Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Christmas Gift

2:00 AM, Christmas Eve morning.

Little Pirate and his Mom are in the ER at Primary Children's Hospital. His fever is 101. He's not eating very well. His white blood cell count is WAY below normal levels for a newborn.

Mom has had 1 hour of sleep in the past 24 hours. They've just told her they need to admit the Little Pirate, insert an IV in his tiny hand and do a spinal tap in his back.

When Mom shows some reluctance to admit the Little Pirate, the ER dr. declares he could easily call Child Protection Services and they will back him (not Mom).

Welcome to my version of hell.

36 long, humbling, prayerful, restless hours later, we finally get the good news...the Little Pirate (and Mom) can go home.

Coming Christmas gift...ever. (and yes, the picture doesn't lie. I'm exhausted.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sneak Peak

Chistmas cards are coming...

They're late. But they're coming.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Favorite Christmas Music

I am picky about Christmas music.

I just am.

The stuff they play in retail stores this time of year can drive you bananas. And the very worst of it all...Country Christmas music.


So for those purists like myself who need real Christmas music - here are my top 3 recommended Christmas albums.

#1 - George Winston's December

This one is such a classic - you can actually start listening to it before Thanksgiving and through Christmas without starting to feel that twitch on the side of your face. The Holly and the Ivy is my favorite piece here.

#2 - Amy Grant's Home for Christmas

You could rightfully argue this album comes close to Country. For me, Grant's voice supersedes all that nonsense and gets right to the heart of Christmas. There are so many good ones here - esp my favorite, Grown Up Christmas List - which I can't contemplate too deeply these days or I start crying...

#3 - David Tolk, Holiday

How to begin here? This album is simply spectacular. It's almost on a continual play loop at our home because we never tire of Tolk's interpretations of traditional holiday carols.

Side Note - Tolk's album contains my favorite Christmas carol of all time - Il est Ne le Divin Enfant. Check it out on iTunes - it's peaceful, heartwarming and brings a delightful spirit into our home.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What NOT to do Post Partum

I've been fortunate to never have the "baby blues" in abundance. But I'm definitely not completely immune. For those women out there who are headed towards this phase of life, here are my 3 bits of wisdom.

#1 - Put away your Joni Mitchell.

Reasure yourself this is only temporary. But during these initial weeks the bittersweet, poetic lyrics of Ms. Mitchell are not what you'll be wanting to hear. Be especially careful of The Circle Game - (listen below) the chorus will get you every time.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

#2 - Avoid watching early 1980s Mormon commercials. This one gets me every time.

#3 - Try not to contemplate eternal relationships or anything serious. In other words, try not to let your emotions run wild while watching your amazing husband mop floors and clean your bathroom because you cant get out of bed yet...

Keep things light. There will plenty of time for serious introspection and gratitude later.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

He is Ours

I have struggled through a lot of questions during this pregnancy. Why did the Little Pirate come to us? Why 4 instead of 3? Is this part of our family's great, eternal plan? Why didn't he go to one of a dozen couples I know who are desperately trying to have a baby? Why now? etc. etc. etc...

So at last he's here, sitting in my arms, sticking his tongue out and making worried-lined-forehead faces at me - and I still don't have all my questions answered. Except one - I know he is ours.

Unconditionally, completely, gratefully ours.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We're Ready...

...not really.

Truth be told, I'm scared to death when I think about four. And a boy.

Rooms must now be shared.

Current negotiation tactics will be tested.

Cereal will disappear faster.

More people will look at us with disdain (a.k.a "the look")

And there will be even more bathroom near-misses to clean up. Ugh!

Reminds me of a line from Emmylou Harris - My kingdom for a lullaby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Favorite Book

When people ask me what my favorite book is - there is absolutely no hesitation in my reply. I was required to read How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn 15 years ago for a summer of Honors English in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then my increasingly dilapidated copy with dozens of markings and notes has never been far from me.

This book is like scripture - with prose and detail and characters who feel like they're my own ancestors talking to me.

Be warned - this book is not for the casual reader. It takes time to fall in love with it. And without exception, I have cried at the end with every single reading. Never fails.

I have MANY favorite passages. So here are just a few -

"I never met anybody whose talk was better than good food."

"Indeed, if happiness has a smell, I know it well, for our kitchen has always had it faintly."

"I am Angharad Morgan, " she said, and the river never ran colder. "Go to hell."

"Think to have small children in your own likeness standing at your knee, and to know them as flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood, looking to you for guidance as you look to God the Father for yours. Can that be anything but terrible, in majesty and in beauty beyond words?"

"O, there is lovely to feel a book, a good book, firm in the hand, for its fatness holds rich promise, and you are hot inside to think of good hours to come."

"But you have gone now, all of you, that were so beautiful when you were quick with life. Yet not gone, for you are still a living truth inside my mind. So how are you dead, my brothers and sisters, and all of you, when you live with me as surely as I live myself?"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Feeling Appreciated

Last night I had to attend a multi-hour stake auxiliary training meeting.

We also had the missionaries over for dinner.

There was leftover homework chaos in the kitchen.

I left Greg with the kids for bedtime.

Perfect scenario for a multi-mega disaster area when I got home. Because even though I'm desperately in love with my husband, I know what can happen under these circumstances.

This morning I was the ideal image of a grumbling, angry housewife (imagine Marge Simpson). When the final straw seemed to be landing on the camel's back, Our Big Guy came through and rationally explained while he polished off his last bowl of cereal -

"You see Mom, you weren't here."

And then I realized - at least my family gets it. They know the value of Mom. Greg is without a doubt the head of our home. But I know - and everyone else who lives here knows - Mom keeps the wheels rolling in the background. And when Mom is gone and the wheels slow down - or in worst case scenarios - come to a screeching halt - it's nice to know they recognize who can get everything working again.

So the rampage is over. Still need to scrub off food from plates that didn't get rinsed off last night. But my family is thrilled to have me home :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Favorite Holiday, My Favorite Season

There are not enough words - not enough terms of endearments I could lend to my favorite time of the year. I LOVE fall. And I LOVE Halloween.

The pictures speak for themselves.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

November 2nd

Remember to vote. PLEASE remember to vote.

Unless of course, you're voting for the other guy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Kids and Brain Damage

Many decades ago, Bill Cosby did that brilliant sketch on children and brain damage. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the following clip and enjoy 4 minutes of amazing comic observation.

I think there was hidden wisdom in his antics.

Here is an almost daily conversation in our household -

Child (pick one) - "Mom - I want to A) play toys, B) go ride my bike, C) play outside.

Mom - "Absolutely. You just need to A) make your bed, B) get dressed, C) clean up first.

Child - "But MOM!! I really want to A) play toys, B) go ride my bike C) play outside."

Mom - "Um...let me think about that again... Still no. You see before you get to do (insert want), you must (insert job). Got it?"

I love how the second request is so passionate and intense. As if the heartfelt expression of sincere want will rule out any past (or future) conditions upon which the previous request is predicated upon.

And I'd like to say the conversation stops here - and they get it.

But they don't.

Brain damage and children...Mr. Cosby was definitely on to something.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Why do we do this every year? Why do we drive hundreds of miles into mud, rain, white-out conditions, wilderness for the slim chance of finding a deer with horns? Do we even have the freezer space if the off chance we succeed? Good grief - no.

Why do I endure the piles of muddy laundry and dirty cars when we arrive home? The freezing toes, the cold hands, and runny noses. The littered mud room full of boots, coats and bags that need to be sorted and put away. And just to ice the cake further - this year we have "make up" homework to do since the kids missed Friday. Lovely.

And then I remember. We do this because of candy bars. Candy bars and warm soda and sitting on a cold rock for hours talking together and laughing.

It doesn't take much to figure out why we never bring home a deer.