Monday, December 31, 2007
Oh California, how I miss your 67 degree mornings. But, it's awesome here, too. Tonight, the low is 4. As in F-O-U-R. That's right. Work it, Tundra. Work it.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The husband also got me, among other things, a framed picture of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. He wanted to get me a taste of San Diego. This picture now hangs on the wall in front of my bed. When I wake up I stare at the photo and feel, just for a moment, like I am home. Or, at least, I would, if I weren't blind as bat when I first wake up in the morning. So, once I wipe the drool from my cheek, sit up, and pop in my actual eyes, I gaze upon the joy of that slice of San Diego. If I listened to some seascape CD it would be kind of like having ocean front property. We opened presents tonight with my side of the family and my brother got me a drawing of the very same lighthouse. So not only have we proven that great minds think alike, we have also proven that I like lighthouses, I like the Point Loma Lighthouse, specifically, and now I can pretend to be in San Diego in at least two of my rooms. At least I can snuggle in my fuzzy footed jams while I dream about America's finest city.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
This year was humorous. He liked to open one present and play with it for fifteen minutes before we finally coaxed him into opening another one. I think that next year we will officially enter the "rip/tear" phase that comes with two-year-oldness.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas! May the joy and peace of this season be upon you. It’s true that there have been times when we have looked back over the course of a year and seen few changes. We assure you that for us, this has not been one of those years. Twelve months ago we were enjoying a typical, warm, San Diego Christmas with our cuddly and immobile infant. This year we are trying to write a Christmas letter from chilly Salt Lake City, but our toddler keeps reaching for the keyboard or demanding more milk or pushing that pretty button that turns off the computer or running away with the Christmas decorations. No, we did not decide to take a snowy holiday vacation this year. We live here. We know what you’re thinking. Who in their sane minds would trade San Diego for Salt Lake City, right?
To make an incredibly long and prayerful journey short, Troy’s father retired from fulltime ministry at OUR OLD CHURCH in April and the elder board encouraged the remaining staff members to explore other ministry options. Through a church consultant, Troy’s resume was sent to several churches. Over the course of several months, interviews, discussions and prayers, Troy eventually accepted the Senior Pastor position at OUR NEW CHURCH in PART OF, Utah. Just after Thanksgiving we packed up our lives and drove the 750 miles to our new home. During the past few years, Troy has really enjoyed preaching and is looking forward to being in the pulpit every Sunday. His new position will be challenging, but the congregation has been so loving and welcoming and Troy looks forward to leading them and being a light in a land that so desperately needs to hear the truth.
Lori profoundly enjoyed teaching drama at Mountain Valley Academy during the past year. She really loved seeing her vision come to fruition during the productions. However, summer came and she was able to spend three months as a stay-at-home mom. The experience of getting to be with Garrett every minute of the day was tremendous and she’s happy to announce that with Troy’s promotion came her own. She is now a fulltime stay-at-home mom. Although, being a Senior Pastor’s wife and partaking in her own ministerial endeavors will certainly take a great deal of time.
Garrett celebrated his first birthday in July and is enjoying every minute of being a toddler. He walks. He runs. He drops the basketball through the hoop. He plays with everything that even resembles a car—complete with engine noises. And one of these days, we’re sure that he will start talking. His current language involves grunting, squealing, babbling and pointing. He understands enough to obey most commands but can’t exactly hold a conversation. We had quite a year with him and all of his capers, including but not limited to, splitting his head open—blood, blood everywhere—and having a whopper of a dirty diaper on an airplane—poop, poop everywhere. Speaking of airplanes, Garrett has become an avid flyer. In his sixteen months of life he has flown seven times, to Oregon twice (to visit Troy’s family), Sacramento once (for a wedding Lori was in), Utah three times (to visit the church and then to move here) and Hawaii.
Yes, in September we were blessed with the opportunity to vacation on Oahu and Kauai with Lori’s parents. We had a wonderful time visiting Pearl Harbor, swimming, snorkeling, sightseeing, ziplining, hiking, kayaking, tubing down the canals of the former Lihue Plantation, and spending time together. Garrett absolutely loved it and, when the ten days were over, no one was quite ready to leave. In fact, if it were an option, we’d still be there, relaxing by the white sand pool and lounging in the tropical sun. The memories are a far cry from our new life in what Lori refers to as “the tundra.” In addition to our trip to Hawaii, we spent a week at Campus by the Sea, Catalina, where Troy was the speaker, and took a beach camping trip.
Beck and Oliver, plus Evie, a somewhat tamed feral cat that we’ve been feeding for a few years, made the move with us. Currently, the cats are living in the basement of our beautiful rental (anyone want to buy a home in Ramona?) and the dog is still deciding whether he’s a fan of the snow. He loves to play in it but he doesn’t seem to be thrilled with the outside temperatures or the amount of time he now spends inside.
We encourage you, as always, to remember that our Savior’s birth is the real reason for this holiday. May the wonder of that first Christmas fill your lives. God Bless!
Friday, December 21, 2007
I've never had a white Christmas before. It's alright with me because Jesus probably didn't either. While snow isn't unheard of in Bethlehem, it's not common, even in the dead of winter. And, in all probability, the Savior was born between May and September, the months during which the great census was taken that brought Joseph and a very pregnant Mary to Bethlehem to begin with. This lack of snow was never a problem, Christmas was, in a word, magic.
I remember Santa Claus. I remember because one Christmas I laid awake for hours with the extreme need to pee. I knew that if I got up I would do so at the precise moment that Santa was leaving me gifts. I also knew that if I saw Santa he would take away all my presents. Where I got this idea that Mr. Claus was a mean-spirited present deliverer I'll never know. But I finally couldn't take it anymore. I flew to the bathroom and back. Santa didn't catch me and I had presents in the morning. I remember the calendar my mom hung in the hallway. Each day a little bear climbed all around that calendar looking for Christmas in every room of his house. On the 25th he finally found it. My brother and I had to take turns moving the bear or else a bloodbath was sure to ensue. I remember that childhood magic because it was almost tangible. It was inside the Christmas decorations. It was in the quiet whisper of the music. It flickered in the flame of each advent candle.
We had Santa. We had stockings and cookies and presents. And we had Jesus. I would stare at my mom's beautiful nativity--the one I would accidentally but carelessly break as a preteen in what stands as the greatest Christmas travesty of my life--and look at each of the pieces, wondering about their role in that most holy of nights. What must those shepherds have thought when the glory of the Lord shone around them? What did Joseph say when the son of God was placed into his arms for the first time? When did the wise men get there? How must Mary have felt as she knelt by the manger?
We still have Santa and stockings and cookies and presents. And, oh, do we have Jesus. It's just that I look at the nativity in a much different way now. I've been to Bethlehem. I've seen the caves that were used to shelter the animals. Not surprisingly, they look a great deal like a tomb. They were dirty. The shepherds, who came to see glory for themselves were, in all probability, filthy. The animals, I'm sure, weren't fresh and clean. Yet this is where the Father sent his Son. From the highest of high to the lowest of low. And I no longer think of Mary as she knelt honorably beside her son. I don't really believe it happened the way we see it in a nativity. I think Mary was the dirtiest of them all. I think she was exhausted. I think she was irritated that there were cattle and sheep in the vicinity, much less the same darn cave as her tiny baby. So, sometimes, when I am setting up my nativity, I want to lay Mary down in the corner. I want her to be overwhelmed by the situation. I want her to cry. I want Joseph to tell her that everything is going to be okay. I want the wise men on the other side of the room because they didn't come right away. It took them longer, like the process by which some of us come to know the Savior that they sought. I want the baby to stare, with wide eyes at his mama, perhaps knowing that he would one day deliver her.
More than snow, which I may have for the first time this year, more than Santa and more than presents, I want to feel the magic and the miracle of that first Christmas. And my breath catches in my throat if I think about what it must have been like for Mary to feel the son of God moving inside of her womb. My own son, fallen and fallible, was miracle enough to overwhelm me. I wonder at that first moment when they locked eyes. Was it as mother and son or as mother and Savior? Did he look more like her or did he personify the Creator of the Universe? Did she swell with pride or did her heart break when she looked upon God's holy and almighty face?
Regardless of how I want to display my nativity, what doesn't change is that born in a barn, the centerpiece of perceived scandal, surrounded by filth, sharing his birthday with shepherds and livestock then and disbelievers and Santa Claus now, cooing softly in a feeding trough was the wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Quite suddenly, Garrett realized that he could use the paintbrush as a fork. He would stab the cake and then quickly shove the paintbrush into his mouth, gobbling at least two crumbs in the process. He never reached in with his fists, he just kept munching on his precious cake, two crumbs at a time.
In case you need a glimpse of the finished product, I have included a picture below. It is so gorgeous, so beautiful, in fact, that I am sure you will want to book him for your next function. Weddings, birthday parties, retirement parties, Garrett can do it all, as long as you don't mind giant holes ripped in to the middle of your cakes and a little bit of baby saliva. Here is the prototype that he will use to decorate your requests...
But oh how he had fun!!!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
On Saturday we bundled up the boy, stuck him in his red wagon, and went about delivering our neighborly Christmas gifts. We started at the house to the left. Their garage door was open but no one answered, so we left the tin of candy on their step.
We headed to the next door. Success. An open door. A friendly introduction.
We headed to the next house. We were greeted by fully clothed adults, though, their college aged daughter walked by, mortified, in pajamas. After being invited in, we talked for about ten minutes before we decided to get on with our deliveries.
As we approached the fourth house we found that the entire family was still in pajamas. They invited us in anyway. And they were very, very nice.
After leaving house number four, we crossed the street. Kids answered the door. "Thanks, our parents are asleep. Merry Christmas!" By this point we were starting to look at each other suspiciously. Apparently, we didn't get the notice that we moved onto Sleepy Creek Circle.
At house number six we heard a little boy scream, "Dad! There's people at the door and I don't know them!" After a minute of waiting we were about to leave the tin when the door opened. You guessed it. Dad was in pajamas. And he informed us that his wife was still sleeping. Awesome. Merry Christmas.
The door of house number seven opened promptly and the people inside were actually wearing clothes.
House number eight. Kid in pajamas.
Now, I am all for wearing pajamas, I like to put mine on around five in the afternoon, if we're getting technical. I'm all for sleeping in, if your kids will let you. Mine won't. And it's not like I called first and announced that we were coming. But I was starting to question my own sanity. Maybe we tried to do all of it a little too early. I just, well, I don't know. Call me crazy but, I thought that 10:30 in the morning was late enough. Next Christmas I'll wait until noon.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Today I decided that, since I am officially a homemaker, I would get out a pencil with a new eraser, the Goo Gone, and the Pinesol and try to remove the pencil marks that were left here by a previous tenant. Turns out that the entire door of our guest room was covered in some child's creative memories. I erased. I goo goned. I Pinsoled. And Garrett stood and watched. Occasionally he took his precious chubby hands and rubbed the door. He's such a little helper like that. I turned my back to dig around in the cleaning caddy. Of course I heard the noise. Heard it, in fact, continuing for quite some time as I rummaged around. The problem was that it just didn't register. As I turned around I put an image to the sound. My little tiny offspring was making his own creative memories all over the door that I had just cleaned. I couldn't blame the guy. I mean, I had just been wiggling that bright yellow pencil all over that door. I can't really expect a sixteen-month-old to understand the difference between the eraser side and the lead side. So back to work I went with the eraser and the Goo Gone and the Pinesol to try to remove the pencil marks that were left here by the current tenants.
Later, I decided that the central vac really is a good feature and I needed to conquer it. I could pull the brief lesson my father gave me concerning it's functionality out of the deep recesses of my brain. And even if I couldn't quite remember the exact way he explained it, I could probably figure it out on my own. I'm a fairly intelligent human being. I have a college education. As I slowly started unwinding the tube I could not figure out why my son was shrieking and hiding in the corner and sobbing crocodile tears. I would have understood if I was running the vacuum because he's always been a little apprehensive of the noise it makes. But the thing wasn't even on. Finally I realized that, well, the thing looks like a giant anaconda. Apparently, my son has an irrational fear of snakes.
He tried to use the less than sterile toilet brush to comb his hair.
He spilled a full bowl of doggie water all over the floor. This is an almost daily occurrence. Usually, however, the bowl is near empty when he remembers to dump it out.
I organized his books on his bookcase. He followed along behind me and pulled them off.
I am not calling myself a homemaker ever again (not that I think I have ever before). I am a stay-at-home mom. I have time to clean but the boy uncleans everything. If you come over, my house will probably not be tidy. There will be a truck in the middle of the floor because no matter how many times I put it away, it just seems to materialize at the foot of the stairs. There will be craisins smashed on the high chair tray. There will not be vacuum marks on the carpet and it will not pass the white glove test. My son will probably have stains on his shirt but, generally, he'll be smiling. He doesn't care if there are vacuum marks. He's even fine with a layer of dust. I try. I just don't succeed. I'm busy trying to raise a toddler and it's a good thing that love makes a house a home.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Now, I ask you, is she not the most hideous Christmas ornament you have ever, ever, ever seen? But I can't get rid of her. Like I said before, she's practically family. She's like my weird, bodiless, paper winged, huge nosed sister. And you just don't throw away your sister.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
So, in light of this new information that I have bestowed upon you, I'd like to take a second to discuss how annoyed I am with the New England Patriots. I used to rather like them. In fact, in past years I would never, ever, have cheered for the Steelers to beat them. Because I have a deep and personal loathing directed toward terrible towels. But right now, I am sitting in my family room, running up my utility bill with my gas fireplace, watching the 12-0 Patriots play the Steelers. If my Chargers were 12-0 you can bet I'd want them to have an undefeated season, but every fiber in my body wants the New England Pretty Boys er, I mean Patriots, to lose. I have a thick disgust for Randy Moss and the way he starts laughing in his picture when they show the starting offensive lineup. And, for some reason that has something to do with him dumping his pregnant girlfriend, I have an even deeper disgust for Tom Brady. I also think this might be related to the fact that he knows he is talented and beautiful and fails miserably at pretending that he doesn't know he is talented and beautiful. So, Big Ben, please figure out a way to get some more points on the board. I can't handle the Patriots being undefeated.
I also can't handle people who are fans of teams because they are good. If you stick with a team even when they stink, more power to you. Heaven knows I was a Charger fan back in the 1-15 season. But if you jump on a fanwagon just because a team is somehow stacked, just know that you make me kind of ill. That's all.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Rule #1: Visiting the Wal-Mart Supercenter is a two hour project. At least. It takes an hour to walk from one end to the other, another hour if you are actually trying to accomplish some sort of shopping.
Rule #2: Wal-Mart Supercenter swallows you. I first noticed this phenomenon when my mom and I went shopping last week. We left a sleeping Garrett with his daddy. I informed my husband that I would be home shortly after the boy woke up. Several hours later, Wal-Mart finally released me from its death grip and I was able to return home. By the way, it was nearing dinnertime when I finally entered my house. This phenomenon was further explored today when my husband decided to go Christmas shopping. He just called and informed me that he still had a few more stops. Where had he been since he left hours ago? Yes. That's right. Super Wal-Mart.
Rule #3: Sure, you can feel bad for all the Mom and Pop shops out there. Sure, it's really sad that Wal-Mart is putting them all out of business. Yes, indeed, Wal-Mart just might be the store of the anti-Christ but when you can walk into a building and buy boxes of cereal for under two dollars and a kitty condo and several of your husband's Christmas presents and bananas, why wouldn't you? Exactly.
Rule #4: You can't go into a Wal-Mart Supercenter without buying something. I dare you to try. This is where the possession of such a store becomes not only a problem but a giant financial burden. I suppose there is a sliver lining, however. If I spend too much money and lose my house, I could probably move my husband, menagerie of animals, and very loud toddler into the building and no one would know we were even there. And it's got everything I think we could ever need, and then some.
Oh Wal-Mart Supercenter, what have you done to my life?
Friday, December 7, 2007
OH MY GOSH! It's everywhere! Seriously. I feel so twisty and unsettled inside. Southern California, how I miss you and your lack of surreptitious weather.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Let me tell you about how I live in a five level house. That's one, two, three, four, FIVE. You walk in on the third level. If you go upstairs you will find Garrett's room, playroom, a bathroom and the guest room on the fourth level. If you go up four more stairs you will find the master bedroom, very large master bath, and master closet that is a dream come true. If you walk in the front door and do not choose to go up the stairs you will find the living room and kitchen. If you go down the four more stairs you would be on the second level, which is the family room and another bathroom. If you go down a flight of stairs you would be in the basement, where the office is. Plus another bathroom. Plus some storage rooms. It's insane. We could have, I don't know, eleven kids and live comfortably. Hey...wait a minute...now I get it.
By the way, if you want to hide in my house and murder me and my family, I just gave you a pretty good description of where to conceal yourself. I wouldn't try it though. We just installed a million dollar security system. In addition, if you bump into any of our strategically placed trip wires, you will be slaughtered by daggers and/or poisoned arrows. Also, we have hired a dozen ninjas to sleep in our closets. So, don't plan to murder me. I'm just saying, is all.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Garrett: What did you get for Christmas, Little Jimmy?
Little Jimmy: Yah, well, I got a Wii.
Garrett: But we're toddlers.
Little Jimmy: Yah. Santa is awesome. What did you get?
I didn't want to be the mom who said, "Merry Christmas! Now they're going to slice you open." Plus, I declined since my family is coming to visit the next day. I didn't want Garrett to be doped up for their trip. Does electing to postpone surgery for a couple weeks make me a bad mother? Vote yes or no in the comment section.
Monday, December 3, 2007
50. Debbie [blog] will send one random NaBlo blogger a $20 Starbucks gift card.
WINNER: Livin' in a Fishbowl
That's right. Yours truly. Miss Livin' in a Fishbowl herself. And I didn't win something crazy like a box of cigarettes or a can of creamed corn (which, by the way, I hope weren't actual prizes). There were some that I wouldn't have been too thrilled to win but Starbucks just ain't one of 'em. I'm not a coffee drinker but you certainly don't have to be to throw back a cup of cocoa or a Passion Fruit Tea. So, thanks, Debbie, for your gift of Starbucks. It seems highly appropriate given my recent move to the tundra.