Friday, October 24, 2014

Germs

This past Tuesday my husband came home from work in the afternoon. He has to be back to the church around 6:00 pm because he's teaching a webinar for CBMatrix. He teaches for roughly an hour, takes a break and then teaches for about another hour. When he got home, he wasn't feeling well. He took a nap. When he woke up, I was getting ready to head out the door to get the boys their flu vaccination. I kissed Troy and he WAS BURNING UP.

That fever, 101.5 when I shoved the thermometer into his ear a minute after feeling ALL the HEAT, did not break until yesterday. It was almost a full 48 hours of 101. It would dive, temporarily, down to a high 99 when he took Ibuprofen but then it would shoot back up again. He was miserable.

Yesterday, he woke up, still burning, and informed me that he was throwing in the towel. It was time to bring in the big guns. And by the big guns, I mean, a physician. I asked if he had any other symptoms and he said that his head hurt horribly.

"Does your throat hurt?" I asked. "Maybe it's strep."

"I've never had strep in my entire life," he reminded me. Just before I left to take the boys to school he took his temperature again. I asked him if his fever was down at all. "It's 100," he told me. Then he switched the thermometer to the other ear. "Wait. Maybe not. It's 105."

"A HUNDRED AND FIVE?!?!" I howled. Because I think my temperature was 104 or 105 when I was two years old and I can vividly remember all the terrible hallucinations I saw on that horrid night. And I was a child. I feel like 105 for an adult would be, maybe, mostly dead. I kid not, my mind had already thrown my kids in the car and used super human strength to lift my husband from the bed, stuck him in the car, thrown cold, wet towels on his head and floored it to the ER before he ever had the time to shake his head. "No. Sorry. 101 POINT 5."

Whew. That's, just, a lot better.

I insisted on driving him to the doctor because, in his feverish state, I didn't want him hallucinating an open lane where really there was a bus. The doctor asked him if his throat hurt. "Not really, Maybe just a little." He pointed a flashlight into Troy's throat and nearly recoiled.

"Oh. Okay. Wow. So your throat is really red and there's white pockets on your tonsils and I'm pretty sure it's strep."

So there's a first time for everything.

He took an antibiotic and he's on the mend. But, apparently, strep really doesn't agree with my husband because I have never seen him sicker than he was over these last few days. I wanted to love him and take care of him and will him to feel better all while simultaneously staying several feet away from him and his highly contagious germs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunglasses

I recently had to send someone some pictures. It was specifically requested that we not be wearing sunglasses. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND PICTURES OF MY FAMILY WHERE MY HUSBAND IS NOT WEARING SUNGLASSES?

I wanted to send some pictures from our Israel trip a year ago. EXCEPT THERE WERE NONE. I could not find a single picture of our family that was both GOOD and SUNGLASSES FREE. In fairness, we spent the majority of our time outside and it was bright. So, I was pretty much wearing sunglasses the entire time too.

So I went back in time to our Maui trip from 2012. I found ONE picture where my husband wasn't sporting his shades. Obviously, this wasn't it.


Neither was this.


The pictures from all of our Tahoe trips look like this...


And, alright, so these aren't sunglasses but I couldn't resist posting this shot. I married him because he is reserved and proper. Clearly.


He even takes a picture in front of the door to a bed and breakfast. Sunglasses.


It's like he doesn't even have eyes. You wouldn't know that he actually does. And that they are the bluest blue you've maybe ever seen. You wouldn't know that I get lost in them. Maybe that's the thing. Maybe he has to wear them so that I can properly function.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Candy Pumpkins

Candy corn is fine.

Candy corn with the chocolate top is gross because it tastes like artificial chocolate. Like, when I was a kid and they asked me what flavor of florid I wanted at the dentist and I enthusiastically shouted, "CHOCOLATE!" and then was horribly disappointed because NOT REAL CHOCOLATE.

But those little candy pumpkins are really where it's at. And I need to stop impulsively buying them and then proceeding to eat the entire bag in under a week. With little help. The youngest hates them and won't touch them with someone else's tongue. The husband and the oldest both like them but probably eat one to my five. So, in a week's time, I can be found consuming roughly 80% of a bag of orange deliciousness. It's a problem.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

At Least It Isn't NASCAR

So. Listen. I once heard a women's speaker talk about marriage. Her point was that we need to find shared interests and that, if we can't find them, we need to MAKE THEM HAPPEN. She told about how her husband was a huge NASCAR fan and how she really hated NASCAR. But then, she started sitting down with her husband because, well, she wanted to spend time with him EVEN when he was watching NASCAR and, first, she found herself learning about racing. Then, she started to get to know certain drivers. Then she found herself LIKING certain drivers and then, CHEERING FOR CERTAIN DRIVERS! Now, she is a huge NASCAR fan. All because she wanted to spend some time with her NASCAR loving husband.

Let me interrupt this program to say that I would rather be tied up with chains while ants devoured my body one teensy, tiny, piece at a time than become a NASCAR fan.You can just kill me dead because I would prefer the grave to watching a car race drive around a circular track over and over and over and over and over and over again. Ask me what I love most about my husband and, well, up until this very moment I would have told you that I love his heart for Jesus. But that's only because I forgot about how he doesn't watch NASCAR*.

I totally get it though. NOT about NASCAR, but about spending time with your spouse and learning to love what they love. Or your close friends. Or your children. Really, this works with any significant relationship you have.

When I married my husband, I detested soccer. Hated it. And, in the interest of full disclosure, it's important for me to explain that I still don't really like soccer. But a weird thing has happened. I've become fascinated by the World Cup. I can't explain it. I watched A LOT of it this past year and I even watched it when my husband wasn't watching me watch it. As in, when he wasn't even home. 

Another weird things has happened. I've started yelling things at my children. Things like, "GO DOWN THE LINE!"

And, "TOP DEFENDER!"


Even, "GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL!"


I've been so proud of my boys this season because they're really learning. Garrett is SUCH a good listener. He plays wherever the coach tells him to play and he doesn't try to be the star. He's one of the best defenders on the team. He's also one of the fastest kids, which makes him an asset. 

This year, the boys joined teams full of kids that had already been playing together for awhile. But they quickly began to fit in. Garrett, by proving his worth by following directions. He even managed to score once, despite the fact that he is very often found playing defense. And Matthew, by, well, by being a bit of a stud. Where his brother is just fine being a team player, this guy wants to be the star. (We're working on it.)

When he sets his mind to it (disclaimer: he doesn't always set his mind to it) he is FAST and SOLID and FAST and COMPETITIVE and FAST.


And he's scored 11 goals this season, with one game remaining.


I somehow find myself on the edge of my seat, somewhat crazy excited when one of my kids has a clear shot, internally howling things like, "BE AGGRESSIVE!"

It's taken eleven long years but, it's entirely possible that my husband and his soccer loving family and our soccer loving boys have finally rubbed off on me.

Don't get me wrong, I'd still choose football or swimming or track over soccer. But when the boys want to play it, well, I suppose that's fine.

I still draw the line at NASCAR.

*Okay. No. The fact that he doesn't watch NASCAR is not at the top of the list, by any means. BUT IT IS ON THE LIST!

Friday, October 10, 2014

So You Didn't Grow Up In Utah?

Since I (largely) disagreed with Chad Buleen's 13 Ways People Can Tell You Didn't Grow Up in Utah, I decided to come up with a more accurate list. Many things popped into my head that I didn't end up using. Bipolar weather, for example. Here in Utah, a storm can blow through in a matter of minutes. However, this is true of so many other places in our country that it's hardly a native Utah thing. So I crossed it out with a big black Sharpie. Unfortunately, not everyone has the good fortune of spending the first 26 years of her life in a place with near perfect weather year round. I also thought about how everyone uses the "I" when discussing an Interstate. "Take I-15," they'll say. Where I grew up, in southern California, everyone says, "the 15." Or the 163 or the 8 or any number of the other dozens of freeways. We don't feel the need to clarify that it's an Interstate. However, I've heard people use the "I" in other places so, again, it isn't something unique to Utah. Still, I was able to come up with a list of actual ways people can tell you didn't grow up in Utah. I present it to you now. This is very important stuff. I'm sure that all two of my Utah readers will find it fascinating while the other eight of you just wait for the next post.

1. You had never heard, nor do you use, the phrase, "Oh my heck!"
I was warned about this before I moved here so I wish I could say that I was ready for it. The truth of the matter is that nothing prepares you for this phrase. What does it mean? I've even heard it altered. Oh my go to heck. Yep. If Utahns can get away with this I think we should all just start making up our own versions. "Oh my dearly departed great aunt Ruth!" or "Oh my fried salamander!" Whatever. Be creative.

2. You don't know any good recipes involving green Jell-O nor do you know how to cook Funeral Potatoes.
Everyone who is actually from here knows how to whip up a dish involving green Jell-O and shredded carrots. Everyone also knows how to make a dish referred to as Funeral Potatoes. I think this is because they're commonly eaten at the gathering immediately following a funeral. But I honestly don't know for sure on account of the fact that I'm not from here. The latter are actually delicious while the former is gross. Carrots? In Jell-O? It's a Utah thing.




3. You are not used to seeing an LDS meetinghouse on every corner.
The small town I grew up in had two wards that shared one building. Here, in the Salt Lake Valley, there's one ward for every few streets. The spires on the meetinghouses can be seen everywhere. If you're used to seeing a 7-11 or a Starbucks on every corner, you probably didn't grow up in Utah.


4. You didn't know that Halloween is more important than Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, and Independence Day put together.
Utahns LOVE their Halloween. When we came to visit in October of 2007, I had no idea what was happening. It was the very first week of the month and yards were COVERED in fake spider webs, grave stones, goblins, ghosts, witches, and black cats. People had changed their outside lighting to shine orange or eerie green. There were Halloween superstores everywhere. Now that I live here, I know about the crazy corn mazes, the haunted houses, the carnivals, and the fact that everything just about shuts down for this weird holiday. In other places, Halloween is for the kids. Here, well, it seems to be for everyone.


5. You've never heard of Pioneer Day.
In Utah, the only holiday bigger than Halloween is Pioneer Day. Where all the other states just have the 4th of July, Utah gets the 4th AND the 24th. Celebrating the day when Brigham Young led the first group of pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley, Utahns get the day off work to light fireworks, have barbecues, march in parades, and attend parties. It's exactly like what all Americans do on the 4th, except, 20 days later. So, if your Independence Day was lame, never fear. You've still got Pioneer Day.

6. You pronounce Hurricane, Tooele, and Mantua they way they look but you pronounce Juab with a silent J.
Juab is actually pronounced the way it looks. Jew-ab. This is confusing for anyone who moved here from anywhere with a Spanish or Latin American influence. It looks like Wahb to me. This is especially confusing because nothing else is pronounced the way it looks. Take Hurricane (Hurri-kin), Tooele (Too-ill-uh), and Mantua (Manna-way) for example.



7. You stop when the light turns red.
Here in Utah, when making a left turn, red lights are completely optional. No joke. When the light turns red, you can see three or four cars continue right on through the turn. Oncoming traffic has to sit and wait for everyone to break the law before they can safely go. If the city placed traffic cops at major intersections, we could easily balance the budget. It's ridiculous. It's dangerous. It's a serious problem.

8. You've never had to go to a state liquor store to buy alcohol.
The local grocery store doesn't have an alcohol section. Well, they do, but it consists of beer. If you want something else, anything else, cooking wine, even, you'll have to find your local state liquor store.


9. You've never sloughed/sluffed school before.
You've, perhaps, "ditched" school. Maybe you've even "skipped" school. But you've never sloughed it. To slough, in biology terms, means to shed or cast off. How this came to be the verb for a Utahn choosing to do anything but attend class is beyond me.

10. You eat ketchup with your fries.
Utah is the home of the fry sauce. I think fry sauce is some blend of mayonnaise and ketchup, heavy on the mayo. It's no wonder why this hasn't spread outside of Utah. It's straight up gross.



11. You come from a place that doesn't name all of its towns after LDS leaders, Biblical places or Book of Mormon locations.
Zion, Lehi, Nephi, Ephraim, Enoch, Brigham City, Lewiston, Moab, Willard and Woodruff. To name just a few.

12. You enunciate the T in mountain and you don't add a K to an "ing" word.
So many people native to these parts (and a lot of people who've just listened long enough to people native to these parts) do not pronounce the "t" found in the middle of words like mountain, fountain, titan, etc. There is a slight pause where the "t" should be, almost as though it's spoken softly from the back of the throat. Additionally, the "g" at the end of words gets caught in the back of the throat as well. As such, it seems that the "k" sound is added to the end of many "ing" words, resulting in these action verbs sounding more like they all end in the suffix "ink". Hikink, swimmink, flyink, sittink, sleepink. Will you meet me at the fow-an in the cen-er of the parkink lot?

13. You didn't name your son Jimmer, Hyrum or Monson. You didn't name your daughter Brinkley, McCall or LaKindree.
It's been brought to my attention that this is actually a problem here in Utah that has been written about, discussed, etc. The theory is that it does stem from the sheer volume of children born here and the fact that parents don't want them to be the fifth David in their class. So, they go with Dravin or Javid or something else, unique to their child. There are baby naming apocalypses going on in other places as well but it doesn't seem that anywhere is facing quite the epidemic that Utah children do.

I've posted this video before. It cracks me up. I'm not saying every name on this list is awful or terrible. Some of them are nice. But it's still way funny.


They just made a new video. Equally as hilarious.

So there you have it. 13 ways people can tell you didn't grow up in Utah.


Monday, October 6, 2014

13 Ways People Can Tell You Didn't Grow Up in Utah

I just can't even begin to write about the fact that, on Saturday, I found out that four people had died. I had only met two of them in real life but the deaths are all up front and personal for people I care about. Two of them were children. One was 29. It's rough. So I'm just going to go ahead and not talk about that right now and, instead, discuss something I saw on Facebook.

As I scrolled through my feed this morning I saw a link to an article titled 13 Ways People Can Tell You Didn't Grow Up in Utah. I was intrigued. The article was found at newscastic.com and was written by Chad Buleen.

Some of them are spot on. The rest are ridiculous. So let's explore them, shall we?

1. You Don't Quote "The Princess Bride"
FALSE. He goes on to say that it's a cute movie but suggests that people from other states don't quote this film, only Utahns. Um. What? Doesn't everyone quote this movie? I mean, I probably look at my husband on a weekly basis and say, "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife." This might say more about my own personality flaws than the fact that I like the film in question but, come on, Chad. Everyone quotes this classic.

2. You Enunciate the "t" in Mountain
TRUE. He says if you want to fit in here, you must stop saying the t's inside of words. TOTALLY true. Mountain sounds like m-owin. The "t" is kind of, sort of, there but it's spoken, somehow, from the back of the throat. It completely loses the tip-of-the-tongue-on-the-back-of-the-teeth aspect of saying an actual t. He stops short of telling us the other Utah accent issue which is to add a k to the end of all "ing" words. Example: We went hikink in the m-owins. If you heard me read that aloud, you'd think I sounded just like a native Utahn.

3. You Don't Care Who Wins the BYU-Utah Football Game
FALSE. Long before I moved here, my favorite college team was whoever happened to be playing the Cougars. When we candidated, a kid asked me if I was a BYU fan or a Utah fan. While, truly, at that time, the answer was neither, I emphatically announced that I was a Utes fan. Because, you know, given the choice, there was no decision to be made. Living here has only made this allegiance stronger and I now consider myself a University of Utah fan. When I see the Y on apparel (or hillsides), it conjures up as much disdain as the logo for the Raiders. If not more.

4. You Pronounce Tooele the Way It Looks
TRUE AND FALSE. When I first saw it spelled and heard it pronounced "correctly" on the news, I had no idea how they came to that. So, in that sense, true. It looks like too-elle. So too-elle it SHOULD be. But, now that I know how to say it, I don't go around saying, "Too-elle." I properly pronounce it, "Too-ill-uh." So. False.

5. You've Never Seen This Movie
FALSE. Because the movie that he shows under this heading is Newsies. And I'm sorry but, just, WHAT? WHO HASN'T SEEN THE NEWSIES? WHAT DRAMA STUDENT ANYWHERE HASN'T LISTENED TO THE SOUNDTRACK UNTIL IT'S ALL WORN OUT? WHO HASN'T DREAMED THAT SOMEONE WOULD STAGE AN ALL FEMALE VERSION?  WHO DOESN'T LOVE THIS MOVIE AND HOT, YOUNG, CHRISTIAN BALE?

6. What Everyone Else Calls "Rivers" You Call "Creeks"
FALSE. I'm from San Diego. Dude. A stream looks like a river to me. When I was a kid, I saw the Mississippi River at flood level. Holy cow. I thought it was a great lake.

7. You Don't Have a Mommy Blog
FALSE. Yes, yes I do. And I started it before I moved here.

8. You Eat Ketchup With Your Fries
TRUE. Or well, sometimes I eat them plain and sometimes I use BBQ sauce but I NEVER, EVER, use that disgusting light orange concoction that was invented here and is referred to as fry sauce. There's a reason it hasn't spread beyond your borders, Utah. It's GROSS.

9. You Drive the Speed Limit on I-15
FALSE. This one goes on to say that everyone in Utah drives 10-15 miles over the limit and that if you drive what's posted, you'll stand out. Well...I grew up in California so...I actually think we drive the freeways slower here in Utah. What this one should have said was, "You Stop When the Light Turns Red." Because, here in Utah, that's totally optional.

10. You Actually Want to Swim in the Great Salt Lake
TRUE AND FALSE. When we first moved here, I'd already been to Israel and I thought of the Great Salt Lake as a sort of Dead Sea, known for its healing powers and floatability. So, originally, this statement was true. But then I came to know that the Great Salt Lake is smelly and has tons of flies and is really rather nasty. I've been to it approximately once in the almost seven years we've lived here. And by approximately, I mean, exactly.

11. You Don't Know Any Green Jell-O Recipes
TRUE. This state purchases more Jell-O per capita than any other. Everyone is supposed to have a green Jell-O recipe up her sleeve. I don't. Everyone is also supposed to know how to make "Funeral Potatoes" and I don't. But my aunt moved to Hurricane, UT, years before we moved here and she makes a delicious dish she calls Auntie's Potatoes. I suspect she ripped off the Funeral Potatoes recipe. And, since I do know how to make Auntie's Potatoes I'm pretty sure that, if I ever find myself at an LDS funeral, I can supply yet one more casserole dish of Funeral Potatoes.

12. You Speak Only One Language
TRUE AND FALSE. A lot of people here went somewhere else on their mission. I didn't go on a mission. Well, I mean, I've done missions work but not, like, for two solid years. However, that being said, people in southern California are A LOT more bilingual than people here. There are a lot of women and children and even a great deal of men that live here that do not speak another language.

13. You Think The Mountains Look Better Without Giant Letters on Them
TRUE AND FALSE. I definitely think that mountains look better without letters on them but that hardly means I grew up somewhere that didn't have letters on the mountains. Doesn't EVERY place have schools that march up the nearest hillside and put a giant letter on it? One of the things my husband and I love most about driving through Nevada on our way to Tahoe is when we see the giant letters on the hillside alerting us to the fact that we're heading through the town of Battle Mountain.
We're roughly twelve years old, is the thing. But the point I'm making is...every town puts letters on their hills. So this is mostly false.

Only three of Mr. Buleen's observances were actually, completely true. I pronounce my "t's", I don't eat fry sauce, and I don't make green Jell-O recipes. The rest are not inherently Utahn. Try harder next time, Chad.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Feelings

There are a lot of FEELINGS right now.

Example: I'm FEELING like Ebola might kill me dead. And everyone I know. I don't live in fear but bleeding from the eyes is not, actually, the way I'd like to go. I'd like to go out like Elijah, you know what I'm saying? Just, like, walk outside and hop into my fiery chariot and shout, "Adios!" Although, given that Elijah was not Spanish, or Latin American, I do not think he yelled such a thing. Still. If such an exit is not a possibility for me, I think I would enjoy slipping peacefully into eternity while I sleep. Fall asleep in this world, wake up in that one. Ideal. Excessive vomit, a high fever and the aforementioned eyeball bleeding, not ideal.

Example: I'm FEELING Jewish. I'm as Euro-Mutt as they come but something happened a year ago when we went to Israel and I feel desperate to go back. This is weird because it wasn't my first time. Maybe it was sharing it with my children. Maybe it took twice to really get under my skin. Maybe that Mediterranean sun was just too good. I don't know. The other day, a friend of mine posted a ten minute video she'd found of some women shaping challah bread. I watched the entire video, riveted to the screen. It's not because I'm thinking of opening a bakery but because, in the video, the women talked and laughed and I couldn't stop listening to their Hebrew. The light, the lilt, the sweet words. What used to sound to me like a harsh, throaty language, now sounds, somehow, like home. I think it's because it's how my Savior would have sounded. When I feel His presence is He whispering, "I love you," or, "Ani ohev otach," or a language of Heaven that I haven't yet heard? The video did, however, make me attempt to bake challah bread, which I did yesterday. My husband was...flummoxed. "You're baking bread?"

"I'm pretending to be Jewish," I replied. And not, like, Jewish-waiting-for-the-Messiah but Jewish-the-Messiah-has-come-and-now-I-want-to-speak-Hebrew-and-live-on-a-kibbutz-at-the-Sea-of-Galilee-and-bake-challah-bread.

I had all kinds of problems with the dough rising and declared myself a Disaster Baker but then I consulted the Internet and determined that the ridiculously cold temperatures of Utah October were preventing the humidity and warmth loving yeast from doing its job. I stuck it in the microwave with a cup of hot water and that totally did the trick. I created a tiny little Hawaii right there in my kitchen and my dough was happy. So I've now successfully baked challah bread. (Don't judge me. I know it's like the easiest of all breads to bake.) Now...to learn Hebrew.

Example: My BABIES are leaving me. For real. In, like, little more than a decade. I only get these guys for a couple handfuls of years. Just. What? And, in these precious years I have left with them I yell because WE HAVE TO LEAVE FOR SOCCER RIGHT NOW SO THAT MATTHEW CAN SCORE FIVE GOALS AND WHY ARE YOU BOTH STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BEDROOM WHIPPING EACH OTHER WITH YOUR SHIRTS? GET DRESSED ALREADY AND GET IN THE CAR! How, exactly, do we balance forming them into men who can make it places on time while focusing on the joy found in the fact that they are still children? Can someone older and wiser help a girl out?

But, yeah, Matthew totally scored five goals.

Example: Sometimes adoption is hard. Sometimes I think Matthew feels things deeper than even other adopted children his age. Maybe it's because it's just so obvious that he's adopted. (Yes.) Maybe he's just a sensitive child. (Yes.) Maybe it's just who he is. (Yes.) It's often at night that he struggles. I know it's partly the fact that everything hurts worse when you're tired and also, perhaps, partly that he's trying to prolong actual sleep and gain extra minutes of snuggle time. But he usually chooses the bedtime hour of the day to talk about wanting to go visit his mom. "Why can't I see her?" "Why can't we get in the car and go there?" This doesn't happen often, but when it's does, it's gut wrenching.

Last night, for the first time, he asked the question I've been dreading and hoping wouldn't come for awhile. Years. Decades. Ever. "Why didn't my mom want to be with me?" I'm not a crier and even typing that sentence makes tears spring up in my eyes. Because shame on adoptive parents that feel personally attacked by that question. Because shame on parents who won't allow their children to talk about ALL the feelings they feel. Because it's impossible to explain to a five-year-old that his mother made an agonizing decision. Because his primal wound sees it as rejection. Because he can't understand that she wanted him. Snuggling there with him, holding him in my arms as he clung to me with snot and tears and saliva smearing my shirt, I responded the way he needed me to. "She loves you so much. Some day you can see her and get to know her but she lives really far away right now." But inside I thought, "Get in the car. We'll go. We'll do whatever it takes to help your heart RIGHT now."

And so I did the only thing I could think to do. I told him that I've hugged his mother and that he can hug me anytime he needs a hug from her. Then I walked down the stairs, opened a chest where I keep blankets, pulled out the blanket she made him when she was pregnant. It's so soft and fuzzy and perfect. Then I climbed the stairs and wrapped him in it. Troy stayed with him until he fell asleep.

Adoption is wonderful and incredible and amazing and I wouldn't trade a moment of the journey, but sometimes it's hard.

Sometimes it makes me feel all the feelings.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hot What Now?

Before I really start, you should know that I'm not really a coffee drinker. Occasionally, I'll go for a mocha or some sort of iced, sugary concoction. But, typically, I'd prefer to trade the bitter stuff for a hot chocolate or tea or something frappy and filled with my daily allotment of calories. However, when I'm asking someone if she wants to meet me to gab and hang out and drink something tasty, it's much easier to say, "Wanna meet for coffee?" than it is to say, "Hey, wanna meet me at a local coffee shop so that you can have a cup of joe and I can drink something highly caloric and we can converse?"

Such was the situation this morning. I wanted to meet one of my bestest friends and I had some time to kill before I needed to pick up Matthew so I fired off a text. She knows I rarely drink coffee so, usually, when we meet, she has a cup of black coffee like a good girl and I spoil the rest of the day's meals with a chocolaty beverage.


Auto correct hates me. And it wants my husband to get fired. And, also, what? Because I use the word "cocaine" oh so often when I'm texting?

Apparently, as the mother of two smallish boys, with a husband who is employed in full time ministry, and Bible studies and ministries of my own to run, the only way to get through the day is to start it off with some hot cocaine. It's a good thing that my local barista is able to give it to me in a paper cup with a lid because, if I started injecting that stuff intravenously, eyebrows might raise.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pizza. Gone.

So on Friday, after five hours of subbing for a kindergarten class that was so naughty they made it feel like a twelve hour day, I stopped at Papa Murphy's. It was only 2:00 pm but I already knew there was no way I making dinner. I was, maybe, going to have myself a lie down. With a cold compress, a box of chocolates and some soothing music to make up for the day. (Except, yeah right because my very own kindergartner was waiting for me at home. As was my eight-year-old.) I had a coupon that allowed me to get a pizza free and then I somehow let them talk me into upgrading both pies to the family size--since one was free and all. AND THEN, when they asked me if I wanted any cookie dough or cheese bread, I made the BIG, FAT MISTAKE of taking a long look at my options and would you believe that there was a S'mores dessert pizza howling my name?

There was. And it was howling really loudly AND I needed to drown the horrible kindergarten experience with marshmallows and chocolate on top of pizza dough. So, I came home bearing a lot of pizza, is what I'm saying. When my husband saw the load, he asked me why, on earth, there was so much. I explained the FREE and told him we could freeze a whole pizza and pull it out for lunches or whatever.

Except that is SO not what happened.

I do not have a clue in all the world how I will keep my brood (my brood of only TWO) fed when they are teenagers. Because Troy and I are not really big eaters.

Well, okay...Troy is not really a big eater. During the whirlwind eight months that we were dating, I used to take half of my meal home because HE was taking half of his meal home and I couldn't look like the ravenous lion devouring its prey. I'd go home and (NO JOKE) finish the meal. After a few kisses and a few thoughts about how, hey, LOVE OF MY LIFE AND I THINK I'LL JUST GO AHEAD AND MARRY YOU, I decided that if we were living in the same house he would see me finishing my dinner at home so I might as well just start eating my food right there in the restaurant. In front of him.

But. Anyway. We didn't eat that much pizza. It's the five-year-old trash compactor and his brother, the eight-year-old pizza consuming boss. One entire family sized pizza disappeared on Friday night and there was Jello parfait and a tossed salad accompanying it. It's not like I just threw down a pizza without the hope of getting something green into them. By yesterday, BOTH of those huge pizzas were gone.

Gone.

As if they'd never existed in the first place.

The teenage years are going to kill me dead.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Birth Certificate Trauma

I feel like it's been awhile since I've done an installment of NAMES I'VE ENCOUNTERED WHILE SUBBING. Listen, it was one thing when, back in my day, subs had to deal with the fact that sometimes boys had names more commonly known (in those days) as a girl name or vice versa. Also, the poor substitutes had to figure out how to say Kersten and Kirsten because, no, they weren't pronounced the same way. And there were some names, even then, that were a bit strange. Starbuck comes to mind.

But I am telling you that right now people are FOR REAL just throwing a bag of marbles on the ground, listening to the sounds they make when they kerplunk on the tile, and writing that on the birth certificate. (In fact, I'm sure there's actually a Kerplunk running around somewhere.)

Don't have a name and you're about to leave the hospital? Take the first letter of the first name of each nurse you've met and put them together. Jadiel? WHY NOT? Think that sounds kind of girly when you actually gave birth to a boy? NO MATTER.

You want a more traditional name but feel this intense need to give it some sort of modern spelling? Maygan's your girl. Or Krystyn. Or Aeva.

One of my kids is currently playing a certain organized sport with a GIRL called Sawyer. It's no problem though because they refer to her as Soy Sauce and/or the shortened version, Saucy. I promise, you can't make this stuff up.

Today, in a kindergarten class, I had a Thor.

Yesterday, there was a Bracken, a Brylee, a Brysia and a Brightyn.

I've had a Kolvin and a Tytan.

I've heard of Monson.

Evr.

Draven.

Bridgelee.

Slade.

The list just goes on and on. Some day, I hope that my own children appreciate that I did not name them after leafy ferns or characters in Norse mythology. Some day, I hope that they reward me by not naming my grandchildren Naythin or Narcissus or Bryzannaleigh.

Dude. Someone, somewhere, is going to accidentally stumble upon this blog and totally name her daughter Bryzannaleigh. And it's going to be MY FAULT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road Twice?

MATT: Hey Mom, why did the chicken cross the road?

ME: To get to the other side.

MATT: (pause) Well, why did the chicken cross the road twice?

ME: (smiling, thinking maybe he finally has a funny joke for me. Pausing, I try to think up an answer. When none comes to me) I don't know. (MATT says nothing. Too much time passes.) Do you know?

MATT: What?

ME: Why the chicken crossed the road twice?

MATT: Oh. Nope.

Well then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Guy

My husband is not perfect, y'all. No. He likes to take naps and he likes making piles of things and his idea of deep cleaning is vacuuming and scrubbing the floors. He's not a planner, he hates to be touched while he sleeps and he likes mayonnaise on his sandwiches. So, like I said, not perfect.

But he's spiritually wise and he knows EXACTLY how to handle me.

Four weeks ago, when I thought I was maybe dying, he humored me while I showed him where everything was that he would need if I met an untimely death. He only barely shook his head when I instructed him to replace me right away with an even better model.

And, this weekend, during The Great Buggy Disaster of 2014, he listened to me as I processed and cried and went through several possible scenarios in my mind. (I did all of this while sitting seven inches away from a giant black widow I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW was there.) He spoke words of affirmation to me as I (unnecessarily, as always) put the weight of the world on my shoulders. YOU try being a people pleasing, overdramatic, focused activator, with fear of rejection issues sometime and see how you like it. Then add the pressure of telling forty women they've been exposed to bed bugs.

It's fun to be me. Except when it isn't.

He prayed for me. He gave me his opinion but told me it was up to me and he would back me whether I took his advice or not. (For the record, I did.) And then, when I came home and tried to slowly unwind my stress paralysis, he even let me fall asleep draped all over him.

He sees me at my most vulnerable. He holds my hand in doctor's offices and he reminds me, always, of the bigger picture. He guides me and teaches me in my own walk with the Lord and he gently corrects me when I'm not applying God's word to my course of action. He makes me want to listen to him. He calls me out when I put the focus on myself and take it off of how God can be glorified through my experiences. He earns my respect because he loves me.

He's mine. And I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to give him to me.

Even though it means I have to buy mayonnaise.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Might Not Meet Your Needs...But I'll Praise Jesus

This past month has been...hard.

Really, this entire year has been a struggle. It's difficult to be employed in ministry. To attempt to meet everyone's needs, to listen as people explain how I've failed to meet theirs, to smile and know that they don't understand that my failure to meet their needs is directly related to the fact that I'm barely meeting my own.

My babies aren't little anymore. I mean, sure, relatively speaking, they are still quite small. But they don't require the constant care that they did for roughly a seven year block of time collectively. I no longer worry that they'll drink chemicals or drown in the bathtub--although I suspect that either of those is still technically a possibility. Now they require shuttling from sports to scouts to school and back again. My energy is spread thin as I attempt to make them into well rounded little people.

Add to the regular daily grind of life the fact that we've been hit by a lot this year and we've got a recipe for a whole heap of I MIGHT BE A FAILURE WHEN IT COMES TO MEETING YOUR NEEDS TODAY. So much of this year has been tied up with extended family turmoil which, although it doesn't directly effect my little family, has caused deep grief and emotional anxiety. I had a health concern this past month which, although it turned out to (PRAISE THE LORD!!!) be an overreacting physician's assistant, caused a great deal of stress for Troy and I as we thought about what it would be like for our family to deal with it. (I'm TOTALLY fine, by the way.)

I have spent months pouring time and energy and prayer into our annual women's retreat and, when we were there this past weekend, little tiny bed-dwelling critters were discovered. As the director of the women's ministry it fell to me to figure out what to do, how to proceed, etc. With all the pandemonium, all the phone calls and prayer and developing information, I became, what the movie Mom's Night Out refers to as stress paralyzed. There came a point, long after I'd confided in two of my ministry team members and long after I'd prayed and cried on the phone with my husband for a half hour, that I sat in my room and very seriously could not form a thought that was coherent. I knew I needed to ask our speaker if she wanted to leave but I couldn't think straight. I wanted to just curl up and take a nap. Except that I didn't really because, bugs.

My husband, like the husband in the movie, says that stress paralyzed isn't actually a thing. But it is. And this month has been stress paralyzing. But God is good. All the time. The pastor's wife in the movie gives a great piece of advice to Allyson. She says that life is about finding the meaning and the joy and the purpose in all the chaos.

And it's true. Life is a lot of little moments that add to up one big moment and the little moments are all crazy or joyful or precious or gut-wrenching and our job is to the find the purpose.

And to praise the Lord.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Heat

I try REALLY hard not to complain about the heat--like, ever--because I keep myself busy complaining about the SNOW and the COLD from November until May. It's exhausting. I feel like I can't, in good conscience, monopolize all the complaining so I do my very best to keep my mouth closed when it's hot. Even, REALLY hot. It helps that I think my body was actually made for life on Venus because I happily operate at a good ten degrees higher than the rest of all the population. Like, if the world is miserable at 88, I won't be miserable until 98.

I'd rather take clothes off than put them on. And by that I mean that I'd prefer to lounge around in a swim suit as opposed to a snow suit.

I'd choose Arizona over Minnesota. But, in fairness, that probably has more to do with mosquitoes than temperature.

It was uncharacteristically hot when we were in Tahoe this summer. I didn't complain.

We had some pretty warm days here in July. No complaints from me.

But yesterday, something came over me and I darn near lost my mind.

I went on a field trip with Garrett and, since it's mid-September in Salt Lake City, I assumed that wearing black leggings and a shirt that went to my elbows with a camisole underneath was a good choice. And it was quite fine when we rode the bus as 9:00 am (even though every other mother was lamenting the HEAT and the LACK OF AIR FLOW and the HORRORS OF THIS UNENDURABLE HEAT). The outfit was perfect for the air conditioned planetarium. Where it broke down was getting back on the bus at noon (the bus that had been sitting in the sun and must have been 90 degrees inside) and riding it to the park where we would stay until 1:30 before getting back on it and riding home. By the time we got back to the school at 2:20, I was relatively close to yanking off my leggings and sitting there with no pants on at all.

I would have been horribly humiliated by my pit marks and my back sweat but, my ten degree (live on Venus) buffer made me less sweaty than every other mother. It turns out that, when everyone has pit marks, there's a sense of pride in having the smallest ones. My hair was sticking to my face and my neck. All I could think about was getting home, peeling off layers of clothing, and lying in a tub of ice.

But I had to go to Walmart and I figured that leaving my clothing on was really the better choice. Because I can just see the headline now and it reads "LOCAL PASTOR'S WIFE ARRESTED AT WALMART FOR INDECENT EXPOSURE." When I got home from the store, I shed clothing. I drank cold water, I did my best to perk up but I was exhausted. The heat had drained all of my energy. And it was in the 90s, yes, but that's hardly super hot. It's just that LONG, BLACK LEGGINGS were not the best choice and, in fact, created a sort of oven, encapsulating my legs. Essentially, I slow roasted myself.

So, yesterday, I broke down and, for the first time this year, COMPLAINED about the heat. I'm not proud of it. In fact, I'm pretty ashamed. But, you guys, it's because I was totally a smelly, sweaty goat wearing leggings. And that's really the end of my story.

My apologies to anyone in the greater San Diego area who is reading this and thinking that I should take my 90 degree weather and my black leggings and shove them because you're enduring nearly 110 degree temperatures. My condolences. But you still live in America's Finest City and you still have your ocean so, really, you still come out ahead.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Instagram Pictures and How Long They Took

Welcome to this first installment of Instagram pictures and how long they took.

Take, for example, this photo. If you think this is the first shot I snapped, you'd be wrong. I had no earthly idea--as in, IT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND BEFORE IN MY LIFE UNTIL I HAD A BLACK SON--that lighting doesn't just automatically work for taking pictures of dark skin. In half of all the pictures we take, Matthew's face is a dark circle with no features whatsoever. In the other half of all the picture we take, Troy's eyes are closed. It's super.

The shadow created by this here helmet made my boy's eyes disappear in the first couple pictures I took. This one was probably the third shot. So what I'm saying is that this, "Hey let me snap my life and put it on Instagram" phenomenon is not what it seems. It's really a, "Hey let me take a dozen pictures until I get one that might work and then I'll edit the heck out of it."


Garrett asked me if this shirt was a picture of a bear riding a crocodile. I had to give him a lesson in state flags. Or, at least, in the California state flag. It's just now crossing my mind that I might not know what the Utah flag looks like. I maybe haven't paid any attention. Seriously. This is ridiculous. Is it blue? Is there a bee hive on it? A temple? I just looked it up. Two out of three. Anyway. 

I was so amused by his idea of the crocodile surfing bear that I wanted to post a picture of it. But then I realized that I was basically going to be taking a selfie of my chest. So there was some strategy involved. How to get the focus ON the bear and OFF the person wearing the bear? After a handful of snaps, I went with this one.


We live in a weird world where there is always a camera in our pocket or our purse. Even though it looks like I took this picture from somewhere in Nebraska during the 19th century (er, in a time warp where they have asphalt in the 1800s), I actually took it from the parking lot of the boys' school. A school where, from any other angle, you'd see suburban homes, a temple or two (not pictured on the Utah flag as I've recently learned), telephone lines, an elementary school, and/or the entire Salt Lake Valley. These are pronghorn antelope which I had no idea actually lived less than a mile from my house. This is actually the only shot I got because I was trying to get closer and they decided to take off running.


This was like, maybe, the 20th picture we took to try to get a decent one. We attended a quinceanera and got dressed up fancy. Since we were so dapper, we needed to commemorate it with a picture. But someone had his eyes closed or someone else looked like a goon or the shadows were all wrong. Until, finally, HOORAY! We did it! (Thanks, Chris, for capturing it!)


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This isn't an Instagram picture, or even a picture I took on a cell phone, but it's five years old now and that's just crazy talk. I love these guys. I love how much they have adored each other since the very beginning.