Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Exercising my religious brain muscles

I've had some things on my mind about my faith and I just wanted to talk (write) out loud about them.

When I was online searching for photographs of President Hinckley a couple days ago, I stumbled upon many offensive things about the church and other blogs discussing people's waning testimonies amidst questions about prophets and other doctrines in the church. One blog caught my interest because it talked about controvercial things in church history and how that affected people's testimony.

Why is it that people think prophets have to be perfect to be true prophets? If I recall my Sunday School lessons correctly, Jesus Christ was the only perfect person who ever walked this earth. Many people have difficulty accepting that Joseph Smith was called of God, that he saw God and Jesus Christ, that he was called to restore Christ's church to the earth as it existed in ancient times. They site mistakes that Joseph made in his life and say, "well, he couldn't have been a prophet if he did such and such..."

Dan and I had an interesting discussion a couple weeks ago about Joseph Smith. If you're God, and you have to choose a mortal to be strong enough and bold enough to restore your full gospel, what kind of person are you going to choose? Someone who's the sit-in-the-back-quietly kind of person, or a 13-year-old kid who's got the guts to question preachers 3 times his age? Do you choose someone who is meek and quiet, or someone who is bold, outspoken, and has the charisma to inspire courage and faith in tens of thousands of people? If you plan to send out missionaries to preach about the restoration of your gospel, expecting them to leave in the dead of winter with a sick wife, a bunch of little kids and no food on the table, who are you going to send to call that man on a mission? Someone with a commanding character. Someone strong.

Joseph Smith wasn't perfect. He pissed a lot of people off. But that does not mean he wasn't called of God. He had a monumental task to complete. He did the best he could with the kind of personality he had. I think one problem is that many members of the church have been raised to view Joseph Smith as an uneducated country boy that was merely a pawn in the Lord's hand, when really he had an amazing intellect and was a very powerful person. These are not bad character traits. Joseph withstood incredible adversity, yet he remained true to the God that required it all of him. Who would want to practice polygamy if asked? I wouldn't. And he didn't want to either, but he obeyed. None of the apostles wanted to practice polygamy when it was introduced, and none of them ever really understood why the Lord required it of them. But they did it anyway and tried to handle the difficult lifestyle with as much grace and dignity as they could.

I read a very interesting book a few months back, Saints by Orson Scott Card. It's a historical novel (fiction, people!) about a woman who joined the church in England and left her family to follow the Saints to America. While I don't agree with the main premise of the book, that God called the heroine to leave her children to follow the Saints (God would never call a mother to abandon her children), it was a very interesting look into polygamy and the personalities of the early church leaders. It was a refreshing perspective; the early church leaders weren't all quiet and pious. They were men of humor, they were feisty, and they were loyal to God and to his prophet Joseph Smith.

I grew up in the church, went to Seminary (a scripture study class for teenagers) and pretty much believed everything that was taught to me. Things were very cut and dried in my eyes and it seemed very easy to distinguish truth from falsehoods. As I got older and faced more experiences in my life, accepting things on blind faith became harder. And in some ways, after marrying Dan and learning more about his conversion and his mission, I started to feel like it was somehow inferior or taking the easy way out to just accept everything without a lot of struggle. But my patriarchal blessing tells me that gospel principles will be easy for me to embrace.

I did go through a period of struggle, a trial of my faith, when Lily was a baby. My brother and his wife had a stillborn baby just a few months after Lily was born and that really shook me. I questioned to what degree God was involved in our lives. Here's something from my journal:

I get so irritated when people tell stories in testimony meeting like how their dog was missing so they fasted and he came back. Now why would God answer that prayer, but not answer the prayers of a couple asking him to protect their full-term baby? For awhile I wasn't sure if my prayers, especially the ones concerning the safety of my family, even made a difference. But I figured they couldn't hurt. But then I started thinking that maybe I am praying for the wrong things. Maybe instead of asking God to protect my family from harm I should be asking him to give me faith and strength to face whatever trials come to us...I was praying a couple of nights ago and I just have the feeling that I have to grasp on to the parts of the gospel that make sense to me and just have faith that understanding of the other things will come with time. I remember that when I was a teenager embracing the gospel seemed so simple and uncomplicated. I just simply accepted everything and believed in the feel-good sunday school answers to all of life's questions. But the concerns of an adult, a parent, are different and I realize that life is not so black and white.

I finally found peace through an experience with the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After many years, I was able to forgive and feel genuine love and compassion for someone close to me. That power, given by Jesus Christ, was so strong, that for the rest of my life I will always draw upon that experience to know wherein my faith lies. I still don't understand how God works; who does? But you know what? It's OK because I know the Atonement is real and all the other things are not essential to understand. It's one of the things I look forward to about dying- having all those questions answered!

I guess my point is that if you're waiting to have a perfect understanding, then you've missed the whole point of what faith is. Not all of your questions are going to be answered to your satisfaction. Not everything will make sense. But when did God ever promise that? Yes, He said Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. But there is no promise of perfect knowledge. There is only the promise that God will give you what you need, nothing more, nothing less.

I was telling Dan about this post and his comment was, "Just make your choice. Are you going to be in the church or not? And if you are, stop constantly revisiting that decision. Most of the things people get hung up on are just extraneous and they don't matter." Dan is very big on committment. He'll be the first to tell you that he hates going to Elder's Quorum meeting. It drives him crazy to listen to all the platitudes. He dreads testimony meeting. But that does not mean that he has a weak testimony or that he's not committed to being the kind of person that Jesus Christ wants him to be. It's something about Dan that has taken me a long time to understand. He is not driven by outward displays of faith. He doesn't feel compelled to go through the motions to prove to everyone else that he has a testimony. He simply lives the basic principles of the gospel: work hard, help people out, and love your family.

We had an interesting discussion a couple of years ago about the Word of Wisdom. Yes, studies have shown that following the Word of Wisdom gives you better health and generally lets you live longer. So it makes sense why God would give it to us. But is this the only reason He prescribed this health code? There are equally as many studies out there that say drinking a glass of wine a day is good for you or other things like that. What if God just gave us the Word of Wisdom as a code to follow to show that we are committed to Him? Thinking back to the Israelites, they had very specific foods they could eat, very specific ways they were supposed to worship, etc. Orthodox Jews don't eat pork. Is this because pork is bad for you? I would say no, rather, it is an outward sign of their obedience to God's laws. Dan joined the church when he was 19. He drank coffee before that. He told me, "I just can't understand people who have such a problem with the Word of Wisdom. When I joined the church, I committed to follow it and I have never looked back. I don't miss drinking coffee; I chose to give it up and I don't have to constantly revisit that decision." This really got me thinking. Perhaps it's not so critical what specific things are in the Word of Wisdom, but rather how committed we are to following them. That is more of what God is interested in.

While I'm on the topic of my smart husband and interesting gospel discussions, a week or two ago I was reading in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon and there was a verse about how the converted Lamanites joined with the Nephites and they "became pure" so that even their physical traits changed. I asked Dan, scientifically, what this meant. What were the genetics or scientific implications of this statement. It started a long discussion about scientific evidence supporting or negating the truth of the Book of Mormon. Several, so many as to virtually eliminate doubt, DNA studies have been done with the American Indians to find their genetic origin and it has been proven that the ancestors of today's Native Americans came from Siberia. But the Book of Mormon says that Lehi and his family came from Jerusalem. So if the Book of Mormon is true, then Native Americans should have Jewish or Middle Eastern DNA. I asked Dan how he reconciled the two. I loved his answer. He said, "Look, we have no idea what other civilizations lived on the American continents that were completely separate from the Nephites and Lamanites. And while the Nephites generally did not intermarry so they kept their bloodline pure (Jewish), the Lamanites never lived by this standard. Who knows how much intermarrying among unknown peoples went on." So just because science contradicts a mainstream LDS notion (that today's Native Americans decended from the Jews since Lehi in the Book of Mormon came from Jerusalem) it doesn't have to crush your faith. The two can coexist and contradict each other, and yet, truth is still truth. It's just not all revealed. For instance, I believe that God and Jesus Christ created the earth, but that doesn't mean I can't accept evolution and natural selection. Who are we to say we know for sure the method that God used to create the earth? Who knows how long those seven creative periods were and what happened during them?

I found a video clip in which M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses the question Is There Scientific Proof Authenticating the Book of Mormon? It is a MUST see. Click here to view.

Well, I have certainly said a lot. Some food for thought. I'm interested to hear what you think on these subjects or other random musings about religion or faith.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What are the Mormons all about?

I've been meaning to do this post for quite some time, and with the post about President Hinckley from yesterday this seemed as good a time as any.

My friend Amber's husband is a film producer (he produced Saints and Soldiers) and when I was at her house a couple months ago she showed me some documentary work he had done for one of the Church's websites I had never seen this site, I always looked at, which is geared more towards members of the church, with church news, curriculum, provident living, church magazines, etc. is for people wanting to learn more about the church. Adam produced several documentary interviews of converts to the church, explaining different aspects of the gospel and answering major life questions that many people have. The videos are very powerful, great to watch if you're a member of the church or not. (Lori, check out this guy, he's from Oakdale!)

Here are a few of my favorite clips:
What's the purpose of my life?
What will really make me happy?
Are there prophets today?
Motherhood is part of God's plan?
Does God have more for me?
Does God answer my questions?

Thought I would share. Enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Our prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died last night at the age of 97. My first reaction when Dan told me the news this morning was a great sense of loss. But almost immediately after that thought came the image of what was certainly a glorious reunion in heaven for President Hinckley and his wife Marjorie. How could I be sad when such a joyous thing was happening above?

For those of the Mormon faith, having a prophet is something that is second nature, something we consider very normal. But for every other Christian faith, prophets are a thing of the Bible, figures from a time far past.

Consider for a moment, if you will, what it means to have a prophet leading you in your faith. He is not just the leader of your church, a good man just trying his best to give you guidance based on his interpretation of the scriptures. He is a man who literally talks to God.


Akin to Moses, Noah, Isaiah, and so many others, President Hinckley was the mouthpiece of God on Earth. In all of my life, I have never doubted the way that I should go, the choices God has wanted me to make, or how to accomplish good things because I have always had a prophet telling me exactly what God wants for all of His children. Not that it has always been easy, but I knew what God wanted for me. And not just general, generic counsel that can be gleaned from the Bible. Things specific to our time, counsel regarding dress and modesty, how to protect ourselves from the evils of pornography, how to treat our spouses and find true happiness in our marriages. President Hinckley was the prophet when I met and married Dan in the temple. His tenure saw us survive a separation, bring our first child into the world, learn to love each other unconditionally, and face the challenges of being good parents. One of President Hinckley's counsels that we are finally trying to apply in our life is to live frugally, pay off our debts, and free ourselves from financial bondage.

When I think of President Hinckley, these are the things I will always remember about him:

He was a happy man. He had a positive outlook on life and was always full of encouragement for us to be steadfast and be of good cheer.

He faced aging with grace. Much like my Gram has.

His presidency saw HUGE growth in temple work. When he became the prophet in 1995, there were 47 temples throughout the world. Today there are 127 with several more under construction.

One of the temples he dedicated was the St. Paul Minnesota Temple. It is one of the "mini temples" that he initiated construction of. The mini temples have allowed temples to be built where there are smaller populations of members of the LDS church.

I was able to visit the St. Paul temple in 2004 when Lori and I had our first reunion.

President Hinckley was a world traveler and beloved by Saints across the world.

Love this picture!

President Hinckley took on the media and introduced the world to our faith.

He was bold and confident when addressing the press.

He was respected and revered not just by members of the church, but by many public figures. (That's Mike Wallace in the background at Pres. Hinckley's 95th Birthday celebration.)

He was such an integral part of our community. (Here he is lighting the 2002 Winter Olympics torch with Apostle Neal A. Maxwell.)

He adored his wife

As I read somewhere today, it's a sad day for us, but a glorious day in heaven!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thwarted Again

Getting started on an exercise program is a struggle for most people. After Lily was born, it took me almost a year and half to get my act together and get to the gym. I finally lost the weight and got to where I liked going to the gym. I made it a part of my routine and I was feeling pretty good about myself. I remember telling myself, "I'll never not do this again. It's not that hard once you get into the habit. I'll always work out at least three times a week."


When we moved to my Mom's in April 2006, the gym I belonged to did not have a location in Utah County. My membership expired in July, so I let it lapse and just rode my bike and went walking those last few months of my pregnancy. In January 2007, when Amelia was 4 months old, I joined Gold's Gym but I didn't go too consistently because I didn't really like their daycare. They didn't have any decent security measures to ensure that some random person didn't come in and take your kid (no ID check or matching bracelets like they did at Bally Total Fitness.) Plus Amelia was still so small that I was worried about all the cooties. During the spring and summer I did pretty well riding my bike with the girls in the trailer. But when the weather turned cold I quit riding as much ("it's too cold for Amelia"...ppffff!) And then I hit the busy fall portrait and Christmas season and I just didn't have time to go to the gym.

Fast forward to January. OK, now I'm ready to get serious. Amelia has a stronger immune system and the daycare implemented a computer system with photo identification for when you check in and out, so I was feeling better about taking the girls there. One of my problems with going before was that the daycare was always so full, you had to call a week in advance to get an appointment at a reasonable time. Who plans that far in advance? Well, I just started getting in the habit of calling every morning to schedule for the following week. The first week I went three times. Then came the Binky Stew week and I only went once. The following week I went 3 times. This week I went Monday and Tuesday and was finally getting into a groove. I was on target for making it to the gym 4-5 times a week.

Until Amelia started throwing up again.

Blast! She threw up 4 times Wednesday night, with full-on projectile vomiting, plus diarrhea up to the armpits again. The Binky Stew week started just 4 days after I started going to the gym and 3 days after school started up again after Christmas Break. Since Lily was the first one to get sick, it was possible that she brought the bug home from school, so after they got better I went back to the gym. Well, now I'm pretty certain that the nasty cooties are coming from the gym daycare.

Yeah, I thought you'd appreciate that visual (well, at least Dan will.)

So now I have this horrible dilemma where I want to work out and I don't want to go at 6:00am before Dan gets up for work or after 7:00pm when he gets home, but I am just so tired of sick kids and their nasty bodily fluids that I am not going to take them to the gym daycare anymore. I'm bitter. It takes a huge amount of activation energy to get to the gym even when I have arrangements for the girls. Now that it's going to be even more inconvenient to figure out what to do with the girls, it's just one more excuse not to work out. I don't know, maybe in a month or so the memories of Binky Stew will have faded enough that I'm willing to take the risk again, but I don't know.

Thwarted again.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

To Three, or Not to Three, That is the Question

I was thinking yesterday, if I would spend even half the time writing my own blog as I do reading and commenting on other people's blogs, this thing would be a whole lot more entertaining!

So, I have been pondering over Baby #3 quite a bit lately. Before you get all excited, let me clarify that this does NOT mean I am ready to get pregnant again. What I mean is I have been wrestling in my mind about having a third child. When I was younger, I always thought I would have 4 or 5 kids. That was before I found out how challenging it is to be a mother. Now it's looking like three will be the max. Dan would be fine if we just stopped now, but I just feel like I'm not quite done. I'd like to have a son. Sure, there's no guarantee and both Dan and I cringe at the thought of three girls at once. Between Lily's drama and Amelia's strong will, I'm not sure if we could handle much more estrogen around here!

I'm not the greatest at managing the stress and demands of motherhood. I marvel at women who have 6 or 8 kids and appear to be so cool and collected. I just don't have it in me. I'm not sure if it's the stress of having to work at home while being a full-time mother, the fact that I have depression (albeit fairly well managed with medication), or if I'm simply just not cut out to have a lot of kids. Part of me mourns what seems to be a deficiency, the other part says "Hey, I've done my part, I've propagated the race." But I often ask myself, when I'm older, will I regret not having more children? I mean, the more kids you have, the more likely it is that at least one of them will like you enough to take care of you in your old age!

I was talking to a friend of mine a few days ago and she was saying that the infant stage is the hardest for her, with the lack of sleep, the constant feedings, etc. For me, (and this may be colored purely by the fact that I'm not in that stage anymore) I do OK with the infant stage. I love to photograph my babies, before they get too big and can run away, I love their small little bodies, and the overwhelming motherly feeling that says, "I can give you everything you need." But once they start walking and exert their independence, it gets harder and harder for me. The toddler years are the hardest because you have the combination of a child who wants to do everything themselves but they can't communicate what they need very well. It's extremely frustrating and I find my nerves unraveling more and more often.

Lily is at a super fun age right now (almost 6) because she's old enough to be pretty independent and she is intelligent enough to be able to have good conversation with, play a board game with (and not just Candyland, which makes you want to poke your eye out after 2 or 3 games) and she enjoys listening to chapter books. She's helpful and she loves to play with her friends, so that relieves a lot of expectations being put on me for constant assistance and entertainment. If kids could just go from infant to 4 or 5 years old, I might have a whole brood!

I often ask myself, "Am I weak? Am I allowing present challenges to hinder the long-term potential for joy in my posterity?" I think about what life will be like when I'm old and will I wish there were more kids and grandkids around? But Dan often asks me, "If you're so stressed out and struggling with the two kids you have, why in the world would you want more? More isn't going to relieve your stress; it will only add to it." Very true.

And yet two just doesn't seem like enough. So I guess the question is not whether to have a third, but WHEN to have a third. Lily and Amelia are 4 1/2 years apart. It's a bit longer of an age gap than I would like, but it has had many advantages. Lily is tremendously helpful and she loves her baby sister, but I worry about what their relationship will be like as they get older. Kids that are closer in age can play together better simply because their developmental levels are closer to each other's. All that being said, it was a very rude awakening to have a newborn, completely dependent, after getting used to a child who could feed herself, dress herself, wipe her own butt (well, mostly) and entertain herself.

Part of me says, "if you're gonna do it, just do it while you're still used to a dependent child instead of dragging it out over several years." But when I'm honest with myself, I'm not sure I could emotionally handle two super-needy kids at once. Plus, with our financial situation and our desperate need and intense commitment to getting out of debt, the next year or two would not be a good time for me to slow down working. Many of my friends have told me that three is the magical number for motherhood. Once you hit three, mothering is about all you can do. If I think it's hard to get any work done at home now, just imagine adding another kid to the mix!

So I have this dilemma. Wait, or just do it (pun intended.) And when I say just do it, the soonest I mean is probably when Amelia is 2.

And then there's the worry that even with our best efforts and intentions, the kid could come out looking like this:

(Man, am I glad Amelia had her back to the chair so no one could slap her and make her face freeze like that forever!)

The other thing I think a lot about in the kid department is how hard it is going to be when I reach the point where I realize that I won't be having any more kids. Creating a life, being pregnant, is such a magical and awe-inspiring thing. I can't imagine the void I will feel when I know that part of my life is over. My women friends who have reached that point, what did you go through and how did you deal?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Eat your heart out, Paul Mitchell

Lily has been growing her hair out for several months. Not necessarily on purpose, but because I just haven't taken the time to get her a haircut. After much begging from Lily and nagging from Dan "When are you gonna cut that girl's hair?" I finally took her in last Friday. Before we went, we talked about how short she wanted to get it. We looked at some old pictures from when she was three and she decided that she wanted it really short.

Here's what it looked like before:

When we got to the salon and the hairdresser asked Lily what she wanted, she told her chin-length. The hairdresser was like, "Are you sure? That's a lot. How about if I start here and then we can go shorter if you want." She proceeded to cut just above shoulder length and Lily kept telling her, "Shorter, shorter" and I'm sure the hairdresser was like, "This kid has no idea what she's getting into." But she kept on cutting and Lily was finally satisfied with how short it was.

I must say, it turned out dang cute! Faaabulous Daaahling!

And the best part is the back- it's angled and oh so stylish.

It's so cute and so much easier to take care of now that we don't have the snarls to battle with. I'm tempted to get my haircut like that. Perhaps I'll wait until I've lost a few pounds. Short hair makes me look chubby.
Now the only problem is that I'm having to teach Lily about vanity. She can't stop looking at herself in the mirror and preening like a cockatoo!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Binky Stew

Let me tell you about my Mommy's Week From H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks.

Last Sunday night Lily went to bed whining about an awful belly ache. She had eaten a lot of junk food that day so I didn't think too much about it. I was awakened by hysterical crying about 12:30am, rushed out of my bedroom and promptly stepped in a pile of puke. Lily was about to hurl again so I rushed her to the toilet. After vomiting a few times, I wiped her off and let her lay on the ground and went to survey the damage. There was puke splattered nearly the entire length of her bedroom from her bed to the doorway. And of course, we have carpet. While fighting back the puke shivers, I immediately got Amelia out of her bed and took her into Dan. Hoping that she wouldn't get sick or be in the line of fire in case another vomit attach ensued.

Have you ever had to clean up large amounts of puke out of carpet? I think the few times Lily has been sick in the past, she was small enough to be contained in her crib or we were holding her at the time and caught most of it in a blanket or something. Well let me tell you, it's the best argument for hardwood floors there is! After I got Lily cleaned up and put back in her bed, I just sat looking at the mess before me and was utterly paralyzed. How do you even start? Thank my lucky stars, my mom has a carpet shampooer, so I took Dan a set of ear plugs and told him to make good use of them. I thought I would try to clean up the big chunks by hand because it seemed pretty gross and unsanitary to suck it up in the carpet cleaner. But after just a few paper towels full, I couldn't stand it anymore and just turned on the shampooer. 20 minutes and a whole bottle of Spic-n-Span later, I was as done as I was gonna be. Lily slept through the whole thing, if you can believe it!

Fortunately, Lily's room wasn't in quite as bad a state of disarray as it usually is, so only a few things got puked on. Most were dirty clothes, so I could just throw those in the washing machine. But one big toy, her Fisher Price Little People Barn, had puke splattered all over it. After cleaning the carpet, the bathroom floor, the toilet, and throwing in a load of laundry, I just didn't have it in me to scrub off the barn. I just left it in the bathtub and decided to deal with it in the morning. To my dismay, this wasn't a one-time puking incident, it continued throughout the night with Lily sleeping on the bathroom floor and me laying in her bed. Every time I barely started drifting off to sleep I would hear her start to dry heave and cry "Mama" so I would run in to help hold her hair back and wipe her with a cool washcloth when she was done. I think she threw up 6 or 7 times by the time daylight arrived.

Now, back to the barn. When Dan got up to shower for work, the barn and various puke soiled towels were sitting in the tub waiting to get cleaned. Dan threw the towels in the washer and just shoved the barn to the bottom of the tub down by the drain and decided to just let it get sprayed off and I could scrub it with bleach later. Well, we both forgot that the barn had batteries and a speaker in it to make various animal noises. After Dan's shower, I heard this weird crackling sound coming from the bathroom. Upon investigation, I discovered the barn, still not quite rid of puke, and remembered about the speaker. Oh hell. Now I had a choice to make. Lily has enjoyed that barn since her Aunt Dianna got it for her when she was a toddler. And now Amelia loves to play with it too. But I was going to have to take it all apart to dry off all the elements in order to restore it to working order. Plus there was still puke on it. After the long night and my utter disgust with vomit, I decided I would rather throw away a $35.00 toy than have to clean up one more mess.

Turns out, I was just getting started.

About 10:30 on Monday morning, I was making Amelia some macaroni & cheese because it's one of the few things she'll eat without too much fuss these days. Right as I was taking her to the highchair, she projectile vomited all over the floor. Thankfully, however, it was the kitchen floor. No carpet=easy clean-up. After cleaning up the puke, I just sank down onto the floor and admitted defeat. Lily continued to throw up every couple of hours throughout the day, despite the fact that we were making her wait 2 hours after she puked to have anything to drink. She just couldn't keep anything down. She was thirsty, whiny, and miserable, but by the afternoon she was like an old pro. "I think I need to get my pukey's out" she'd say, as she ran up to the toilet. Then she'd do her thing, I'd wipe her face, and she'd say, "I think I got all the pukey's out" and go lay down again.

Thankfully, Amelia only threw up that one time, but she developed bad diarrhea late in the day. I put her to bed early and went to sleep myself. After just a couple of hours, I was up with Lily again; poor thing was still throwing up. Have I mentioned that Dan was also feeling totally sick all day too, and had taken some of my Promethazine anti-nausea pills left over from when I was pregnant. Fortunately, the pills suppressed Dan's urge to vomit. If any of you have ever heard Dan puke, you swear there's going to be a lung in the toilet when he's done. He can wake the dead, and that's no exaggeration. Becca Nate, can I get an amen?

About 12:30am, I was up helping Lily after she threw up, yet again. After I tucked her back in bed, I walked out of her room and was hit by such an overwhelming wave of nausea that I became dizzy and just sank to the ground. "Oh, no freakin' way, I can't get sick!" I felt for sure that I was going to puke, so I grabbed a ponytail and pulled my hair back (men, you can't appreciate this, but women, you know what I'm talking about. There's nothing like vomit in your hair to just put you over the edge!) I curled up on the floor and started shivering. Fortunately, I was right by the linen closet so I pulled out a blanket and just huddled on the floor. After a couple of hours, the nausea subsided so I slowly drug myself back down onto the couch. Not too long after that, Lily got up and called, "I think I'm gonna puke again." I said, "get to the toilet." She said, "I want you up here" to which I responded, "Honey, I'm getting the sicky's too and I'm too dizzy to get up. You'll just have to do it by yourself." Ended up it was just the dry heaves and she was done with vomiting for good.

I will now pause for intermission. Go have a bathroom break, get a snack (although you may not have much of an appetite after reading this), then return when you're ready for more.

Just after daylight I heard Amelia crying. Fortunately, the nausea had passed for me and Lily was sound asleep on the living room floor. As I entered the girls' room, I was assaulted by yet another foul smell. Amelia, her pj's, her blankets, and her beloved woobie were covered in diarrhea. "Oh, sh*#!" Quite apropos, yes? We are now into Tuesday morning and I'm hosing Amelia down in the tub while she screams bloody murder.

The day didn't have too many more messes. Lily was feeling better and started eating. Amelia could keep food down just fine and strangely, she wasn't getting too bad a diaper rash from all the diarrhea. She was really whiny and leechy, but other than that, not too bad.

Wednesday came, and after talking with the pediatrician, I decided to keep Lily home from school another day until she wasn't contagious anymore. Amelia still had diarrhea and an awfully rumbly tummy. I broke out the gas drops, which we hadn't used since she was maybe 6 or 8 months old. Lily had reached the stage where she was bored of being couped up in the house and not being able to play with her friends. So I had her whining grating on my nerves. I was also stressed out because I had two album designs that were due and I had lost three days of working on them.

Thursday morning looked to be a great day. Lily was going back to school. We had reached the point where the girls were no longer contagious. I kept my appointment at the gym daycare and went and worked out (a very recent addition to my daily activities.) Amelia had a blow-out while in the daycare, but I was prepared with extra clothes, so no big deal. Amelia had a decent nap while Lily was at school and we had plans to pick Dan up from his office after school. I stopped at McDonald's and got the girls some food. Amelia really likes the apples and I was glad to see her eating. Just as I was almost done at the bank drive-thru, Amelia started choking on an apple piece. I started to unbuckle my seatbelt to reach back and help her, but the apple dislodged and she threw up a little. Ewww. I soaked it up with her woobie and pulled out of the drive-thru. Then all hell broke loose. I had just pulled onto the street to head for home and Amelia projectile vomited the entire contents of her stomach all over herself, getting puke into every nook and cranny of her carseat and on the car door.

I can't even describe the stench of spoiled-milk-laden-vomit that filled the car. I dang near puked myself. Lily was going "Ewww, stinky!" and rolling down her window and I was pulling over and trying to find the stupid button to turn on my hazard signals. Woobie was soaked and I was searching around for something to sop up the mess. I grabbed Lily's sweatshirt from her backpack and she goes, "No!" and I pointed to Amelia and said, "Look at the poor thing!" She was a sight to behold. Lily conceded, "OK" after I promised to wash it twice in hot water. I did the best I could wiping Amelia off and then I gunned it for home.

Doot-doot-doot-doot-doot-doot-doot. "Dan, I'm not coming to pick you up. Amelia just threw up all over herself in the car and I have to go home and clean her up. I'll call you later."

Fortunately, we were only 4 minutes from home. Once again, I stripped her down and hosed her off then left her to soak in the tub while Lily watched her. I pulled the carseat out of the car and sat down on the freezing cold concrete of the driveway to face my next "some-messes-are-just-the-mommy's-job" challenge. I was really pissed at this point. Dammit, enough already! I proceeded to get even more frustrated as I cussed the carseat manufacturer who obviously had never had a child puke in a carseat, otherwise they would have made it a little more parent-friendly to disassemble to clean.

After fighting with it for about 10 minutes, I went in to check on the girls. As I walked up the stairs Lily said, "Amelia pooped in the bathtub."

You have GOT to be kidding me!

Then Lily, bless her little heart, said, "But I got the big chunkies out with the bucket and now I'm cleaning it in the sink." Wow. "Aren't you glad I helped you with the chunkies?" I couldn't help but smile.

Once Amelia was clean and out of the tub, I called Dan and said, "I resign."

Friday passed with lots of poopy diapers, whining, and "I must be held every second" from Amelia. On Saturday morning she awoke soaked in diarrhea again and had to go straight into the tub while she was still sleep drunk. Man, was she pissed. I almost took her into the urgent care clinic, but after talking to the pediatrician's nurse, we decided to quit giving her milk and restrict her diet to only a couple "constipating" foods.

It's Sunday night, and now she no longer has diarrhea, but she did turn purple while straining to get her rock-hard poopies out.

Now, about the Binky Stew. After all the nastiness of the week, I decided to round up all the binkies I could find and boil the cooties away. My mom went into the kitchen after I had laid the binkies out on the counter to dry and said, "Wow, does that girl really have 10 binkies?" Hey, one can never have too many binkies.

OK, be honest. All of you single folks out there or couples without kids, this was some dang good birth control, now wasn't it?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Nostalgia for the Cox Grandkids

This post is dedicated to the 9 grandkids of Don & Jeanette Cox. I have been meaning to post this for quite awhile. The girls and I have started going to Gram's house for tea every couple of months (a post for another day.) After one of our tea parties, Lily got out Gram's little drawer of toys and what did she find? These:

Oh man, when I saw these I was overcome with nostalgia! I remember winding these up over and over and over again at Gram and Grandad's house in Sheridan, Wyoming. They were such great toys, just perfect for little people! I particularly remembered the space shuttle, the robot, and the swimming turtle you could wind up and put in the bathtub. For years I have looked for little wind-up toys to put in the bathtub; I remember Santa used to bring us those in our stockings. But alas, I have had no success finding them.

I'm opening up the comments for all of "Gram's Kids" to share some of their favorite memories. In 1990, when my parents and I lived in Monterey, California, all of my cousins came to Monterey for "Christmas at the Beach." All of the 9 Cox grandchildren were there (and my Dad's brother and his family as well) and we had t-shirts made that said Gram's Kids. On the arm of each of our shirts was a number designation telling which number grandkid we were. I was #1D (1 for my mom, who was the first of Don and Jeanette Cox's daughters; D for me being the 4th kid in my family.) Here we all are:

What are some of your favorite Gram and Grandad memories?

For all of you non-bloggers, it's pretty simple to leave a comment. Just click where it says "comments" at the bottom of this post. Type in whatever you want to say and then click "Nickname" and enter your handle of choice (nice work, Shawn, for using your designation!) Just leave the "URL" blank, then click publish comment. Or you can always just click "Anonymous."

The nude skater lives

I reloaded some photos on one of my early blog posts. You really must go check them out. Click here.

The Grammie Leech

Amelia loves her Grammie! Most mornings she makes a bee-line for the stairs as soon as she hears Grammie's voice. She loves to hang out with her downstairs and she throws big fits whenever Grammie disappears into her "secret lair" and closes the door.

They have been buds from the beginning.

Grammie fed Amelia her first cereal when she was 6 months old. Now she follows Grammie around and begs every time Grammie comes into the kitchen. It doesn't matter if Amelia has just eaten a bunch of food; she always wants to mooch off Grammie's plate.
Amelia is fascinated with Grammie's camera.
At the Don Cox (my grandad who would have turned 100 this year) birthday party she kept pretending to take pictures with Grammie's camera.
Amelia loves to hang out with Grammie in her room and bounce around on the bed while Grammie watches TV.
And if it's about naptime, Amelia will lay on Grammie's lap and twirl her hair until she nods off to sleep.
Many times it has been a God-send to have Amelia love to be with her Grammie. Sometimes I just can't get any work done, so Mom will take Amelia down into her office and let her dig in everything. Or if I need to take a shower and Amelia is super whiny, rather than have her pulling the shower curtain open and crying at me, she goes down with Grammie. I remember once I was sick and Mom took Amelia down with her while I took a nap. At church Amelia bounces back and forth between Grammie and me, and many Sundays Mom takes care of Amelia while I am teaching my Primary class.
That will all be changing now that Mom has been called to be my team teacher! Thankfully, Amelia only has two months to go until she can go into the nursery after sacrament meeting. She's at that very difficult age right now where she is too big to sit and snuggle, but too little to be interested in coloring or puzzles for very long. All she wants to do is run in the hallway! Anyway, I love you Mom, and I'm so glad that my girls have this chance to live in the same house with you and be close to their Grammie!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Don't Drink the Water

Let us cast our minds upon summer, upon the joy of being a child, splashing in the cool, refreshing water of the local swimming pool.

Let us remember the joys of a 5-year-old with cryptosporidium.

Yes, that was super fun.

Lily was asking Dan and I the other day when she could start swimming lessons again. I told her she'd have to wait until summer and we needed to find her a better teacher than this past summer. I said, "maybe Daddy could be your teacher." Dan said, "Uh, I'm never going to a public swimming pool again." Anyone planning to install a pool in their backyard anytime soon? Nana, Lily is so disappointed we don't live next door like Shea and Alex!

This layout is another one of my experiments in digital scrapbooking. This is from July 2007 when my best friend from high school, Lori, came for our annual visit. Instead of using a quick page, I designed this layout with different digital elements I downloaded for free.

Here are the pages separately so you can see them bigger (click to view larger):

I'm not crazy about the title. I've been trying to think of something clever (besides Don't Drink the Water) but I haven't come up with anything. Any ideas?