Monday, September 1, 2014

Goin' Home

  I am sitting in my dark living room, feeling the finally cool air from a 20-something inch fan blow point-blank at me from four feet away.  We were sweaty today.  Sitting still, sweaty - drops rolling down Lucy's little temples, tickling maddeningly on my scalp, making Eden's curls stand on end.  But finally we are cool, resting, dark, dry, and they are asleep.  Nate is gone, so I'm listening alone to Alex Boye and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing "Going Home" and letting the tears roll down my cheeks.
  Am I the only one who misses my family this much?  I love my little family of my own, I love having our own home and being the mom and the wife.  Its not that I want to go home and live in my parents' house.  As much as I have appreciated the times we've lived with either of our families, I am thankful to have our own home, our own space and routine.  Its not that I want to "go home" to my childhood or youth, either.  I remember plenty of times, then, yearning for my life as it is now!  But, OH!, I want to go home! I miss my mom and my dad, my sisters, my brothers, their families! I miss California in the summer, in the fall and winter, in the spring.  I miss the colors, the smells of dust, of rain, of dry weeds and grass growing lush.  I know its not perfect - its a real place, after all - but I MISS it so much!
  I just want to go home.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quick Update on Our Life

   Time is flying by, and my little babes are growing up!  I wanted to write some of these moments down and preserve them, since the journal has been gathering dust in a box for many months now...

  Lucy is our little love.  I know I'm so much more relaxed with her at this age than I was with Eden, partly because of the difference in our circumstances and the toll that took on all of us, partly because Eden was the first and I didn't know any better, and partly because when Eden was this age (17 months) Lucy was born.  Having neither another baby nor even another pregnancy so far, Lucy reaps the benefits in patience and energy.  She is also just a different personality than Eden, which certainly makes a difference in our relationships!  However, she doesn't just lay back and rest on the baby laurels. She is very steadily and persistently growing up right under my nose.  Every night I look at her, sprawled on the bed, and think, "When did she get to be so LONG!"  She loves to put on shoes, even my high heels, and hats to a lesser degree.  She's saying all sorts of words, from "bucket" to "monster," (with the appropriate big eyed, apprehensive look), and signs & says, "More More More," and all the others from baby signing time.  She just recently potty trained, so now her cute little bottom is in panties during her waking hours.  Sometimes she'll come running and tell me, "Potty! Potty!" but mostly she will just hold it til I take her, and since I take her at reasonable intervals, we stay clean and dry! I love it! :)  Lucy loves her Daddy, going to church, tasty food, and when Eden wakes up, and expresses her excitement at all of the above, and anything else, by letting off an ecstatic scream at the top of her lungs.  She has to cover her mouth if she wants to scream so in the car, but otherwise it just makes me laugh to see her so very excited.  Reading is, of course, a preferred activity, and her favorite book, currently, is an illustrated edition of the Wizard of Oz, that Arlie and Tory sent to us.  Its too longwinded to read to them, but we page through it and tell the story, hooking it to the pictures.  She chooses it every time I send her to go get a book, and will even sit and look through it on her own!  Lucy is Eden's devoted sidekick.  She sometimes suffers for her proximity (kicked, pushed, water dumped on her head, steam-rolled, etc), and Eden has several times been caught inciting her to do what I just told her not to, but I love to see them sitting side-by-side against the kitchen wall, eating snacks together, with Eden's arm casually draped over Lucy's shoulder, just happy to be together.  And Lucy knows very well how to come running to Mama with a tattle to share, and is learning to fight back. :/ One of their favorite (?) new things to do is, if Lucy says, "I want it!" (which sounds a lot like "Ah-ahhnt!") Eden gets right in her face, nose to nose, and shouts back, "No, I want it!" and then its Lucy's turn and then its Eden's turn, on and on until/unless I put a stop to it.  They are definitely quarreling, but with an odd spark of perverse delight in both of them.  But Lucy is a lover, very kind and compassionate.  If she even has a hint that you are hurt or upset, she will come over and lavish hugs and kisses all over, until you basically have to tell her to stop.  And if Daddy is giving out kisses before he leaves for work, she makes sure he gives us each one so no one is forgotten. :)

Eden is also growing up, and I see more and more signs of the three year old she will be in a month!  More self-control, more desire to understand, more ability and desire to follow directions, to mimic actions in a meaningful sequence.  Extreme imagination and burning desire to "play with someone," and pretend all day long.  If you see any pictures of her from the last 6 months, chances are she is wearing her ball-gown, a pink plaid maternity shirt with the neckline taken in to prevent shoulder slippage.  Her other favorite outfit consists of a large onesie (her "ballerina-tard"), a purple sparkly tutu from Grandma Sue, and thick purple tights.  I don't know how she stands wearing them, as most days I am melting into a puddle of sweat in our house, but woe betide anyone who dares to refuse her the chance to wear them!  Eden loves to watch ballets, and as I prefer that media fare to most Disney (and certainly all recent films!) she's seen Peter and the Wolf, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker (more times than I can count!) and Cinderella, and begs to see them again and again.  We do a lot of dancing to satisfy the ballet itch!  Just the other week, she spent the day at a friend's house while Nate and I went to the temple, and watched Frozen.  Duhn-duhn-duhn!!! We'd avoided it til now, but she came home, singing, "Let it Go!!! Let it Go!!!" and draping herself in a purple blanket to be a very dramatic Elsa.  That was ALL we heard about for the next week, and it was driving me CRAZY!  I don't know how all those with kids addicted to it, stand it!!! She even told me, "I don't have to hold your hand or stay on the sidewalk on our walks.  I have the freezing powers in my hands and I can just FREEZE the cars so they don't get me! For real!!!"  That was a little scary! So I checked out "St. George and the Dragon," illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, from the library.  Worked like a charm.  Frozen was relegated to the sidelines, and we read George, danced George, pretended George, and retold George at bedtimes and naps.  Forget Elsa, Eden was now Una, the dragon lurked around every corner, and Daddy was the Red Cross Knight!  Of course, Eden's character is such that while she willing fled for her knight when danger presented itself, she also wanted to get in there and be right by his side fighting the dragon.  :)  Another time, while we were reading Beatrice Potter's "Two Bad Mice," the mice were angry to find that the food wasn't real and began throwing things out the windows.  Eden said, "If I was there, I would throw them out the window!"  And while watching Cinderella's sisters ruin her dress, she exclaimed, "They shouldn't do that! If I was there, I would rip up their dresses!!!"  She has a strong and innate sense of protective and proactive justice!  As all little ones, Eden certainly gets into her share of naughtiness, and recently, when she does, will call out, "Don't see me!" or if we are right there watching, will cover her eyes with her hand while she does the mischief, as if we can't see her if she can't see us.  It is hilariously exasperating!  Mostly, though, those moments come about when she is over-tired, or hungry, or bored and seeking attention.  When she is good, she is very, very good, and she certainly wants us to be happy with her.  She tells us often and expressively, "I LOVE you, Mommy! I love you so much. I love you two, three, ten!"  Nate and I sometimes take turns with the bedtime routine, and sometimes she will pre-emptively request my presence at bedtime before we have even sat down for dinner.  Her eyes are still a sparkly hazel,though she says they are white and green, and sometimes insists they are pink (as pink is still the queen of colors around here) and her hair, which she insists is blond, is caramel brown corkscrew curls.  I love it!  We are learning how to help it stay curls and not just frizz out as it gets longer.

   I am doing very well myself. A few months ago, I got inspired and cut myself a set of side-swept bangs.  Due to a cowlick in the front center of my hairline and fairly curly hair myself, I've never had bangs, but somehow I thought it was a good idea....  When I got started, I kept thinking, hmm, that's not quite right, and snipping more, and more, and suddenly I looked at myself and thought, "AAAHHHHH! What have I done!!!??? Put down the scissors, bobby pin it all back, and hope it grows quickly!!!"  But after a few days of experimentation, I figured it out and actually was quite pleased with it!  However, I did realized that Hawaii is the wrong place to cut bangs or layers around your face.  They make you so much hotter, and not in the desirable way!  So while I don't regret doing it, mostly I just roll or clip them back unless I'm going on a date without children to an air-conditioned location.  ;)  Our ward is wonderful.  Our house is what we need.  Our job provides for us and allows Nate to be home an extreme amount of time. Our life is good. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Eden and Church Funnies

  Last Sunday we attended our Kilauea ward for the first time.  It seems like a wonderful ward - of course, the Honomu branch was so incredibly welcoming and reached out to each one of us that it would be hard to beat, but the Kilauea ward is very warm and inclusive as well.  We are excited to participate and serve there!  Eden and Lucy were absolute pumpkins, due to all the moving around and unpredictable scheduling, but thankfully Nate was on standby for work, so it was two on two.  During one of the talks, Eden was wriggling around to look at the family behind us.  She began to quietly sing, "Where are you, tall man? Oh, where are you?"  My eyes were on her, but I was trying to listen to the speaker, so my attention really wasn't.  Besides, she always has to fumble a little bit with her fingers before she can get one of them to stand up alone.
  Not this time!  Right on cue, she held up her hand and perfectly flipped off the family behind us!  I grabbed her hand and we all dissolved into (mostly) silent, shaking giggles.  Eden just looked at me, puzzled, innocent, and utterly hilarious.
  The week before that, when I went to pick her up from nursery, the Primary president couldn't say enough good things about her.  She was amazed at her verbal ability ("I can't believe I was standing there having a full conversation with a two year old!!") and the way she paid attention and interacted in Primary.  I almost fell over, though, when she said, "Her name is Belle, right?"  Apparently Eden does just fine introducing herself when we are not around!!
 (Actually, since we moved out here, Eden has taken to introducing herself as a character from her favorite movies or stories.  I probably mentioned it before, but it got pretty extreme during all our moving around.  She had so many new people asking her name every day that she got very good!  Its very rarely her own real name!  Although its funny, it can be a little odd/embarrassing, and I have struggled to know how to handle it.  Do I just let it go?  Correct her?  Laugh?  Pay no attention?  She's not doing it for my sake or play a trick or make a joke, she's sincerely introducing herself!  For a few days when it got really extreme, I found myself laughing and saying something like, "She wishes!" or "Now tell them your real name," but I felt bad about those responses - I don't want to be rude to my own daughter!  Its still funny, and still happens, but now I mostly just smile and only explain if necessary.)
  (Edited to add:)
  Saturday night, we packed up our dinner, and Nate took us all to a little school playground for an evening picnic.  There was a lovely little hill overlooking the play area, and as it was almost dark, only one other couple there with a little boy about Eden's size.  They were sitting on the hill, watching him play down below, when we got there, and we sat a little way off to eat our food.  As soon as Eden saw the playground, she begged to go play first, and eat later.  We let her go, and admired the confidence and agility with which she navigated the equipment.  She even climbed up that twirly ladder thing and after a few tries, successfully stepped over to the main play platform!  Her interaction with the little boy seemed minimal, but friendly.  A few minutes later, another mom and young boy, probably 5 or so, showed up.  Eden immediately wanted to make friends, and although we couldn't hear very well, we watched her join in a game of chase with great glee.  First the bigger boy, then Eden, then the little boy, went racing around the slides and stairs.  When they came around the other side, however, the order was reversed, and the little boy was running as fast as he could go!  He headed off the padded area, making a beeline for his parents, and as they got a little closer, we heard him screaming, "WAAAAA! Waaaa!  Moooommmmmyyy!!!! WAAAA!!"  and saw Eden leaping after him, roaring like a beast, with fingers hooked into claws!!!  I couldn't believe my eyes!!  We tried to reprimand a little, but we were all laughing in disbelief (the little boy's parents included.)  They sent him back down to play, and a few minutes later it happened again!  It was time for them to go, and Eden came panting up to eat some dinner.  We were talking about what had happened, and she kept asking, "But why?  Why was the little boy running away from me?"  We hadn't been close enough to hear what started it, so we could only explain so much, when suddenly she said, "Maybe because I bit him."
  "No, not really.... We were just playing..."
  But later, as we got in the van and she mentioned it again, I asked if she really did, and she said yes.  Oh, dear.  I hope not!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Set Up For Failure (or at least, a Hard Time)

I began to write this several months ago, while we were still very much in a state of transition.  
Not just transition, but uncertainty, separation, and stress.  And sometimes, in the midst of the struggle, it is better to let one's thoughts and feelings mature and ripen in private, to allow for the work that perspective and time do.  So I didn't post it then.  
But now, while still in the end stages of transition, much of the stress and uncertainty have been worked through and things are not quite so raw, not quite so desperate feeling.

Goodness, anyone who reads this whole blog will probably think that I am a very dramatic, perpetually struggling, weak-willed mess of a woman!  Well, maybe I am.  I do tend to write more during and about my personal hard times.  I find it both cathartic and therapeutic, and I have found great relief and insight from reading about other's struggles, faith, and real lives, so I guess it doesn't matter how any reader might perceive me... If you know me, reading this blog might give you new insight into different facets of my character, and if you don't know me... I guess you can just draw your own conclusions. :) 

We had come to the conclusion that it was time to leave King Salmon, and went ahead with that move despite the fact that we, at that time, had no further employment.  I am so grateful to my dear husband for the way he listened to me and counselled with me and then had the faith and courage to jump, so to speak, out of a perfectly good airplane.  I mean, leave a paying job to move his family for their good, without another job already lined up.  He takes his role as our provider and protector very seriously, and does a very good job at it, and I know this period of time was a huge stress for him.  I was very excited to leave King Salmon, although it had come to be more of a blessing and less of a trial over the months.  In fact, our last months there were so good, so full of warmth and happiness, with so many new connections, that it was just starting to feel actually do-able.  I had a few fleeting thoughts that, perhaps, in seeking for something better, I would just be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, but for many reasons, it was the right time to leave.  

And so we did.  

I am so grateful for the generosity of my in-laws, in letting us come and stay at their house in Utah for several months.  It is not easy to add a whole other family to a household and maintain loving, peaceful order.  There were struggles all around, and I'm sorry for the added stress we brought to the house.  Nevertheless, it was a blessing to get to know Nate's side of the family better, to let them love our little ones and see our little ones learn to love them!  I was so disappointed that for much of the time we were there, Eden and Lucy were dealing with their first real colds, as well as the serious disruption of their previously very predictable lives and family, which meant that they were definitely not on their "best" behavior.  (As a parent, its almost sad sometimes how very much you want others to see the precious person that your child really is, how very easy it is to resent mis-judgment and long for mercy for your child's sake!)  
It really was such a blessing, on a very fundamental level, to have a safe place to come and be with our family and have their support while Nate was gone so very much.  I never thought I could find a harder schedule for families than that of a bush pilot, but - oh, my - I am SO glad that our time as a trucking family was limited! 

In the middle of it all, with Nate gone long and random hours (days, weeks!), trying to settle and balance two little girls whose world had turned topsy-turvy, our living compressed into one room and confined to the indoors due to continued temperatures below zero (even King Salmon was warmer!), not knowing where we were going next or when we were going there.... I came to a very important realization for me.

This was hard. 
There was no denying that.
But I had the power to make it infinitely harder on myself by thinking that it was harder than it should be. 
By expecting someone to help me with the house, the children, the state of my emotions. 
By thinking that my husband should always be available or around.

Such a very basic realization.  It almost seems silly to look at it written out. It made a huge difference in my life though! 

I don't remember what sparked my lightbulb moment. I do remember the illumination it brought!
This was not harder than it should be.
This is just the way it was.

With that conclusion, my ability to deal with it all increased greatly. 

So, to go back to the title of this post, I don't know who ever told me that life should be easy.  Or happy.  Or that it would go the way I wanted or expected.  In fact, I remember quite clearly learning the opposite! "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things..."
So maybe I could blame it on our culture, this self-centered modern age, that wicked one, or Disney's happily ever after.  I think the actual culprit might just be immaturity (as in, just plain lack of experience and perspective). 
 But whoever is to blame, I think that we are set up for (or we set ourselves up for) a failure in life or, at the very least, a pretty hard time, by the attitude that life should be easier, more "fulfilling", more fun, more adventure, more enjoyable, more what we expected.  

Besides that, when we focus on all the things we think life SHOULD be, we miss life as it is - the ease, the fulfillment, the fun, the adventure, the enjoyment, and the blessing that we have right before us.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Aloha, Hawaii!!

So glad to be back! One of my cousins reminded me that when I returned from BYUH, all I would talk about was how much I loved it and wanted to return.  The time has flown since then, and although I still held many fond memories, I couldn't conjure up that desperate longing to return anymore.  Yesterday afternoon, driving along the steaming road just after a cloudburst, the sun pouring golden in our windows and a fresh breeze cooling us just enough, I was overwhelmed with happiness at being back. I don't specifically remember praying to return, but I'm sure that I did, and I am so glad that the Lord led us to this unexpected opportunity to come back with my family!!
  Of course, the flights over were a little exciting, beginning with Eden throwing up in the van on the way to the airport, all over the floor just after coming through security, and in tandem with Lucy as we landed in Seattle.  Thankfully the man sitting on the other side of Eden jumped in to help hold her sick bag so I could catch Lucy's puke in her sick bag! The girls did very well, though, and received many compliments as we landed in Kona.  
  The Kona landing strip looks like you're landing on the moon!  Barren, black volcanic rock is all around, not a scrap of green or even sand in sight.  My first thought upon disembarking was, "Whew! This is NOT the place to be wearing jeans!" I've worn skirts every day since then and I think I shall continue!
 We're still looking for a place to live, but even in that somewhat stressful atmosphere, it is just so nice to be together as a family again! To eat dinner together almost every night, to lay down together for bed and wake up with Daddy in the morning, to just enjoy BEING together, not feeling like we have to squeeze perfection out of every small moment because too soon we will be apart again.  Such a blessing!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scripture Thoughts

   Our last Sunday in King Salmon, Nate and I were asked to speak in church.  The topic was "Your Relationship with the Lord," and although I did think about it a lot, with packing and preparing for the move and all the normal demands of life, it wasn't until the night before that I actually sat down and put pen to paper.  It took me awhile, but eventually my thoughts began to flow and my talk took shape.  I don't really remember much of it, except one insight that I know did not come from my own wisdom.
  Going back a little further, sometime during the summer weeks that Nate was gone flying, I decided to read the Bible all over again.  In 90 days.  There are reading schedules out there that make all the figuring out easy, so I found one and began following it.  It definitely took commitment!  My scripture reading had suffered since having children, and going from a haphazard chapter or two of the Book of Mormon (sometimes verse or two was more like it!) to 10+ chapters of Old Testament a day was a big change! At first I was a little grumpy about it - I'd been reading for a few days, and while the Genesis review of all the old scripture stories was not bad, I certainly didn't feel particularly blessed to be reading about people's bad choices and the twisted lines of their lives from long ago.  I wasn't feeling the inspiration flow.  It wasn't relating to my life with that *BLING* of revelation and light.  After about a week, however, I did notice a difference.  I wasn't receiving pillars of light or angelic visits, but I was calmer.  I did have more patience.  My heart was happier.  Parenting our girls was easier, and dealing with Nate's absence was less aggravating/sad.  I continued my reading, and became more convinced of its effect all the time.
  And that is where my stroke of revelation for my talk came from.  Reading scriptures is totally important, but not because it is always going to speak to us in golden tones of heavenly light.  It is important because it builds our relationship with the Lord.  And THAT is where all the good things come from.
  It comes easily to most of us, given a listening ear, to pour out our hearts, our wants and worries, our desires and dreams.  Just like a baby, crying out for food or sleep, we feel our state so acutely and naturally reach out for help.  But as we grow in our relationships, we realize the other side has something to share beyond just what we might ask for; we want to get to know the other person, not just be served.  We don't expect every conversation with a friend or spouse to be deep and life-changing, revealing secrets and enlightening our understanding.  Just saying hello regularly deepens our connection.  Laughing at something together, hearing what drives them crazy or makes them really happy, discussing what happened with their day - these are the communicative bricks and mortar of a relationship.  These everyday, common conversations lay the foundation of understanding and connection that allow deeper and deeper discussions, that lead to those life-changing moments we remember all our days.  So it is with reading the Scriptures regularly.
  With that background, here are some thoughts I had today.
  I've been thinking about all the things I want, and don't yet have.  :)  While so very grateful for the blessings that are mine, quite frankly, there are some prayers that are, as yet, unanswered.  It is easy to worry over them.  It is easy to just want and want and want them so bad that, while waiting to receive, hope falters.  I want to believe that my Father will truly bless me, but when I want the chocolate cake and it feels like I'm being handed a bare carrot, its easy to feel let down.  So the other day, when these words popped into my head, I certainly was intrigued.

 "Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

  And then, today, 
"...he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word: and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full."

  I believe that my Father is a giver of good gifts.  Better than I can even imagine. I believe that he hears my prayer for bread, and he is not giving me a stone.  I do not aspire to know the mysteries of God "in full," but I do choose to not harden my heart, that I might receive those good gifts that he has for me, not the least of which is a closer walk with Him.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


(This was from a month ago, when Nate had been gone for several weeks.)

Last night I was the comedian.  I totally brought the house down.  Mine was a slapstick act involving a mischievous green spiky ball and my efforts to restrain it.  The girls sat on either end of the table, Eden ensconced in her seat of choice, the Bumbo, and Lucy strapped into the booster seat with a tray.  It was basically a juggling act, but I kept dropping the ball and chasing it, or throwing it over my head, or tumbling with it on the floor, complete with silly faces and sound effects.  The girls were totally overcome with hilarity.
I never thought of myself as a funny person.  I never thought of myself as particularly outgoing, and definitely not the type to be crazy and wild.  Spontaneity and silliness were not my trademarks; dignity and reserve were much more my style. I was much more comfortable with understated than over-the-top.

Being a mom brings out every side of me - the good, the wonderful, the bad, the awful, and the downright, flat-out silly.  And I love it.  There is nothing more delightful than pure laughter rippling freely from my sweet little daughters' lips.  I don't care how silly, undignified, or crazy I have to be - its worth it. :)