Sunday, July 25, 2010

Seasons of life

When I was Miss Utah my platform was Organ Donation Awareness. Starting from my first pageant in early 1999 until the end of my reign as Miss Utah in June 2002 it was my "platform." After I was Miss Utah until August 2004 it was my daily job as I traveled the state bringing the awareness message to high school and junior high students. It wasn't just my platform, it was--- and continues to be---my passion.

Until I was pregnant with Kyle I was still heavily involved in many organ donation things in Utah. I was on the Community Advisory Board for Intermountain Donor Services. I attended many functions and meetings. I firmly believe that there is a time and season for everything we want to do in life. Though it was very, very difficult to do, I resigned from my position on the Board and decided to concentrate on my season of mothering. I had a wonderful season of community service. And I have every intention of returning to further my involvement with organ donation once I am no longer in my full-time mothering season.

I spent every Thursday during my reign as Miss Utah fund raising and speaking and schmoozing and doing all sorts of planning to make it possible to have a monument to organ donors on Library Square. Two things happened: The monument was made and dedicated in 2004. And my life was forever changed as I spent my days with Jeannene Barham, Lisa Hawthorne, and Maureen Schwendiman. They tutored me in service, life, religion, and love as we tirelessly crusaded across the United States in support of organ donation.

I am lucky because I have the monument as tactile proof of my efforts. Though it certainly didn't happen solely because of me, I'd like to think I was a big part of it. The other day we were at the Salt Lake Library, and I thought about showing Claire the monument at Library Square. I don't know why I hadn't shared it with her before. But I'm glad I waited.

It was a perfect spring day in April. She wandered around loving the statues and waiting for the water to come from the fountain. It was everything we had imagined in those early planning stages: Children coming to a place where they would laugh and play and learn.
This is a picture of Taylor and Claire waiting for the fountain to turn on. We designed it so that it would turn on at random intervals and the viewer had to wait for it to turn on----much like those who are waiting for organs, never knowing just when the moment would be.

This is my favorite picture of the day. I love her shadow, the waiting water, and the hope of spring in the pink trees. We explained to her that it was fun to be Miss Utah, but the thing that was important was what the monument represents: lives have been saved, and lives will continue to be saved because of organ donation. The top picture is a stone with my name and title engraved on it. Miss America gave special permission for part of my scholarship to donate $1,500 toward the building of the monument, so I got a paver. It's a reminder to me of my season of service. That one person (combined with a lot more great individuals) can make a lasting difference. I love my season of being a mother. And I look forward to another season of community service. I still think there are big things ahead of me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Long time, no post

When I typed "post" for the title, I typed "poast." Just thought I'd share.

We have been busy. We've had little trips, little projects, and a new little baby come into our lives in the last little while. My scrapbook will do most of the recapping, but for a bit of it: Taylor, Claire and I went to Cowabunga Bay with Rob and Whitney during the first week of July. It was fun---but I'm glad we got 50% off passes online. Taylor's back and shoulders got burned beyond recognition. He had blisters covering his shoulders and back down to his trunks. I got a bit burned, but nothing in comparison. We put sunscreen on Claire. She was still pasty white upon our return.

We went to Lagoon on the 14th. We had a great time. Celia found some great tickets for a great price. She had 8 of them. Somehow she and Maya got two of them, and my family members got the rest of them. We took Claire and met my parents and Suzy and Paul at Lagoon. We were bummed that Celia got sick and was a party pooper (that's what you get for being pregnant), but we partied until they kicked us out. Claire was literally still running around at 10pm. She never ever stopped that day. Big thanks go to Bethany for watching Kyle ALL DAY LONG. You may ask why we don't take Kyle on these adventures---as Bethany found out, even swings are too scary for that little boy. He likes his feet firmly planted on the ground.

Taylor's sister, Whitney, had a baby on July 15th. Little Zane as had some breathing problems since then. But tonight we have word that he's getting a trial run in her hospital room (just one week late) and may go home tomorrow. We have prayed so hard for this little guy. I have cried more in the last week than I think in the last 3 or 4 years combined. We were so sad that he was so sick, and that Whit and Rob didn't get the chance to just take that little man home as soon as possible, but grateful that prayers are being answered and that he is healing. He is so handsome and just radiates love. We can't wait until we can cuddle him. Kyle and Claire haven't been able to see him yet. They're about going crazy wanting to hold him and ask to see his pictures every day.

I managed to create some ridiculous problems in my right big toe. The pain has stopped me in my tracks---literally. We think it's a bout of gout or something like it (who gets that anyway?). However I'm in between insurances, and I'm not about to go to the doctor and spend hundreds of dollars for a dumb toe. Let's just say that I've got some medicine that is working and I'm eating cherries by the handful and drinking water by the quart---and apparently I'll be okay soon. I guess the joint fluid in my toe has crystallized and is cutting stuff up or something like that. The pain was so intense Tuesday night that I was losing my mind. The swelling was incredible. I felt like my toe nail would just pop off and fly across the room. I was certain my skin was tearing around my calluses. After sleeping maybe an hour and trying large amounts of ibuprofen, at 5am I finally gave in and dug around for some of the "good" drugs I had after my last surgery. They took the edge off for an hour.

My friends took great care of me. Renee came with medical ideas and picked up my kitchen (the night before was our best attended craft night to date) while I held her baby. Good trade. Kyle went to a birthday party and Claire played at Shannon's across the street while Shannon made us dinner (how's that for a friend? She watched my kid AND made my family dinner at the same time). Celia rounded up the day and brought a bag of cherries to take the acid out of my system and a gigantic water bottle that I'm supposed to fill twice daily in order to flush out that acid.

My mom came up to help me the next day, and Renee was back to do glitter toes for me. She guided me through doing toes for my mom and Claire. We're not professionals but we're pretty good. Mom got her FIRST TICKET EVER on her way home from our house. We were a little bummed that her service to us ended on a low night.

So that's about it. I'm thinking I'll blog more once summer is over. Just too much fun for now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Claire had her first piano lesson yesterday. I was nervous about it for a lot of reasons---and probably why I have been putting off her lessons even though she's been asking for months. She doesn't take direction from me without getting angry (when learning songs to sing, cleaning her room, or generally doing---or stopping doing---anything when she thinks she knows what she's doing). I took weeks telling her that Mom knows how to play the piano and when it comes to the piano, whatever mom says is right. Always. (I've had a few student's I've had to explain this to too!). She committed to two things: Always listening to Mom, and that once she starts lessons she's committed until she's 18. I'm not sure how well she understood that last one...

So we started yesterday evening. Taylor took Kyle to Best Buy (looking for a camera which explains the lack of pictures to document the event----but not really my lack of blogging for an entire month), and we had the house to ourselves. She did great at learning her finger numbers. She was excellent at hand position---it's so natural for her, and usually it's the hardest thing for my students to remember. But I totally noticed when she was a baby that her hands rested in perfect piano position (probably that last comment will show up on seriously so blessed.) And this is my blog, so I can say that. Playing the piano is definitely in her genes, so I'm happy to see it expressed.

Long story short, it was my favorite piano moment ever (but really close to my patriotic medley when I gave up my Miss Utah crown). She was so great. She paid attention. She didn't goof off or push random buttons/keys while I was explaining things. Her attention span was far beyond usual. We had a great time. She learned four songs and is practicing them (and the next ten songs in the book) as I write this. She learned her flashcards almost immediately. She'd shout "Quarter Note!" while holding up one finger. "Half Note" with two fingers. "Whole Note" with four. "Double bar line means the end!" and so on. It was adorable.

I'm not naive enough to think that this will last forever, or even that her enthusiasm will last for the entire month of July, but for now it's so precious. It's so rewarding for me to see her enjoy something that I love so much. Piano has always been a huge part of my life, and I'm so happy to share it with her. And I've also started teaching a few more kids (5 committed students so far) after a two-year hiatus from teaching. I'm so glad to be doing it again. I really love it. I'm looking for three or five more students I think, so if you know anyone who needs lessons, send them on over.