Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back in Zion again

We made it to Utah.

Despite my intense wrath at the terrorists who caused the ridiculous security measures - two kids, two strollers, and two carry-ons was no easy task - and Leighton's less-than-stellar behavior for the duration of the flight (except, of course, the last 5 minutes), we survived the plane trip.

Let the wedding festivities begin!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two little monkeys, jumping in the crib

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My baby is crawling.

It's about time. He is over 9 1/2 months old, and we were starting to worry about him. But this week, he just decided it was time, and he moved forward. I love watching him explore his new-found freedom. He still hasn't mastered the rhythm of it yet - he puts his opposite hand and knee down at the exact same time, making for a little bit of wobble. But he gets the job done and gets where he wants to go. I am thrilled.

But at the same time, I am a little sad. Just now, as I stood at the kitchen sink cleaning up breakfast dishes, I looked over to where I had set him on the floor, and he was gone. I felt a strange tinge of sadness. Although I love that he is learning new things, I am sad that my baby is gone. Crawling brings about a new independence, and the little baby who needs who for everything is gone forever.

I'm glad I don't have to worry anymore that he is developmentally delayed or something, but at the same time I'm a little sad that he's growing up. I feel like it was just last week we brought him home from the hospital, and now suddenly he's mobile. There is a new sense of the unknown, as he probably won't stay where I put him ever again. I'm happy for my little boy, but I'm going to miss my tiny baby.

I have since cut my hair again, and it no longer looks like that. Maybe soon I'll post of picture of the new 'do.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A movie review, of sorts.

Last week Andrew and I watched Seven Pounds. Have you seen it? When we first saw the preview, months ago, we tried to figure out why the title was what it was. He loses seven pounds? His girlfriend dies because she only weighs seven pounds? He robs a bank and only gets away with seven pounds of gold? We were uncertain.

So it was with anticipation we turned the movie on last week, still not knowing the reason behind the name. Now I have seen the movie, and I have a pretty good guess. I don't think this will ruin the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I think the human heart weighs seven pounds. Is that right? The movie was pretty good. Not one I would buy, and probably not one I would watch again. But one part has kept me thinking long after the movie ended.

There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where Will Smith is on the phone with a meat salesman. It turns out the man is blind, and Will Smith's character is unbelievably cruel to this man on the phone. After he hangs up, he cries and lists several names, and at that point I looked at Andrew and said, "I don't get it." At the end of the movie, without giving too much away, Will's character (I can't remember his name) wanted to give a gift to the blind man and he was testing him on the phone to make sure he was really a good person. That he wouldn't spout off in anger after being treated so horribly.

And that's what got me to thinking. If someone had treated me in the way that blind man was treated, I most certainly would have lost my temper and yelled right back at him. The blind man remained calm and polite in spite of the insults being hurled at him. And after over a week of reflection, I have come to the conclusion that, according to Will Smith's character's standards, I am not a good person. I am far to quick to jump to the defensive. I am rarely understanding of the reasons behind people's actions and am quite self-centered in my view of the world.

Although I didn't LOVE the movie, I am struck with the lesson it taught me. Being a good person doesn't just mean going to church and reading my scriptures and fulfilling my calling and cleaning my house and all the other long list of things I try so diligently to do. It also means being slow to anger with those who treat me offensively. It means being more sympathetic of others' feelings. That is definitely not my strong point. It means treating others as Christ would treat them, even if I don't feel the same compassion toward them that He does.

I know that was probably NOT the main point of the movie. But it's what I took away from it. So I guess I'm recommending it to you, in a way. It made me think about my own way of being. And I guess that's what good movies do.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Power struggle

I just got home from the grocery store. We went to meet Andrew on base and went to the commissary - shopping with him is so much easier than doing it alone with the kids. I had a short list of things for dinner this week, as we are going out of town for Kim's wedding. We got everything we needed and proceeded to the checkout. Eva played with the car shopping carts (you know the ones with the giant cars on the front that are a cute idea but totally impossible to steer) while we scanned the food at self-checkout. I let Andrew fish her out of the cars and started to the parking lot with Leighton.

Andrew came out and set Eva down so she could walk across the street to the parking lot by herself. There was a car waiting, and she was taking her sweet time to cross the road, not allowing us to hold her hand or pick her up without screaming. Despite our urgent calls of "Eva, hurry up!" and "Eva, come on! The car is waiting!" she continued her snail's pace across the road. I bent down after she had made it across and said, "Eva, look! The car was waiting for you. You don't stand in the middle of the road. You have to hurry." Then she turned around and started to walk right back in the road - JUST TO SPITE ME. Hello? Are you 16 yet? NO! Then stop acting like it! She was so defiant, it made my blood boil. I ran and grabbed her (less than gently) and carried her kicking and screaming to the car, scolding her for being disobedient. I wrestled her and forced her into her carseat, yelling at her to hold still while shoving all my weight against her legs to get her in the buckles.

And then these two words came into my head: POWER STRUGGLE. Those dreaded words. That situation I had spent my entire teenagehood in against my parents - the struggle for absolute control. I swore, after my many parenting classes in college, that I would NEVER do that. I would never get locked in a battle against my child that neither of us could win. And there I was - with a 2-year old, fighting with her like I did with my own parents. Except this time, I was the one yelling things like, "Don't you dare disobey me! You do what I say!" and other embarassing, useless phrases. I was the one pulling the "I am your mother, hear me roar" card on my daughter.

I felt overwhelmed with shame as we drove home. How could I have let myself get so angry - over something so trivial? Why was I acting so demanding and tyrannical? I said a silent prayer asking for forgiveness for acting in such a horrible way to the little girl I love most in the world. Then I told Eva I was sorry and asked her to forgive me. She said, "Yes, Mama. Sorry, Mama." It broke my heart. She had already forgotten about what happened and was involved in watching her Barbie movie - but I will never forget. I will never forget how quick I was to lose my patience. I will never forget how ridiculous I felt directing so much frustration at someone so compeltely innocent. I will never forget the instant shame I felt after the battle was over and I had "won" by getting her in her carseat.

In hindsight, I should have gently picked her up from the road, set her down, and quietly explained why she shouldn't walk in the road. Although she was testing her limits, I went WAY beyond the appropirate boundaries of good discipline. I'm glad she won't remember this incident, even if she will read about it. And I hope we don't have any more times when I treat my sweet little girl like in such a monstrous way. I'm so ashamed.
I'm so, so sorry, Eva. I will never treat you like that again. I will always try to treat you with respect and love, as long as you live. I love you, my Missy Moo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To the dog-owners of the world

Let me preface this post by saying a few things.

1. This is not written to offend. If you are offended, please don't be. And if you still are, then leave me a mean comment. I don't mind.

2. This post is specifically geared toward dog owners. Although I prefer dogs to cats (because I am maniacally allergic to cats), I haven't noticed quite the same fanaticism in cat people.

3. The military, in my experience, seems to have an aggravated situation in the world of dog obsession. There are certainly people outside of that circle whose condition is equally grave, but it seems that a more concentrated population of, ahem, psychotically canine-loving people are in the military.

4. This is not directed to people who have both dogs AND children. (I have many family members who do, and their dogs are a part of their family. Not a replacement for their children, but a valuable and loved household member. That's cool.) This is only aimed at those who feel dog ownership can replace - nay, exceed - parenthood.

6. I am not a dog hater.

This post is the result of much thought on the subject of dog ownership. But one experience in particular has brought my (cynical) thoughts to the surface - and on the internet for all to see. This week I attended an event where several women went around the room introducing ourselves. When it came to my turn, I said my name and then, unsure of what else to say (I was only the third person to speak and it hadn't yet been clearly established how much to reveal about ourselves), I stopped there. The question that followed, for some reason, absolutely rubbed me the wrong way.

"Do you have any pets?"

My immediate thought was, "Why in the heck would that be your first question?" Isn't a more typical question, "Where are you from?" or, even better, "Do you have any children?" But PETS? You have got to be kidding me. I politely answered, "No. But I have two children." The introducing game continued, and when it came to said girl's turn, she said, "I don't have any kids, but I have two [insert breed] dogs, and I treat them like my kids."

That little event got my wheels turning and I've been pondering on the state of humanity ever since. And I have a few things to say.

I understand that dogs can provide good company. The affection one can feel for a pet is strong. Pets are a big responsibility, and in that way they are similar to children. Like plants, pets and children need food, water, and care. And if you go out of town, you have to figure out what to do with them. But there, I feel, is where the similarities stop.

How dare - HOW DARE - you compare you owning an animal to my experience of being a mother? Do you honestly think purchasing a dog even compares in any small way to the experience of physically bringing a human being into this world? Do you really feel that you going to Walmart and buying dog food is in the same realm as nursing a baby, with all the associated emotional and physical toll? If you have never had a child, you couldn't possibly understand the depth of love you feel for one of your own children - a flesh-and-blood creation that you had partnership with God in giving life to.

So please keep all comparisons of having dogs and having children to yourself, until you have children of your own. At which point, you will probably realize how foolish you were to ever think the two were comparable. Thank you.

Guilt, be gone.

On the phone with my sister Camille the other day, she said, "Andrew must still be home. You haven't blogged in forever." It's true. Now you can really see what a double life I lead. It is so wonderful to have him home, but I often neglect my poor little blog. A few things have happened since I last wrote. Here they are, probably NOT in order of chronology or importance.

-I cut my hair. I love how short it is and how fast it is to do - max 5 minutes. I want to go even shorter, but I'm holding off until after Kim's wedding next weekend. Here is the before and after:

-Andrew planted many things in our backyard. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and rosemary. We still have a little cilantro leftover that miraculously sprouted, uncared for, in the garden which we have now put in its proper place. And that's just the backyard! In the front we have our herb garden: basil, parsley, mint, chives, and thyme. He's just a little gardener. Now I'm just patiently awaiting my fresh berries' arrival.

-I went on a girls' weekend with Melanie and Marelize. We got a hotel room in Seattle and had an absolute ball acting carefree again. No kids, no responsibilities, just us doing anything our little hearts desired. Apparently our hearts desired the world of retail, because we spent all our time shopping. And I loved it! I fell in love with Anthropologie - my first time going into that paradise - and I am now convinced that I need to get rich so I can decorate my entire house with purchases from that store. Obviously I walked out empty-handed last weekend. But that will not always be the case. It was so nice to get away for 24 hours and just relax.

-Leighton got his first haircut. It was time to get rid of the old man look. It's amazing how early we had to do his - Eva's hair was virgin scissors until the day before she turned 18 months. Little Bubba looks all handsome now, and ready for pictures at the wedding.

There. Now I can stop feeling so guilty of blog-neglect. Pictures and all - aren't you proud of me?

Friday, April 10, 2009

9 months yesterday

Oh, be still my heart. I am in love with this boy.
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All for naught

As you know, I am somewhat of a journal freak. This entails an obsession with cute notebooks. In February, I started writing by hand in my journal every night before bed, in a cute notebook I got from Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma. I didn't think much about this journal when I bought it - it had a cute cover and it was cheap, so I got it. But now that I have been writing in it so much, it is filling up rather quickly. And I only have a few pages left. I am in the market for a new journal.

I didn't realize how incredibly hard it would be to find one that I like, now that I have had the perfect one. The binding on it is JUST right for me. It is spiral bound, but the cover goes around the spiral binding, protecting it from bent spiral - one of my greatest pet peeves. The pages' lines are perfectly spaced, and there are floral designs printed on every page, making the inside of the journal as cute as the outside. (Wow, I am realizing how OCD I sound as I type this.) I have looked at Target and Walmart - nothing that compares to my Hobby Lobby one.

Tonight, with a full-journal-and-nowhere-to-write situation fast approaching, I decided to make a special trip to a bookstore. They always have great notebooks, right? After the kids woke up from their nap around 4pm, we were off. As I approached the highway, I debated which store to go to. I have always been a fan of Barnes & Noble. I am rather loyal to that store, in fact. But it is about 30 minutes from my house. The lesser store, Borders, is only about 15 minutes from my house. I went back and forth - risk it with the kids, or play it safe? I decided to play it safe, go to Borders, and then stop at Michaels on the way home in case I didn't find my dream notebook at Borders.

So the journey began.

Eva threw a medium-sized tantrum in the Borders parking lot over the fact that Leighton got to sit in the stroller and she didn't. Mind you, when I bring the double, she will have nothing to do with it - she only wants the stroller when her brother is occupying it. After a drawn-out - and HIGHLY unsuccesful - trip in my least favorite bookstore, we left. ((Should have driven to Barnes and Noble. My loyalty is stronger than ever.) Dear Marelize invited me to go to dinner with her family, and I was excited to eat at a good Mexican restaurant. Michaels was on the way to the restaurant, so we battled the traffic for a few blocks and went in. NOTHING. Not a single notebook in sight, other than those stupid dollar ones that have like 10 pages.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, my children started to unravel before my very eyes. Well, my rearview mirror eyes, as I was driving. It was dinner time. I knew Eva would be fine once she got food in her (she's my daughter, after all), but Leighton is a different story. He's still at the age that his downhill mood is permanently downhill and probably not going back up until he is properly fed, bathed, and put to sleep. Traffic was absolutely horrendous, going about a block every 3 minutes, if that. With Leighton crying in the background, I called Marelize and sadly cancelled my dinner date with her. I stopped at Panda Express (I don't even like that place but it was convenient, and it's Andrew's favorite so it was in memory of him) for dinner. Eva ate rice and chicken in her carseat, using the inside of my drink lid as her plate, all the way home. Leighton got his much-needed bottle, and all was restored in the Webb van.

But as I sit here in quiet, I think, "All that for nothing?" I still don't have a journal. I have several hundred extra calories sitting in my thighs because I was out of the house at dinner time and ate crap food that makes me feel disgusting. And again I say, I STILL DON'T HAVE A JOURNAL. So now I'm looking online. The only problem with that is, I can't see the spacing of the lines to tell if I like the inside. Oh, bother. Back to square one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My kitchen is the heart of my home.

I realized something last night. Although possibly not a truth universally acknowledged, it is definitely a truth in my universe. Here it is.

When my house is clean but my kitchen is dirty, I feel like the whole house is dirty. The opposite is also true: When my kitchen is clean but my whole house is dirty, I still feel like my house is clean.

Is this true for you, too? I have found that my kitchen is truly the heart of my home. It is where I spend the most time, during hours that I am awake. It is the place where we are most often together. Even though our dining table is not in there and family meals take place in the dining room (when Andrew is home), the kitchen is still where I find myself almost all day long.

As I have struggled to maintain a clean home and "make [my] sacred home a house of the Lord," (Gary E. Stevenson of the Seventy - wasn't that an awesome talk?), I have found a few stumbling blocks. Mostly, they come in different parts in the kitchen. This week, I am working on one of those: the dishwasher.

I am pretty good at rinsing dishes after they have been used. The dishes don't often pile up in the sink...unless the dishwasher is full of clean dishes. Which is often. I am REALLY good at loading and starting the dishwasher, but I have been known to leave the clean dishes sitting in there for a REALLY long time. Why? I don't know. I suspect it's mostly due to my nature of being a non-finisher. Like putting away clean laundry, I struggle with putting away clean dishes.

There is no reason this should be. It takes all of 5 minutes to put the dishes away, leaving a home for the dirty dishes in the sink. It's really just a mental thing. It's like a chore that looms over me until it becomes this big deal and blocks my productivity by making my kitchen a disaster. It's like the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon, only slightly less destructive and far more frequent in rotation.

So this week, I am trying to unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning, or as soon as it is clean (if I run it in the middle of the day). So far, so good. There are no dishes in my sink. My counters stay cleaner. I feel better about my home as a whole. Now if I could just become a consistent sweeper...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Out of the clear blue sky, or somewhere up there.

I have been missing my wedding ring for a couple weeks now. The last day I had it was the day before we left on our trip, so about March 17. I knew that I had last worn it in the house and taken it off in the house, we when we left on vacation without it, I wasn't worried. I knew it was in the house, and I knew I would have time to look more thoroughly when we got home.

After the trip, we unpacked. The next Monday, I cleaned the house. Tuesday, I cleaned the bathroom, where I thought my ring probably was. It wasn't by any of the sinks where I normally set it. It's a pretty thick band, so I didn't think it could have fallen down a drain. The more time passed, the more inwardly worried I got. I tried not to say anything to let on how worried I was getting. I didn't want to admit that it could actually be lost. Yesterday I pulled out the vents in the floors to see if Eva had possibly thrown it down there, but it was nowhere to be found. I was out of places to look and had almost given up on finding it.

And then, a literal miracle happened. Maybe not like sight-to-the-blind caliber of a miracle, but in my book it was just as good. Tonight, just before putting the kids to bed, I was changing into my pajama pants. I keep all my pants folded on a shelf at the top of my closet and just sort of toss whichever one I wore on the top. When I threw my newly washed jeans up there, the pile toppled over and my shorts from yesterday and my old pre-pregnancy jeans, which I NEVER wear, fell into my arms. Rather than folding them up, I just kind of shoved them back up on the shelf.

And then, my ring dropped out of the sky and landed on my closet floor.

There is no other explanation, really. How the ring got in the top of my closet is a complete and utter mystery. If you know me, you know that I own VERY few pairs of pants and rotate them out quite frequently. I don't ever put my ring in my pockets, so I will never know how it got up there, and how it managed to free itself from wherever it was hiding. But I'm certainly glad to have it back on my finger again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy day

I was overwhelmed with gratitude this morning when I found all the comments from my supportive friends. Thank you all for listening to my complaints and not judging me for being so negative. :)Today was much better. I woke up with my usual Monday morning fire to get the house clean, top to bottom. I did it faster than ever before and felt great. The weather was, once again, amazing. I decided to take the kids on a picnic.

We went to get lunch at KFC and then, since we were right by Target, I thought we would just stop there first to grab a few things for Easter. Big mistake. Long story short, we never made it to the park. Eva threw the tantrum of her life. Seriously, she should get an award. Turning 2 finally caught up to us, I guess, because I have honestly never seen her act like that. We went straight home, she screamed all the way, and I immediately put her down for a much-needed nap. She woke up hoarse from the hour she spent making those demonic noises, and in a much better mood.

We spent the afternoon outside in the backyard under the shade of our big beach umbrella eating Wheat Thins and blowing bubbles. We ended the day by going with my friend Monique to a nice park not too far away. Eva loved it - she played with one of her favorite friends Roman and wandered to her hearts content on the play equipment. I lounged on a blanket, fed Leighton some cinnamon apple pear puree, ate more KFC, and basked in the end of today's warmth. (I really shouldn't have gotten a family bucket...I'm going to be eating that for a while. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and the menu didn't have just chicken except in a family size. Oh well.)
I must mention, speaking of idyllic days, that I thought about my time in Nauvoo quite a bit today, as it is April 6th, the anniversary of the organization of the church. (How's that for a run-on sentence for you? I'm too lazy to fix it.) Oh, how that day changed the world. My world.
Happy day, all is right.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm about to throw up on you.

Apparently I'm having a really emotional day. I didn't realize that it's probably hormones until just a few minutes ago when I was reading Eva a story before bed - Sandra Boynton's Not the Hippopotamus - and I started crying. For no reason. I am one day past the halfway point of Andrew's 2 week trip, and I'm trying to muster up strength to do even one more day. It feels like he's been gone half an eternity already and I still have almost another week.

General Conference today and yesterday was incredible - the best session of my life so far, I'm sure. I took 12 pages of notes and felt great. But, thanks to my strange emotional balance today, I felt horrible afterwards, and completely overwhelmed by everything I need to be doing that I'm not. And yet I should be happy, because I haven't lost a child or a spouse or anything else remotely difficult, comparatively. So I felt even worse for feeling depressed, because I really have nothing to be depressed about.

Good day to pick to blog, huh? I'm not looking for sympathy, really - I'm just having an exhausting day. And I want to verbally vomit somewhere. Since my husband is in an unnamed war zone at the moment, I chose my blog readers as my proverbial toilet bowl. Sorry.

The weather was amazing today - I could hardly believe it was Washington. Actually, it was hot. I had my fans on and everything. It became a little bit of a problem when I let Eva play in the backyard and was continually chasing her and thinking for sure this time she would be gone for good. She has NO fear and wanders far every time. We desperately need a fence - I'm glad this early good weather showed me that before it's summer and it's almost too late to fence her in.

I made babyfood. It felt good. Leighton is finally eating. Come to think of it, I don't think I blogged about that. There have been a ton of things lately that I haven't blogged about. I just haven't had the mental energy, I guess. Pathetic, I know. Anyway, he went for almost 2 weeks without eating, and last week went back to normal. One of the more frustrating times in my parenting career, to be certain. Thank heaven it's over.
When I walked in the computer room just now, I found an empty bagel bag on the desk. Strange, there had been 2 left this afternoon. Then I found them - stale, ripped into pieces on the floor, and plucked of every last raisin. Thanks, Eva. What good is a cinnamon raisin bagel without the bagel?

That's all, I guess. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Explaining my lack of posts, and 2 more pictures from our trip

Sometimes twittering is just easier than blogging. And sometimes I'm lazy. That's all I'm sayin'.