Monday, January 30, 2012

a whole lot of love

dear jude,
today my heart is full. it's full of something called love. now, although i have always considered myself to be a hopeless romantic, i do not claim, by any means, to be an expert on love. i simply wanted to share a beautiful story of love that has affected me (and you, although you may not be aware of it) immensely. first i feel it necessary to mention the greatest display of Love in the history of the world. and that was the love given by our Savior, who came to earth and layed down His own life for us...for His friends. He was perfect in every way, but to submit to the will of the Father and His plan, our Savior died for us. think about that. he willingly died for us to fulfill His Father's plan. love, my dear jude, well, it is a verb. it requires action. love is all about doing, and being, and demonstrating, and sacrificing. today i want to share with you another example of love, which like the Savior's Love (although on a much smaller scale) has altered and transformed me. and that is the Love demonstrated on a daily basis by your very own earthly father - my husband - who just so happens to be the most Christlike person i have ever known. i feel it important to tell you about him, especially because in the short span of a week, you will be meeting him, and then you will also be on the receiving end of his most perfect and pure love.
this pregnancy has not been easy on me, to say the least. i in no way blame you for's just that for some women (i'd say most women), pregnancy is super, super difficult. your father understands this, and has been completely supportive and helpful for the past 9 months. he takes care of cooking (or picking up) all the meals...because it's always around dinner time that i feel the worst. he cleans the house, does laundry, and makes late night runs to satisfy my cravings. when i get sick, he's right there, rubbing my back, and holding the hair out of my face. he's backed out of many church meetings, work trips, outings with friends, sporting events, and other important obligations, to be able to tend to my needs, and be there for me when i felt my head was just barely above water. he tells me he loves the way that i look...even though, at present, i know i resemble a walrus. but you know what? when he says, man, you're beautiful, or dang, i love the way you look when you're pregnant, i really believe him. because your dad also happens to be the most genuine and sincere person i know. almost every night he puts your brother and sister to bed...a task which involves bathing them, helping them brush their teeth, get into their jammies, read scriptures, a bedtime story of their choice, and family prayer...and he singlehandedly does this so that i can have a little break. he rubs my belly with cocoa butter when it itches, he massages my feet when they're swollen, and is nothing but patient with my grumpy and hormonal mood swings. he has never, no not once, uttered a word of complaint. your dad is not a complainer. he puts on a smile, and he gets to work serving, going, doing, and sacrificing...always putting the needs of others above his own. now that, my sweetheart, is true love. this entire pregnancy i have suffered with severe heartburn, but for the past month or two, it has become almost unbearable. i am on two prescription medications for it, and pop the tums like they're going out of style...yet i still can't seem to find any relief. about a month ago, i told your dad that i had decided to start sleeping on the couch to see if it might make a difference. i felt bad having to leave him alone, but i also knew i wouldn't last one more night in our bed. something had to change. so my first night on the couch, i noticed that your dad was setting up a bed as well.

he told me that wherever i sleep, that's where he sleeps too. after about three weeks of sleeping on the couch, his back started to become stiff and extremely sore. i begged him to just go back to our bed, but instead he moved his sleeping bag onto the floor right by me...and that's where he's been ever since. i am constantly in awe of the man that i married. and i wanted to be sure to share a thing or two with you about your father. no doubt as you grow and get older, you will come to this realization on your own. someday you will find yourself a wife, and it's my hope and prayer, that you care for her just as your father has cared for me, and for you, and for your brother and sister. look to him as an example. follow in his footsteps. show love to those around you through your actions; and you, no doubt, will be as happy as your daddy is...because isn't he about the happiest person you know?

finally, i wish to express my undying love for you.
we love you jude...without ever having met you, your father and i love you deeply and immensely. i hope we can demonstrate that love to you all the days of your life, and that you will never ever doubt how special you immeasurably you are cherished and me, by your father, your siblings, your Heavenly Father, your Savior, and hundreds and thousands of others. now that, my dear, is a whole lot of love.

can't wait to meet you, and love on you. just one more week.


john made me go to bed tonight at 9:35. our whole family has been sick, and so were doing all we can to get this household healthy before our sweet baby boy comes. so rather than wind down to a netflix like we oftentimes do, or stay up til midnight or 1 am organizing drawers and closets, we went to bed. john was out the instant his head hit the pillow, and unfortunately, i wasn't the least bit sleepy. so i lie there in the dark listening to my husband snore softly, the dog snore softly, and the tick tocking of the three or four clocks we have around these parts of the house. that kind of strange silence, well, it's enough to drive a girl crazy. i popped one of my trusted klonopin (anti-anxiety/ sleeping pills), and i'd say within a half hour, i was out...only to wake again 2 hours later. all i could think about when i woke, was wanting to scrub my baseboards. it's 12:25 am..and my only desire is to have clean baseboards. and the funny thing is, they've already been scrubbed...i just wanted to do them again is all. i decided to blog instead. it's seriously so crazy to me...this whole nesting instinct that expectant mothers get. i wasn't sure it was actually going to happen for me this time around. up until about 3 or four weeks ago, i was probably the laziest person on the planet. this pregnancy has literally drained me, and all i've wanted to do for the majority of it, is sleep. i've had no desire to cook or to clean, or even to be crafty or domestic...things i usually enjoy. i don't know if it's my age that's made everything so much harder this go around...i mean i am just a couple months from the big 35, folks. whatever it is...whatever it was, i'm glad it's over, and that i have my energy back. i still feel lousy, don't get me wrong. it hurts to roll over at night. it hurts to walk. i'm huge, and i'm sore, and swollen...and gosh darnit, my whole body aches...but i am so grateful that at least for the time being, i've got my energy back.
it started about 4 saturdays ago. john and i have been gearing up for another garage sale. we usually have one about ever two or three years...and they're always successful - bringing in anywhere from $800 to $2,500. so for the past year i'd say, we've been saving things - things we normally would have gotten rid of - for the sale. and everything we've been collecting, has gone straight to the garage. it got to the point where we just started throwing things out there...and before too long...our poor vehicles no longer had a place to call home. our junk was starting to take over. a few months ago i purchased some clothing racks from a consignment store, and began getting all the kids' clothes ready to sale, but other than that, the garage just looked like a hot mess (for lack of a better description). so about a month ago, on a saturday morning, john and i woke up, and ventured out there together. we had no intention of organizing it, and to be honest, thoughts of preparing for our sale were the furthest from our minds. i think we just went out there to find a tool, or the ladder, or something to complete a project that we had been working on inside. we were both so frustrated that we couldn't even move without tripping over something, or walk without having to step over several things, or find a dang a ginormous ladder, for one. we honestly, had had enought! and it seemed like such a daunting task - tackling that beast to get ready for a garage sale, plus during the past few months, i had started getting rid of some of the nicer things on Craig's list...making somewhere around $3, honestly, even if we had made close to that on the remaining items...those gross, infecting items that were overtaking our beloved garage, it wouldn't have been worth it to me. "let's take it all away" i said, somewhat surprising myself. to which john replied "ok". we raised the garage door....something we haven't done in months for fear of scaring our neighbors right on out of the hood, and began loading up the armada. john lowered all the seats, and we started just piling it all in. he took not one, not two, but three trips to the goodwill that day...and man oh man, did it feel awesome. liberating, in fact. our garage still looked like trash, but it was a good feeling knowing how much we had actually gotten rid of. i think that first saturday, four weeks ago, sparked something in me, and i began going crazy. i started cleaning out closets and drawers, cabinets and cupboards, dressers and toy bins, storage bins and tubs. it was the best feeling. and i wasn't just organizing, i was clearing things out...purging like i've never purged before. and then i started cleaning, and organizing, and repairing things that had been rendered useless for months, and tackling things like the baseboards and blinds (both of which i absolutely loathe). for the next three saturdays, i had heaps and piles of things ready for john to haul away...(those goodwill workers know him on a first name basis, i'm sure)). so far we've taken 8 full loads to the goodwill, and i'm already building a pile for the 9th. the kids' playroom is completely clean and organized...their bedroom too. the house has been scrubbed from top to bottom. our bedroom is no longer the catch all, but actually looks like a real live bedroom (it lacks in the decorating do most the rooms in our house, but at least it's decent and inviting). the baby stuff has been washed, folded, and put away. the crib and changing table are set up. the nursery is painted, all the linens in the house have been washed. the carpets have been professionally cleaned, and i can honestly say that i now know where every single item in the house is...down to the very last screw and safety pin. it's nice to have a place for everything...with everything in it's place. there are still a few things i'd like to get done, but i feel so good about what we've accomplished in the last four weeks, that if baby were to come tomorrow, i'd feel ready. like we would be bringing him home...and not to just any home, but to a clean and organized home...a haven...where he would feel welcomed and loved...(and i'd never have the fear of losing him in a pile of junk). but dear baby...dear sweet baby, don't come tomorrow, ok? i keep thinking i need to redo those i have a load or two of wash i'd like to catch up on. just at least give me another day, will ya? better yet, let's just wait til your scheduled induction date of feb. 6th...that gives me a whole week to tie up those few loose ends. does that sound like a deal?
and by the way, i can't wait to meet you. i think you're really gonna like it here. it's 2 am now, and i think we had better get some rest, don't you? goodnight, my little bird.
love, your crazy nesting mother.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

still learning a thing or two from mom...

just a few days ago i blogged about ruby and her unruly behavior the morning she was supposed to dress up for her school's "team day".
writing about that really got me thinking about my little ruby and the struggles that we've been having pretty much on a daily basis.
she has always been such an easy child.
a contented and lively baby.
a happy and good-natured toddler.
she's never given us a moment's grief.
she loves to snuggle and give smile and laugh.
she loves people and people love her.
she makes everyone around her feel special.
in fact, everywhere we go, and in everything she does, people are drawn to her...
and it's always been that way (remember, this is my blog, so i totally have bragging rights).
i volunteered to help in her class yesterday, and was talking with her teacher while all the children went out to recess.
she told me about how sweet and kind ruby is at school, how all her classmates adore her, and how the entire faculty and staff love her, too.
she said that being cute will only get you so far, but that ruby's also kind and helpful,
considerate and friendly.
it made me feel good to hear her teacher say those things about her.
of course, i feel that way about her....i'm her mother, and i have always have felt that there is something uniquely special about her.
she's my precious little gem - my ruby.
i like to think that Heavenly father blessed us with this perfect little jewel after he took our isaac home.
she's like my shining ray of sunshine after a terrible, terrible storm.
i share all of this only because it baffles my mind as to why the two of us have been having so many stormy mornings together as of late.
and, sadly, it has everything to do with what she wants (or doesn't want) to wear.
dumb. huh?
i haven't ever been the type of mom to force her to wear something;
it's just that, up until now, she has always been happy about my suggestions,
and only on occasion has she deviated from what i have given her to wear.
and, to be honest, that has never bothered me.
i actually think it's cute from time to time, to see what she comes up with,
and what, according to her, makes her look and feel the most beautiful.
to illustrate my point (about her compliance and even excitement with regard to my clothing selections for her),
i posted 10 pictures.
these were taken back at the beginning of the school year when the children were asked to wear a specific color (varying each day) for two weeks.
we (i) had to get pretty creative with several of the outfits (as you can tell from the photos) to be able to comply and participate in the suggested activity. but each day, she was up for putting on anything, and i mean anything i handed her to wear (as ridiculous as it was),
and even left the house each morning with a smile on her face.
it's amazing to me how drastically things have changed just in the last few months.
she now hates leggings, jeggings, skinny jeans, skirts, dresses, cardigans, headbands, hair bows, sandals, dressy flats, boots...anything with lace or ruffles...and the list goes on and on.
maybe it would be easier, rather than listing the things she hates, to tell you what she loves.
she loves t-shirts, saggy baggy-bum jeans, and keds.
she loves her hair straight (and when her hair is straight, it just looks stringy and unkempt), or pulled back into a messy ponytail, or sectioned off in the front so she can do one of her fancy twists
(or braids, as she likes to call them).
yes, she is already into fixing her own hair, too.
i feel like she she has completely lost her adorable and unique sense of style
(or maybe it was just my adorable and unique sense of style).
gone are the days that i could lay out a pair of blue skinny jeans, paired with a coral and cream stripped tank (with a giant gold sequin anchor on the front - i might add), a patterned cardi, and a pair of suede moccasin boots,
and see her face light up while she would dress herself in the mornings.
now, even the mere suggestion that she wear something like that, causes her to burst into tears.
and then there was yesterday.
such a heartbreaking day for me.
i have finally begun nesting (and i'm so thrilled about it because i wondered if i might skip this stage altogether with this pregnancy...up until about a week ago, i just wasn't feeling it),
and ruby and i were going through her closet and dresser.
i decided why torture her any longer? if she's not going to wear this stuff, then it best not be taking up precious space...
space which we just plain don't have in this house.
sadly, and by her own choice, we pretty much got rid of everything.
broke my heart.
some of the things she had only worn once, and a few not even at all.
she also got rid of some of her new christmas clothes,
which she promised me she loved, and would totally wear...then went ahead and pulled off and threw away the tags,
only to have one look in the mirror, and decide they weren't her style after all.
i could tell she was trying to make me happy by holding on to certain things, despite her disdain for said items.
for example, i would hold up a shirt or a skirt, and she would look at it, cringe, and then say,
well, i guess i could keep would be something i could wear on valentine's day maybe? because it's red?
well, i think i'll hang on to those leggings because i could wear them next time i have a singing performance (which isn't until may),
maybe that would be something cute for st. patrick's day?
my favorite was when i held up a pair of army green military style shorts (my very favorite of all her shorts),
and she said...
ok, i'll save those, but only for when i go hunting.
i was dying.
anyone who knows us, knows that we're not even at all.
i wouldn't even call ourselves campers, or outdoors men of any sort.
just picturing my 5 year old, clad in army green shorts, tip-toeing through the forest with a 12 gauge semi-auto shot gun strapped across her shoulder...makes me laugh.
save the shorts for when i go hunting...oh ruby.
well, i guess at least she'd be a stylin' huntress...
rather than the picky kindergartner she has become.
brown and grey day
red day...yellow day
purple day...rainbow day
black and white day

blue day

see how happy she is in these photos? yeah well, now she wouldn't be caught dead in any of these outfits (and to be honest, i can't say that i blame her on a few of i said, we had to stretch our creativity pretty good on some of these)...
and even if she had a change of heart, it wouldn't matter, because as of yesterday, i don't think she she even owns anything you see pictured above
(well except for maybe the green outfit...she's saving that one special for st patrick's day).
i know i've done a lot of venting in this post.
truth is, this is really our only issue at present...
and if i can just let go of my pride and allow her to be uniquely her,
well, i just know we'll both be so much happier.
plus i have to remind myself that in 7th grade, i had rats nest bangs that stood stiff as a board and 7 feet in the air...
and my mom never said a word about it (at least to me).
in hindsight, i wish that she had.
but my point is, she bit her tounge, and let me be me.
i guess i still have a thing or two i could learn from my mother.
even after being gone 14 years, she still has an influence on me.
i'm so grateful for that, she was such a gem of a woman (a lot like my gem of a daughter) -
whom everyone absolutely loved and adored -
and i highly doubt her wardrobe had very much (if anything) to do with that.
i mean, my mom was the queen of culottes (when culotte's were anything but cool),
yet she was still highly respected and revered.
and i don't know a soul who didn't absolutely adore her...
culottes and all.

Friday, January 6, 2012

spirit days...

we all remember them, right?
backwards day, pajama day, crazy hair or sock day?
i have the best memories from my elementary childhood of those fun spirit days.
and i always got WAY into them, too.
surprise, surprise.

today was "team day" or "sports day" at ruby's school.
to be quite honest, we had forgotten about it until last night...right before bedtime.
and of course, being the girly girl that she is...we didn't have a thing for her to wear.
come to think of it, she has a pink "my first diamondbacks" tee, but it's probably a size 12 months. ha.
so john, being the wonderful husband and dad that he is, offered to take her to walmart to pick out some sort of team paraphernalia that she could use for today.
she came home all excited about her new sun devils t-shirt, and went to bed as
happy as a crazed sports' fanatic who's favorite team had just won the super bowl.
plus, she had just lost another tooth, so she was pretty stoked about the tooth fairy bringing some loot.
she woke up happy and excited, not only about her money and note from the tooth fairy,
but also to show some school spirit by getting all dressed up in her new "sporty" outfit.

unfortunately, one look in the mirror, and it was instant tears.

she hated her t-shirt.
she hated that it was baggy and her jeans were tight.
she hated the long-sleeved white shirt that her dad had suggested she wear underneath.
she not only hated, but absolutely loathed the braids that i put in her hair.
she was completely hysterical about everything, but it was too late to do anything about it,
as the bell would be ringing in just minutes.
in an attempt to add something feminine to the ensemble,
i hurried and combined her two french braids into a ponytail at the bottom, and added a ribbon.
she cried even harder.
i hated having to push my kindergartner out the door in that kind of emotional state,
but we were completely out of time to do anything about it;
and to be honest...her dad and i were pretty irritated.
as she was getting into the car, still in hysterics, i yelled out the front door to her
"fine ruby, just have mrs. davis take it out and put it in a ponytail for you".
and then they drove out of sight.
i wasn't sure she had heard me, so i ran inside and sent her teacher a quick email
(unsure whether she'd even see it before the end of the day).
within just minutes i got her reply...
"We already handled it! She seems fine now and it's absolutely no big deal...happy to make her feel better, she's the best!"
so apparently ruby had heard me, and wasted absolutely no time at all in asking for mrs. davis' help in taking her hideous hairstyle out.
i couldn't help but laugh.
when she got home today, her hair was hanging down in her face...stringy and straight.
"well i see that mrs. davis helped you take your hair out"?
"yeah" she said, with a little smirk.
and then i asked "so did she say, ruby, you should leave it looks so cute on you"?
"No! she just tore that thing out so's like she thought it was really ugly, too"!
oh ruby, you are hilarious...
and i'm still completely baffled as to why on crazy hair day you were chomping at the bit to get out the door to school, but today i literally had to throw you out?

i am completely perplexed by your sense of style.....and also a bit nervous for your teenage years.

so be honest, would you be happier about going out in public with the hairdo on the left...
or the one on the right?
and now can you see why my five year old confuses the heck out of me?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

24 days til christmas

i figured i better at least write down all the activities that we did in december...
before my pregnancy brain consigns it all to oblivion.
i probably won't document too much about each activity in this post...
that way, i will be forced to take some time later to really highlight the super fun things that we did - things that would definitely be worth repeating...
and maybe even become our own little family's christmas traditions (at least that's my plan).
several of the things we did, we probably would have done (or wanted to do) anyway,
but this advent activity helped me to feel more organized and on top of things...
and ensured that we got it all in.

so without further ado, i present to you -

our 24 days til christmas...

december 1st - open a new christmas book which you'll find under the tree. (dad read this to the children while i was gone at our ward's relief society christmas dinner).

december 2nd - open a new christmas movie to watch with dad (again, mom was lame and had plans away from the home that night).

december 3rd - go to starbucks for hot chocolate and drive through a nearby neighborhood to look at the lights.

december 4th - decorate ginger molasses cookies and put together a gingerbread house.

december 5th - go sub-for-santa shopping as a family to pick out toys.

december 6th - make some christmas crafts (we did two different types of ornaments for the tree in their bedroom).

december 7th - open a new christmas book to read with mom (dad was at the church for mutual).

december 8th - go walk through the lights on cherry lane/natal circle, and stop by chick-fil-a for peppermint shakes afterwards.

december 9th - open a new christmas movie to watch with dad (mom ditched the family for the last time...thank goodness).

december 10th- go to the imax to see santa's cool holiday film festival, and then to the train garden that night.

december 11th- baking day! make cookies and deliver them, along with a book about Christ, to all of our neighbors and friends who are not of our faith.

december 12th - go watch ruby's dance performance, and stop off at mcdonald's for peppermint hot chocolates afterwards.

december 13th- go shopping for parents and siblings. (i took asher to pick out gifts for ruby and daddy, and john took ruby to pick out gifts for asher and mommy).

december 14th - open a new christmas book to read with mom (dad was at the church for mutual again).

december 15th - go to the bass pro shop to see santa.

december 16th - go to the legacy village (a local retirement center) and make christmas cards with grandma ruby and her family for about 40 alzheimer's patients who live there; and take dixie (an elderly single lady in our ward) to go see the zoo lights that night.

decmeber 17th - go watch ruby's christmas music performance, shop for other parent and sibling (this time i took ruby to find a gift for her dad, and john took asher to pick out a gift for me), and go to the mccormick and stillman railroad park at night.

december 18th - special (and traditional) christmas service project (i'd tell you what it is, but then i'd have to kill you).

december 19th - go watch a christmas play (spectacular) at the phoenix first assembly church of God. (fun to see what other religions do to celebrate the birth of the Savior).

december 20th - make snow globes to give to friends and open a new christmas book to read as a family.

december 21st - the polar express!

december 22nd - go see the mesa temple lights, and take homemade hot chocolate in a thermos.

december 23rd - go to schnepf's farm for ice skating, a train ride to see the lights, and a hay ride to feed santa's chocolate and cinnamon rolls by the fire afterwards.


december 24th - make cookies for santa in the morning, movie with cousins. christmas eve dinner at aunt lori's house in the evening. then home to open christmas pajamas, leave cookies and milk for santa, carrots and water outside for the reindeer, santa's two magical keys on the outside of the door (one for the screen door, and one for the actual house door), finish our nativity, and turn off all the lights and lie by the tree while listening to soft christmas music. (this was probably my very favorite night of the entire season).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

9:28 is the new midnight

we rang in the new year last night at approximately 9:28 pm,
and the children were in bed before 10.
at 10:00, john and i started a movie, and were both asleep by 11:30...i know because at a quarter to 12:00, i woke up to use the bathroom (first trip of many through the night), and thought to myself, wow, this is the first new year's eve in years (maybe ever) that i've been in bed before midnight.
i woke up again, a short time later, to a ton a loud explosions (fireworks) -
which i thought were bombs - and looked at the clock.
i didn't even get an official (and by official, i mean an actual midnight...because i did get a 9:28) new year's smooch-
as john (who was just inches away from me)
was in such a deep slumber, that he was actually snoring.
that doesn't happen very often.
poor guy had to have been completely wiped.
we both were...are.
i think we're still trying to recover from our christmas activities.
for that reason (and also because i haven't been feeling extremely well the past few days),
we decided to keep our new year's celebration small (meaning just our little family) and simple..
in every way.
john prepared a bunch of little finger foods and dips for our dinner,
and also made a trip to the dollar store for hats, glasses, air horns, glow sticks, noise makers, etc. we ate, we had a dance party, john provided us with some awesome entertainment (i seriously haven't laughed that hard in the longest time), we took pictures, listened to auld lang syne, had a toast, started our own countdown, kissed and hugged each other like there was no tomorrow...
then we banged pots and pans, blew our noisemakers, ran outside for some sparklers and fireworks,
and called it a night.
it was awesome.
so awesome, in fact, that i think we'll see how many more years we can trick our kids into believing that 9:28 (or earlier...i'm not opposed to earlier) is midnight.
this old tired body of mine just isn't cut out for those late nights anymore...
and i don't think it has a thing to do with the fact that i'm 8 months pregnant, either.

i am so incredibly grateful for the blessings and miracles that we have witnessed by the hand of the Lord this past year. He has been so extremely good to us...too good to us.
oftentimes i feel completely unworthy of His gifts,
but i testify that He loves His children and desires to bless us, even if at times we as mortals don't deserve or feel like we merit His blessings.

i look forward to the miracles and blessings of 2012, as well...
namely, the birth of our sweet baby jude.
i cannot even express how excited i am for this new addition.
we have wanted this for so many years, and i seriously can't believe that in 5 weeks or less, this dream will finally become a reality.

so farewell have been so good to us.
and hello 2012...i look forward to your adventures, opportunities, blessings, and miracles...
and hope you'll be good to us, too.