Sunday, March 31, 2013

The next adventure

Written on March 14th:  Last night I sat at the kitchen counter streaming tears into my steaming soup.  Paul sat on the stool beside me in a state of silent shock.  My reaction was not at all what he anticipated when he told me we bought our first home.  Honestly, it wasn't what I expected either.  I imagined overflowing joy, rainbows, and unicorns.  I thought I'd want to shout it to the world and obnoxiously bring it up in every casual conversation.  "Hey!  How are you?  How are your kids doing?  Did I mention we bought a house?"  I pictured family dinners in the Salt Lake Valley, and while guests munched on confections so decadent it would render them speechless, a sweet baby boy would slumber in his blue room down the hall.  I saw beams of real sunlight pouring through the windows as Andrea teased her grandma and laughter roared around the room like a hot breeze.  I dreamed of quiet nights full of snuggles and couch time with my sweetheart while the children slept above.  So, I think I was as shocked as Paul was when he texted about our approved contract and I felt my stomach melt into molten lava and threaten to erupt from my throat.

I spent the whole evening mulling over my mood, trying to find a reason for my upset.  Was I getting cold feet about moving to Salt Lake?  (I've never lived more than four miles from my parents.)  Was I frightened to live in the big city?  Was I worried about the projected move-in date that happened to be the day after my due date?  Was I worried that the square footage, smaller than I original hoped for, would swallow us alive before we had time to unpack?  Was I hormonal?  Was I still getting over the trauma of Andrea's flu from the last two days? Was I panicked because I hardly remembered walking through the property because I was holding the previously mentioned puking toddler?  Does it even have a linen closet?  CAN I LIVE AND FUNCTION WITHOUT A LINEN CLOSEST?!?!

After dinner I left the house for some much needed air.  I spoke to my parents who talked to me about the first house they built together, the house of my childhood in Small Town, Illinois.  I started to remember Christmas mornings and baths with my sister.  I remember spilling a glass of milk on my uncle in our blue and white kitchen.  I remember pealing dead frogs off the road and fanning the smoke alarm in the hallway that beeped wildly after anyone took a shower.  It wasn't a large place, but it was cozy and safe.  It was home.  With zero memories of the linen closet, I still remember it feeling like home.

After a night of rest, the morning sun brought clarity to my scattered brain.  I realized that in the confines of a gated community in Salt Lake City, there is an empty lot that awaits to receive the foundation of our town home.  It will be the place where I love and nurse and kiss and scold and teach and nurture and probably threaten my children.  They will call it home and someday reminisce about the box elder bugs on the playground, coloring on the kitchen table, throwing up on the home teacher, and spending warm afternoons picking the neighbor's flowers for mommy bouquets.

I'm quietly excited now, and praying the the domino's fall into place as we go through this process.  I'm ready for this next adventure.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Craigslist man

Since my second trimester is all but over I've started to feel that panic that comes with being unprepared.  We procured a new bed for Andrea so her crib could be used for the new baby, but we still have no mattress.  We don't have a dresser, or crib sheets, or clothes except for a small box of hand-me-downs.  Yesterday I spent a little time on Craigslist looking for baby things, and I stumbled upon a changing table/dresser that looked perfect for my purposes.  I texted the seller, and we planned to meet today to execute the transaction.  Because I drive a small Ford Escort, I asked my mom if I could borrow her van for the transportation of my latest acquisition.  She agreed, and this morning I packed up Andrea and headed up to Midvale for the dresser.

Unfortunately for me, I had written down the wrong house number.  I discovered this as I rang the doorbell to a house down the street from my intended location.  A medium-built older man answered the door.  He wore a white tank top which showed off his tan skin and the white hairs on his chest.  But his most distinctive feature was his facial hair which looked VERY similar to this:

Odd, I thought to myself.  This doesn't seem like the kind of person who would be selling a changing table. . . but I brushed away the thought and introduced myself.  "Hi!" I said cheerfully.  "I'm here in response to your ad."  The man looked at me for a moment and then glanced at the white minivan I had pulled up in.

"Which ad are you referring to?"  He purred as he leaned in and gave me a rather bone-chilling smile.  At this point, I was pretty sure this was NOT the kind of man who sells changing tables on Craigslist.  In fact, I began wondering what he did sell. . . or perhaps what he wanted.  Was he a drug dealer or some lonely man looking for womanly favors?  Either way, my mind started racing and then shut down completely.

"I'm here for the, you know, um, the. . ." I started waving my hands in the air to indicate rectangles and overall confusion. "You know, for clothes and changing and. . ." I waved my hands again as I noticed him leaning closer with that seriously creepy smile on his face.  "For babies!"  I finally blurted out, which is when his unpleasant smile turned to a frown and somehow cleared the haze in my head enough for the name of the item in question to come through.  "I'm here for the changing dresser.  Is this the right place?"

He leaned a little further out the door and looked toward his neighbors on either side.  "No, I sure don't have one of those for ya.  You might try next door."  With that, I thanked him and waved goodbye as I ran to the (thankfully) locked van where my toddler sat asking if we could have more adventures.  Hopefully not more like these, I thought.  As I pulled out of the creepy man's driveway, I called the number from the ad again and was directed down the street where I found a young couple with a baby who sat waiting by their front door with my changing dresser.

After the dresser was hefted into the back of the van and I was cruising down the freeway toward home, I began to wonder who was more uncomfortable by the situation with the first wrong house.  Was it me, who stumbled onto a man already waiting for an answer to his questionable ad?  Or was it the man with. . . expectations. . . who found a short, pregnant woman with a minivan at his doorstep inquiring about his offer?  I guess I'll never know, but I'm suddenly glad I don't live in Midvale.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


This is kind of a lame post.  I apologize.  I wrote a blog entry earlier this week about specific events in my life that have taken place recently, but I am not quite ready to make those thoughts public so. . . .  Here's some little snap shots of my life from the past few months that I have not written about but wanted to mention.

Here's little Andrea eating lunch with mommy.  I've been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet since I've noticed I eat a disproportional amount of fruit.  Here's my very lettuce-y sandwich that was the size of my two year old's head.  Andrea loves to name the veggies I eat and even touch them, but I still have trouble getting them into her unless they are disguised in a smoothie.

Andrea loves to watch her Aunt Nell give my parents' dog, Maisie, a bath.  A while back Aunt Nell gave Andrea a little white dog that looks just like Maisie, and I caught Andrea giving her "little May-May" a bath in her play kitchen.  So cute!  She's so imaginative and creative with her play.  I often see her imitating me or others, but she also comes up with some pretty wild ideas.  Recently she's been running around the house the a hanger she calls a "dinosaur hanger."  It growls and chases monkeys.

At the end of January we put Andrea in a big girl bed.  I thought this would be a difficult process, but this little girl surprised me by climbing right in and staying all night. When nap time came the next day I anticipated resistance but was mistaken again. She's been nothing but in love with this bed, claiming it's "'pecial because daddy gave it to me."  Thank you, Andrea, for doing one thing with out traumatizing amounts of resistance.  Let's hope potty training in the near future goes this smooth. (I'm not going to hold my breath.)

This last week Andrea had the worst flu of her life thus far.  She spent two days with a fever and the pukes. Poor thing couldn't keep down water.  Watching my daughter go through pain and discomfort is probably the hardest part about being a mom.  On the second day of the flu, Andrea kept begging me to make the pukies go away.  It was so hard to not cry as I told her I couldn't.  Thankfully, forty-eight hours was all it lasted, and after some trailing days of general crankiness she's back to her sweet self.

Three weeks ago I decided to give Andrea a little hair cut.  Her hair was getting so long in the front that it was always in her eyes and full of food.  Because she typically refuses to wear a little ponytail or clip, I thought giving her some bangs would be the best solution.  On a Sunday morning I sat her on the counter in the bathroom and made the first snip.  She looked over in the mirror and burst into tears.  She held her hands over her face so I wouldn't do it again.  Paul had to come hold her hands down so I could finish the deed.  She was so upset she cried until she vomited.  Neither of us understood her reaction but tried to calm her.  The next day Andrea was asking me in a very worried tone if she still had long hair.  She insisted that she wanted long hair like mommy.  Suddenly, everything made sense.  The week before she had witnessed Paul getting his hair buzzed by yours truly, and she thought I was going to cut all of her hair off too so she wouldn't look like mommy anymore.  I felt terrible that the event scared her so much, but was a little touched that she wanted to be like me.  Funny girl.  (Btw: Now that she has little bangs she's actually started wearing bows occasionally.  Go figure.)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A search for ore

Thursday night I stood in the bathroom listening to the sound of the fan whirring above me and staring at my pale face in the mirror.  Andrea was sick again for what felt like the thousandth time this season.  And there I was, hiding in the bathroom, drowning out the potential sounds of the baby monitor with the ventilation fan so I could pray for help with out being interrupted by her cries or coughs.  My arms shook and my legs tremored under the weight of motherhood and loneliness.  Please help me, I cried out to my father in heaven.  Please help me to find comfort so I can give her comfort.

Throughout this winter, as Andrea has battled nearly ever virus and bug circulating around, I have often found myself overwhelmed by physical and emotional fatigue.  The pressure of school and the discomfort of pregnancy make her illnesses not only heart-wrenching to watch, but completely overwhelming to handle as they make it nearly impossible for me to take care of any other aspect of life.  When my body finds itself so overwhelmed it manifests in tremoring chills that are difficult to overcome.  I have often turned to prayer and have felt immediate comfort sweep over me or found that singing hymns in my head bring stability back into my nervous body.

Thursday night was different.  Thursday night I was not given immediate peace, no did a song still my arms.  Instead a little voice whispered into my mind, turn to your husband.  I thought it was a strange and somewhat cruel prompting since he was out late helping on old classmate with his taxes, so I turned off the fan in the bathroom and listened again for a more timely message.  Turn to your husband, I heard again.  With the fan off I recognized the sound of my phone vibrating in the other room.  It was Paul calling to tell me he was on his way home.  I turned my thoughts toward heaven again.  Fine, I'll do it Your way, I conceded.

Leaning on my husband for support is not an easy thing for me.  I like to be his support, talk tough, and let out enough vulnerability to seem normal.  Once I've had my fill of complaining, I tighten my bootstraps and take care of things myself.  I've always been this way.  But last May when I found myself bleeding away a pregnancy I called my mother and asked her to take me to the doctor while Paul stayed home with sleeping Andrea.  "No!"   She insisted.  "You need to be with your husband."  I still think it's sad that after three years of marriage I found it more natural to turn to my mom for strength during that trail than the father of the baby I was losing.  However, her insistence that I take Paul turned into a blessing in our marriage.  For the first time, I let myself really turn to him and discover the true strength of his soul, and things have never been the same.

Yet, in many ways, I am still the same.  Still hesitant to open myself to the power of vulnerability.  So on Thursday night, the Lord, in his omniscient wisdom, thought He'd help answer another of my most common prayers: Please continue to help Paul and I grow closer in our marriage.  When Paul got home I told him I needed a moment of connection, so we knelt across from each other on our bed.  He took my hands in his and we both closed our eyes and allowed  the circuit of energy to flow between us.  Tears streamed down my cheeks and I wordlessly unloaded my burden.  He silently absorbed it and pulsed calm into my veins.  When peace returned to our sphere, I opened my eyes and stared at his face.  He smiled at me, cracked a joke about parking tickets and tucked me in with a blanket of lighthearted humor.  The Lord was right.  I needed to turn to my husband.

Minutes later I was reading in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 17) where Nephi was asked to build a ship.  Nephi turned to God and said, "Um. . . I actually don't know how to do that. . ."  The Lord didn't poof a ready-to-assemble ship in front of him stacked neatly in Ikea boxes.  He didn't wash an unused vessel up onto the shore.  He said, "Don't worry. I will tell you where to go to find ore."  I was reminded that night that sometimes miracles like peace are dropped upon us like manna from heaven, and sometimes we're told where to go to find it.