Monday, April 26, 2010

Before my next 30 years...

I turn 29 on Friday. This is good. I have realized for quite a while that age is really only experience gained. I'm excited to have 30 years of experience. I'm looking at 30 as a milestone rather than a gravestone.Here I am yesterday. Claire took a picture of us after stake conference. Not too shabby!

I'm thinking I should have a list of things to do/accomplish/be before I hit that milestone. I set no new year's resolutions this year. And last year my only resolution was to remember to put on deodorant before I put on lotion after showering so that it wouldn't be so hard/impossible to take the lid off of the deodorant. This was seriously my only resolution. It was a tough year :) And I'm happy to report that I am now 85-87% successful at remembering that.

Anyhow, the list of things to do/accomplish/be before this time next year:

1. Paint my bedroom walls.

2. Improve upon my housemaking skills

3. Quilt, bind, and hang my wallhanging that I love so much

4. Establish a daily routine/schedule. This involves getting out of bed earlier.

5. Become pregnant (to have a baby before my next birthday I need to conceive by or on July 7, and that's not going to happen, thus the goal to become pregnant.)

6. Be more physically fit (while this is kind of messed up to put after goal #5, I think it's okay to list. I'm getting a bike for my birthday, so hopefully that can contribute)

7. Quit texting while driving (I think this should be a process, it's too hard to go cold turkey)

8. Begin writing seriously and consistently

9. Finish and print my wedding album

10. Teach piano lessons again, and devote some time weekly to enjoying my talent

11. Become a coupon-using grocery shopper

12. Recharge my love-affair with the scriptures

13. Index 1000 names each month

14. Sew a bag/purse for myself

15. Do a kind thing every day

16. Play with my kids more

17. Read to my kids more

18. Blog with pictures more (did you notice the picture at the top? I know...I'm pretty good at this list already!)

19. Appreciate the sunset more often

20. Get back to cooking from a monthly menu

21. Actively strengthen friendships

22. Talk to my sister more

23. Finish my quiet book project that began like three years ago (BRITTEN!)

24. Tell my husband I appreciate him more

25. Find one way to be more "green"

26. Potty train Kyle

27. Actually plan family night lessons instead of having impromptu lessons

28. Play the piano in church

29. Actually try some of the crafts/food/sewing projects I bookmark

30. Plan the party for next year---convince Lee (my cousin who was born 3 days before me) that we should repeat our 15th birthday party in some way with all our old friends

So that's it, friends. With luck I'll keep you updated (if there is no update, there is no progress, so don't ask!)

And you've still got until Friday to get my presents, so let's get shopping!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Now and then

Taylor works in Logan once a week. He was there yesterday. The kids wanted to go to a park, but we are yet to find one here where I don't have to constantly follow Kyle around. It made me think about the Zoo Park in Logan where there was a good playset for the little ones. Since Taylor was already there we decided to make a spontaneous trip up for a picnic in the park.

I've only been back once since we left in August, and that was for graduation in December so it's been a while. It's no secret that I didn't love Logan. It's not Logan's fault. In fact I think I'm the only person who has ever lived there who didn't love it and wanted to leave. It's lovely. It's slow-paced. We lived across the street from horses. The mountains were moments away. We could see the temple from our bedroom window. And yet, I did a happy dance (literally) when we moved.

As we drove around yesterday I couldn't help but think that things were exactly as we'd left them, only very different. It was strange to see things without the weight of the world on my shoulders. Rewind 2.5 years, and you'll remember that we moved to Logan 6 weeks before Kyle was born. Taylor commuted for the first semester to West Valley every day and went to school full-time. I was alone with Claire and very pregnant. We had Kyle, Taylor quit his job (and thus we lost insurance benefits and a salary), I had my eye removed, I had no friends, and then things got worse with my eye. That was all in the first 6 months we lived there. Logan and I got off to a rocky start. We were poor; I was disfigured; I had two tiny babies; Taylor was at school/work all day; and I was very alone. It was my hardest, most painful two years yet.

Yesterday at the park I thought how different it felt there to be light and free. To not have endless worries. It was wonderful. Our life is so much more stable now. We have a home, income, and my face is almost back to acceptable. We drove past our little townhouse. The flowers Claire and I grew from a seed were starting to come back to life. It was as if I could close my eyes and walk inside. My mind flashed to bringing Kyle home from the hospital and walking in that door. We parked in the back to see the yard where we spent so much time. Aside from our swingset missing, everything was much the same---down to our old broken yellow hose still coiled by the back door. This is where Claire and Kyle were small. For those moments I will always be grateful. For long afternoons spent reading and watching Claire play on the swingset. For all of the barbecues and evening spent with our family eating outdoors followed by Frisbee until bedtime, I will be grateful. Those moments are in my heart and in my scrapbook.

And for the weight of the world that was so heavy on me while I was there; I left it there. Consciously but not effortlessly. I think I will continue to visit occasionally, to look back on who I was and how far we've come.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My eye surgery

I just realized I neglected to write about my latest (and last!) eye surgery. It was on the 23rd, and I've mostly recovered. There's still a little swelling, but it already looks a lot better. This one was to adjust the contour of my upper eyelid to match the other. They also wanted to eliminate the amount of skin touching the eye as my constant itching is caused by any contact my eyelid has with the prosthetic.

The doctor was fine doing the surgery without anesthesia, and I am fine not paying for anesthesia, so it was another fun time holding Taylor's hand while I was conscious and under the knife. They did give me a little anti-anxiety medication which probably saved me. They started with three or four shots to numb the area all around the inside corner of my eye. Those suckers hurt. Taylor said they really bled. At one point after one I felt hot blood running down my cheek, and I wasn't sure how I'd handle the rest. Next they covered my face in iodine. Taylor snapped this lovely picture (I thought I ought to wear lipstick if I couldn't have anything else on my face): Then they cut my eyelid open. They have a machine that will cut and cauterize at the same time. It smells awful. Taylor says it smoked---well, not it, but I smoked. Yuck. That part took a while. It didn't hurt, just was freaky to know what was happening. Next they had to find all the places they wanted to work on so there was some digging around. They ran into some scar tissue from previous surgeries. They scraped at that. I could hear it scraping and feel the pressure. That wasn't fun. Then they had to attach muscles in new places to ligaments or tendons which wouldn't numb very well, so that was really hard. Especially when I could hear the doctor saying "Pass the needle" and "Do you have a flesh hook handy?" Flesh hook. Taylor said it was like a fish hook, hook and all. They did this at three different spots. Four or five times I had to sit up and open my eyes so they could see how the adjusting was going. That was unpleasant to have to use muscles that were mid-surgery. Toward the end the numbing stuff was wearing off so I got one more shot and they stitched it up. That was quite painful too.

As I rested and recovered that evening at my parent's house my thoughts turned to Joseph Smith. I was 28-years-old and had to have surgery while awake. But I had the valium-like drug to start out with, numbing shots for the middle, and incredible pain-killers to end it all, along with the modern comforts of home. He was seven and had no drugs before and refused alcohol. I was okay for about 40 minutes, but towards the end it took some serious, serious self-control to remain calm and hold still. I'm sure his surgery was longer than mine. Not to mention the extreme age difference and absence of modern everything.

Throughout his life he endured all kinds of physical pain. I am in awe of his life and devotion to the gospel and its teachings. I am sure that his prophetic training began years before he knelt in the grove. I only hope that the trials I experience can, in some way, strengthen my love of the gospel and my dependence on my Heavenly Father.


Don't you love general conference? It's my favorite semi-annual time of year. This year was exceptional both in content and in my ability to hear most of the talks. My kids were excellent on Saturday. They even sat on our laps for the first hour of the first session. Then they quietly colored through the rest. Claire is learning who is who, and Kyle makes sure we all fold our arms for the prayers.

I loved all that was said about motherhood and mothering. It was just what I needed to hear. I've already re-listened to each of the mother talks, and can't wait to get my Ensign to mark up. I had a little moment of epiphany early on in the conference. Someone mentioned the prodigal son. That parable has always bugged me because it seems that the "good" son, the one who was always there doing the right thing all along is kind of ignored, and that the reward is the same for both in the end. I realized this weekend that the greatest blessing for the faithful son was his constant nearness to his father. While the prodigal strayed, the faithful son was never far from the father nor far from the blessings of being near the father; thus the faithful son not only received half of the father's estate, he received the blessings of constantly being in the father's presence throughout his life.

If I were to put us in one category, I'd like to say we've always been faithful--and maybe that's why the parable may have bugged me. This realization during conference helped me realize that though we have often felt quite tested by our trials, we have always be supported by and loved by our Heavenly Father. As long as we have remained faithful we have been blessed. And right now our cup overflows. We were saying the other day that we are now "living the dream" we've always dreamed. We cannot believe how we have been blessed lately, especially for how we have struggled in the past. We are so grateful and hope that we continue to live faithful.

Oh! And we got a tiny kitty for Easter! He/She (it's debatable) is a tiny ball of fur. It's so funny to him run around the house at about 60% fur. It's wonderful to see Claire so in love and happy with the kitty, and Kyle is learning to be gentle (hopefully learning soon!). Pictures to come :)