Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recent photos

I snapped these two photos last week when the weather turned cold. I didn't pay much attention to the camera settings because I was trying to save the moment without freezing to the bone.

The first is the view out my dining room window. Mt. Timpanogos looks like it is floating in the darkening sky.

Shortly after I took the first picture, I heard little voices outside and discovered my younger kids blowing bubbles as if it were perfectly balmy out there. #4 blew this big bubble that should have burst on contact with the pine needles, but instead it nestled there for a good 90 seconds, or more. I thought it made for an ironic photo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting In My Own Way

I have been mourning the demise of my brain cells ever since I started having babies and stopped getting enough sleep at night. For a while there, I thought I could actually feel my brain turning to mush. One of the consequences of a mushy brain is forgetfulness. Never have I missed my brain so much as tonight when my forgetfulness has peaked. Did I commit to be in two places at the same time for the umpteenth time? No. Did I leave a hose on for eight hours again? No. Did I get ready for bed before realizing that one of my children was still at a friend's house? No. (Side note: I've only done that twice before. When you think of the thousands of nights that I HAVE remembered all my children, that's not a bad track record.) It's much worse than all of those. I've misplaced my Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies!

Back in the days of my sugar fast, I purchased two boxes of cookies and tucked them under the sleeping bags in the garage for safe keeping until I could eat them. I finally remembered about them last week, and after searching for only ten minutes I miraculously found them. I felt bad not sharing them, so I opened one cellophane bag and shared with the children. Then I put the opened bag back in the box and away in a high cupboard, not really believing that would deter my kids but it was worth a try. (It actually worked, though it didn't deter me and Kent.) The unopened bag I hid for my personal use in a very safe and not-at-all-obvious spot. It's so un-obvious that I have no idea where it is now. I've checked all the regular spots: on top of my dresser; in my sock drawer; behind books on the shelf; in between the folders in my filing cabinet. When my regular spots failed, I moved on to locked cabinets, inside my china bowls, and under the sleeping bags again. No luck! Wherever I hid them, it's a great spot!

I'm trying to tell myself that the cookies store well and the day I come across them will be better than finding forgotten cash in a coat pocket. But really, since I can't go to an ATM and pull out a box of Thin Mints, I don't know if I can be that patient. Maybe I should just delete this post in the hopes that I will forget I ever bought the cookies in the first place. I suppose chances are pretty good that will happen anyway if I just wait a day or two.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One of Those Days

Today started out very nice with sunshine and events with friends. And then it gradually went downhill, picking up speed this evening. Kent and I had a few rounds of miscommunication followed by rounds of letting each other down. Events that I've looked forward to all week fell through. I also have to acknowledge that my hormones are probably out of whack. I've found that with my latest birthday my hormonal moods get more dramatic and devastating than they used to. I hate feeling out of control of my emotions!

Anyway, I went for a drive...and food...and a period of meditation while I parked behind the temple and curled up in a blanket. And that combination of quiet, solitude, physical nourishment, and prayer helped restore my calm.

I am also grateful for the friends God puts in my path on days like today. I had a similar depressing episode a few months ago. Both times, out of the blue, friends came by and others phoned me to see how I was doing or to just say hi. My life's history with friends has been that I am the strong one who lends a listening ear. It is uncomfortable for me to be on the other side of that; I really don't know how to confide my problems to another female. But I truly appreciate those who take a minute to let me know they are thinking of me, especially since I recognize it can be awkward to be in a relationship with me because of my poor communication skills. I am also grateful that Heavenly Father has placed these dear people in my life to let me know He loves me.

I am looking forward to a Sabbath day of peace and sunshine tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Five Scheduled Births: Baby #2

Just over a decade ago, I went in for my regular prenatal checkup. I was approaching my due date, but there were no signs that the baby was even thinking about making her debut. My doctor told us he would be going on vacation in eight days, which was past my due date, but we weren't too hopeful that the baby would come before then. I went home and talked to Kent and we agreed that we definitely wanted Dr. Baird to deliver the baby before he left. I wanted to be induced that Friday so I could finish the work week and have a weekend with Kent home. He wanted to wait until Monday or Tuesday with the idea that he could probably get excused from a final exam or two. We ended up flipping for it, and I won! (There really are some advantages to being induced, especially when you can make it fit your schedule!)

That night we went to the hospital to get things started. I had such a good experience with a skilled nurse when I delivered my first baby naturally that I did not plan to get an epidural this time. We dropped our Lamaze notebook in the overnight bag, figuring a quick skim at the hospital would help us remember all the relaxation techniques. (Oh how young and foolish we were!) A nurse got me started with Prostaglandin gel and we tuned into a PBS show about physics and atoms that some of the nurses watched with us. (It was quite good.) As with my first delivery, the gel again put me into labor before I was "ripe" enough for pitocin, and within 15 minutes, I was having regular contractions three minutes apart.

I was a little nervous to learn that the nurse assigned to me was in training and she had never helped with a natural birth before. THAT would have been a good time to read through the Lamaze book. Instead, I asked to use the jetted hot tub--which was wonderful! I was in there for over an hour and I felt only two of the contractions, which were still consistently three minutes apart. I even started to fall asleep.

At 1:15 a.m., they gave me more prostin, but I couldn't get in the tub again. The prostin made my contractions harder but, I was dilating only one centimeter per hour. By 3:00 a.m., at six or seven centimeters, the contractions were so hard and close that I was sure I couldn't go another three hours without painkillers. My poor nurse didn't know how to help or coach me, but just stood in front of the computer monitoring all the pain I was feeling. When I finally reached eight centimeters, my nurse's supervising RN came in to help me breathe through the contractions in a focused way, and she stayed with me through the rest of labor, which finally picked up some speed and I soon felt ready to push.

However, my doctor wasn't ready for me to push. There was only one other patient in the hospital that night...who happened to share my doctor...and who happened to also be pushing her baby out at that exact moment! When I asked, my nurse admitted that the other woman was on an epidural and she didn't know why he couldn't just come help me deliver and then go back. She offered to break my water, but her fingernail couldn't break the thick membrane. So instead she helped me resist the urge to push and I breathed through two very strong contractions. The nurse in training ran between the two patient rooms keeping my doctor updated on my progress, and me updated on the other mom's progress. Dr. Baird promised to come as soon as the other baby was born, but I was done breathing through contractions. I asked the supervising nurse to deliver my baby instead. She put on some gloves and sat down for my first push, which broke the amniotic sac. My doctor ran in just then, put on a gown and gloves, and sat down as I began the second push that delivered her head. One more push got our baby out into the world where Kent stood by with a camera. Dr. Baird let him cut the cord, gave me a couple stitches, and then ran back to finish with his other patient. Poor guy--it's a good thing he had a vacation coming up!

Our baby was born at 5:10 a.m. on Friday, April 14, my only baby born before the due date (which was April 15). When we took her home Saturday morning, the world was clean and fresh from two days of rain, and everything smelled--and was--wonderful. (Except that Kent still had to take finals!) She was 8 lbs. 3 oz. and 20.5 inches long. Kent and I had discussed names for this daughter, and were 90% sure she would be Maeana Aspen. However, when we saw her we both knew that wasn't supposed to be her name. So we pulled out the name book at started looking in the 'M's. We found a first and middle name we liked, which combined mean "beloved maiden". It did take me a while to get used to her name, and a few times when friends called to know about her, I would have to walk outside and look at the congratulatory poster hung by our door as my reference for answering their question as to her name.

#2 turned out to be a VERY difficult baby--to the point that if she had been our first and I didn't already know that some babies were nice, she would have been an only child. But within a few years she proved to be our most loving and caring child. She has buckets of patience for her siblings and is always there to cheer someone up or to share her bed with a younger brother or sister who is too scared to sleep alone. She is a good help to me, a great student, and a true friend to those in her open circle. Happy birthday to our beloved Mally.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

An Almost Perfect Vacation

Am I the only one who, when imagining an ideal vacation, envisions staying home? I get so tired of my hectic life in which I neglect my home and spend my days being stressed out trying to finish everything on my list, which is only a mental list because I don't have time to write it down. Aaaaak! I would really love to just tell everyone I'm going on vacation and can't be reached by computer or phone, then drop the kids off for a few days of fun with relatives or friends...and drive right back to a quiet house. I might spend the vacation completing a huge project, like redecorating a room or building a water feature out front. Or maybe I would finally sit and deal with the clutter in the linen closet, on my desk, in my closet, etcetera forevera. Of course I would not set my alarm clock, I might skip some mornings of exercise, and I'd probably go on a date with Kent every night. I might even soak in the tub! (I've only used our bathtub twice in the 6 1/2 years we've lived in this home.) Ahhh...that sounds so nice. Come on, you've got to agree, right?

Last weekend began an almost perfect version of that vacation.

Kent and I had a date night Friday, we slept in Saturday and Sunday, had a big breakfast both days, and were spiritually uplifted by the LDS General Conference. (Both of us stayed awake through all the talks!) We spent time with extended family from both sides, and even like being with our kids--a rarity when we travel somewhere on vacation. The restful weekend rolled into a week of spring break that began much the same. More sleeping in, sharing dinner with some friends, skipping exercise one morning, scrapbooking, eating big breakfasts, and finally opening that box of Girl Scout cookies! This week I haven't finished much on my to-do lists, but I have finished a book. Added bonus: I've really enjoyed my kids who have the whole week off from school.

Today I was pulled back to reality just a little bit, and the blissful vacation started to slip away. My hair wouldn't cooperate. I did laundry, babysat, helped with a Church function. It was all fine, but it was normal. Plus, I started getting irritated with the children. I'm not ready for my spring break to be over! When we came home from errands today, a UPS box met me and opened to reveal some plants I ordered online. That box gave me hope. I am determined to reclaim vacation tomorrow! I've set an appointment for a cut and style to defeat my unruly hair, and then I plan to spend the day in my yard and garden, warming my back in the sun and enjoying a leisurely pace until my alarm rings on Monday. Okay, maybe Sunday, since I do plan to go to Church.

The only thing that could make this "vacation" better is if my efforts at watching movies with the kids and reading a novel until the a.m. hours would have somehow transformed my closet from a pile of who-knows-what-is-in-there? to a piece of organized serenity and a pile of cash from everything I sold off. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to have another stab at this ideal vacation in the near future.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hello Sugar!

On our date Friday night, I was really craving some dessert so I asked Kent to find out the official end date of Lent. When he asked if I was more sympathetic to Eastern Orthodox or Catholic beliefs, I sided with Catholic. I should have gone Greek because it turns out their Lent ended a week ago. But I decided to hold out until Saturday with the Catholic tradition. In the first 24 hours of my broken sugar fast I've had a bar and a drop cookie, pie with ice cream, a bit of candy, and crumb cake for breakfast; there is a lemon cake baking in my oven as I type. Dessert is an integral part of gatherings!

Here's how my fast went. After the first few days, I didn't have many cravings, except on date nights, until the last few days of the fast when I really wanted some chocolate ice cream. I only ate fix or six squares of chocolate, and I actually found my liking of chocolate dropped a little. (I plan to regain lost ground there.) I now love snacking on nuts, popcorn, and sometimes some herbal peppermint tea. I do feel that my out-of-control appetite for sweets is gone and I am happy to report that it is easy for me to take just one helping of dessert and then feel sugared out. We'll see how long it lasts!