Tuesday, November 30, 2010

all that ends well

1. I am grateful for sleeping babies.


2. I am grateful for a firm knowledge of who I am, who I can become, and the steps I need to take to bridge that gap.

3. I am grateful for examples all around me of the best kind of people this world has to offer. Everyday I see people who do their best, make do with less so that they can give to others, reach out with friendship and goodwill, use their time wisely, showcase creativity and the power of creation, stand courageously in the face of a raging tempest, love without reciprocation, serve without acknowledgement, and diligently try to be a little better every day. I am inspired and awed. I am beyond blessed to be on the receiving end of so much goodness and I only hope that when the roles are reversed I can be and do and exemplify even a small part of what I have been given.

Monday, November 29, 2010

modern conveniences

1. I am grateful that Somebody stayed home from work today so that he could help me out while I'm still having trouble sitting, and because I could never have managed that pediatrician visit without him. Also, I'm not allowed to drive just yet so he was kind of vital in getting us out of the house.
2. I am grateful that my dad has a huge, deep, jetted tub at his house. Using it might have been the highlight of my afternoon. I envision many visits to his house in the next two weeks. Oh, wait, I already visit his house almost daily. I'm grateful he hasn't gotten sick of seeing me yet.
3. I am grateful for a washing machine and dryer to clean up the already growing pile of burp cloths and dirty baby clothes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

still thinking about that tomato bisque

1. I am grateful that the food at the hospital has been, on the whole, quite yummy.
2. I am grateful that the same nurse was working all three days I was in the hospital. Molly was the greatest. It was really nice to have someone who was there with me from the first time I got off the "have a baby here" bed all the way up until I checked out today.
3. I am grateful that I listened to a session of general conference today (because I had to do something churchy since I was missing church) and got to hear this great message about gratitude over again: The Divine Gift of Gratitude, by President Thomas S Monson. I especially love this part:

"Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings. This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways. We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

ask, and ye shall receive

1. I am grateful for my doctor. She wasn't on call this weekend but she knew that it mattered to me to have her there to deliver the baby. And so she came in. She has been nothing but supportive and encouraging and I hope we stay here long enough that she can deliver all the babies we choose to have.
2. I am grateful that Gulliver's first meeting with Baby this morning went really well. He was thrilled to see me again (of course!) but then was actually very excited to see Baby. One of the first things he did was offer to share his blanket, which, if you know how much Gulliver LOVES his blanket, is kind of a big deal and a very sweet gesture. Then he wanted to touch Baby's face and give kisses. I kind of expected him to start poking Baby's eyes out, but he was soft and gentle and seemed just fine with having a baby around.
3. I am grateful that so many family and friends took time to come and visit us in the hospital (or call, email, text, etc.) I felt very loved and taken care of.

Friday, November 26, 2010

my three boys

1. First, I am grateful for Somebody. I'm grateful he was willing to hold my hand and cheer me on and be immensely supportive. I could not have made it through this morning without without him. He was totally worth waiting for and every single day I am grateful that he is my husband. I love him.
2. Second, I am grateful for Gulliver. I can't imagine that someone could have a more delightful first child than I have. He is funny and smart and helpful and playful and makes me laugh a million times each day. I find him so cute that I sometimes can't stop staring at him. His hugs and kisses are always good parts of my day. I love him.
3. Third, I am grateful for Baby. He forced me to wait and wait to meet him, but then surprised me by rushing right into arriving as soon as he had made up his mind to come. I know everyone says that pregnancy is worth it because of the baby you get at the end, and I'm grateful that the statement is true--that all the unpleasantness of the past nine months just disappears the instant that screaming, goopy, slightly swollen baby gets laid on your chest. I hardly know him, and I love him already.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

i think that was a real snort

Happy Thanksgiving!
1. I am grateful for a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers.

2. I am grateful that dinner tonight was walnut-crusted fish and sweet potato fries (and, fingers crossed, strawberry shakes) instead of Thanksgiving leftovers.

3. I am grateful that Charity taught us how to play "Tap Tap Oink" today and that we all could laugh and laugh and laugh while we played the game. It almost made up for the fact that I am still pregnant.
And a bonus gratitude quote for Thanksgiving:
There was a time when I was in a state of utter despair, immersed in guilt over promises made on which I had not delivered. I went to my vocal coach, Fred Wilkerson, weeping copiously. He asked what was the matter. I responded, "I'm going crazy, I am almost at the brink of suicide." He offered me a legal-size, lined yellow pad and a pen. He said, "Write down your blessings!" Furious that he didn't understand my condition, I shouted, "Don't talk nonsense, I'm telling you I am going crazy." He said, "Write down that you could hear me say 'write down' and think of the millions who can not hear the cries of their babies, or the sweet words of their beloveds, or the alarm that could help them seek safety. Write down that you can see this yellow pad and think of the millions on this planet who cannon see the smiles of their growing children or the delight in the faces of their beloveds, or the colors of the sunrise and the softness of the twilight. Write down that you know how to write. Write down that you know to read." Wilkie, as he was known, gave me that lesson in 1955. Fifty-five years later, I have written 31 books, essays, plays, and lyrics for songs--all on yellow pads. I remain in an attitude of gratitude.
-Maya Angelou

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

an early turkey day

1. I am grateful that family was able to gather for a yummy, fun, laid-back Thanksgiving dinner tonight, leaving all day tomorrow and Friday and Saturday for relaxing.

2. I am grateful for modern medicine and the ability my doctor has to "look" inside my body and tell me that the baby is still doing just fine.

3. I am grateful that Russell (and Charity) and Heidi made sacrifices to their schedules (and finances) and traveled long distances to be with us in Kansas for Thanksgiving this year. I am also grateful that Joe and my parents live nearby and we were able to find a time we could all be together and so we had an almost complete family gathering. I had a wonderful time visiting with them and laughing and telling stories.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

seriously does not want a surprise party

1. I am grateful for Somebody. Today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Hunny! I love you! He doesn't want a surprise party. Or cake. Or really acknowledgement of any kind. But I am so thrilled that he was born that I have a hard time not wanting to celebrate. (Note to new baby: Dad said he would happily share his birthday with you. Come on out, now.)

2. I am grateful that Gulliver (and Somebody) have a natural body temperature noticeably higher than mine so that sitting next to either one of them on cold days is like sitting with a heating pad. Tis awesome. I don't love this so much in the summer, so it's a good thing this gratitude list happens when the weather is chilly.

3. I am grateful for my friend Janssen's suggestion to use the junk mail paper with blank back sides as junk printing paper for maps and coupons and other throw-away type things. I LOVE not wasting my good paper on things that I'm not going to keep.

Monday, November 22, 2010

look away. i'm hideous.

1. I am glad that Somebody and I were able to make very last-minute plans to rush out and see the Harry Potter movie. Other bonuses: my dad agreed to watch Gulliver, the huge theater had only 20 other people there so we had great seats, my pack-along and eat in the car meal of pizza twists worked great, I didn't have to leave the movie to go to the bathroom, AND I got to spend two and a half hours holding my husband's hand. It was a great night.

2. I am grateful that the new baby who doesn't want to be born yet is at least very healthy. And maybe if he wants to go even a few more days of not being born then I'll get to spend Thanksgiving with my family instead of in the hospital.

3. I am grateful for my home teacher, especially when he brings his lovely wife and children over to visit with him and we get to laugh, share a spiritual message, and get to know each other better. Love it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

i bribe my son with suckers

1. I am grateful for Baby Signing Time and how Gulliver has embraced communicating in sign language. It has made this period of time when he knows what he wants but doesn't have the vocal skills to tell me about it a much easier time. I love that he can sign to me what he wants.

2. I am grateful that our burning bushes are finally starting to turn red. We were worried that they were defective, but apparently they are just slow bloomers.

3. I am grateful for gift certificates that allow me to get, for little or no cost, things that I want but don't need and so would never make it to the top of my purchase list.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

officially overdue

1. I am grateful for a laptop computer so I can sit on my comfortable couch and surf the internet.

2. I am grateful that I was actually able to fall asleep in the car today and get a much needed 20 minutes of rest. I'm also grateful that then, when we got home, Somebody was willing to remain on duty as the primary parent so I could sleep another hour.

3. I am grateful that next door to the optometrist office we went to today was a donut shop. What a happy discovery! So of course we went in and made a purchase. And they had this delicious orange glazed donut that just rocked my world. Oh yum, yum, yum, yum.

Friday, November 19, 2010

even caramel corn is not making me feel better

1. I am grateful for my mother. Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! I am grateful for her good example; her enthusiasm; her desire to plan ahead; and her mad, mad cleaning skills.

2. I am grateful for unexpected field trips that get us out of the house and allow Gulliver the opportunity to run around...with someone other than me willing to chase him.

3. I am grateful that my doctor is not forcing an induction and is letting me wait until I go into labor naturally. Perhaps I will be less grateful for this when I'm a week past my due date, but for now the waiting feels like the right thing to do and so I'm happy to have her complete support.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

are they all yours?

1. I am grateful for friends who are willing to share their Costco membership benefits with me. And who will walk around the store with four little girls in the cart, attracting all kinds of lovely attention, just so I can pick up some garbage bags and diapers.

2. I am grateful for the smell of clean laundry. I don't mind doing laundry anyway, but the yummy, fresh, clean smell makes it an even easier chore.

3. I am grateful for Gulliver's curls. They often cause people to assume he is a girl (why? because only little girls have curly hair?) but I think they are just the cutest things and will be sad if/when he outgrows them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

just a spoonful of sugar

1. I am grateful for blankets for warmth and tissues for wiping and a not-so-small baby to snuggle while I wipe a gucky little nose and hold a tiny little hand and hope that no one else in this family catches his cold.

2. I am grateful that I get to be here to see the little developmental growths in Gulliver. For example, just now he was trying to fit two pieces of toy together that didn't match--he was trying to match a blue piece and a purple piece. Across the room were other pieces in a variety of colors and I pointed to them and said, "You need to get a blue piece. Go over there and get more. Get a blue piece." And he walked over and picked up a blue piece and brought it to me! Coincidence? I kind of think not. He is getting so good at understanding my directions and actually doing most of the things I ask (as long as they don't involve the words diaper, nap, no, and DON'T PUSH THAT BUTTON!). It is delightful to watch him grow and learn and discover new things.

3. I am grateful (at least I'm trying really, really hard to be) for each additional day I have without a new baby so that I can continue on with cleaning the house, finishing projects, cooking meals, watching movies with Somebody, playing and reading with Gulliver, and as much as possible trying not to focus on the fact that I can't control the moment when everything is going to change.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"you are not allowed to start any more projects"

1. I am grateful that so many friends and family members so willingly pass along the baby items that they are not using anymore. It has saved us hundreds of dollars and it is kind of fun knowing that Gulliver (and, soon, the new baby) is enjoying the toy/bed/clothes that the children of those I love have also enjoyed.

2. I am grateful that Somebody was very, very patient with me tonight as I worked hard to finish yet another project (sadly, it is not yet finished) even though I was neglecting everything around me. He didn't complain at all about having to cook dinner, wash dishes, put the baby to bed, fold laundry, and clean the living room while I furiously sewed and sewed and sewed some more.

3. I am grateful that a temple is being built in Kansas City and that this time next year we will only have a 35 minute drive to the temple. How wonderful!

Monday, November 15, 2010

brought to you by neighbors with sesame oil

1. I am grateful for the moment of relief when I actually do something that I have been dreading doing. It makes me wonder why I sometimes procrastinate things so long and live with the guilt of the unfinished assignment, because the relief of just getting it done is so sweet. I could have been guilt free for weeks! I could have moved on and put this thing behind me! But no, I dragged my feet and stalled and whined. I made excuses. I made myself busy with other "very important things." But tonight I just sat down and didn't let myself have even one more cookie until I did the things I had committed to TWO MONTHS ago. And it only took me an hour and a half. And a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Man, this is a good moment.


2. I am grateful that this afternoon was the perfect weather for a long walk around the neighborhood. I'm kind of dreading the next three months of cold temperatures and icy roads when the sun will not shine and it will be too cold to play and so we'll sit in the house all those cold, cold, wet days. I am grateful we had an unscheduled afternoon and were able to enjoy what might be our last hurrah of fall.

3. I am grateful for go-to recipes that the whole family will eat and that come together with less than 20 minutes of kitchen time. Are you looking for one for tomorrow? Here you go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

this is not a time-suck

1. I am grateful that when Gulliver turned off the power on the computer power strip last night, turning off the computer just as I was finishing my gratitude email, that gmail actually saved my writing at the last second and when I got on the computer today my list from the last two days was still there.

2. I am grateful that Gulliver is a very snugly boy who loves to sit in laps, give hugs, hold hands, and in all ways be physically connected to those he loves (especially when he has been recently bathed and smells delicious). I do also appreciate the time he prefers to play independently and run around on his own, but I love, love, love that in the end he always comes back for comfort.

3. I am grateful for lessons at church that touch on a subject/quality/area where I know I could be better and that actually motivate me to make changes in my life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

errand and laundry day

1. I am grateful for color. Colorful flowers. Colorful trees. Colorful pictures. Colorful clothes. Color.

2. I am grateful for a warm bed and flannel sheets.

3. I am grateful that most days are not like today. That most days I have a lot more patience and a lot more energy and a lot more enthusiasm for being awake.

Friday, November 12, 2010

everything is better with bacon

1. I am grateful for reasons for family to get together for dinner, and even though the family members came from several points around the metro area that everyone drove safely in the heavy, heavy rain.

2. I am grateful for the friendship Gulliver has with his cousin Joe. The nine year age difference doesn't seem to matter at all and the two of them love spending time together.

3. I am grateful for restaurants that serve free bread with dips and that keep that bread and dip coming throughout the meal. It is also nice when the waiter agrees to bring me a few loaves to take home (even though my request for them may have embarrassed some of my family.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

slide down my rainbow

1. I am grateful that I got three huge things crossed off my to-do list today and that now, officially, the baby is free to come at any time. Not that he will, of course. I'm sure he wants to continue to kick me internally all the way up to his due date. I'm just saying that now I'm ready.

2. I am grateful that Somebody had today off work and was able to get even MORE things crossed of my to-do list. Oh, what a productive day!

3. I am grateful for music mixes that my (much more) musically in-tune friends send me. I love having fun music to listen to in the car on days when I have long drives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

down to single digits

1. I am grateful that the weather has stayed relatively warm and that we have been able to spend some time outside each day this week.

2. I am grateful that Somebody has taken over the dish washing chore last week and this week. And hopefully for the next month or so. Washing dishes is pretty high up there on the list of chores that I really dislike (right after taking out the garbage and washing floors) but it is one that typically falls to me to do because Somebody already has the evening duties of getting Gulliver ready for bed. Somebody has been a good sport about finishing the "putting the baby to bed" chore and then going right into dish washing even though all I've been doing is sitting on the couch. Oh, and growing the baby. But my point is that I am SO grateful that Somebody never makes me feel like I'm not doing my fair share and has just started doing more to cover the areas where I am doing less.

3. I am grateful for a reliable Internet connection.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

if wishes were fishes

1. I am grateful for good friends. I really feel like I have at least one life-long friend from each stage of my life and it is comforting to know that women, living all over the country, care about me and support me and pray for good things for me and my family. I also have, right now, what is certainly the largest group of "bosom friends" that I could ever hope to have living all in one place. I love the times we are able to get together and laugh and tell stories and unwind from the routine of our daily lives. I know I am richly blessed.

2. I am grateful that I am finally really noticeably pregnant and am able to wear maternity shirts without feeling like I just put on a tent. It's about time.

3. I am grateful that Gulliver is a social child and loves to interact with other children. When we go to the park by ourselves and he tries to makes friends with the strangers, well, sometimes I think he is so persistent that he creeps other kids out. But when we meet our friends at the park I really enjoy watching him laugh and play with his little friends.

Monday, November 08, 2010

stockpiling

1. I am grateful that my dad was willing to watch Gulliver for several hours today so that I could get some cleaning and organizing done.

2. I am grateful that the new recipe I tried tonight (and optimistically doubled) was a big hit. I doubled it because it was a "great for freezing" recipe so now I can freeze half and know that when this shows up on the dinner menu next month everyone will happily eat it.

3. I am grateful for ice cream and strawberries and that sometimes they combine to make yummy strawberry shakes.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

soon the bells will start

1. I am grateful that when I suggested to Somebody that perhaps we should put up our Christmas decorations this weekend so that we made sure they actually went up this year and didn't get lost in the post-baby chaos that he immediately agreed. It's kind of strange to look into the living room and see stockings (especially when, this year, for the first time, I've been less than delighted with the Christmas music on the radio because it is "too soon. too soon") and lights and the tree, but I'm sure that in three weeks I will be thrilled that it is out and done and ready to be enjoyed. Or maybe I'll be sick of it. Uh...I doubt it.

2. I am grateful that there was a pear tree in the yard of the house where my dad was staying in Arizona and that he picked buckets and buckets of pears and brought them back with him. We were able to can a dozen pints last night and also make some pear-sauce and pear juice. Now, when I say "we" I obviously mean that I sat on the couch and offered helpful advice to my dad and Somebody as they peeled, cut, cooked, jarred, and processed the pears, but I really feel like I was involved in the process because I came up with the perfect sugar/water ratio for these particular pears. At one point when I expressed how tired I was, Somebody said, "You've just been sitting there all night." And I said, "I know. It's SO hard to be me." And everyone actually agreed: yes, it IS hard to be Jennifer right now. Here, have another piece of Halloween candy.

3. I am grateful that we turned our clocks back last night and I was able to get an extra hour of sleep. After the really hard evening I had (see gratitude #2) I really needed all the sleep I could get and ten hours turned out to be the perfect amount. Who on earth sleeps for ten hours? Babies and pregnant women who have taken a sleeping pill, that's who. And as a bonus, I'd like to say that I'm thankful that sleeping pills are something I can actually take because otherwise last night would have been more like sleep for two hours, awake for two hours, sleep for three hours, awake for two hours, sleep for one hour. And that, my friends, is not nearly as restful as a ten-hour snooze.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

i use more than three squares

1. I am grateful for surprises in the mail from very thoughtful and generous friends.

2. I am grateful for the people who care about me and about my growing family and so decide to shower me with diapers and gifts. Thank you, ladies!

3. I am grateful that my dad is back in town. So grateful.

Friday, November 05, 2010

the sinks were really nice

1. I am grateful that I live near my parents and that I trust them both completely with the care of my child. I know it is rare to live so close to parents, and we probably won't be able to enjoy this blessing for many more years, but I am so thrilled with the relationship that Gulliver has with his grandparents that it makes me want to stay near them forever. He loves to see them and spend time with them and I know that his life is richer with them in it.

2. I am grateful for sweet potato fries and that at least one restaurant in town had them on the menu when I was craving them.

3. I am grateful for those moments with friends when you learn something new about them (when you thought you already knew lots about them) and it makes you think, "I KNEW we were similar. I KNEW we had a lot in common. I KNEW I liked you. But I like you even more now."

Thursday, November 04, 2010

it was something like shrapnel

1. Yesterday I decided to take advantage of being "in town" and Gulliver and I went grocery shopping. I clearly am still not aware of the limits of my body these days because we had just entered the second (and last) store when an almost unbearable sciatica pain took over my right leg. I didn't know how I was going to be able to move but was only 15 feet from the dairy section (our destination) and so just slowly, slowly, shuffled one foot in front of the other to progress down the aisle. I was leaning pretty heavily on the shopping cart and was sort of hunched over the part of the cart where Gulliver was sitting. I wasn't making any noise or saying anything to him, but clearly my pain was evident on my face because he started making the sign for sad and saying "mommy mommy mommy" and then signing sad. Then he reached up his little hands and put one on each of my cheeks and started softly patting my face. It was the most tender thing. He also offered several hugs, but could really only reach my head so he just hugged that and then went back to patting my cheeks. I was amazed that he could see that I was hurting and wanted to offer comfort. I am grateful that Gulliver is kind like his father.
2. I am grateful for visiting teachers who live fairly close by and are willing to help out when I have a need.
3. I am grateful that, if you go a long enough time without eating the name-brand potato chips, generic-brand potato chips taste pretty great.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

america runs on

1. I am grateful for clean bathrooms. It has been an embarrassingly long time since our main bathroom had a good scrub-down. Man, it feels good to walk in there with everything shiny and clean.
2. I am grateful that I got to blow out my birthday candle on a strawberry frosted donut. I totally blame Elisabeth for my love of the strawberry frosted donut and the frequency with which I crave them.
3. I am grateful that having a birthday gives my loved ones a good excuse to call/visit/email me. Hint. Hint.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

they're the really useful crew

1. I am grateful that Gulliver has, without much complaint, taken two naps today. With the whole family being up a good portion of the night, this rest time is desperately needed by all of us.


2. I am grateful that Somebody took the 2:00 - 3:30am shift with a couching, crying baby last night so that I could get some sleep. Also that he got up and went to work this morning where I'm pretty sure he is not allowed to take naps.

3. I am grateful that I was able to go to wikipedia today and learn that any Thomas & Friends video made before 2008 is going to be one that Gulliver rejects, as he will only watch the CGI version of the show. Good to know. I can now stop wasting my time requesting older episodes from the library in the hopes that I can steal 20 minutes of time to work on my own projects while he is busy watching "Choo Choo!".

a letter to my belly, take two

Dear Pregnancy,

Man, what can I say? I would like to say that you and I have finally actually come to an uneasy truce, but mostly I think that means that you have beaten me into submission. Uh, yes. I just checked and it actually DOES mean that you have beaten me into submission. I came into our second encounter thinking that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I think I actually said that to Somebody on several occasions: "It's okay. Pregnancy with Gulliver was rough, but this time at least I know what I'm getting into. And I go there willingly." Willingly. Nine months of daily nausea that wakes me in the middle of the night, every night, is something I know how to live with. Fine. Bring it on. And I was at least mostly prepared for the exhaustion and the random emotional outbursts. Even the side effects of the nausea medication, while occasionally horrifically painful, I was expecting and planning to grit my teeth and live through. Perhaps you saw my resolve and figured I needed a little humbling.

I understand that you are just trying to keep me on my toes (or knock me completely to my knees) by shaking things up a little this time. However, did you have to throw in only BAD new things? Three straight months of the dreaded pregnancy migraines? Are you even kidding me? And then six weeks of freakishly painful sciatica that, quite literally, left me crumpled in tears on multiple occasions? And then oral thrush? Twice? What gives, Pregnancy? Is there no one else out there you wanted to make question whether or not they could actually physically endure another meeting with you?

Okay, okay, so there were some parts of this pregnancy that were actually better than last time. I know, right? Like, this time I have been able to sleep in my own bed, on either side OR on my back, for the entire nine months. Last time, remember?, I was banished to the couch early in month seven because the nerve pain that shot down my legs after only ten minutes in bed left me unable to lift either leg or cope with the pain. But I found that one position on the couch that involved multiple pillows propping my legs up just so and after that I was able to sleep without pain. I don't miss the couch. Thanks for that. And this time, Pregnancy, you spared me the hair trauma. No dandruff. No greasy buildup. Just normal, healthy hair. And, I hate to admit it, but after an initial few months of unacceptable acne flareups, I think that my skin and hair actually look better than before pregnancy. Shut the front door, I could almost kiss you. Also the fact that this time I have actually been able to wear my watch and wedding ring up until, well, now, is like a little miracle. I'm grasping at straws, perhaps, to find the good in you. Just call me Pollyanna.

Which brings us, Pregnancy, to our last weeks together. Are you going to miss me? It should come as no surprise that I will NOT miss you. Up until the final moments of our journey together I will grin and bear it, this life with you, because you make possible this little Mushu that will soon join our family. Once he is here, though, it's okay if you don't want to call for awhile. I think we need some space. Think about seeing other people, will you? I...hope...tentatively...that perhaps we will meet again. You could help that decision by lightening the load a little bit, you know? Like, maybe less swelling of the feet? Is that asking too much? I didn't think so.

Jennifer

Monday, November 01, 2010

when upon life's billows

The leaves are falling from the trees, the days are getting shorter, and you can smell autumn in the air. You know what all that means... It's time to kick off the 7th Annual Attitude of Gratitude Challenge.

Here's how it works:
Each day during the month of November I will post three things I am grateful for. You should, too. Let me know if you are posting your gratitudes on your blog and I will put a link to your blog here on my blog.

Definition of "things"- the term "things" is used here to encompass a myriad of stuff including, but not limited to:
  • a certain set of circumstances
  • an event
  • an inanimate object distinguished from a living being
  • possessions or effects
  • a deed or act
  • a product of work or activity
  • a person
  • an idea or notion
  • a piece of news or information
  • a personal memory
  • anything that makes you smile
The challenge is to come up with three ORIGINAL "things" each day. Try not to repeat entries.

WARNING OF POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS!!
Please note that challenge participation may result in any or all of the following:
- you will be surprised at all the Lord has done for you
- angels will attend
- you will feel help and comfort
- you will find yourself "singing as the days go by"
- your doubts will fly
(see LDS Hymn #241 for the above references)

November 1
1. I am grateful that my brother and his family came over for dinner last night and we were able to revive/continue our Halloween tradition of dinner-in-a-pumpkin and homemade donuts. Yum, yum, yum. I should also add my gratitude for my aunt and uncle who taught us about enjoying Halloween as adults and establishing a tradition that doesn't require trick-or-treat aged children.

2. I am grateful that we came home from our church Halloween carnival on Saturday night with a bag of candy that I had no desire to eat (or allow Gulliver to eat) and so I had something to pass out to the few groups of neighborhood hoodlums that came trick-or-treating last night.

3. I am grateful that this past month has had weather pleasant enough that we haven't had to use the air conditioner or the heater and so have ridiculously low utility bills this month. What a blessing.

Monday, September 06, 2010

a bright, sun shiny day

The sunflowers were a little droopy when we went over this morning, but I think you still get the idea of how spectacular this sunflower field is. The two adults in this photo could not agree on which of the admittedly mediocre photos was the best, but I run this blog and so I got to choose which ones to post.

Gulliver was less than thrilled about the trip and refused to show off his winning smile. Also, it is getting very obvious that it is time to give that little boy a little haircut.
It also seems like as good a time as any to just go ahead and mention that I'm pregnant and we are expecting another baby boy in about 10 weeks. I don't know how we are going to wrestle two small things (with smiles, of course) into the sunflower field next year.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

the field is yellow already for pictures

For those of you here in Kansas City, the sunflowers I've taken pictures of the last two years are in bloom this week. Click here for the blog of the farmer's wife for a map. If the weather holds you will get to see our yearly pictures come up on the blog in the next week or so. Because I know you've just been waiting around for that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

being

Last week Janssen, who is about to have her first baby (or maybe has already and just hasn’t emailed me, the person who introduced her to craigslist, to let me know) wrote a post about seeing, and it has been on my mind a lot since I read it.

I can relate, in a lot of real ways, to her questions about how her children will see her and about how she will see herself once she morphs into “MOM”.

I remember being in a similar place: desperately wanting to be a mother, but at the same time not wanting to give up my identity—who I was before motherhood—and forget how to live as me. I still wanted to be able to lie on the couch and read all afternoon. I still wanted to travel. I wanted to go on walks through under-construction homes with Somebody. I still wanted to bake and craft and sing and laugh. I was determined not to lose me.

Perhaps that is what made my actual transition into motherhood so extremely difficult. Perhaps my knowledge of life on the outside made those first three months of sleep deprivation so painful. Perhaps I wouldn’t have wondered so often, “why did I want this? I hate this,” if I hadn’t felt so acutely the loss of me. It made me angry, for a long time, to look around the room and see the laundry not folded, the quilt not sewn, the book not read, the nap not taken. I, the I that existed in the time before baby, would never have let that happen.

So, here I am, 15 months later, and I can tell you for certain that Gulliver doesn’t see a college educated, determined, wannabe-professional cookie decorator when he looks at me. He doesn’t care when I’m tired or hungry. He doesn’t notice if I really don’t want to spend time outside right now because dang it’s hot. He never responds when I tell him to just shush up and listen to me because I have a masters degree and know A LOT of things that he doesn’t. What he sees, though, or at least what I hope he sees, when he looks at me is comfort. And security. And love. Hugs and kisses. Cookies and yellow balloons. I hope he forgets that he sees impatience and anger. I hope he can’t remember the times I was annoyed to have to drop what I was doing and sit on the floor to stack the blocks eighteen more times. It has become enough, right now, that he looks at me and sees just Mom. Mom. Who will pick him up and kiss his neck a million times. Who will fetch the ball and change the diaper and quack like a duck. Who had to give up parts of who she was, for now, for this short time, to teach him to climb the stairs and then rock him to sleep.

It’s a kick in the pants, this mother job. And if the only point of all my life experiences up to this point were to prepare me to be “just mom” for just him, then they were all worth it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

lazy days of summer

Remember that one time when I had that baby and then stopped blogging? I know. Weird. He grew up. Apparently that happens.


Well, you should know that this morning he is popping the Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Mints like they are jelly beans, and should he feel inclined to smooch you (he won't) his breath is just minty fresh. It's one of the small joys of motherhood this morning. I know you are glad I shared.

Monday, March 15, 2010

one giant leap for mankind

It's been quite a landmark week here. On Monday Somebody passed his final citizenship interview. On Friday he passed his oral comprehensive exam and officially became a doctoral candidate. (Stressed much?) On Sunday we had my family over for a belated Chinese New Year celebration dinner and Gulliver took his first step. Well, not just his first step. He also took his second, third, fifteenth, thirty-seventh, and fifty-ninth. Once he got going he was all over the place.

video

This video was taken, seriously, about five minutes after he took his first step. Is that just the cutest thing you've seen this morning?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

third time. charmed?

The second week of December I was rushing out of the house on my way to a funeral and I neglected to step carefully down the ice-covered front stairs. My feet flew out from under me and I landed first on the back side of my right thigh and then flipped forward onto my right knee with my hands and face in the snowy yard. Good times. I considered myself very blessed that I wasn’t carrying Gulliver or the food that I was taking for the funeral luncheon. I limped around for a few days and then sported a hand-print sized bruise on my leg for a few weeks. Eventually the swelling in my knee went down, and although the bruising on the bone continues to sometimes limit my activities, I feel like I am on the mend.

The first week of January I was rushing up the stairs, sorting and packing to attend my grandmother’s funeral, and I missed a step and fell. Although I was carrying Gulliver, I was blessed that I kept him from hitting the ground. This time my left knee took the brunt of the fall. Luckily, although I limped for a day or two, the injury was really quite minor.

Last Thursday I was leaving the house on my way to buy food to prepare for, strangely, another funeral, and I lost my balance going down the front step. Me, the two bags I was carrying, and Gulliver hit the ground. Well, Gulliver didn’t hit the ground, because the only thought I had in that half a second before I hit the cement was, “don’t let the baby hit the ground!” Thank goodness he didn’t. Seriously. My right knee, however, hit hard. Considering it was still sore from the December fall, you can imagine the throbbing and pain from hitting it again. I stayed on the ground for a second to assess the damage, cursing my current clumsiness. I had ripped a hole in the knee of my jeans, my left hand was scraped up, and my left ankle was a little sore. When I sat up and checked my knee it was scraped and bleeding a little. Oh, my luck. I gathered everything up, loaded the car, and continued on my errand, complaining and moaning only minimally (promise!). I limped a little, and my knee throbbed with pain, but I assumed the worst was over.

I was wrong. Slowly, throughout the afternoon, my back started hurting. By the time evening rolled around I could barely walk upright and ended up sitting in the nursing chair with Gulliver (after he fell asleep) until Somebody got home from school and could transfer Gulliver to the crib for me because I was unable to stand up holding him. Friday morning Somebody left for work at the normal time, but he wasn’t even all the way to his office (he has an hour commute) before I called him crying and told him there was no way I was going to be able to parent successfully when I could not walk or carry Gulliver. He came back home and took care of us all day Friday. And Saturday. And Sunday. And Monday. You don’t have to tell me how about what a good person he is. I know. Believe me, I know. Today, finally, I cam feeling better was able to actually spend most of the day not resting on the couch. Thank goodness, because Somebody had to get back to work.

There was, however, a silver lining. Gulliver has decided that he no longer requires rocking or walking or bouncing or help of any kind in going to sleep. He really prefers to nurse and then immediately be placed in his crib to fall asleep on his own. I know that this is the ideal kind of baby-sleep situation and I do count it as a blessing. I also miss holding and snuggling a sleeping baby. He has to be really, really tired to fall asleep in my arms. Friday, the day my back was hurting the worst and the day I spent a total of probably one hour up and moving around the house, didn't shower, and cried a lot, was also the day that this happened. Twice.

Monday, March 01, 2010

by any other name

Have you met my not-a-baby-anymore boy? Around these parts we call him Gulliver. He likes chicken curry, oranges, and the BYU Cougars.
He also loves tearing toilet paper into tiny, tiny pieces; waving bye-bye; dancing; taking baths; throwing shoes down the stairs; and, of course, cell phones.Man, he loves cell phones. But I think we'll keep him, anyway.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

welcome to my world

This weekend we found ourselves without plans and spent most of our time at home. We were only a few hours into our Saturday morning when Somebody said, "This is very boring." To which, I, of course, responded, "Hello. This is my life EVERY DAY." And then we put on masquerade masks to liven things up a little.