Sunday, October 25, 2015

Frozen Halloween Costumes


Annie has been begging to be Elsa literally for the first time in FOREVER.  I tried to talk her out of it by any means necessary because last year every little girl and her dog was Elsa or Anna.  But my little winter baby is persistent to a fault, so I caved.

Because Annie was Elsa, I had Sam be Olaf so they could match.  Sam likes the friendly snowman, and since he's so finicky about clothes, I thought the more simple his costume was, the more likely he was to keep it on.

His outfit includes: a pair of white pants we borrowed from Annie, a white t-shirt we already owned with left-over Tinkerbell pompoms glued to the front, hand-me-down boots, and a hat I bought from the party store.  Total cost: $20.

That total cost of $20 was actually the cost of the hat alone.  I had no idea it was that expensive because I couldn't find a price tag, however, I brought it to the register thinking, How bad could it really be? Ten to twelve bucks?  I was wrong.  So painfully wrong, but I puchased it anyway because there was no way I was making an Olaf hat.

Annie's costume includes: store bought dress from Costco (I searched and searched for one that was not itchy), crown that came with the dress, dress-up shoes from Wal-Mart that I clipped the bows off of and painted with Modge Podge, glitter, and an extra coat of Modge Podge just to seal in the sparkles, a yarn wig that my aunt and I made similarly to the Tinkerbell one from last year, and a little purple eye shadow. Total cost: $30ish dollars.  Way too much much if you ask me.

 But how do you say no to the queen of Arendelle?

On Saturday, we had our annual Halloween photo shoot.  I needed this one to go smoothly because I am using some of these frames for our Christmas card this year.  Samuel did not get that memo and kept walking into the shots of Elsa.  As cute as that little Olaf head was, I needed some very specific shots that didn't involve the wintry sidekick.  I also needed some hugging pictures that mostly ended in Olaf screaming, "No hugs!" while Elsa chased him, giggling wildly.  In the end, I eventually got what I needed for our Christmas card and a few extras to play with.  Annie requested I give her magic like I did last year, so I obliged.

 "Here I stand in the light of day!"

I hope you have another magically Halloween!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Face washing


I have been wanting to write this blog post for a while now.  Actually, I’ve really just wanted to say it out loud.  For over four and a half years, my life had been consumed with thoughts and feelings I could not express because I did not know how or feared they would be misunderstood.  Today I had a moment of clarity while washing my face, and I think I am finally ready to deal with the elephant in the room.

Since having my children I have learned two major things.  I love my children more than I ever could have imagined, and I dislike motherhood more than I ever could have imagined.

There.  I said it.  Judge away.

I love my children.  I love their little feet and soft kisses.  I love tickling them and wiping their faces so I can look into their crystal blue eyes and tell them how precious they are.  I love hearing them speak about their feelings, dreams, and discoveries.  I love watching their little bodies as they learn to crawl, walk, run, jump on one foot, and dance.  I am obsessed with their imaginations, in awe at their bravery, and humbled by their forgiveness when I make mistakes.  I have learned more about divinity raising these little spirits than any scripture I have ever read.

I have also learned a little something about my limits.  To be honest, before motherhood, I hadn’t met many challenges that I couldn’t work through.  Learning came easily.  With much practice, I even became a decent musician.  I loved working and being surrounded by people and praise.  More than anything, I loved feeling in control.  And if you love feeling in control, boy, is motherhood a wake-up call.  Suddenly, I was thrust into a world where my precious control was striped from me and replaced with inconsistency.  Try as I may, I just could not seem to put the puzzle together the way I thought it was suppose to fit.  I could not seem to get my daughter to sleep, I did not know how to comfort my son when he cried endlessly for the first year, and I could not poof them better with they were sick.  Today, I cook healthy food they will not eat and spend all day talking to little persons who do not listen.  I repeat repeat repeat repeat so many things that I feel forced to raise my voice, and those little blue eyes turn on me in shock.  I’ve read parenting blogs and listened to advice from others, and when those methods do not deliver as promised, it all comes back to me, and I wonder why I am such an inadequate human that I can’t get anything right.

I was never that girl who begged to hold babies.  They terrified me, and if someone handed a little drooler to me, it often cried, which sent me into a tailspin of anxiety.  After having two of them, I can honestly say I still don’t care for babies.  I don’t mind them for short bits of time, but there is not enough money in the world to pay me to go back to that stage.  They are too unpredictable for this control freak.

For me, motherhood has never felt natural.  It has felt like this constant urge to run away fighting against this intense love pulling me to stay.  So, for four and a half years, I have been holding my breath like I am watching the climax of a movie, just hoping the beloved hero doesn’t get squashed by the frightening villain.  I always have one ear focused on their bedrooms at night, waiting for crying or coughing or, heaven forbid, productive heaving.  There isn’t ever one minute where I am totally relaxed and at peace.  Fall is my favorite season, but for the past few weeks, the cooling air and shorter days have only reminded me that flu season piggybacks on Autumn, and I have a son that runs from me when he throws up, leaving long vomit trails in my carpet.

Last year, during my difficult battle with postpartum depression, I sort of gave up.  I felt like I was stuck in this miserable cycle of existence where I was inadequate beyond measure and unlovable.  Perhaps my children would have been better off with a mom who loved all the moods of babies like my mother-in-law or had the natural presence to command an army of tots like my mother.  In that moment, is was as if the hand of God reached out and pulled me off the edge of a cliff.  He reminded me that what I was experiencing would be written in my book of life preceded by “and it came to pass.”

After that experience, I re-enrolled in school, completely changed my diet, cleaned more, involved my kids in the everyday workings of the house, finished my book, started a second one, and reached out to others (like my husband) instead of isolating myself.  I felt sunshine reenter my world. . . but not permanently.  Occasionally, I still feel suffocated, inadequate, and completely out of control, but as my children are getting older and more communicative, those feelings definitely come with less frequency.

That brings me back to tonight and washing my face.  Recently, I have decided to start dressing and grooming as if I am going out in public more.  I think as a stay-at-home mom, it can be easy to get into the housework bun and sweats lifestyle, but I have noticed when I spend the time to put myself together in the morning, I feel more put together throughout the day.  Consequently, I have had some adolescent acne reemerge from sleeping in my makeup.  I tried to cover them with more and more make-up, but a few weeks ago, someone suggested I  actually try washing my face instead.  I caved and bought a cleansing brush and made it a part of my nightly routine.  Within three weeks of using it, the acne disappeared, and my face is starting to look more youthful again.

Tonight as I was washing my face, I realized that for a long time I had wounds and imperfections that I tried to cover up, but they just kept getting worse and multiplying.  In the past six months as I have made changes in my life, it felt a lot like washing my face.  It has been difficult to expose the demons I was hiding but also necessary to treat them.  The Lord has said “if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).  Facing my flaws head on has been incredibly difficult; however, I have faith that by showing my weakness and humbling myself, the Lord can use me to bless my children’s lives.  I will continue to wash my face and take my burdens to my Heavenly Father, because as much I as I dislike motherhood sometimes, I sure do love my kids.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

An English Major's Dilemma

Do you know how hard it is to be an English major?!  


Let's just all have a moment of silence for me.
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I don't mean to sound like a first-world whiner, but since the news of my major change (pun intended), the world has begun to treat me differently.  See, for all of you non-English majors, if you accidentally misspell a word or leave out a comma (or my personal favorite, add an extra), your readers will be forgiving because it's not like you are an English major, amiright?  But for us ENGLISH majors, there is this stifling expectation that everything spilling out of our mouths or rolling off our fingertips must be literary gold, laced with sophisticated semicolons and daring dashes.  Heaven forbid my auto correct settings change a word without me noticing.  If I mix up a their/there/they're or a you're/your/yore, I might as well sequester myself for days until the disappointment blows over.
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Can we have another moment of silence?
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Now, I have a confession.  I am not an English aficionado, nor am I a writing wonder or a spelling guru.  Proper punctuation isn't always my thang, and I reserve the right to use it creatively when I want my voice to shine through uninhibited.  Truth be told, I have not even started the course work for the English major because I've been finishing generals.  The basic knowledge of syntax I use daily is pulled from my long term memory bank stretching upwards of 20 years ago when I was picking my nose in grade school.

Kind world, have mercy on me.  Sometimes I use words like 'unctuous' in everyday speech, but more often than not, I forget how many C's are in 'necessary' and fail to proof read before posting something of the Facebook.  Cut me a little slack and be like Elsa.  Let it go.



This post was bought to you by our sponsor: A Bunch of Sass.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The big picture


A few months ago, I walked in on Annie admiring a framed picture.  The photo was of me and Paul smiling like oblivious idiots just six weeks before we tied the knot.  We were young, unburdened, innocent to the complexities of adulthood and child-rearing.  Annie looked up at me and asked, "Mommy?  How come you don't look like this anymore?"  I gazed down at the slimmer body and trimmer chin and frowned, stung by my daughter's harsh truth.  I explained to Annie that mommy has had some babies and that changes your body.  Mommy has also made some bad choices about what kinds of foods she's put into her body and how often she exercises.  I avoided her gaze, ashamed of myself for letting the stress of life get to me and terrified my daughter might be embarrassed by her portly parent.  Annie shook her head with a real sense of bewilderment.

"No, why don't you look like this anymore?"  She pointed again to the picture with her tiny finger. "Can you have this attitude again?"  My 19-year-old face stared up at me through the glass, eyes glistening with hope and excitement for the future instead of the constant dread I see in the mirror these days.  I carefully slid the picture out of Annie's hands and hid it away in the cupboard.  While choking back tears, I apologized to Annie and told her I can't be that girl again because I have changed.  I will try to be happy, but I can't get that unburdened innocence back.  This is part of growing up.  Annie seemed just as confused by this answer as she did by the first, but as she tried to ask again why I looked so different from my picture, my tears began to flow freely, and I asked Annie if we could talk about it later.

Weeks passed, and I thought about this conversation often.  I wished I could go back and tell that innocent 19-year-old how her life was going to be different than she planned so she could anticipate the changes a little better.  I mourned for myself and for this new me that I honestly hated some days, especially when the depression was so enveloping that I couldn't see any rays of positivity on the horizon.

One Sunday, I got out of the shower and blew my hair dry.  It was extra fluffy and unwieldy, so I pulled it up into a half-ponytail. When I descended the stairs, Annie looked up at me and gasped.  "Mommy!  I thought you said you couldn't look like that anymore."  I shot her a bewildered gaze.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

She pointed to the cupboard.  "Like the picture.  I thought you said you couldn't look like that anymore."

I blinked while my mind began to assemble the puzzle that is Annie conversations.  That whole time she had been talking about my hair?  She just wanted to know why I didn't wear it in a half ponytail anymore........?

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

I had an existential crisis over a ponytail?!  I've been trying to deny my dramatic tendencies for years, but it's getting harder by the day.  Experiences like this aren't helping either.  At least one good thing came from my experience.  I'm learning not to assume so much or worry about things I can not change.  Oh, and I've started wearing my hair in a half ponytail again.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring cleaning

It only took a few hours for the postpartum depression to overtake me.  At first, it came on like a numbing blanket, then crashing anger and cascading sorrow.  It will be gone in six months, I told myself.  I can handle anything for six months.  Six months came and went.  Any day now, I thought as I persevered through the fatigue and bitterness. When my son blew out the candle on his first birthday cake, I checked the clock.  He is one.  It will be gone soon.  But it did not leave.  In many ways it escalated.  I began to forget what happiness felt like.  Behind my smiles and kisses, I was hollow.  So hollow.

I often sat on the floor in that miserable, blue townhouse, staring blankly at the gray walls day after day.  With hands draped limply over my legs, my mouth hung open slightly as if begging for air since I lacked the energy to breathe deeply.  My children crawled over and around me, screaming, squealing, and crying for my affection.  My vacant, blue eyes, pillowed by dark bags of skin, moved lazily to observe the madness without engaging.  Indifference permeated the air so thickly that if I could have willed my body to free my spirit from this hollow existence, I would have gladly done so.

For twenty-two months, I battled these thoughts.

For twenty-two months, I faked my way through motherhood.

For twenty-two excruciating months, I lived a boo-boo-kissing, baby-food-making, stories-before-bed, I-love-you lie!


Then, the sun rose in the east on a crisp, spring morning, just as it had the day before.  Except that morning, while making my children breakfast, I felt something I couldn't quite describe.  Was it peace?  It was hard to tell.  I sat at the table and watched my son peek at me through his cheerios. Unfamiliar tinges swelled in my heart. Was this amusement?  I was unsure.  Annie asked for milk, and while I filled her favorite pink glass, she danced in the kitchen and hummed a Taylor Swift song. My mouth pulled up into a smile involuntarily.  How strange.  We finished breakfast, and my children began to play, dumping out buckets of toys that clattered onto the beige carpet.  Shrieks of elation filled the room, and I noted my lack of irritation.  Then, Sam knocked over the primary-colored block tower his sister meticulously built.  Annie ran to me in tears, and I wrapped my arms around her narrow shoulders and nestled my face into her silken hair, waiting for the imminent anxiety to join us for this special moment, but it did not. I felt kind of alone, but for once, not lonely.

The next day brought similar feelings, as did the day after. Two weeks passed, and the sun was spending a little more time in the sky, nurturing the new grass and budding trees.  The air slowly warmed and the smell of fresh mulch and damp payment wafted through the air as if to announce the blooming flowers.  On a breezy but bright afternoon, my children and I walked to the playground to experience these sights and sounds after a stagnant winter.  Sam dug in the dirt while Annie played pirate.  I laid in the grass, soaking up rays of sunshine as my hair whipped back and forth across my neck.  Warmth blanketed my face and sent kisses down my arms.  Windy whistles tickled my ears and soothed me like a lullaby. The beauty of the moment was intoxicating, and I allowed my mind to fill with a florescent haze of-- what was it?  Annie jumped on my back and wrapped her arms around my neck.  "How are you?" I asked her.

"Happy!" She replied as she combed her fingers through my tangled mane. Happy. . . yes.  That is what it was.  It had happened.  I was finally free of that great beast of burden. As spring warmed the earth and brought life back into the world, it also brought life back into me.  I could breathe again.

Today I cleaned out my closet.

It was the elephant in my room-- always looming, like a dark, twisted presence, housing years of regrets and bitter memories.  But I was ready now, eager to let go of the past and embrace this second chance at joy.  I touched the old clothes from my pre-children life.  I ran my fingers along the rows of buttons and slim waist bands and was flooded with memories of my innocent self.  I missed days filled with praise and people.  I missed feeling young.  Gently folding and placing the clothing in a box, I reminded myself that I am not her anymore, and it is okay.  Who I am now is a woman with greater sympathy and understanding.  I have joined the ranks of warriors who fight battles and come out with scars and stories.  I am still afraid sometimes but also more courageous than I've ever been.  But most of all, I am happy.  Life is good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I miss you. . .


Have I said that recently?  I miss you.  I miss blogging.  I miss writing creatively.  I miss not having to cite sources.  Especially when the thought is my own, but my teacher doesn't believe me and requires me to find a more educated person with the same idea just so I can cite some more.  I miss making up new rules for punctuating because it gets a point across more effectively.  Every. Time. I miss writing in first person because, let's be honest, I'm vain and like to talk about myself. Way. Too. Much.  I MISS CONTRACTIONS!  Not that kind, weirdo.  The kind that comes from two words who love each other very much becoming one and then making an entirely new word that still resembles the parent words but just looks a little different-- you know what?  Never mind.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm back in school. I've been researching for the past year and a half what kind of degree to pursue and where to pursue it.  With my husband's crazy schedule and our lack of funds for a babysitter, I've settled into online schooling so I can work at home and make my own schedule.  I'm switching back to English as my major which means I have turned into the people that used to annoy me most in high school.  You know, the I'm-going-to-study-English-because-I'm-working-on-a-sci-fi-novel kid who is always asking you to read his uncomfortably awkward poetry. My book is more like a young adult fairy tale, and I rarely write poetry, which makes me TOTALLY different.

Anyway, I have about two years left before I can kiss pet lick frame a college diploma.  Afterwards I'll still have a year long masters program before I can take my emo poetry back to high school where I'll be teaching.  Hopefully.  That's the plan.  It was always the plan.  Since grade school, it has been my plan, but between tight fiances and two babies I got really lost and unsure of myself.  I changed majors, schools, and even thought about giving up altogether on my educational pursuits. However, that decision never sat well with me.  So, here I am, mothering all day and writing late into the night. I see the end goal.  I even taste it.  But that doesn't make me miss you any less.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Perfect cold remedy tea (with essential oils)

When you're sick you'd do just about anything for a little relief, wouldn't you?  I know the feeling.  It's been especially hard since I've been married because I've spent a total of four out of the last five years either pregnant or nursing and extra cautious about what kind of foods or medicines I could ingest. When Paul and I would happen upon an illness at the same time, I would angrily sip water while he downed Nyquil to find instant relief.  During this drug-free period like to affectionately call the dark ages, I turned to some more alternative methods of healing that wouldn't make me worry about the child using me for nutrition.  Recently, I've been experimenting with essential oils as a way to not only help myself, but my kids who are also too small for conventional cold/flu medicine.

A couple weeks ago, my husband woke up for the second day in a row with a head-full of snot and fire in his throat.  He looked so terribly pale that I thought I'd better fetch him a little something for his symptoms.  So I concocted up a remedy I've used before.  Lemon and honey tea, but with my own secret ingredient. Essential oils.  I whipped up a large, steamy batch, poured him a cup, and left it beside his bed.  Five minutes later, Paul meandered down the stairs, staring at his empty mug with a look of bewilderment.  "What was in that?"  He asked.  "That gave me instant relief!"  He was referring to his throat.  I smiled and handed him a glass jar with the remaining concoction and told him to sip it throughout the day.  Then, with a dramatic air kiss, he was gone, off to save the world, one commission audit at a time.

When Paul returned home that night, I was filling the house with the stinky scent of baked fish, but unperturbed by the smell, Paul walked through the door with a smile on his face.  I looked at him suspiciously and asked how he was feeling.  Aside from some residual deepening of his voice, all of his other symptoms had cleared up.  I was as surprised as he was.  Since when did a cold go away after two days?  I feel lucky if it's gone within a week!  Paul handed me the empty glass bottle as he mumbled breathlessly, "Amazing stuff."

Last night my little 20-month-old, Sam, coughed his way to morning and cried himself to lunch time. Sick babies are the worst. I considered making him some of this tea several times but was unsure if he'd like the flavor.  Oils are strong, and it tastes a bit spicy.  After an especially long session of crying in my arms, I decided I had nothing to lose.  If he didn't like it, Paul and I could drink it as a preventative measure.  So, as Sam sat at my feet and cried, I shook up a batch and poured just a tiny amount into a cup.  Inserting a straw, I bent down and offered it to the teary toddler.  He sipped cautiously and looked up at me with wide eyes. "Spicy?"  He asked.  I smiled at him and nodded.

"Spicy," I reaffirmed, "but yummy, huh?"

He sipped some more.  "Spicy." He repeated after every sip until the glass was empty.  He grabbed his straw sippy cup and begged for more.  I filled the bottle 3/4 full and diluted the solution with a little extra water, just to take off a bit of the spicy edge.  He took it over to the table where he drank in silence until there was a mere dribble left.  He asked for more, so I gave him another refill.  Now full, he only took occasional sips.  I offered to put it in the fridge, and he pushed me away shouting a string of no's.  Perked up by the instant relief he felt in his throat and with sippy in hand, he toddled off to wreak havoc on the world once more.

Now, you're probably wondering what is in this witchcraft.  Calm yourself; I'm going to tell you.


Four ingredients: Water, lemon juice, raw honey, and Dragon's Breath.  Dragon's Breath?!  Yup, it really is witchcraft.  I call it my "RemeTea" because I'm oh-so-witty like that.  I even made a label so Paul's coworkers could admire my handy work.  Vain much?

To make RemeTea I begin with an empty, clean, glass, quart jar or bottle.  I add 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of honey to the bottom of the jar.  Tip:  If you spray your measuring cup with a little non-stick cooking spray before measuring the honey, it slides right out, leaving very little behind.  You're welcome.

Next, I add ten drops of Dragon's Breath.  I find the best place to obtain Dragon's Breath is deep in the Mount Timpanogos caves where the bearded dragon, Farock, resides.  He doesn't like humans.  He'll eat you the moment he gets a whiff of any smell connected to your stinky hide.  Thankfully, he lost his eyesight in an unfortunate accident involving a billy goat and an unusually heavy rainstorm, so if you mask your smell he won't attack.  I usually saturate myself in a mixture of guano and fish guts. This enables me to get close enough to his sleeping frame and collect the condensation from his breath which I boil down and concentrate-- you know what?  They actually sell it at Good Earth Natural Foods and Real Foods.  So if you want to save yourself a little trouble you can pick it up there.

In all honesty, if you are into DoTerra, this is similar to OnGuard.  You could just add ten drops of OnGuard and call it a day.  BUT. (Don't come after me, DoTerra people.  I have a family who needs me!)  I actually prefer the Dragon's Breath formula.  It contains similar ingredients like clove, cinnamon, and eucalyptus, but is also has oregano oil, which I have found really speeds up the recovery time for pretty much everything, and peppermint which helps with congestion and headaches (among other things).  I've been using OnGuard for a couple years now but never really found it that effective for someone who was already ill, but the Dragon's Breath, while not as sweet smelling, has given us some pretty fantastic results at keeping my kids from getting sick, shortening the duration of illness, and mellowing the symptoms.  (And it's a third of the price.  I mean really.  The last bottle I got was on sale for twelve bucks.  Take that, multi-level marketing monster!)  If you want to know more about the company that makes Dragon's Breath, you can go here. (No, this post is not sponsored.)

Anyway, after adding the honey, lemon, and oils to the bottle, I nuke three cups of water in the microwave.  I don't want it too hot because I don't want burnt hands as I'm shaking it up, so I get the tap as hot as it can be and then microwave for two minutes.  It's the perfect temperature for dissolving the honey and soothing a throat, but not so hot that it feels like molten lava.

Then, I pour the hot water into the bottle till it is half full and shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture.  When the honey is completely dissolved, I top it off with the rest the water and give it another little shake.  That's it.  Easy peezy lemon squeezy.  We are loving this at our house; I hope you love it at yours!


Kayla's RemeTea

Ingredients

  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 5-10 drops Dragon's Breath or OnGaurd essential oils

Instructions
In a quart glass jar, shake or stir lemon juice, honey, essential oils, and half of the hot water.  When honey is completely dissolved, add the rest of the water and give the solution another gentle shake. Pour into your favorite sassy mug and enjoy. Can be stored in the fridge and reheated a mug-full at a time.

**To make a single portion, add two tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons of honey, 1-2 drops of the essential oils to one mug of hot water.  Stir and enjoy.

Sam-tested, Kayla-approved!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tricked

This week I was the victim of a pintrickster.  It happens, you know.  Sometimes when given a promise I want so badly to be true I just ignore all the signs.  Although my pride demands I keep this experience to myself, I feel called upon to expose lies whenever I see them.  So, without further ado, here is what happened.

A few weeks ago on Pinterest I stumbled upon a "tip" promising tear-free onion chopping.  I think I'm pretty sensitive to the sulfuric acid that wafts up during slicing and dicing and often turn into a blubbery mess by slice number three. The tears can be so thick it impairs my vision by either complete fogginess or a burning sensation so sharp I can't even crack my lids open. When wielding a large, sharp knife, being able to see is kind of important, so I often have to step away, wash my face, and go back in for round two.  Annoyed by my body's exaggerated response to one of my favorite vegetables, I readily clicked on the link, and was pleased by the suggestion.  Burn a candle.  That's right, just burn a candle.  The theory is the heat will burn up the sulfuric acid byproduct of death before it reaches your eyes.  No tears and you get to play with fire, how could this go wrong?

Tonight I stood at the counter, knife in one hand and matches it the other.  My station was already set up, cutting board front and center, and garbage sack for scraps to my right.  To my left was a pumpkin pie flavored candle leftover from the holidays just waiting to be lit.  I sat down the knife and struck a match, basking in the warming, homey smell of burnt wood.  I lightly touched it to each of the three wicks and blew it out, watching the smoke dance happily like a fortunate omen.  I waited a minute until the smell of pie filled the air.  Then I began to chop.

Slice number one, no tears.  I am Superwoman, I thought.  Slice number two,  still no tears.  This is actually working!  Slice number three, the most dreaded of all slices, I could feel a little burning at the outer corner of my eyes.  Now I was in trouble, and I knew it.

By slice number five the water works kicked in, and it wasn't just a few delicate drops.  It felt like searing lava flowing from my eyeballs. I tried to blink through the pain because tears or not, the onion needs chopped, but it just kept getting worse until great gooey glops of mascara muck began to descend like rain on the white devil flesh.

The flames of the candle waved and leered at me, sending more holiday scent toward my nose which embraced it without hesitation, leaving me with nothing by the taste of onion flavored pumpkin pie in the back of my throat.  With wounded pride and blind eyes, I sat down my knife and walked away.

I was tricked.  I admit it.  Please learn from my mistakes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Annie


". . . 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70!" Annie is counting beside me.  She's discovered that she can count to seventy on her own and with a gentle reminder she pushes on to ninety.  Her honey hair drapes across her forehead, cut straight, and covers her daddy's triangular eyebrows.  Her blue eyes are so sparkly and full of life, glistening divinity and innocence. Tiny fingers graze my arm, inspecting the hairs with that intense curiosity I noticed fresh from womb.  She embodies perfect imperfection.  When I hold her I feel warm, nurturing, and feminine.  Sometimes I snuggle her in her bed and she touches my cheek and plays with my hair. The room is silent and the air calm, as if time slows. Its magical and sacred.  She holds a piece of my soul.  Annie sees me with such intense understanding because she is me and I am her and the combination if the two of us in one.

Last night I listened the pounding of my heart and wondered why she cries in her sleep, why she sounds so tortured in a moment of what should be peace?  I think about her perfect little soul in this horrible world. She asks me about bad guys, and I don't know what to say other than reassure her that she is safe.  But it's one of those lies we must tell as parents, one of those burdens we carry until our children are old enough to share it.  I cannot keep her safe always.  She will fall off her bike, she will get water up her nose, and she will be hurt by others making poor choices. The best I can do is promise her that I will do my best, and pray the atonement makes up for the rest.