Saturday, July 28, 2012


I've never really wanted Andrea to stay a baby forever.  I was always excited when she developed a new skill or met another milestone.  Even though I've often marveled at how quickly time passes with her running circles around my ankles I've never wished it backwards.  But today I caught myself crying as I faced the decision to wean my little munchkin off her pacifier (a.k.a. binky).

My mother told me her children were binky-free by the age of one, and the pressure to keep up with that standard had been weighing on me.  In May I began planning the event.  In June we went to Illinois; I felt she still needed it for comfort and familiarity as she slept in many new places.  After our return home I thought it might be time.  However, I've spent the last month subconsciously delaying this process, not because of the potential sleepless nights, but because that binky, in conjunction to diapers, is the last evidence of her infancy.  Taking away binky means no more baby.  For the first time, I'm finding myself wishing she could just stay my baby for a little longer.

Despite my emotional protest, I began operation "Binky Wean" this afternoon by snipping a tiny hole in the tip of Andrea's binky.  My mother used this method with her children-- each day the binky gets a tiny snip.  As the binky grows increasingly uncomfortable in the child's mouth, the child decides to reject it.  Andrea, however, didn't need days of snipping.  She noticed right away.  At nap time she nestled into her comfy place in her bed, wrapped her arms around the neck of her bear, and plopped in her binky.  It took less than two seconds for her to feel a difference and pull it out for inspection.  I ran from the room, afraid to witness the scene.  But from the comfort of my bed, I listened to her reaction on the monitor.

"Oh no!"  She cried.  "Where it go?  Nanananan binky?  Binky!"  She wailed.  The new thing I'd handed her clearly wasn't her binky, and she wanted hers back.  The whining continued as she wondered aloud what fate could have possible befallen her little rubber friend.  I googled whilst she jabbered, hoping to find a way to handle my complete lack of resolve.  She eventually drifted off, sans binky.

Tonight I bathed her.  I let her play until she was pruney as I put off bedtime, but bedtime could only be delayed so long before she'd start to get cranky.  Fussy, no binky, dark room. . . Yeah, perhaps not the best equation for weaning, so when the floor of the bathroom was sufficiently soaked I drained the tub and plucked out her dripping body.  Jammies, brushed teeth, and a bedtime story later I walk into her room, holding the being I once carried in my womb.  I lifted her tiny body over the threshold of her crib and handed her that mutilated binky.  The ceremony ending her infancy was complete.  She refused the binky, and I left the room.  But from that cursed monitor I again heard her little voice, "Binky?  Where binky?  Where it go?  Mama!  Binky? Oh no."

I felt my heart fall from my chest to the floor and each step from her room was trampling the broken pieces that trailed behind me.  "Paul," I whispered.  "I'm not ready."

He smiled that beautifully permissive smile.  "Then don't do it."  He said, and those words freed me from the drudgery of the situation as I ran back to her room, retrieved an untouched binky, and gave it to my little baby.  She took it in her mouth happily and wrapped an arm around her bear.

Maybe next month.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Sorry that last post was such a downer.  It wasn't meant to be a pity post, rather a little glimpse of a weak moment and the strength I found on this site.  Ever since I was called into Primary I've had trouble feeling close to my Savior.  I used to worry I was broken.  I watched men and women stand on Sundays and bear testimony of all the things they'd learned from the little children, and there I sat feeling disjointed somehow.  I even resented my calling a bit.

Through that trial I found comfort in two things.  The first was my limited interaction with the children. I'm mostly running around with armfuls of rolls and paperwork, not teaching.  How could I possibly gather bushels of humble, childlike insight when I’m not spending so much time with the children?

Even with that new attitude I desired adult Sunday School and Relief Society.  Between Andrea and “singing time” I didn’t feel like I was getting much in-depth instruction.  It took me almost a year to discover that my lack of spiritual progression was not because I wrestled a baby all through Sacrament Meeting.  It was not because I was in Primary and not an environment geared toward adult learning.  It was because I wasn't putting in my effort at home.  I was praying and reading my scriptures, but I wasn’t pouring my heart out to the Lord or feasting on the words of Christ.

I’m trying to do better, and in doing better I’ve not only found comfort in times of difficulty, but I’ve learned to not resent Primary.  In this more open state I allowed myself to be exposed to some amazingly funny things.

Most Sundays our resident super hero, Captain CTR, pays a visit to our Primary.  He spotlights children who’ve been choosing the right in their homes, at school, or in church.  As children move in to our ward I try to collect some spotlight-worthy information about the newcomers.  One little boy when asked what he did to choose the right said, “Spiderman!”  I asked him again, trying to prompt a different answer.  “Spiderman!” He said.
“Do you share your Spiderman?” I coaxed.
He smiled.  “Spiderman!”
I wrote it down.  Spiderman chooses the right. . . right?

Today I asked a little girl how she’s chosen the right.  She said, “I get rid of hiccups.”  I asked for another example and she said, “I visit my daddy’s work for a party.”  Good enough for me.

Last week Captain CTR said he was going to spotlight a boy.  A little four year old shouted, “I’m a boy!  I’m a boy!!”  Then he grabbed his pants to show us.  Awkward.

I spend so much time sitting in the back of the Primary room laughing that I should probably be paying the parents for this entertainment.

Friday, July 20, 2012

They come

Tuesday was just one of those days that I felt completely alone.  I woke up with tears in my eyes that seemed to linger for hours.  I did my best to ignore it.  I cleaned the kitchen, did a load of laundry, read books to Andrea, built towers, tore them down, picked up bath toys, and made the final edits to a wedding invitation for a friend.  But the moment I laid my little girl in her bed the distractions disappeared, and I found myself alone in my room facing the feelings head on.

The first emotion to rise to the surface was that loneliness. Not because I was the only one in the room, but because I had feelings of insecurity and fear I felt uncomfortable sharing with anyone.  Without a confidante to throw ideas around with I set in the computer chair fidgeting and staring at my e-mail.  I wished Andrea would have restless dreams and call for me, distracting me once more.  But she didn't call.  She slept soundly for three hours whilst I wrestled with the unsettled feeling in my soul.

As time passed the loneliness turned into sorrow.  After two silent hours fighting back tears, my creased forehead gave way to the dam waiting to explode from my eyes.  Streams if sadness morphed into heavy sobs that sounded so comical I almost forgot what they were for.  In my state of embarrassing blubbering I remembered a video I'd once seen.

"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." -Jeffery R. Holland

Monday, July 16, 2012

House projects

I have a love/hate relationship with renting.  I love that if something breaks the landlord fairy comes and fixes it, but ever since I've been married I've never truly unpacked and completely settled in to either apartment we've lived in.  I always have this temporary feeling that's kept me from really making my space homey.  However, our two year anniversary of moving into this apartment is right around the corner and I've decided some of my hesitations are just silly.  Therefore, some little projects have taken place to hopefully get me out of this rut.

Here was my living room before with large baron walls.

And here was project number one.  Using scrapbook pater I bought at Wal-Mart for $5.00, I created a collage matching the color pallet of our hand-me-down couches.

 Then I found this little baby at a yard sale, also for $5.00, and I thought it had a lot of potential.

Using some spray paint I already had, I painted the gold and red base a lovely shade of neutral grey.

I eventually would like to replace the shade with a white drum

Like this one.

 I think the changes, although small (and cheap) have already made my living room more homey.  The day I added the lamp Paul and I put Andrea to bed and then stood in the kitchen admiring how different our space felt. It made me wonder why it took me so long.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Small town nowhere

I can honestly say that being back in Illinois has been a significant boost for me.  I've been home for just over a week and I can't stop thinking about it.  If I could record the time I've spent retracing the steps I took on the drought-stricken brown grass of the Midwest I might embarrass myself by the hours I've accumulated.  In jest, I addressed the podunk activities available in the region, but the truth is I've fallen in love all over again with the quiet, simple ways of the small towns and Paul too.  Seeing him rolling hay bales with his feet and watching him drive on dirt roads to cemeteries opened my eyes, and it was like I was seeing him for the first time.

He is a small town.  Quiet, simple, unassuming, and completely set in a motion of life that makes him steady.  Because I grew up in a place so similar, Paul has always felt familiar somehow.

I think that's why I love him.

And away from the stress of work, school, laundry, and Utah's obsession with homemade wreaths, the two of us were fee to be our true selves.  In Southern Illinois if you want to have a southwestern themed house you do, and if you want to paint a bathroom fuchsia you break out a brush.  The Jones' live far enough away that keeping in touch replaces keeping up.  Listening to my grandmother talk about her fun Friday nights at the auction in Ina was such a jarring contrast from the frantic soccer, scouts, dance, football, drama club, band concert schedules of the women I'm accustomed to listening to here.  And I could feel Paul humming like a tuning fork, and the tones of this new world resonated notes I'd never heard from him.  "I like it here," he said.  "I can see myself here."

And just as I discovered a new him, he discovered a new me.  On Sunday, we drove to my old house, the one my parents built, guided completely by my memories.  "Look!  There's Dee's Pet Shop!  Turn here.  There's the place were we fed the horses.  Turn here.  There's the pond we use to fish in, turn!  There's the house. . . There was my home. . ."  And sitting in front of that one story house with white siding he looked at me and peered into the vulnerable spot I'd been hiding for so long.  The normal girl from small town nowhere.  The girl who moved away and was bullied for her accent, out of style clothes, and love of country music.  And I was afraid. . . afraid he'd wouldn't like that girl either.

He did.  Thank heavens, he did.