Friday, September 18

Missing?

I've been seriously considering a blogging vacation. I've also been seriously considering making my blog private.

It's just gotten to be a little bit of a chore lately, and I'm not sure what to do about that. In many ways, it's been an excellent journal for me these past few years, and I can't imagine stopping altogether. On the other hand, I don't need any more things to stress me out every day.

I'll definitely keep my readers posted on anything I decide to change, but in the meantime here's a brief snapshot of what we've been up to lately:

First off, the long-awaited day finally came: Kadon started preschool!
See? Even Mommy is excited!
We're using the same school as last year, and were even lucky enough to get the same teacher. She's been such a saint, and we were heartbroken at the end of last year, thinking we wouldn't get to see her again. I was so thrilled to walk into the classroom and hand him off, completely assured that he would be in loving and capable hands.
This one is just because he's so darn cute!
Last night, the kids and I drove to Dayton to celebrate my sister-in-law Angela's 29th birthday. Again. *ahem* Anyway, it was a beach-themed party in honor of a trip she took to Dominica a few years ago. This is the cake that some of her friends put together, and I can attest that in addition to looking beautiful--it tasted pretty good too!
While we were waiting for Angela to show up, Stacey put on some music. We discovered that even Grandma isn't immune to the influence of Bob Marley!
We also enjoyed some pina colada's, with club soda instead of rum. Not quite as relaxing as the real thing, but nice nonetheless.
Finally, the guest of honor arrived! In the hour that we spent waiting for her to arrive, we devised one more trick--we thought it would be funny if instead of walking into a surprise party, she walked into the remains of an already-over surprise party. We put some cake crumbs and used forks on a plate, smashed some crackers on the counter, and crumpled a few napkins. A few half-consumed drinks laying around, and the scene was complete. We all filed out into the backyard, and when Angela arrived, she was told that we had all tried to surprise her, but couldn't wait around anymore. After a few minutes of letting Stacey squirm through her lie, the guests burst in through the back door. It was a great success!


It was so much fun to spend the evening celebrating with friends and family. In this picture are Stacey, who helped organize the party, myself, and Angela. Icky friends forever!
Another friend of Angela's, Joi, had flown in to spend the week with Angela. We were able to get her in on the plan at the last minute, and I think she had fun meeting everybody.

Saturday, September 12

Deseret News

I was interviewed several months ago by a reporter from Utah's Deseret News about my involvement in the Time Out For Women Local Presentor. I wrote about the experience from my perspective here, and am now able to share the link about the news story from somebody else's perspective:

Women Share Stories of Strength

Friday, September 11

Remembering Loss

It occurred to me at some point in the last 17 months that Ammon died on the 11th of April, meaning that every year on September 11th, it would be doubly significant for me. Last year, I was too wrapped up in grief for Ammon to consider the events of that September morning 7 years ago, but this year it's been on my mind.

Like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing that morning. Ammon and I were still blushing newlyweds, and living in a tiny college town in Southwestern Utah. It was the first time I'd lived away from my parents, and I had just decided to take a year off of school and focus on working. I had recently been promoted to an office position at Wal-Mart, and Ammon was still working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver. It was a weekday morning, and I had to be to work by 8 am. Ammon had worked late the night before, and was still sound asleep when I left home. It was a slightly chilly morning, and on my way to work I stopped at a gas station to get a cup of hot chocolate. As I paid for it, I noticed that the cashier was listening to a news report on the radio. It was quiet, and I was only half-listening. I remember thinking, as I left the store, that it sounded a bit like the news reports I remembered from the Oklahoma City bombing.

I got in the car, and out of curiosity, turned on my radio. I was stunned to hear the reports of planes flying into the World Trade Center, but a small part of my brain wanted to believe that it was simply a mistake. News reports were filtering in slowly, and wild accusations were being made. A bomb? A plane that flew into the pentagon? A crash in Pennsylvania was also mentioned, but it was unclear if it was related to the tragedy in New York. The idea of a terrorist attack hadn't yet been reported.

In a daze, I drove the rest of the short distance to the store. Large televisions had recently been installed all over the store, along with the TV's that were in the office area's of the store. I'll never forget the silence of the usually bustling store when I walked in that morning. Everywhere, customers and employees were gathered around the television screens. I made my way to the back of the store, clocked in, and stood among the crowd of managers and employees gathered around the small television for a moment. I made a few phone calls to family members, and called to awaken Ammon. We didn't have cable television at the time, but he turned on the news report and we listened together in disbelief.

When the towers fell, an audible gasp went throughout the store. By the time I went on break at 10:30 that morning, I drove home to pick up Ammon and bring him to Wal-Mart so he could be with me and watch the new reports. I remember feeling an irresistible urge to have him near me, ensure that we were both safe, and to attempt to digest the horrible events that were unfolding around us. Speculation was high--where would the next attack be? Who was responsible? Was it really an attack, or a horrible accident? How would this change the shape of the future?

The day passed slowly. I don't remember getting much work done that day, and when we returned home and Ammon had to work that evening, I walked across the street to a diner that had television, so I could sit and watch the planes hit and the towers fall over and over again. Like most other people in the country, we entered a period of deep gratitude for our safety, for our loved ones, and an immense sadness at the incredible loss of life.

The events of that day have forever changed the face of our country. I don't think many of the changes have been positive, but an innocence was lost that day which will never be regained. Today, I'm remembering those who have left. Those who lost their lives in those awful days, and the loss of the man who shared it all with me. I wish life made more sense.

Thursday, September 10

The Night I Became A Man

Yes, you read the title right.

The Night I Became A Man.

Remember the Yard Faeries? And the enormous pile of branches and yard waste they left in my yard?

Well, a slightly different group of angels came to my yard last week. We'll call them the Waste Angels of Destruction.

They brought this machine to my house Friday evening:

And it ate all the branches that had been cut down.
I sat on the stairs to my deck, and watched. For the entire time they were here.
There were other things I could have been doing. Girlie things. Dishes. Laundry. Watching a movie.
I chose not to do those things. I chose to sit outside and grow testosterone.
And thus, I became a man. Simply by watching the manly display of the Waste Angels of Destruction.
But at least my yard is clean.

Wednesday, September 9

Sickly

I've been sick for the last few days. Thankfully I don't get sick very often, because it has thrown me for a serious loop. I woke up Saturday morning with my throat feeling slightly scratchy, and a runny nose. I was supposed to go to Angela's house in Dayton for the weekend, so I made a courtesy call to see if she still wanted me to come up. All in all, Saturday wasn't too bad. Sunday morning, however, was worse. I woke up with a cough, runny nose, and a headache. I felt pretty terrible. That being said, however, I also knew that Sunday was my one chance to be able to attend the adult meetings at Angela's church, rather than the children's meetings I usually play the piano for at my own church. I dragged myself there, sniffled through the meetings, and then drove back to Cincinnati.

Sunday night brought another church meeting that I dragged myself to while Russ stayed with the kids. I came home feeling crummy physically and emotionally, took a hefty dose of NyQuil, and went into a coma for about ten hours. Monday morning I felt so much better I went ahead and helped Russ pull out several bush stumps that the yard fairies left behind, and attended my regular aerobics class. By the end of Zumba, I knew I was definitely still sick. I stumbled my way in the door, feeling terrible. Russ took on look at me, and ordered me to bed during Brooklyn's nap. I got a little sleep, and again decided against canceling any plans for the afternoon. I enjoyed the company of some friends that evening, but once again dosed myself with NyQuil to get to sleep that night.

Yesterday, I finally got the clue. I felt worse than ever, and finally succumbed to spending the majority of the day on the sofa. A friend of mine from church was kind enough to bring over dinner, and I again went to bed early. Today looks to be more of the same. I'm actually choosing to skip the gym, which never happens. I'm hopeful that if I again take it easy today that tomorrow I will be feeling like a new woman.

The good news is that the kids are having a ball the last two days. I've basically allowed them to do whatever they want, including as much TV and computer time as they desire. It'll be a tough habit to break when I finally recover!

Thursday, September 3

Elders vs. Sisters

It's been a pretty rotten day. I'm hurting, I'm lonely, and I'm confused. I've snapped at my kids, I've second-guessed a decision that I had to make yesterday, and I'm on the verge of being angry and bitter at God for once again taking away somebody that I care about.

That being said, I wasn't overjoyed to open my email inbox tonight and find a couple forwards from my Mom.

Like I said, I'm pretty cranky today.

On a whim, I went ahead and opened up the first email, downloaded the video, and patiently waited while my computer prepared to play it.

video

I had a good laugh.

I needed that tonight, so thanks, Mom.

Pictures of the Day

I have a few photos that I feel pretty well illustrate what my day has been like. This morning Brooklyn kept hanging me her various hair barrettes (AKA: 'pretties'), and having nothing better to do, and nowhere to go, I decided to put each of them in her hair. This:
is the final result. Isn't she glamorous?
I kept trying to get her to look at her toes so I could get a picture of the top of her head, but she wasn't really cooperating. This is the best I could get. Incidentally, I'm glad I got these pictures when I did, because about 30 seconds later she started taking them all out. Beauty never lasts!
Our other adventure this morning wasn't quite so fun. I was laying in bed this morning trying to decide if Jeremy's cough was enough to keep him home from school when I heard a loud crash. I thought at first that it must be a thunderstorm, but I was almost sure there weren't any forecast for this week! Jeremy and I gave each other a puzzled look, and he looked out my bedroom window.


"Mommy! A jeep just drove through our fence and is in our back yard!"


"What?!" I yelled, jumping instantly out of bed. I threw back my curtain, and the driver of the jeep, which was now sitting in the middle of my backyard, just stared at each other with completely dumbfounded expressions.

I ran outside and asked the drive if he was okay, and then asked what happened. The 20-something male claimed that the car had slipped out of gear and driven forward. Across the fifteen feet of grass. Through my fence. Halfway across my backyard.
Yeah. I don't really understand that one either.

I got his name and phone number, then came inside and called my landlord to let him know about the damage. I'm officially going to let the two of them duke it out. Yet another reason I'm extremely grateful to be renting instead of owning. Things like this? Not so much my problem.

Wednesday, September 2

Innocence

Last night I sat at my vanity in my bedroom as I was getting ready for bed. I removed my jewelry and the barrette from my hair, and as I was brushing my hair, my eyes fell to the small framed picture that sits on my vanity. It's my very favorite engagement picture, one that I framed many years ago and have moved around from house to house since then. In it, Ammon is standing slightly behind me, with both his arms wrapped around me, and both my hands are resting comfortably on his forearms. His head is bent down so that it is side by side with mine, and my head is turned slightly toward his. We look utterly happy and confident.

I stared at the girl in that picture, and the boy by her side. I looked at her wide-open brown eyes, at the innocence in them, the untainted joy. I looked at the easy way she placed her hand over his, and the way his arms seem to curl around her shoulders comfortably. The upturn of her lips was genuine, easy, and carefree.

I recognize this girl.

I used to be her.

This girl had no idea, no reason to suspect, how much pain was waiting for her. She had no inkling that in a few short weeks, her beloved older brother would die tragically and suddenly. She had no suspicion that the man beside her, with his arms wrapped so comfortably around her body, would join her older brother in death in only 8 short years. She had no idea the tragedies, the pain, and the agony that she would endure between the moment that photo was taken, and when I sat and looked at her picture last night.

"You had no idea", I said last night, to the smiling girl in the photo, her eyes crinkled with joy. "You couldn't have known how much it would hurt".

"But you'd do it all over again. I promise." I told her.

"He's worth it."