Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just breathe

I remember in the midst of teenage-hood sitting in a small bedroom and with my friend Kass hugging various pillows and imagining the day when those pillows would be boys.  We would place our hands delicately on the front and lay our heads against the cool cloth while asking each other what we thought it would be like to fall asleep against the chest of a husband.

It's not what we thought it was, Kass.

Last night as Paul drifted off to dreamland I laid my head on his chest.  I still have a desire to fall asleep listening to the sound of his heart so I've tried many times.  Each time ends the same.  I can't sleep, so I roll over and nestle my back under his arm, absorbing his warmth in the silence of our room.

I think my problem is breathing.  While my initial intention is to listen to a heartbeat, it's slowly overwhelmed by the rise and fall of his chest.  My breathing begins to follow Paul's sleeping pattern.  Relatively short inhales and long, deep exhales.  But my waking breaths are not ready for such intake and I find myself gasping for air when my lungs are so depleted yet still waiting to the unspoken permission to breath that the rise of my husbands chest gives.  His short bursts of air intake aren't long enough for me to recover before another long exhale sideswipes me.

I tell myself to relax and ignore his breathing, but it's never long before I'm hyperventilating again.

Be aside from our lack of coordinated sleep breathing, I sure like that guy.

Today's church activities left me exhausted, and by the time I got home at about four o'clock all I wished for was a nap.  But I had cooking to do.  Lots of cooking.  Potato salad for Memorial day, homemade pizza for dinner.  I was ready to give up, eat a peanut butter sandwich, and just call it a day.  My pregnancy exhaustion was getting the best of me, but that man. . . he took me into the kitchen, told me I was remarkable, and began cutting up potatoes.  He minced pickles, grated cheese, cooked chicken, chopped celery, and other such remarkable things.  When the smell of that potato salad made me heave, he did the honors of tasting it for the proper spice ratio, which alone saved my life.

What a guy!  I think I'll keep him.

I love you, Paul!  Thanks for all your help.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pregnant thoughts

My thoughts have visited some dark places today.  I made the mistake of listening to songs about dying children and mothers saying goodbye and my heart broke.  I never want to lose this little one.

Having said that, I am struggling with the symptoms of pregnancy.  I’ve been nauseous for a month now.  A month with the flu, only rest and twenty four hours don’t end this escapade.  I’ve avoided wishing this away, but it has crept into my mind.  That scares me most.  No one knows these thoughts, these ‘when will this end?’ thoughts, except God, and I forget He’s omnipotent and has a perfect understanding my intentions.  Yet, I irrationally assume that He will know my desires and interpret them incorrectly.  I have nightmares where He takes my baby away. 

That will end the symptoms, and that’s what I wanted, right? 

No, I didn’t mean it like that.

 Or I have these horrid dreams about losing my baby because He knows what I so ardently try not to think about.  I’m not ready to be a parent.

But you never are, really.

Amid all the darkness of this hormonal and queasy state He reminds me how things really are.

“Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.  Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.” (D&C 50:40-42)

This isn’t supposed to be easy, and I’m still growing.  Best of all, I’m not doing this alone.

I am going to be fine, and I think this will be an amazing experience.  Maybe I need an ick factor to help me appreciate it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rainbow cupcakes

What do I say about a week that went something like this: sleep. . . sorta, toss and turn, get up to pee twice a night, rise bright and early to partake of the first bowl of ramen, back to bed, up again for work, eat all the time, way too long breaks, more ramen, clock out early, need sleep, can't sleep, toss and turn, etc.?

I don't know.

But I did have a short burst of energy on Saturday, and with a lot of help from my sweet husband (and by a lot I mean he did most of the work), we made rainbow cupcakes.

Take a gander:

 (I had to show this picture of the blue bottoms, because you couldn't really see them on the cupcakes.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

My first Mother's Day

Mother's Day. . . a day of spoilage for my dear mom.  A day for cooking her favorite foods and surprising her with gifts.  A day to say thanks for putting up with me for all these years of hair-pulling torture.

This year was different.

As I awoke to the feeling of instant nausea I grabbed the green puke bowl and shuffled reluctantly to the kitchen to make my morning ramen noodles.  For reasons I can't begin to fathom, chicken flavored ramen is all I can keep down in the morning.  I didn't have the energy to empty the dish drainer to find my favorite pan so I opted to use the microwave.  I sat down at the table while my microwave hummed.  The smell of bananas too dark to eat permeated my senses and I heaved into the puke bowl.  I grimaced and held back the tears that so easily flow these days.  This is harder than I thought it would be.

Mom, was I worth this?

I pulled the steaming bowl of noodles on to a potholder and retreated to the couch with that second and (thankfully) empty other bowl.  I smelled the broth and lifted the fork to my mouth.  I blew, I gagged, I shoved it in.  A second bite was consumed and then another and another.  With both bowls on the floor in front of me, I leaned over and melted into the couch pillows and waited for the ramen magic to begin.  Slowly and predictably, the nausea subsided enough for me to finish my breakfast and return to bed.  It wasn't even seven o'clock.

I curled up next to my sleeping husband and wrapped my arms around him as he mumbled something in his sleep.  All of my desires to wash dishes, bake cupcakes, prepare Sunday school lessons, and be productive became entangled into one singular desire.  Sleep.  I needed more sleep. . . and I drifted off for an hour or so before the neighbor downstairs started his pot of coffee and the smell sent me searching again for that green bowl.

I have to eat every two hours.  I no longer enjoy eating.  Food doesn't sound good, reading through recipes makes me ill, watching my favorite cooking show is unbearable.  But every two hours I eat because without the food in my stomach, uncontrollable heaving ensues.  I'm gaining weight because my body doesn't have the metabolism to keep up with the ramen and saltines.  I want to exercise but don't have the strength to walk to the bathroom, let alone around the block.

I pulled out my scriptures and lesson manual and stared at them for a long time.  I couldn't focus on the words, so I got back in bed.  I began thinking about my anniversary which was the day before and how sweet my husband had been taking me back to the restaurant where we had our wedding luncheon. I remember how hard the smell was and how slowly I had to eat.  I kept smiling at him, assuring him that I was fine and the food was great, which I'm sure it was.  But it just wasn't chicken ramen.

Mom, thank you.  Thank you for doing this time after time to ensure five little spirits received their earthly bodies.

It still doesn't feel real.  It's difficult to imagine there's really a little person inside me.  I can't feel them move or see a bump, but they are there depending on me for everything.

Mom, I'm scared.  I don't think I'm as strong as you.

But I know this is my future and still I feel excitement.  I can't wait to meet this little one, hold them in my arms, and introduce myself as their mommy.  Though, I think they will already know that.

Friday, May 7, 2010

California, Part 3

He took us to Good Earth.  Which is very ironic considering Kit and I both work at Good Earth.  Granted, we don't work for the same company.  But we couldn't help laughing that on our vacation from Good Earth we had dinner at Good Earth.

We sat down for dinner and began to look over the menus.  I ordered spinach ravioli.  Yum!
While I opted to pass on desert, my little nieces jumped at the opportunity.  Little Kayla loves chocolate and requested a chocolate-chocolate-chocolate cake.  She got it.  We kept telling her to look behind her and then we'd sneak bites.  Her sister, Natalie, laughed and laughed until we asked her to read a sign behind her.  Natalie had carrot cake (which was also tasty).

We talked and ate until the sun had completely set and our stomachs were completely full.  We said goodbye to Billy and summoned our valet parked fleet.  After we change into some comfy clothes we met at the hotel to watch the big event as a family.

It was an interesting video.

There was so much laughter.  Nervousness, embarrassment, amusement, joy.  We were infamous, awkward, inexperienced, but it didn't matter, because we were united.  We had traveled this journey together and knew it was coming to a close.  So we laughed like we'd never laughed before.  We laughed at the mess ups, the good parts, and all the in-betweens.

Then there were tears.

As little pregnant Linda said goodbye to her family there were tears.  Paul and I drove back to their apartment to attempt sleep, but it was really late and we had to wake up really early.

It was a long morning. . . I was very, very, VERY motion sick.  With my Dramamine in Utah, I boarded the plane with a purse full of ginger chews.  We hadn't been in the air long when I realized that there wasn't enough ginger in the world to get me through the flight.  I bowed my head and asked God for help; with purely prideful intentions, I begged him to help me not throw up in front of my family on that cramped little plane. . . flying through a turbulent storm. . . on the day I didn't have Daramamine. . .  I started to dry heave a great deal.  Ug, would I make it?

Like every tunnel of adversity, there is a light at the end and mine was pulling up to my apartment where I had a private bathroom with my name on it.

Thank you, Billy-- for a great adventure my children will never believe I was cool enough to be a part of.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

California, Part 2

We were tired after our early morning plane ride and then rehearsal.  The Rowberry's hadn't checked into their hotel yet, so we made that our next destination.  We were there for the better part of an hour, chilling in the lobby because the hotel had lost our reservation.  However, once things were sorted out we headed up to the rooms, dropped of a trunk-load of suitcases and proceeded to the famous Trader Joe's for some healthy groceries.  We were hungry yet again.

The first thing that greeted us was this spooky guy.  While I'm sure he had something valuable to offer the people of California, I was a little startled by his sunscreen and sunglasses combo.  He had the appearance of an undead pirate.  I wondered if everyone in Trader Joe's would be this odd.

They weren't.  Just a few steps ahead of this guy the management placed this lovely sign.  Good ol' Joe's.

To say it was crowded would be an understatement, and adding a pack of Rowberry's probably only increased the congestion.  But to deny us the experience would have been sinful, so we filed inside and ohhed and ahhed over the goodies presented to us.

We packed up our fleet with the groceries and headed back to Linda's apartment where a mass chaos of cooking, eating, and overall friendly conversation ensued.  It felt so wonderful to be there, basking in the love of that family.  After dinner we retreated to the office to begin a second round of rehearsing.  It was very late when we decided to call it a day.  Our voices were tired, but we had definitely made a lot of progress.

The Rowberry's picked up there personal belongings and headed back to their hotel.  Paul and I stayed at the apartment, thanks to Linda and Justin's generosity, who gave us their bed for those two nights.  Even the excitement of the following day couldn't keep us awake for long; mere moments after our heads touched those pillows we were deeply asleep.

I felt rather calm the next morning.  I got up early, took a hot shower, played with Fat Larry, and aired out my clothes for the show.

Linda was sweet and made enough scrabbled eggs, veggies, and toast for all ELEVEN of us.  It was so wonderfully buttery and delicious.  With food it our tummies any nerves seemed to settle, and the mood was light and exciting.

When every one was ready to go we loaded up the fleet and headed down to NBC Studio 11 where The Tonight Show is filmed.  We were instantly taken to our dressing rooms.  Wanting to capture the moment every soul with a camera began video taping the dressing room.

Silliness lasted for a minute or two before we were whisked away to the set for our sound and lighting checks.

That was where that I captured my illegal video of the Tonight show set.  I would post it here for an exclusive look, but I have a fear of NBC discovering it and suing me for all I'm worth, which isn't really a lot, but enough to feel devastated if taken from me.  Toward the end of my illegal video a set worker came over to inform us that there was no photography on set.  I was unable to get any pictures.  But it was bigger than it looks on TV, that I can say.

After sound check we had lunch at the NBC food court where I spilled orange juice on my white skirt.  Thankfully, there were no close ups of my skirt.  Camera rehearsals followed, and we were encouraged to take a little walk down to Hair & Make-up to get our own little star treatment.  I'd never had a professional "updo" in my hair before and it was quite an exciting experience.  I felt like a princess. (Ignore the possessed look on my face. . .)

 Here's a better picture of my hair taken later that night.

Kit got her hair pulled up and was looking very regal.  I'd only ever seen her with her hair down.

Liahna had some star treatment and a full face of make-up.  Because she usually doesn't wear make-up we all gawked at her beautiful face and perfectly smooth complexion.

While waiting for our call to go on stage we sat in our dressing room and sang our parts over and over.  We blended and harmonized and felt confident about our sound.  A lady came to our room and told us it was time.  We crammed ear plugs in our ears and filled out.  Standing beside the bass speakers with earplugs in makes it difficult to hear the people around you.  We were told not to worry because we each had individual mics and could be blended by adjusting each individuals volume.

So we sang our hearts out.  We really did.

And it was a rap.  Jay Leno came over and shook each of our hands and told us we did well, and we were whisked away once again to gather our things and head out for dinner.  Billy was taking us some place special.