Showing posts with label Random Musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Random Musings. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

I have been a little quiet on the blog front lately.  This is mostly due to the fact that I get consumed by whatever project I am working on, and in the past six weeks, I've been working on getting our new home unpacked, organized, and decorated.  I wish I were a more temperate person who methodically worked on projects bit by bit, a little each day or week, until they are done--but that's just not my nature.  I get obsessed and can't relax until the job is FINISHED and off my list.  I always tell myself that as soon as this project is done, I will start being a more balanced and temperate person...but the problem is, as soon as one project ends, another begins, so I find myself constantly in a state of obsession over some project or another.  Is anyone else like this?  Does anyone have any advice for me on how to temper this tendency?

You wouldn't think that getting our little home organized and decorated would take six weeks, but we have never lived in a house before, so we had some furniture to buy and work spaces to figure out...and everything takes so stinkin' long.  You get a couch, and then you need to find an area rug...you get an area rug, and then you need to find throw pillows to tie it all together.  You get some frames for a gallery wall, and then you need to get some photos printed...you get the photos printed, and then you need to hang the frames.  (Why does hanging pictures take so long??)  All of the decorating and organizing feels rather superficial at times, but it needs to be done.  I am decorationally challenged, so this has not been an easy task for me, but we are almost done with it all (just a few more pictures to get up on the walls!), and it feels good.  I cannot tell you how much we LOVE living in a house, and the home we are renting is perfect for us.  At least five times a day, I think about how grateful I am that we found this place and that we are lucky enough to have a home.  Perhaps I will post a few photos of our little home soon...if I can convince myself to take the time to upload photos.

Which leads to my next rant/question.  Another reason why I've been quiet on the blog front lately is that blogging takes a lot of time.  First you have to write the posts, and then you have to upload all of the photos from your camera or phone, edit them, add them to the post...what seems like it should take twenty minutes ends up taking an hour (or longer).  And if you want to turn your blog into a book for your family and future posterity to enjoy, that takes even more time.  I have been working on my second blog book, and I am amazed by how much time it takes.  I did the book for 2011 last year, I am working on the book for 2008 and 2009 this year--but I still have 2010, 2012, and 2013 to go!  Has anyone else run into this problem?  I've noticed that a lot of my friends have stopped blogging in recent months and years, and I wonder if this is why.  It's just a lot to keep up with!  Do people even read blogs anymore with all of the other options of social media that are, in a lot of ways, much quicker and easier?  (Speaking of, if you have Instagram and want to see far too many photos of Noah, let me know--I update there every couple of days because it's quick and easy.)  Sometimes I wonder if I should stop blogging all together, but I think I would miss the writing aspect of it, and I know our families like to know the details of what's going on with Noah...so I'm not sure what to do.  Friends, do you have any advice on this?

And speaking of Noah, there's another reason why I haven't been blogging this summer: Being a mom is really busy!  I am constantly surprised by the energy it takes to care for a toddler and run a household...to say nothing of the additional responsibilities of editing for Power of Moms and volunteering at our church and in our community.  I just got asked to help with the teenage girls at our church, and I really love it (I have the opportunity to teach again!), but I can already tell it's going to be busy with weekly lessons and activities.  I feel like I am always tired these days, which makes me feel like a sissy because I only have one kid for crying out loud, and I am a stay-at-home-mom, and I actually get more sleep now than I ever did while I was teaching.  So why am I so tired??  Can someone explain this to me?  How do women with lots of children function??  As I've mentioned on this blog a few times, Ryan and I are hoping to add another baby to our family in the near future, and I've started fertility treatments again, and I constantly wonder how I will keep up when there is another little one (and hopefully several more eventually!) running around the house.  There is nothing I want more, and yet it's a bit mind-boggling to consider it happening.

And finally, full admission, another reason why this blog has been pretty quiet lately is that Ryan and I have gotten a tad addicted to an old BBC show called "Larkrise to Candleford."  We don't have TV, so throughout our marriage, we've never had any "shows" that we  consistently watch together like a lot of couples do. But a friend recommended "Larkrise" to us because we like Downton Abbey, and we've been watching an episode several nights a week on the internet, and it is really fun.  I think it is more the relaxation and togetherness that we crave than the show itself.  There is something so nice about crashing at the end of the day and snuggling up together to watch something completely mindless.  In the past, my idea of togetherness was to clean the kitchen or work on one of my projects.  (Fun, right??)  I have a hard time sitting down to do something like watch TV, but now I totally understand why people love it.  I've realized that it is probably really healthy and good for couples to have a favorite show that they share. (Ryan is in full support of this realization, as he would much prefer to snuggle and watch something fun than clean the house! That poor man puts up with a lot from his worker wife!)

So that was the very long explanation of some of the reasons why I have not been blogging this summer!  I hope to catch up a bit over the next week or so.  Who knows if I will keep up this blog long-term, but I will at least finish 2013 (so I can have a complete blog book, right?  Ahhh!).

Thanks for reading my rant.  I know all of this is totally "first-world problems," and I feel a little sheepish even asking for advice--but all of you wise women out there, I would REALLY appreciate if you could leave a comment and give me some input on balancing projects, running a household, volunteering, blogging, motherhood, and life.  xoxo

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grateful

I am feeling very, very grateful today.

My dad once told me that when he ponders his life and his many blessings, all he can think is "You've gotta be kidding me!"  He said he knows it isn't fair that one man should be so richly blessed.  That's exactly how I'm feeling today.  I've been cleaning the apartment, trying to get life back in order after vacation and holiday mayhem, and instead of feeling grumpy about it (like I usually would), I am feeling overwhelmingly blessed.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with my son.  I am grateful to witness little moments, like when he knocked over the laundry basket today, and as it hit the ground he said, "Bonk!" Then he leaned over, put his hand on the basket reassuringly, and said, "Ooo ok? (You okay?)" in his little voice.  I love that he comforts inanimate objects the same way that I comfort him.

I am grateful for services like AAA that come right to my home and fix my battery when my car won't start.

I am grateful to be able to wash and fold my husband's clothes neatly and take care of him in this small way.  (I usually hate laundry, but today, for some reason, I was able to see it as a labor of love.)

I am grateful that I can take a warm shower when I have a cold (makes me feel better every time).

I am grateful for my in-laws.  Seriously, I won the lottery when I married into the Nielson family.  We had such a great time with them last week.  I love every single one of them more than I can express in words.

I am grateful that I have gone to see a counselor these past few months who has helped me realize that I don't need to be perfect and I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  (That was kind of scary to admit to the worldwide web.)  More to come on this topic at some point...just trying to figure out how to put it all into words.

Life is so good.  I feel like I close many of my blog posts with that phrase, but it's just so true.  Life is good, and I am so grateful.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Booking

I recently made a book of all of my blog posts from 2011.  I say "recently," but what I really mean is for eleven stinkin' months.  Who knew that making a blog book would take so much time?  I started it in January, and granted, I didn't work on it diligently every single month, but I think I spent close to 100 hours putting that (d-word) book together.  I must qualify that by saying that 2011 was a huge year for us, so there were tons of posts and tons of photos (the finished blog book is 210 pages), and I must also acknowledge that I am the world's biggest perfectionist, so I'm sure that some of those hours were poorly spent with me rearranging and trying to make everything just perfect...but still, what a project.  

Before I started this colossal undertaking, I researched websites to use, and I found Blog2Print (which just slurps your blog into a PDF file and binds it, and you don't have to do any formatting at all)--but when I tried that, it made the spacing in my book all wonky, and there was no way to go in and edit it.  The photos were also super small, and it was just one long, continuous document, so sometimes the title of a post would be at the bottom of the page before...it didn't look professional, and I knew it would drive me nuts.  If this was going to be our family journal and photo album, and if I was going to pour time and money into it, I wanted it to look really nice.  So I decided to use Blurb.com.  It slurps your blog into a file, so all of the words and all of the photos are there, but then you have to go through post by post and choose or create layouts that fit.  It sounds easy enough, but let me tell you, it takes some serious time (especially when you are still figuring out the program).

 I love the way my book turned out, but the thought of doing it again--for the years 2008 and 2009 and 2010 AND 2012--makes me shudder.  There has to be a better way.  I mean, can I honestly keep blogging if it is then going to take 100 hours to transfer a year of posts into a book?

I do think the next book will go faster, now that I know the computer program better and know that I can't be such a perfectionist, and I do recognize that the years 2008, 2009, and 2010 will probably add up to the same length as the year 2011...but I am still feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of starting again.

Any suggestions?  Has anyone else run into this problem?  Have you figured out a way to make it more manageable?  Do you have tips for better ways that I can write my posts in order to make the transfer to a book easier?  I would really appreciate some advice!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Always Lost and Somehow Always Found

I have written before (okay, more than once) about my ineptitude with cell phones.  (Maybe I should make this its own post category?)  Well I realized earlier today that I hadn't seen my cell phone in 24 hours.  This is not unusual--I lose my cell phone at least once a week--so I did what I always do: I got online and starting contacting friends and family via Facebook and Skype.  Can you call my phone?  I don't know where it is.  

That's when I realized that I hadn't charged my phone in several days and it was likely dead somewhere.  A phone call wasn't going to do it.  

Hmmm.

Tactic #2: Dig around in the cushions of the recliner in Noah's bedroom.  This large chair has been known to eat things, including, but not limited to, nail clippers, iPods, and my glasses.

No luck finding the phone, but I did find two (almost) empty bottles that smelled just lovely.

As I continued to search the apartment for my rogue cell phone, I decided that I need some sort of necklace or lanyard in order to wear my cell phone around my neck at all times--so I can never lose it or drop it.  This made me think about the retainer case necklace that my best friend, Liz, made for me in high school.  She was so tired of me losing my retainer (which sometimes led to us digging through cafeteria trash cans and worse) that she drilled two holes in my yellow retainer case and strung it with some twine, creating a very fashionable necklace indeed.

The sad thing is, I wore that hideous necklace.  I really did.  I can't believe I had any friends.

Anyway, I found the cell phone (it was in the car), and when I had recharged it, I saw that I'd missed seven calls and hadn't replied to five important text messages.  (I can't believe I have any friends now.)

Sadly, I couldn't read a few of the texts because my cell phone screen looks like this:


Can you guess why?

I promise I actually am an organized and capable person--but for some reason, I have a real problem with cell phones!

What do you say, Lizzy...want to make me another cool necklace? :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Went on a Road Trip By Myself

Last month, I went on a road trip by myself.  I had never done that before, and I must admit, it was quite relaxing.  As I drove into the Colorado mountains, I couldn't help but marvel at the blue skies and the snowcapped peaks.  I rolled down the windows and let the wind rush over me, and I felt grateful, happy, and blessed.  There's just something about being alone in a beautiful place...God feels nearer somehow.

I drove to Moab, Utah where I met my college roommates so we could run in a race together.  They are some of my best friends in the world, and I'm so grateful that we've all stayed in touch despite the fact that we live in different states and are in different stages of life.  We stay close through a private blog that only the five of us have access to, and we manage to have a girls' reunion at least once a year.

The trip to Moab was the first time I'd left Noah overnight, and it was harder than I expected it would be.  I knew he was in good hands (he was with my sister during the day and Ryan at night), but I missed him immediately, as soon as I drove away from my sister's house.  I called her every few hours to check in and see how my little man was doing.  Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom can feel tiring, isolating, and frustrating, but this brief time away reminded me how incredibly grateful I am that I get to spend every day with Noah.  I had a wonderful weekend with my friends--it was so so good to see them--and when I got home, I was ready to be a stay-at-home mom again.  It helped that Noah could not contain his glee when I walked in the door.  He was grinning and reaching for me and panting in excitement.   When I picked him up, I hugged him close and put his cheek against mine--and then I almost started crying.  I was just so happy to see him.

The trip made me think about so many things.  On the car ride to Moab, I listened to an essayistic memoir called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and on the way home, I listened to an epic novel called A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Both books made me deeply ponder the world and my place in it.

I don't know quite how to explain A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  It was unlike any book I've ever read in form and even in content.  The author, Donald Miller, realizes that, though he's made a career out of writing stories, the life that he's "written" for himself is boring and uncompelling.  He is not living a good story.  Each chapter introduces a principle of writing meaningful stories and then applies that same principle to living meaningful lives.  The book is funny at times, sad at times, and overall very very thought-provoking.  It made me want to live deliberately, to set goals and go after them, to consciously choose a meaningful story.

I felt like it came at a good time.  I have entered a new chapter in my life, that of motherhood, and I can decide if that story is going to be boring or beautiful.  Ryan and I will also have to make decisions about his career in the near future, and I want to choose a story that is going to fill our lives with meaning, not just money.  There is soooo much more to life than money.

On the way home, I listened to A Thousand Splendid Suns, a novel which captures the struggles of women in Afghanistan by telling the life stories of two Afghani women.  I fell in love with the main characters, and I have thought of them often in the month since I finished the book.  Their stories made me so grateful for my life--for my husband, for my freedoms, and for my opportunities.  This book was profoundly sad, but it touched my soul.  Not an easy read but definitely an important one.  It no longer seems like such a big deal when I have to make several trips up and down the apartment stairs to carry in the baby and the groceries, or when I am doing a sink full of dishes for the third time that day, or when my husband isn't home until 11 p.m. because he is on-call at the hospital.  I love books and movies that remind me to count my blessings, and this was definitely one of those.  I wish it was easier to hold on to my resolutions to be more grateful (I hate to admit that I have complained a time or two about the dishes since reading this book), but I figure the more often I have an experience that reminds me how blessed I am, the more likely I am to permanently internalize that fact.  This is one of the many reasons why I love reading.

So from start to finish, my solitary road trip was a good one.  I definitely think it should become an annual tradition for me.  It gave me time to think and reflect, and I came home with renewed perspective and resolve to treasure each day of the life that God has given me.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Melancholy Moments; Meaningful Moments

I am naturally a melancholy person.  That may be surprising to some people, even those who know me fairly well, because I generally try to hide my melancholia.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy...I do my share of dancing in the kitchen and singing at the top of my lungs; but the truth is, I am prone to feeling a lot of guilt, stress, and discouragement on a daily basis because I can't do everything that I feel like I "should" be doing or want to be doing.  I am a perfectionist, I am a worrier, and I am hard on myself.  To make matters worse, I am very aware of how incredibly blessed I am--I know that I have no reason to ever feel unhappy--which makes me beat up on myself all the more.

Unfortunately, when my husband is stressed out from work, he develops quite a bit of this temperament as well.  He's naturally an easy going person, but he craves peace, and when he works from dawn until midnight and doesn't get a moment throughout the day to relax (which seems to be the constant reality these days), he is not a very happy camper.  He becomes self-critical, discouraged, and overwhelmed.

So we've been a couple of Debbie Downers around here lately.  Not proud to admit it, but I am against blog facades in all forms, so I thought I would go ahead and acknowledge the truth.

Back in January, we chose a verse from The Book of Mormon as our family "theme" for the year: "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness" (2 Nephi 5:27).  We decided that we wanted to spend the year focusing on being happier in our daily lives.  We thought we would devote each of our weekly Family Home Evenings to discussing a different aspect of happiness, and we also set daily goals that I call the "habits for happiness": personal and family prayer and scripture study, exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep...you know, the basics.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Wrong!!  Why is it so hard to accomplish all of these "little" goals in addition to everything else we have going on in life??  And we've only had FHE about three times since declaring our theme in January!  We are awesome!!

In all seriousness, I have a lot of thoughts about goal setting and happiness and perfectionism, but I am going to save those for another post, and I am going to end my day by focusing on something that does make me insanely happy: my adorable son.

Noah wakes up early.  I think it's Ryan's alarm that wakes him up (our apartment is very small), so Ryan will give him a bottle, change his diaper, and let him play in the bathroom while he gets ready.  This morning, I woke up to the sound of Noah's jabber moving closer and closer to me.  Confused, I opened my eyes to see where it was coming from, and I saw a shadow crawling down the hallway outside our room.  I couldn't stop grinning as I watched that little shadow getting bigger and bigger.  I knew that at any moment, Noah's cute little face would peek around the door frame.  What a way to start the day!

He is really moving now.  Sometimes when I turn my back for two minutes, I am shocked to turn back around and find him in a totally different room.  He is a little speed demon, and he loves his new mobility.  I am finding that all of his pants and pjs have dark brown spots on the knees...oops, I guess I better start vacuuming!

He has two tiny teeth poking through his bottom gums now, and when he grins, you can see them.  It is the cutest smile in the world.

Watching Noah grow is such a joy, and I know it will go by way too fast.  I often get frustrated with myself because I feel like I never change.  I have the same weaknesses that I had a year ago, which is sooooo discouraging.  But I try to remember that I can't spend my days focused on my same old imperfections because right in front of me is a little being who is changing--so much, all the time!  I have the rest of my life to worry about my to-do lists and my goals.  Witnessing my son learning to crawl and sit and pull himself up on things--these moments and milestones are so fleeting.

So I end tonight's post with some recent videos of Noah that make me happy.  The first is a video of him splashing like crazy in the bathtub (his favorite thing); the second is a video of him doing his "happy wiggle" while eating breakfast (Ryan filmed this moment sideways); and the last is a video of him giggling in delight when he first learned to crawl (this might be my favorite video of them all).

These are the moments to focus on when I am feeling melancholy.  I am one lucky mama.






Sunday, February 5, 2012

What kind of a housewife am I??

Remember when Noah was first born, and I had delusions of becoming a great housewife?

Well, this week, I ruined three loads of laundry.  THREE.  First, I forgot that a load was in the washer and left it there for several days.  All of those clothes now have a funky mildew smell.  (Any advice?)  Then, I washed a load without realizing that my purple uniball pen was in the pocket of my sweatpants.  The whites (including Ryan's nice dress shirt and all of our underwear) now have a nice violet hue.  And finally, and this one is the kicker, I did a load of Noah's clothes using fabric softener instead of laundry detergent.  The fabric softener was in a big jug like detergent, and I just poured it right onto the clothes, not thinking.  The undiluted blue liquid left splatter stains all over everything.

I swear I have been doing my own laundry for about ten years now without incident.  How could I ruin three loads of laundry in one week??  I am a total idiot!

On top of all of my laundry mishaps, I am a complete failure in the kitchen.  I can't remember the last time I cooked a real meal.  My aspirations to make dinner more often now that I am a stay-at-home mom seem to have evaporated in the past few months.  Not sure why--I just have no motivation to choose recipes (this step overwhelms me for some reason), then get to the grocery store (so much harder with a baby), and then slave away in our tiny and perpetually messy kitchen (yes, keeping the kitchen clean should be my responsibility too!).

And I ruined a pan of brownies today.  Like, a boxed brownie mix.  After living in Buffalo for four years, I am out of the habit of using the "high altitude" directions on the box, and our brownies came out hard as a rock.

I know, I'm awesome.  Go ahead and call me Martha Stewart.

Sheesh.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Used to Be a Blogger

It is after midnight, and here I am blogging.  Ryan and I just finished the last episode of season two of Downton Abbey (you can find them online), and that show leaves me feeling both happy and angsty at the same time.  I am a sucker for "period" dramas.  Anyway, Ryan went to bed like a sensible chap (imagine the British accent), but I have the sudden urge to blog--which doesn't happen too much anymore so I am taking advantage of my burst of motivation.

I used to really enjoy blogging.  I used to do it on a fairly regular basis.  But I've recently realized that I no longer have thoughts.  Is that normal?  All I think about all day is laundry and baby sleep schedules, neither of which seems like an exciting topic for a blog post.  When I do actually have deep thoughts, I am too tired to make sense of them and write them down.

And now I can't think of anything more to say.

When I started this post, I thought that I was in the mood to write...but now I am feeling exceptionally tired, so I think I will go to bed.

Maybe I'll try again tomorrow!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kids Make Me Laugh

A few months ago, I bought some wrapping paper from a neighborhood girl for her school fundraiser.  After I wrote the check, I completely forgot about it.  But just now, there was a knock on the door, and I opened it to this same little girl who had come to deliver my gift wrap.  She was wearing the most ginormous neon orange sunglasses I have ever seen.  Seriously, these things were as big as her face.  I couldn't help but grin, considering it is dusk right now (not at all sunny), and it is 20 degrees outside.

"Did you make lots of money for your fundraiser?" I asked.

"Yup!"  She nodded enthusiastically, and her sunglasses bounced up and down on her nose.

"Did you get lots of cool prizes?"

"Uh huh.  These sunglasses are one of them!" she said proudly.

"Really?  I wouldn't have guessed that!" I said very seriously.

As she walked away, I thought about calling her back to take her picture, but I thought that might be a little creepy.

I love little kids.  They are too funny.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dilemma

I am extremely hard on cell phones.  I have a history of dropping phones on the hardwood floor, on the pavement outside the car (this happens almost daily when I forget that my phone is on my lap while getting out of the car), and in mixing bowls full of water.

When I am not dropping my phone, I am losing my phone.  I swear, half of the time, I don't know where my phone is.

For obvious reasons, I always get the cheapest model of cell phone, and I've been pleasantly surprised by how sturdy these little cheapos can be.  For the most part, they survive my accidents.  The phone that I dropped in the mixing bowl full of water started working again after I'd already ordered its replacement, so it became Ryan's phone.  He recently accidentally dropped it in a toilet, and it still works.

So imagine my surprise when today, without any warning or provocation (I didn't drop it or anything!), my cell phone stopped working.  None of the buttons work.  I tried texting, I tried pushing numbers...nothing.  So I decided to try the fail-proof solution that I always employ when my electronics stop working: turn it off and then on again.

Unfortunately, after I turned it off, it wouldn't turn back on.  I think it is really dead this time.

So here's my dilemma: With all of the promotions that they have going on right now, upgrading to a "smart phone" is about the same price as getting another cheapo.  I have wanted a smart phone in the past, but I've always decided against it because 1) I will inevitably break or lose it, and 2) I don't want to pay for the data plan, and 3) I don't want to become even more obsessed with checking my email/Facebook constantly.

What should I do?  Advice is appreciated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sun Shiny Day at the Grocery Store

I had the most pleasant experience at the grocery store today.

Everywhere I went, people smiled at me.  It was delightful.  It took me about .5 seconds to figure out the reason they were smiling: Noah was strapped in his Baby Bjorn, facing out like a little kangaroo joey, his head bobbing to and fro with each step I took.

Of course they were smiling!

At one point, I walked up to a thug-looking teenage worker who was stocking shelves. 

"Excuse me," I said.  "Can you tell me where the dry onion soup mix is?"

He looked up from his shelf, and his eyes settled on Noah for a second, and when he looked back at me to answer, I could tell he was fighting a grin.  This made me fight a grin too, and when it was apparent that we were both trying not to smile, the kid burst out laughing and squealed, "Ohhhh he's so cute!"

It made my day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What A Day

This is my nephew Callum:


Darling, huh?  Well his personality is darling too.  He is friendly, affectionate, and smart.  He hugs anyone, says that "Aunt Rachel" is his best friend, and rarely throws temper tantrums.  Whenever he sees Noah, he says in an exuberant voice, "Hi, Baby Noah!" and insists on giving him a sloppy kiss.

Though he couldn't possibly be any sweeter, Callum can still be a handful because he has more energy than even your average 2.5-year-old.

I think I temporarily forgot that when I offered to run errands with him and Noah this morning.  Cranky 7-week-old  +  Active 2.5-year-old + Multiple errands = Exhausting disaster.

My sister designs jewelry, and she has a big sale coming up this next weekend, so she asked if I could watch Callum this morning while she got some orders made.  I agreed, but when I showed up at her house to pick him up, she said, "While you're gone, I'm going to run to the post office to mail a few of my orders and then to the muffin place  because my groupon expires today."

"Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of me watching Callum so you can work on jewelry?" I asked.  "We can run the errands while we're out."

She looked skeptical.  "Are you sure?"

"Absolutely," I insisted.

And so off we drove on our blissful little adventure.  We rolled down the windows and looked at the trucks passing by.  We sang "If You're Happy and You Know It."  The skies were blue and a slight breeze was blowing...and then a cop pulled up behind me with his lights on.

Confused, I looked down at my spedometer.  "I'm only going 43," I thought.  "He must want me to pull over so he can pass by and continue on to an accident or something."

No such luck.  As he was walking up to our car, Noah started screaming and Callum started yelling, "Hi, Policeman!  Hi, Policeman!"  I thought this might work in my favor, but the cop didn't even seem to notice.

"I thought the speed limit was 40," I said when he told me I'd been speeding.

"Yes, but this a school zone.  So right now the speed limit is 30, and you were going 13 over."

I almost said the d-word, but I remembered that I had virgin ears in the backseat, so I refrained.

As we pulled away, a nice $100 ticket in hand, Noah seemed as upset about the ticket as I was--he started crying and didn't stop for the next hour.  As much as I appreciated his empathy, I kind of wished he would put a sock in it.

Remember last summer when I got a speeding ticket on my way to church?  And a year later, I'm getting a ticket as I try to do a favor for my sister??  It just isn't right.

So we continued on to the post office, and the line was massively long, so I decided to do the self-service station.  Noah was screaming, and Callum was running around pulling envelopes off of the shelves.  I told him to stop, so he started doing something else exciting--banging on the side of the counter.  It was super loud, and everyone was staring, so I said, "Callum, please don't make a scene."

"But I need to make a scene, Aunt Rachel!  I need to!" he insisted.

I shouldn't have laughed, but I couldn't help it.  This kid is too much.  I got him to come over and help me push the buttons on the self-service screen, but as soon as I put him down, he ran back to the counter and started banging, saying over and over, "I need to make a scene!  I need to make a scene."

Well, you succeeded, Callum.  We definitely made a scene!

So then it was on to the muffin shop.  Callum helped me pick out the flavors of the muffins, and he said he wanted the chocolate one.  I guess the lady behind the counter thought he meant immediately because she handed it to him while I was paying and didn't notice.  (She obviously does not have children.)  When I turned around, he was literally covered in chocolate, as was the floor all around him.

Noah was still crying.

I was planning to take them to the park afterward, but when the box of muffins spilled while I was buckling them into their carseats, I decided it was time to go home.

I have never been so exhausted.

My biggest question is...how do mothers of two children run errands???  How about three...four...five children??  Do they ever leave their houses?

I might not---at least not with Callum! :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring...


It is raining like crazy here.  I love a good summer downpour.  It's been hot all day, and then all of the sudden--BOOM--clap of thunder and it starts to pour.  I love it.

I stood on our porch for a few minutes and watched the rain coming down in sheets, and then I came inside and discovered that our livingroom windows leak.  Lovely.  The arm of our new (to us) couch is now soaking.  I'm guessing it will leave a nice ring on the fabric when it dries.  This is why we shop Craigslist.

Speaking of, I've had a few requests for photos of our new apartment.  Our apartment is nothing fancy to blog about or photograph, but we did find a couple of pieces of furniture that I am pretty excited about.  I stumbled into an antique shop a few weeks ago, and I thought I had died and gone to Anthropologie Heaven (i.e. Anthro style but way cheaper).

I got a few cute things:

Tile Coffee Table

Look at the funky details!

Fun, bright kitchen chairs!
Unfortunately, there were only two of these, so I have to figure out how to get two more that somewhat match.
I love this hook for my aprons.
Also, please note the location of the electrical outlet.  That will become important later.
Isn't this jewelry thing cool?  It's just an old painted frame with chicken wire behind it.
I really like this banner.  Not sure where to hang it yet.

Old chest of drawers thing (I think there's a name for it)

 And here is the baby's $1 garage sale globe:


Lest you think our house is cuter than it actually is, allow me to show you our amazing kitchen cupboards:

Elegant.

Very posh.
Despite the crappy cupboards, we feel like we are really moving up in the apartment world.  Our first married apartment was an attic in Provo, Utah that we rented for $400 a month.  It was tiny, and the shower was under the slant of the roof, so we had to sit down or hunch over while we bathed.  I wish I had more photos of that place.  I think it was kind of charming.

Our next apartment was the upstairs of a little house in Buffalo, New York.  One bedroom; interesting neighborhood (i.e. robbed once and mugged once); the outlets were all in odd places, so it was a production to plug in any of our appliances; no AC for the humid summers and no insulation for the cold winters; living room painted "sunset pink" (no, we did not get to choose our paint colors).  We loved it.

We are now in a two bedroom apartment with leaky windows in Aurora, Colorado.  The kitchen is narrow and the cupboards are ugly, but at least the outlets are all in the right places, we have air conditioning, and we have our own washer and dryer right in our hallway closet.  The other day, Ryan was making himself a protein shake, and he said, "I love this place.  It is so easy to plug in the blender."  Life is good.

We haven't even attempted to decorate the baby's room yet--I think that is next week's project.  But adoption paperwork is coming along, and we are getting more and more excited.  We did receive fingerprint clearance (thanks for the prayers), so now we are just waiting for our new health insurance cards, Ryan's first paycheck, and a reference from our new Bishop.   I can't believe that this 1.5 year+ adoption journey is almost over.  I also can't believe that most married couples in the world just get to enjoy a romantic evening together in order to get a baby.  As Napoleon Dynamite would say, "Luuckyyy!"

Katie is doing well.  I believe she is 36 weeks along, and she looks great and is healthy.  The baby is due August 11, but I am going to visit her for five days at the end of July while her parents are out of town.  I can't wait to see her and to feel the baby kick.  We are going to have fun (I'm thinking shopping, movies, massages, restaurants), and we'll also meet with her caseworker to talk through adoption logistics and take a tour of the hospital where she will be delivering.  I'll also go with her to a doctor appointment. :)

I'll come back home to Colorado on July 29th, only to return to Utah a week later (August 5th) to await the baby's arrival.  Katie has invited us to be at the hospital when the baby is born, so we can be a part of his first few minutes of life.   I can't believe this is all really happening, and I am so grateful to Katie.  I love her.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers during these last few weeks of her pregnancy and in the weeks after the baby's placement with us.

The rain has let up, and I expect Ryan will be home from work any minute with lots of stories to tell me (he is really loving his job), so I better run.

Love you all.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not your Typical Night at the Gym

Ryan and I don't have internet access in our apartment yet, so we occasionally go to the club house of our apartment complex to use the free wi-fi.  At night, the club house is locked, so we have to sit in the small (and crappy) gym to use the internet.  I am currently sitting on the floor of the dirty gym, while Ryan sits on one of the weight machines, both of us with our laptops.

Outside, a raucous Latino party is going on.  This is a full family affair, and every once in a while, one of the children comes wandering into the gym.  I asked one of the kids what the party is for, and she told me it's a baby shower.  I've never seen a baby shower so boisterous or with so many men--or so much beer.  (My older sister is throwing me a baby shower next week, and I doubt it will be this interesting.)

Now, eight kids have wandered in here.
A little boy about eight years old is running on the treadmill, going about 5 mph, wearing pointy cowboy boots.
A chubby girl holding her purse is trying out the elliptical.
A crowd of kids is now gathered around Cowboy on the treadmill, and he is increasing his speed to impress them.
I just spoke up and said, "Please don't go any faster.  I don't want you to trip.  I have fallen off a treadmill before, and it hurt."
I am now laughing.  The kids aren't.
A kid is now on every machine, Cowboy has stripped off his shirt, and he is sweating profusely.  His jeans are hiked up above his belly button, to keep them up as he runs.
Several parents have now entered the room and are watching this spectacle like it's the most normal thing in the world.

I have never seen anything like this ever.

I just thought I would share.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Feeling a Goodbye

I am sitting at my desk at school, and I am tired.  This morning, my desk was largely cleared of piles and rubbish (a colleague even commented, "Wow, this is the cleanest I have seen your desk in four years!")--but now, after a busy day of teaching, it is a disaster zone again. 

In front of me on the desk:

-a pile of vocabulary quizzes--two are graded, the rest remain untouched because I got distracted by organizing my lesson plan binders.
-a carved coconut head and a copy of Empire Falls, given to me by a tearful colleague whom I will dearly miss.
-four one-dollar bills, collected in my 7th period class as part of an effort to order pizza tomorrow for my "going away party" (the rest of the students swear they will have money tomorrow).
-a very chewed-up pen.
-a sticky note containing my current "to-do" list.
-a pile of The Scarlet Letter presentation outlines that I need to grade and return tomorrow.

Scattered across the floor of my classroom:

-a splayed out pile of the research papers that I collected today (and will need to grade sometime in the next month between graduation, moving, and a friend's wedding).
-a box of 125 copies of the school's literary magazine  (I am the club adviser).
-a speaker and microphone for tonight's poetry reading for the literary magazine (won't get home until about 10:00 p.m.).
 -a wrapped present for a colleague who is having a baby (never had a chance to give it to her today).
-my purse (with all of the contents spilled out on the tile because I accidentally kicked it when carrying in the box of literary magazines).

As I write this, I realize that this is the second blog post in two weeks that I've written in the format of a list.  It feels like my life right now has become a series of lists:  1. Finish a five-year teaching career to which I have given my whole heart and soul.  2. Pack up our little apartment on Rounds Ave and say goodbye to friends who have become our family.  3.  Watch my husband graduate from dental school and marvel at all he's accomplished.  4.  Drive across the country and find a new home that we hope to love as much as we've loved this one.  5.  Complete adoption paperwork as soon as possible and prepare to become the mother of a tiny, precious human being.

It's a lot to take in all at once.  Maybe the lists are helping me manage not only the many events that must take place in the next several weeks--but also the deep emotions that will accompany those events.  I am desperate to make sense of what I am feeling--to be able to capture it in words.  But I can't write about it--it feels too big--and I can't cry about it because, for some reason, I just don't cry.  I wish I did.

In the opening chapter of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is standing on a hill overlooking the football field at his boarding school.  He's just been kicked out for poor grades, and he knows he won't be returning next term.  He stands all alone in the freezing cold, watching his classmates down at the game enjoying themselves.  He says, in a way that only Holden can,"...Anyway, I kept standing next to that crazy cannon, looking down at the game...Only I wasn't watching the game too much.  What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of good-by.  I mean I've left schools and places I didn't even know I was leaving them.  I hate that.  I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave aplace, I like to know I'm leaving it" (4). 

I know just what Holden means--and I'm just hoping that tomorrow, and in the coming weeks as the life I know and love changes so much, I can feel my goodbye.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I Hate Games

I do not like board games.  First of all, they are boring.  Second (and this is the biggie), why would I want to spend hours thinking intensely and strategizing and stressing over a game?  I spend enough of my time thinking, strategizing, and stressing over my job and my life--I do not want to do any more of that "for fun."  No thank you.  Real life is hard enough.  When I relax with friends, I want to do something mindless.  (Like chat for hours and eat dessert--which is what I did with some girlfriends last night.  So fun!)

I realized the other night that I have similar feelings about sports.  I went to watch one of Ryan's indoor soccer games, and the entire time, I was filled with angst.  Will he do well?  Will his team win?  If they don't win, will he be disappointed in himself?  I honestly had the biggest pit in my stomach and had to do some deep breathing during their over-time penalty kicks.

All this for fun??  Insanity!!!  If my kids play high school sports, I might need to use a tranquilizer before each game.

Unfortunately for me, with Ryan as his dad, I'm guessing that our son will play sports.  Ry loves any and all sports, and people tell me that he is good at all of them.  In fact, Ryan's 10 Year Prediction published in the dental school yearbook says: "Abandons dentistry for several pro sports contracts.  Reverts back to his bowl cut."

Bowl cut?  I don't know what they're talking about.


Well, the other night, Dr. Bowl Cut botched his penalty kick.  It went straight to the goalie.  The pro sports scouts in attendance are probably reconsidering their offers.

Fortunately, his teammates came through, and they won their game and will be heading to the championship match on Tuesday night.  Oh yeah.  If it weren't the night of my baby shower, I would feel obligated to take a tranquilizer and go to cheer for them.  But as it is, I will be chatting with girlfriends and eating delicious desserts instead.  I can't wait.

I snapped this photo of Ry with his all-star team.  He is mad because he didn't realize that the guys didn't put their arms around each other, so he looks like a creeper with his arm around the girl.  Ha!  I love it.  I bet she enjoyed a moment with my sweaty husband.  He is hot stuff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Melancholy

I am feeling melancholy.  I feel like I shouldn't admit that because I know I should be brimming with joy every day because of the good news that we got recently--but the truth is, I am stressed.  Not necessarily about the baby (though I will admit that I am not happy about the ginormous folder of Colorado adoption paper work that appeared in our mailbox this week)...I am just stressed.  About everything.

Our house is a disaster.  We have "to do" piles everywhere--stuff to be sorted and dealt with.  We haven't unpacked from our trip yet, though we've been home for two days.  We haven't had time.

I work "part-time," but I've been at the school until 7 p.m. three nights in a row.  I will never catch up on the grading that I have to do.

Our time in Buffalo is drawing to a close, and I have regrets.  I don't like having regrets.  I regret not spending more time with friends.  I regret not spending more time with Deborah.  I regret not spending more time with our neighbor kids, who haven't been over to make cookies since the summer.  I regret that I didn't let go and have more fun while we lived here. ...it's difficult to explain to someone who has never been a teacher what it's like to be a teacher.  I wish I wouldn't have spent so much time on teaching.

Do you ever feel like you can't do everything in your life well?  So you just do as much as you can semi-well, but it never feels really satisfying?  Do you ever look back on previous years and think, "How did I do it all back then?"  It seems like I used to be able to do more and handle more.

I feel like I run around every day "putting out fires," and yet I never seem to make any progress.  I wish that I could just accept this as the reality of my life and stop feeling stressed about it.  I wish I had a more eternal perspective.

I hope the snow on the ground melts tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kindred Spirits

It is almost 1 a.m., and I am sitting here surfing adoption blogs.

It is really addicting.  I mean, really.

As I write this, I can picture my dad somewhere reading it.  He is shaking his head and thinking about how the next time he talks to me, he is going to have to tell me to start going to bed earlier.  Sorry, Dad--I can't help it.  

Did you know that there are a lot of very awesome people who are hoping to adopt?  Through the insane miracle of the Internet, I have come in contact with so many inspiring people who are in the process of adopting or who have already adopted.

These women have become my friends.  As we've swapped blog comments and emails, they have strengthened me and given me hope.  Who knew that I have so many kindred spirits who have trodden the adoption path before me or who are trodding it now with me?

First, I found Lacey, who adopted her adorable little baby girl Emme just 4-5 months ago.  (She only had two weeks notice!  Best surprise in the world!)

Then, I found Amy, who is currently waiting to adopt, like we are.  I stumbled upon her adoption blog, and we started exchanging emails, and we really connected.  It's nice to have someone who is right there with me.

Then, I found Andrea, who actually went to the same church that I did growing up.  I always looked up to her and admired her beauty and her singing voice.  She and her husband are hoping to adopt as well.

Then, I found Kenna, who just adopted her beyond precious little boy Harley when he was about 13 months old.  (It's an incredible story.)

Then, I found Whitney, who is also currently trying to adopt (and who, at this point, is just a Friend Crush, but she and her husband seem to be beyond fun and cool).

I love how adoption binds women together.  I love the adoption community.  I love reading the stories of how other couples finally found their babies.

Before I hit the sack, I just have to say...adoption is really amazing.

Goodnight!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Do you want to eat more veggies?


I'm not a fan of vegetables.  Never have been.  We didn't eat a lot of vegetables in my house growing up; we ate baby carrots, frozen corn (which I hear is a grain, not a vegetable), frozen peas, canned green beans, and an occasional salad...but that's about it.

It's one of my life goals to learn how to prepare delicious vegetables--to teach myself (and my future kids) to like veggies.

Luckily for me, another English teacher at my school, Kristen, is incredibly devoted to health and fitness.  She is amazing!  She is a teeny tiny little thing, but she is also super buff and can lift some serious weights.  

I often ask her questions about nutrition, and I recently asked her to start a weekly post on her health/fitness blog of easy, "non-scary" vegetable recipes.  She agreed!

I think she will be posting an easy veggie recipe every week in my honor (she actually titled the series "Rachel's Recipes"), and I've promised her that I will try them all.  If you'd like to join me in the quest to eat more veggies, check out Kristen's blog here.

In the mean time, do you have any easy, delicious, nutritious vegetable recipes that you are willing to share with me?  If so, post the recipe in the comments or email me.  I promise I'll give each recipe a try.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A few random things:

1.  My cell phone is functioning again.  With a longer battery life.  It must've needed a little bath to clean out the gunk.

2.  I went with Sherry to see the musical Mary Poppins last night.  The whole time, I kept looking at my big carpet bag purse and wishing I could pull a lamp out of it.  But I do carry around lots of random things in my purse--including a roll of packing tape with a razor-sharp cutter thingy.  Tonight, when I reached into my bag to grab my now-functioning cell phone, I cut my finger.  Luckily, my friend Tiffany was kind enough to give me a Sponge Bob band-aid.

3.  Ryan has been in Alaska this week.  He went there for a dental residency interview.  He texted me one afternoon to say that he had just seen a gigantic moose grazing on the side of the road.  I picked him up from the airport tonight, and I am oh so glad to have him home again.  He is handsome.

4.  I am tired and stressed these days.  But writing blog posts like these help.  Life is really uncertain and really busy for us right now.  But it is also good.