a day. And sometimes when I say it to Tommy he rolls his eyes and says “I KNOOOOOW mom.” And I say “oh good! I want you to KNOOOOOW.” And I ask him how come he knows. And he uses his most exasperated voice to say “You tell me EverySingleDay. Mom.”  And I sit back satisfied that I’m teaching him The Most Important Thing everysingleday.

But there are other things I want him to learn too. We value lots of other things in our home. Truth telling, teamwork, service, cleaning up after yourself, kindness, hard work, trying again, forgiveness, but most importantly love.

So when we signed Tommy up for baseball I had big dreams of him learning about doing hard things, stick-to-it-iveness, teamwork, winning and losing, practice, and maybe even how to hit a baseball – though that never climbed higher than 29th on the list. He didn’t really like it, but he got a cool hat and a “just for baseball” shirt. So he’d go out and play anyway. Then he’d come back exhausted and overheated swearing that his legs would fall off from “toooooo much running!”

During last week’s game he got out after hitting the ball and his little soul was positively crushed. We talked a lot about how even the really good players sometimes get out, it’s just part of the game, not giving up, practicing makes us better, and The Most Important Thing. After sitting out the rest of the game, Tommy was glad to play with dad in our own front yard when we got home, and I thought we were going to have a great baseball experience. Because Josh and I taught him ALL the things! Boom! Character traits acquired! Next?

But this week Tommy didn’t want to play when we got to the game. He hates baseball and he hates me and he's scared of getting hurt or getting out or or or or... and he was too shy to tell any of the million grownups who asked him if he was going to play that he didn’t want to. I reminded him of all the things we knew. He reminded me that he already knew that. He had given me the "right" answers on the way there, “If I get out, I’ll just keep thinkin’ about the next time. And the more I play the more I get way better.” Then he reminded me that he hates baseball. I told him that the people who play baseball games get treats at the end. Every time the team moved from outfield to get ready to bat I asked if he felt ready to play yet. He never ever did. 8 chances he had to join his team and he firmly said no 8 times. Sometimes with tears in his eyes snuggling into my lap looking for love. Sometimes while throwing his shoes. Sometimes while running away. With every inning the warm wash of shame closed in a little tighter on me and I was a total wreck.

It took 2 or 3 innings for me to remember The Most Important Thing. I told Tommy I was afraid that he might have forgotten The Most Important Thing too so I whispered it in his ear I love you more than anything in the whole wide world. And way WAY more than baseball. He looked up at me from my lap and told me that he hated me. I reminded him about treats. He didn’t care. He hated baseball. When we left – defeated – not even one second of participation, I cried. Because there’s totally crying in baseball, and Tom Hanks doesn’t know anything about 5 year olds or coach pitch or rec ball. Nothing at all. Lousy good-for-nothing celebrity spreading lies. Tom Hanks is now a cuss word at my house. There is crying in baseball. And definitely crying on the sidelines of baseball.

When we came home Tommy finished his school work, then went out to play with his friends. Because Hunter Blesshisheart came and knocked on the door to see if Tommy wanted to play. Hunter and his brother are on Tommy’s team. And in all of their childlike goodness they didn’t care at all if Tommy played or sat on the side lines. They just wanted their friend to come and play when we got home. So they invited him. And yes he did want to play. So he went outside and played with his friends on a lovely summer night. They drew with sidewalk chalk and rode bikes and played with squirt guns and ran around and played on the playground and acted like kids. They were kind and loving and welcoming and fun.  And nobody cared one bit about baseball. Thank goodness for good friends. Because I swear it healed my heart a little to see him outside playing with his friends.

I wish I was more like Hunter Blesshisheart. I wish I could go to someone who bailed on my team with my eyes wide open, full of love and hopeful that they’ll join me now. Or anytime really. 
I wish I was more like Tommy, leaving the hour of shame on the field and ready to pick up and face the shame people 10 minutes later. 
But at least I remembered The Most Important Thing. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pseudo Weekend

Josh's work schedule means we don't have a lot of weekends together, but it also means we pretend it's the weekend when really it's Tuesday.

Yesterday I came home from work and managed not to fall asleep on the sofa before the kids got to me. Little Big John ran up to me already in his swimsuit and told me "I really really REALLY wanna go swimmin today? kay mom? Now you home, we can go swimmin!"

Josh was standing right behind him nodding and smiling and hoping I'd agree.

So we all got dressed and headed to the pool.

Here's the thing about the pool. I love it. I really really love it. I love swimming, I love the smell of chlorine (gross! I know!) I love the cold of the water, I love floating, I love lazy rivers, and I love watching my babies defy gravity in a safe place. I love the quiet when you stick your head under and hear nothing but splashing. I love it all.

So I batted my eyes and looked at Josh with my very best bribe-face and asked if I could swim some laps while he played with the boys in the kid place and then I'd come and join them. He lovingly agreed and I had the most peaceful 30 minutes of my day.

I love yoga because you focus on your breath.
I love swimming because there's nothing to do but breath. The slow steady strokes when you aren't racing are comfortable and soothing.

After getting my fill of laps, I joined the boys for sliding and lazy rivering and jumping and splashing and kid swimming. Which by the way is significantly less soothing than adult swimming.

As we left the pool and headed for home I realized that making dinner sounded hard, and we stopped to grab Cafe Rio on our way home. We rarely eat there (because holy $ for a salad!) but when we do it creates a special occasion. The boys were sufficiently exhausted from all the swimming and partying and happiness and joy, so after their bedtime, Josh and I played a rousing round of Phase 10. I lost pitifully.

And we were all in bed at a reasonable hour.

So, sometimes, Tuesday is the winning day of the week. Watch out Saturday, there's a new kid in town.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Conversations About the Baby

M: Dad and I wanted to tell you that we're going to have a new baby in our family! What do you think about that?
T: Where is it?
M: Growing in my tummy. Want to see a picture of what it might look like. [note to self: don't ever do that again, it was the wrong choice.]
T: That baby is freakin' my brains out! I don't even like alien babies!
J: So I a big kid now? Not ours baby anymore!!!
T: (hiding in a pillow fort) I'm staying in here. There's not room for anyone else in here. OK mom?

Me: So gentlemen, what do you think would be a great name for this new baby?
T: Well, it' going to be a baby, so maybe we can just call it that.
J: Yeah, And Egbert. Because (points to me) Egbert! (points to Tommy) Egbert! (points to himself) Egbert!
T: So. Baby Egbert.
M: What if it's a girl?
T: (standing by the piano....) Umm....what about High Note (plays the highest note on the piano) that sounds like a girlish.
J: Baby High Note Egbert

T: (knocking on the bathroom door) So mom? Are you goin' potty or barfin'?
M: Barfing.
T: That's gonna take for HOURS! Who will get our breakfast?

************************************************* all things are going well around here. Baby is due in the middle of December. Puke-fest is now part of the daily routine. The boys are less and less afraid of the alien baby in my tummy every day and I'm anxiously waiting for the internet to show me a picture of the baby that won't terrify small children. John is thrilled not to be the smallest one in the family anymore and Josh and I are appropriately excited and terrified. (Do you remember babies?!)

Baseball Update

Tommy's first baseball practice was surprisingly tons of fun. I mean really really fun. He was happy and worked hard, and I sat in the shade watching him ready with cold water when he needed a break. He was totally adorable and loved being there. He came home all kinds of excited about the shirt and the hat and he adjusted the hat 29 times until it was just perfect for "my noggin's age" (age = size around here).

His coach is really kind. And said more than once something about how having fun is important. Which was good for this mom to hear since I kindof hate focusing on winning - or even being good at stuff. It breaks my mom heart because I know my kids won't always win or even be good at stuff. So I only like focusing on the things they can control. "Have fun. Try hard. Learn things." That's my goal.

His 2nd practice was OK, not great, but OK. Mrs. Coach is a preschool teacher and has a gift for being enthusiastic and fun and goofy. Tommy certainly has a goofy side, but enthusiasm and goofiness in his face from a stranger shuts him down faster than anything else. He didn't love it.

But this week he had a game.

It happened to be one of (only a few) 7pm games. That means that Josh gets to go see, he'll likely be a little late for those games, but he can go. Except on this day, I was sick. Sicker than I've been yet. I barfed over and over and couldn't stand up without my stomach objecting. I sent Josh a desperate text hoping he'd be home in time to take the boys to the game so I could stray at home weeping on the sofa. I got the boys ready to go and Josh made it home in time to take them. I said a quick prayer of gratitude as I swallowed my sleep aid and went to bed. for the win!

Thank goodness it wasn't as awful as my pregnant self thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


About 6 weeks ago Josh and I were feeling ambitious and we wanted to sign Tommy up for SOMEthing (note to future self: Don’t sign up for things. You’re not ambitious. If you start to feel like you're ambitious, take a deep breath, and a long nap. Before long that feeling will pass.)

We talked about some ideas, and looked at our options (i.e. what had we not already missed the signups for) and decided that it would be adorable and fun and good for Tommy to try Coach Pitch - which some of the neighbors were also planning to play. So yay!

So Josh took the boys to the rec center to sign them up, and he took them to the sports store and blew a bunch of money on baseball junk. Then I came home and we played baseball out in the front yard one time. And then we took naps. (Because I’m currently preoccupied with naps.) Josh was all kinds of excited about playing baseball with his boys, and doing a dad thing. 

Then we got Tommy’s game schedule. Games are on Thursday, while Josh is at work.

Then we got Tommy’s practice schedule. Practice is on Wednesday, while Josh is at work.

So that’s why I’ll be relocating my naptime to the local park for the next 8 weeks. And why you’ll be able to hear Tommy shouting “NO!!!! I don’t WANT to!!!” every Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening. Because Tommy is smarter than me and he almost never forgets that he doesn't like to do things. Wish me luck! And wish him luck! And pray for our baseball hating souls.

Parenting Tip: Don’t do things. Don’t sign up to do things. Even if you think it’s a good idea and it sounds fun. It won’t be. Things aren’t fun. Napping is fun. Only napping is fun. And Arby’s. Arby's is also fun.

Which is, of course, an announcement that I’m pregnant.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bad Interviews

I've spent a lot of time (and money and therapy) learning to communicate differently than I used to.

I did that art journaling course with Brene Brown where I learned to let people be and started letting go of judgment.

I've learned that my worth is different from what I produce. (Though I'm still not sure about that concept, and I question it almost daily.)

I'm trying to allow people to feel their feelings without fixing them or offering my (genius!) solutions.

I'm getting better at empathy and the power of vulnerability.

I am learning to be less productive and more peaceful.

And none of that serves me well in a job interview.

My first interview was with an alternative health company that needed front desk help. They knew within the first 30 seconds that they didn't want me (and to be honest, I think it's because I have young kids at home) but did the rest of the interview as a courtesy. I knew the interview didn't go well, but I didn't feel particularly responsible for that. Though I definitely didn't wow them with my skills. Bad interview.

Then I interviewed with the Provo temple for a clerk job there. I would have been really fabulous at that job. Exactly what they needed. I would have excelled in every way. But they had no reason to know that. Because when they asked "Tell me about your time working for the church" I said stupid things like "I felt so blessed to associate with the people I did there..." (which is 100% true and 100% useless for a prospective employer to know.) And I gave zero examples of my skills and abilities. I spoke maybe 2 words about what I'm capable of and how I make a good employee and instead listened to him explain their needs and sat with him in that moment. (So empathetic of me! Brene would give me a gold star.) But never did I say "I can do that for you." or "That aligns with my experience!" or "I really enjoyed performing those tasks in my previous job." Instead I just nodded and validated him. :)

After that interview I realized that empathy and understanding are great listening/conversational qualities in a lot of areas, but no in job interviews. So I e-mailed Aundrea and told her I was afraid I was a fool and I needed a reminder on how to interview.

She reminded me that you're supposed to talk about your skills, experience and expertise. You're supposed to give examples of how/when you do those things. And you're supposed to explain why you're so great. (duh.)

So my next interviews went beautifully.

So you see, not all conversational skills are valuable in all life conversation. And I think it would be wise for Brene and all the therapists to add that disclaimer somewhere. "Sometimes you do have to solve the problem. And job interviews are not the place for empathy." (duh)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Up In The Air

My dad used to sing us this song while making an eye mask with his fingers on his face, like this.
Image result for up in the air junior birdman

When I decided I wanted to go back to school I felt like a bunch of stuff went STRAIGHT up in the air. And I've been singing this song in the back of my head for the last month or so. 

It was close to the same time that my boss told me he was having talks with a bigger commercial real estate firm and thinking of joining them and closing down the office. Stripping all 4 (or 5?) of the business we run and leaving them behind. 

He has roughly 10 million great ideas a day, so I didn't count on this really happening taking a sortof "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude.

But then I started seeing it. He met with a big commercial firm who wanted to give him his DREAM job. I mean THE dream job. Heading up new business development. So obviously he jumped at the chance. Then worried that maybe it wasn't really THE dream. (But it was.)

So I started looking for replacement jobs. And I interviewed a few places. I had some good interviews and some BAAAAD ones. And then after one that was fine, but not great I realized that I was really bad at interviewing right now. So I talked to some people about my interviewing skills to help me remember what I'm supposed to say in an interview and then I had some great interviews. (Practice! Who knew!) (bad interviews will be their own blog post...stay tuned.)

And now, I'm expecting a job offer (from my interview with UVU this morning) and maybe a 2nd interview (from my interview with my Home Teacher this morning) and I know that I'll be done working for Gary about this time next week.

So, while I'm up here in the air, watching all the pieces of life mix and stir and float back into place, I'm curious. What will it be? Where will they land? And what's the bigger picture they'll create? 

Friday, February 27, 2015


Today I registered Tommy for kindergarten.

Remember not so long ago when you all rejoiced with me because I was finally pregnant? Remember how then you cried with me because his heart wasn't beating in there and Dr. Man thought maybe there was no baby at all (but I made a deal with T-man and Dr. Man was wrong)? Remember when my ankles were bigger than your waist? When I barfed in all the public restrooms in the state of Utah? When my belly got all abusive at church and started smackin' people? When I thought I peed my pants, but really my water broke? And when he was born and we all fell in love with his beautiful beautiful self?

Well that baby is so big now that the people want to teach him things, so in the fall he'll start kindergarten.

He's so big that when we walked into the Dr.'s office to pick up his immunization records he didn't even cry.

He's so big that he likes to read some words to me when we have snuggles and stories. But mostly he doesn't like taking tests - which is clearly what reading words is all about...

He's so big that his feelings are hurt by his friends, his body no longer heals at the freakish wolverine rate of a newborn and he can tell when he has hurt someone else.

He's so big that prefers showers over baths and draws smiley faces on the fogged up glass when I ask him if he's ok in there.

And oddly he's still so small. So small that he still loves that "lovey bear" someone gave us when he was born.

He's so small that he still snuggles when we read stories.

He's so small that his backpack is bigger than he is.

He's so small that I really can't imagine sending him off into that big bad school all by himself.

He's so small that when I pick him up, he still snuggles into my lap and giggles when I tell him that he used to be so small that he didn't even have to bend his knees to snuggle on my lap.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Being Who I Want to Be

I know a lot of really cool people, which means that I sometimes set unreasonable "goals" compare myself to them.

"I wish I could make every food delicious and beautiful like Wendy."
"I wish I took beautiful photos like Tracy."
"I wish I could be thoughtful and considerate like Sarah."
"I wish I had even half the energy Kate has."
intelligent like Mom
disciplined like Em
wise like Jo
compassionate like Hilary
welcoming like Jacy

Lest you think this is a story about letting go of comparison and embracing my own gifts or some other such emotionally healthy nonsense; let me assure you, this is not that moment.

I'm internet friends with Ariel, and a long long time ago when her oldest babe and mine were far tinier than they are now, we both participated in a conversation about non-baby-lullaby songs to sing to your baby. She has a beautiful voice and rattled off 5 or 10 "cool kid" songs that she sings as lullabies to her babies. (What I wouldn't give to be on the other side of that baby monitor...unless that's creepy, then nevermind.) Some were classic, some kid songs, and more than one currently popular song. I want(ed) so desperately to be cool enough to sing cool kid music to my kids at night.

So I tried memorizing lyrics to songs I thought I knew but really didn't. I reached back to my childhood to learn the real lyrics (and not the mmms and oombas) to the songs my mom still sings around the campfire with a guitar. They were cool once. I learned a few lines to a few songs and mmmmd and ooombad my way through the rest. Then I quit trying to memorize things because something about giving birth eternally ruins your brain. That's why they tell you to finish school first.

But last night I found myself singing "Pompeii" to get Little John to sleep. I think it's an entirely appropriate lullaby because the phrase "close your eyes" is used over and over and over. Little John thinks it's an appropriate lullaby because he chose it for the family album this year, which obviously means he OWNS it. The whole song. And all rights to it. "Is MY song mom! Own-ee you sing it to ME! Not mine bwuduh."

After 4 rounds of the whole song his eyelids gave up and he was out. After my victory lap down the hallway, I realized my victory lap could celebrate more than simply getting that child to sleep! I also unwittingly became what I wanted to be! A cool kid lullabyer!!!

So the moral of the story is this: try real hard and maybe someday you can be as cool as some of the people around you.

But you won't notice it. Because by the time it actually happens you'll be so tired that all you'll care about is that the baby's eyelid muscles(1) were finally exhausted.

1. Were you wondering what that muscle is called? Me too. Levator Palpebrae Superioris. You're welcome.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Somehow 3 years have passed since Little John was born and he should be going to preschool in the fall!

With no other babies on the horizon, and Tommy in Kindergarten and John in preschool my mind is exploding a little bit.

My work is a bit up in the air which makes planning hard, but I think we've found a place for John to go to preschool, and Tommy will either get in with a charter school nearby *fingers crossed* or just go to the public school in the neighborhood.

Either way it's time to get them all registered and make commitments about where they'll spend a significant portion of their time in the fall! It's crazy to me to think that we're at the phase of life where we've left behind all the poop buckets, and our kids are in school! Both of them!

Seriously! School! For all the babies.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Been Thinking

When I graduated from LDS Business College it was with "just an associates" and I knew it wasn't as far as I wanted to take my college education. I knew I wanted to get at least a bachelor's degree, but I had no idea in what.

Well, sortof. I had some ideas.

Like maybe I wanted an accounting degree. I could be a CPA. (insert hysterical laughter here, I honestly thought that might be an acceptable career path for me! Let 2015 Amy tell 2005 Amy, it isn't.)
Or probably something in business. But not really marketing or entrepreneurship (requires too much creativity and risk). But something about running a business is good. I just didn't know what. And I had a job I loved. So I simply put it off.

[insert really fabulous graduation picture here - hey mom, do you have any pictures of my graduation? cuz I don't!]

Then I went around getting married all the time. Because Josh.

Then Josh finished his pre-reqs for nursing. 
And I still didn't know what I wanted to do and I had a job I loved. 

Then Josh graduated from the cool school. (Institute of Healing Arts)
And I still didn't know what I wanted to do and I had a job I loved. 

Then Josh did the massage therapy thing.
And I still didn't know what I wanted to do (except have babies of course...) and I had a job I loved. 

Then Josh's waiting period was up and he got his RN. 
And I had babies and had a job that let me stay home and we didn't have time or money for things like school - and though I didn't know it, I still didn't know what I wanted to do.

Then we moved a buncha times and I mostly felt unsettled and stressed out and overwhelmed. And I still didn't know what I wanted to do. 

But now I think I know what I want to do. Because my friend Aundrea got her MBA and I was jealous of that piece of paper. And I started working for my friend Jacy who founded The Togetherness Project (a non-profit) and I love doing that. And my boss started a non-profit for business incubators. And sometime last fall I realized that what I really really want to do is get an MBA and be the queen of a non-profit business that I really really believe in. 

So I made an appointment to talk to an academic advisor at UVU because my assumption is that it will be the least expensive option to get a bachelor's in business management. I'm planning to go REALLY slowly, very part time, because I still need to work in order to get into most MBA programs - and something about paying our bills..... I don't have a ton of spare time right now anyway. So, slow is good for me right now, and if it takes 10 years, then the party at the end of it will be 10 years big. :) 

Anyway, I went to UVU to see about some options. And I hope that I just started my "back to school" journey. There are about a million issues to work out, but I have high hopes that working toward this degree can start soon. Because look at these possibilities!

Monday, February 9, 2015

On the Library

My mom is a children's librarian. Well, THE children's librarian as far as my kids are concerned. Not that we don't like other librarians - we do. It's just that they pale in comparison to THE librarian.

Also they think she OWNS the library. "Yay! We can go to GRAMMA'S library!!!" they shout when we go to grandma's library. Which isn't often, cuz you know, it's nearly ten whole minutes away.

What I'm trying to show you here is that my kids are library spoiled.

They get special treatment, many of the other librarians know them, they are sometimes allowed behind the counter, and they almost always leave Grandma's library with a treat. Plus they've spent enough time there that they are unreasonably comfortable with the whole place. Even the creepy stairwell to get downstairs. They just really love Grandma's library.

Plus Grandma is always telling us about the cool programs they're doing. Like 1,000 books before kindergarten.

I signed the boys up in January, and last week we finally turned in the first chart of 100 books.

The each read (listened to me read) 100 books and colored in their chart and got these awesome library bags as a prize. We already had a million books checked out from our library, which cooperates with my mom's library and when the boys got their new bags, they couldn't figure out why we'd leave the library without filling them up with a million more books. The good news is that even though the libraries cooperate and allow you to check out from either one with either card, they don't tell on you for already having a million books already checked out.

Which is why we currently have TWO million library books at our house. Suckers. We really took them didn't we?

(heaven help me if I lose even one of them...)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Farewell to the poop bucket

When Tommy was little we had these friends who had stinky neighbors. They were so concerned by the neighbors' foul odor that they labeled their outside garbage bins. (Because when you live in townhouses your garbage can is right next to your neighbors'.) Because they didn't want smelly neighbor people stinking up their garbage.

That's right. Stinking up their garbage.

You know how sometimes you are talking to someone and they mention an annoying habit and you realize that you've never ever ever been bothered by that particular habit? And slowly the realization hits you that you've never been bothered by it probably because you're the botherer? That's what happened.

At first we teased them, because seriously, whose garbage smells good? Then we realized that as the neighbors with babies, we are literally throwing away bags of crap on a weekly basis. And we felt a little bad, but the alternative was keeping the bags of crap in our house and that was way worse than being the neighbors with smelly garbage. So we kept throwing out our bags of crap, which is gross. And smelly.

This continued for 5.27 years.

But as of January 11th, we are no longer the smelly garbage neighbors!

Wait, yes we are. Because we still throw out rotten food and grass clippings and well...garbage. But we no longer put human waste in a bin in the middle of the road for the garbage man to pick up! We have graduated to a new kind of sophistication and the poop bucket has been banished to the garage with all the other useless stinky things we own.

Yay for Little John and his adorably under-ed bum!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

On Bedtime

A year or 2 ago the boys stopped sleeping.

Maybe it was a move (or 2 or 3) or the summertime sun refusing to sleep and making them refuse too. Maybe it was because I decided that more than they needed structure they needed to know that I love them and I stopped saying things like "get your butt in your bed and DON'T come out again! ever!" and like and idiot said things like "you come and talk to me anytime you need anything and I will always be happy to answer your questions. Or maybe it's because they're little boys and (according to them) sleeping is the boringest ever in the universe and their beds only have 10 million blankets when they clearly need 10 million and 2 blankets. And a lovey bear. Each.

So since we finally moved into a house a started feeling stable and I was ready to stop being in the middle of a big fat breakdown, bedtime was the first thing we tackled.

It's better now, only taking 30-45 minutes and typically ending before 8:30.

But still, when John fell off the top bunk for the 2nd time today, getting him out of bed for the 12th time tonight, I had had it. And (after appropriately comforting him) I told him so. I used all of my most reasonable lines.

If you stay in your bed, you won't fall trying to get out of it.
If you were asleep already you wouldn't try to get out of bed.
If you stay up all night counting your money, you'll be too tired when it's time to wake up for church.
If you cleared your dishes from the dinner table you would have already had your stories instead of going straight to bed. 
If you get out of your bed again your mother will lose her mind and you'll have to eat nuggets and spaghettios every day forever.  (which turned out not be a threat at all.)

After my intense tirade they finally went to sleep.

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to admit that shame and yelling seem to be effective parenting techniques.

Also, while I hate the fight to make them sleep, I love love love that they want to stay up all night doing stuff together. Counting all their money, reading all their books, making forts, and pirate ships, and changing their jammies over and over. I really love that they're friends.

Until one of them pushes the other off the top bunk. Then I hate they're enemies.

The One With the New (Old) Calling

This Sunday I had a mystery meeting with the Bishop.

He called me to be RS Secretary.

Miraculously I kept a straight face while I accepted.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

John and the Toilet

We've been letting John use the potty for a few months now. He likes it. We like it. We give him stickers when he does it. It's a win win win.

A couple of weeks ago he remembered that diapers are uncomfortable and that he prefers cool dude unders. So he started wearing them at home, and we'd diaper him anytime we left the house (which was often.) 

I laughed the first time he peed his pants. Because he was sitting at the kitchen table shouting "mom! mom! It's peein' or poopin'!" He was totally panicked. I told him to "hold it hold it hold it!" and he did. With his hand. I grabbed him and ran him to the bathroom, stripped him down and tried to get him to finish in the toilet. He let go of himself (making a big mess) and we laughed together. Me laughing at the phrase "hold it" and him laughing at me laughing at the pee. (Because, potty humor.) 

He seems to have caught on relatively easily from there and yesterday he went to Aunt Kate's house rockin' the unders. Then to the library for the Read 1,000 books before Kindergarten launch party. AND in the car ride home. 

He's still in diapers at night, and I still remind him often to go, but he's doing it! I feel both wildly successful and weirdly sad to have zero babies in diapers. Tommy and John overlapped their diaper periods for a year, and it seems odd to have so many big kids around here with no babies to protect. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Regaining Control

I learned when we lived in Foxboro that I had a condition known as "being tightly wound" and now that I look back I can see that I really liked to control the stuff in my life. I also like schedules and I like routines and I like familiarity. So when I went from the routine and schedule and familiarity of work to being a stay at home mom, I just transferred those things.

Every Wednesday we went to the library, on Monday we had playgroup, Tuesday was for swimming, Thursday was the zoo or another big adventure, and Friday was for being a bum.

Most mornings we'd go for a walk around 10 (I say "around" to make sure you know I was flexible) and the event was after lunch. Then there was time to come home and play a little, clean up and do dinner before bedtime.

I had a cleaning schedule, a children's outing schedule, a reading schedule, charts and graphs about how we spent our time and I ROCKED motherhood. I made stuff happen!

And then life got hard and I clung to my schedule and resented all of the people who were throwing it off.

And then life got harder and I held on tighter and tighter.

And then life got harder and my hands were too tired of holding on tight and I had no choice but to fall flat on my face and let go of everything and just cry. I felt so broken letting it all go. I felt like I had failed. I stopped doing stuff.

The last few years have been about that. Letting it all go and being broken and not doing stuff. Not any of it. Months between cleaning bathrooms. Days without doing the dishes. Weeks without cook a meal or taking the kids anywhere outside of our neighborhood.

Lately, I can feel myself regaining control. Stepping back into a few of these schedules I find helpful. Trying to clean on any kind of regular basis. Doing more than acknowledging that it's OK to be a big useless pile of broken. It happened around the same time that we bought our house, I want to take really good care of it, I want to be a really good person because I think we'll live here for a really long time and I want to contribute to the neighborhood. I'm invested.

It's kindof scary to return to some of these routines because the last time I did stuff I got a little out of control. But it's also scary to stay in the non-doing-stuff place. So I'm trying again. To do stuff in moderation. Knowing that I'll likely mess it up, but hoping that any damage isn't permanent.

Last week I did all of the chores every day. This week I think I'll do the dishes every night.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tommy Gave A Talk

Last week Tommy came home from Primary with a note that he was assigned to give a talk on Sunday. He has said the prayer, the scripture, the article of faith, all of the other things, but he's never done a talk before, probably because they asked him what he wanted to do and he would never in a million years chose to speak. 

I casually mentioned it a couple of times during the week, and silently prayed that I'd have the patience with him to deal when he had a meltdown about it. 

On Saturday after doing a few chores I told him that now would be a great time to prepare his talk for primary. He freaked. I prayed again, took a deep breath and asked him how he felt about giving a talk. He told me it freaked out his brains because he doesn't know the words. I told him we get to make up the words. He didn't know how. I told him I'd help him to prepare today and that I'd go up with him on Sunday. He calmed a little and asked how he'd know what to say. I told him we would just talk about it today, then he could practice and that I'd whisper the words in his ear. He decided he was willing to look at some pictures if I wanted. I did. 

The topic was that Jesus is the Son of Heavenly Father. Which pretty much seems to me like the whole talk in that sentence. I mean, really what else is there to say? So we looked through our pictures and he picked some that made him think of Jesus (because they are pictures of Jesus). And he told me about them. 

He picked 2 nativity pictures. 1 of Jesus calming the sea. 1 of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. 1 of the Resurrected Christ. 1 of Joseph Smith's first vision. And That One Of Christ That Everybody Knows. 

I asked him to tell me about those pictures and he did. 

"This is a picture of when Jesus was born in a stable. And see all those guys? They came too."
"This is a picture of Jesus and Mary and Dad." 
"This is a picture of that BIG BIG SCARY STORM. Here I'll act it out for you."
"This is when Jesus was praying by a tree."
"This is Jesus and some angels going 'dooo toooo doooooo!'"
"This is Joseph and some guys."
"This is Jesus again."

I helped him flesh out a few of those ideas. "This is Jesus again." became "This is Jesus, his father was Heavenly Father, and Heavenly Father is my father and your father. That means we are all brothers and sisters." and I reminded him of the word "resurrected" for the 'doo tooo doooooo' picture. But beyond that, this was pretty much his talk. 

We practiced a couple of times in front of Dad & Little John (who paid attention almost as well as the sunbeams in primary.) And Tommy even let Josh comb his hair "like a missionary" instead of insisting on his usual favorite style of "this side like a missionary and that side like a rock star!" 

I was probably a little unreasonably proud of him when he stood up and shared his ideas in primary. He even remembered a few of his own descriptions, but mostly listened to me and repeated the talk we wrote in sticky notes on the backs of all of those pictures. He did so with a smile and while looking at the people he was talking to. And when he was done, he hopped off the stool, and gave me a high five and went to join his class.

Meanwhile, Little John sat there on the front row of Sunbeams listening, and smiling and gave me a big thumbs up when we were done and loudly asked. "Now is MY turn mom?" I told him maybe another week. (Heaven help us.) 

Sometimes I really like that church asks us to do things that make us nervous or uncomfortable and I really REALLY like that proud feeling when it's done.
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