Thursday, February 24, 2011

So this is what...

...procrastination looks like.

This upcoming Saturday I am teaching at a stake Relief Society conference for my church. It is a gathering of a few hundred women, put together to celebrate the amazing capacities and joy that are inherent in our lovely gender.

I was asked to teach a month or two ago and have been alternately excited and terrified ever since. Today is a terrified day. (Terror has an exhilerating quality, but it has also required the consumption of two bowls of mint ice, there is that.)

Over the past month I have collected talks, insightful quotes and empowering bits of scripture. The plan was to sit at my big tanker desk, stacks of collected inspiration on hand, and create the lesson over the course of a couple weeks. Good, organized plan.

Today is Thursday. The lesson is in two days. I am surrounded by my stacks of paper, which so far have not proved inspiring, and the lesson is still...shall we say...unformed.

There is solace in the fact that the house is as spotless as it has ever been. When faced with lesson planning over the past few days, I decided to spring clean. Couches were moved, floors were scrubbed, I may have even cleaned the inside of my windows. Unprecedented.

I know what I want the women in my class to feel at the end of the lesson. Empowerment, freedom, the beauty of a life lived deliberately. That in this existence there is no room for fear or guilt. That happiness and wonder can be daily gifts and not one woman is too unworthy to receive them. That perfection is a goal of completion and not one of no errors. All the same things I try to remind myself of every day.

Good, lovely things. Perhaps I can capture them all and make them into a 50 minute lesson.

Time to try.

(Unless of course, you would like me to come and clean your house, or watch your kids, sort your spices, etc.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Man Comes Around

Margaret is getting over a nasty bout of bronchitis. We are on our fifth day of being absolutely housebound. I would love to say that I have used this sabbatical from life wisely. Upon, reflection it seems I have not. However, I am now fully up to date with the latest Hollywood gossip and have attained a personal high score on Bejeweled.

So there is always that.

I have decided to return to the living today. The house is being scrubbed, laundry folded, daughter washed. All to the lovely sounds of the one and only Mr. Cash. I humbly posit that American IV: The Man Comes Around is the culminating work of his career. His voice has the rough understanding of a lifetime of mistakes, some made right, some not. It is the light seen through the clouds, forgiveness sought and redemption given. Perfect.

Just one tiny problem. Margaret is currently singing the chorus to I Hung my Head. A ballad about an accidental murder and justice served.

Maybe a little heavy for a two year old.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Sometimes Riley and I sit and dream things up. We dream fancy dinners, European vacations and (when Riley is at the reigns) Super Bowl trips. Lately, we have been dreaming Dream Houses.

Adobe. Big sweeping porch. Maybe in the Territorial Style. The inside would look something like this...

The land around the house is still up for grabs, but I have a few suggestions. I figure that if Riley gets to dream a Super Bowl trip then I should get to dream a woodland full of fairies and a creme brulee garden.

In honor of Valentine's day I have been listening to Lucky by Jason Mraz all day. It is the absolute cheese of all cheese. And.I.Love.It.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good Morning

Margaret and Riley are closing up Sunday with a few episodes of Wonder Pets, while I sit and write. I can think of more inspiring background sounds than the incessant singing of the Wonder Pets. Who writes these shows? Why must one of the characters always have a speech impediment? And why do I feel like they are teaching my daughter more effectively than I ever do? Humbling. The sight of Riley and Margaret cuddling on the couch is almost worth allowing the dreaded Wonder Pets into our house. Almost.

While Margaret learns about pupa's from singing turtles, I am thinking about the week to come. I have never been one to make, let alone keep, the traditional New Year's resolutions. So much pressure. I do make weekly resolutions. They are generally simple and designed for success.

Recent ones have included:

Remembering to brush Margaret's teeth every night (does 5 out of 7 count?)

Cooking more (This includes both grilled cheese and every preparation of egg)

Having dessert only on weekends (by Monday I decided that was too difficult and modified it to one scoop of ice cream on weeknights. I was able to stick to this, especially since I was scooping with a ladle.)

It seems to me that while toddler hygiene and nutritional health are important, I am perhaps aiming a little low. I mean, brushing your childrens' teeth is something most mothers do naturally, without a weekly resolution.

There are many things I want to do in this life and almost all of them are grander than limiting my sugar intake. I know where I came from and that we are all here to accomplish great things. I know that I want a life full of discovery, poetry, children, passion, gardens and color. I also know that I can attain none of this on my own. On my own is an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians and two pot pies. On my own is.not.pretty.

So I am leaving behind my weekly resolutions and embracing a daily one. Each morning, even the tired, sick, oh-my-goodness-can-the-day-already-be-over ones, I will wake up determined to consecrate my life. The dictionary defines consecrate as, "To make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of God." One of my favorite quotes of the past year comes from a church leader, Elder D. Todd Christofferson,

"True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives - that is, our time and choices - to Gods' purposes. In so doing we permit Him to raise up to our highest destiny."

I am a daughter of God, perhaps it is time that I begin to live like one. Make the day His, before I ask for my portion. Each morning to remember my divine heritage and actually cultivate it. To humbly ask for the light and then to be given it in abundance. Work for His children before I take for myself. It is really not such a bad trade off. Give what I can and in return be given Everything, the color, the discovery, the passion. The highest version of myself.

On the days I falter, I will go to sleep excited for the next morning, the next commitment to dedication. I am going to try and for Him I know that is enough. I don't have to do it on my own.

Can't wait for the sunrise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Girls' Fantasy Is Another Girls' Dinner

A man must have coined the term "morning sickness". There is nothing "morning" about it. This thing I am experiencing would be more properly called, "Really &*%$ing sick, every #*$%ing minute of every $%&*ing day". Although, I guess that doesn't really have much of a ring to it.

In an interesting turn of events, I am famished along with nauseated. The body is capable of truly amazing things.

The only food item that sounds even close to palatable? Sushi. Pregnant women aren't supposed to eat sushi. Which means that I am reduced to dreaming about.

Christian Bale, sorry honey, it is over. From here on out all fantasies will feature only me, chopsticks and an order of spicy scallops.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Day You Turned Two

Dear Margaret,

Today you turned two years old. Upon waking up, your daddy and I coronated you with a Sleeping Beauty crown. It is pink and made of plastic, glitter and ribbon. Absolutely tacky and absolutely perfect. I might steal it from you.

You don't really understand birthdays, but I have tried to make today special. You want to watch wonder pets? We watch it. You want chocolate? Oh look. I happen to have m&m's just waiting for you in my purse. Pizza? At ten thirty? Sure! Five Bagel Bites coming your way. As we watched the artificial cheese melt into the radioactive-red sauce, it occurred to me that very little about today is different than any other day. Welcome to your life. You are two years old and live everyday like it is your birthday.

As you slept off all that fake dairy and chocolate, I sat down and caught up on the news. Margaret, you are a toddler in a very adult world. The day you turned two, Eqypt was burning. Unemployment had risen and soup kitchens were overwhelmed. America's terror alert was at the highest it had been since 9/11. They called it "Code Really Really Red...Like Almost Scarlet...Seriously." Somali pirates captured a Greek super-tanker. A court convened on the murder case of a Bangledeshi girl. She was 14 and had been raped by her cousin. The village elders decided this made her unclean and sentenced her to one hundred lashes. She only lived to see eighty of them. The Republicans and Democrats continued to yell, too loud to hear the voices of people that needed them. A new study announced that french fries will, if they have not already done so, give you cancer. To add insult to injury, Adam Sandler had come out with, yet another, romantic comedy. (Tragedy can be relative. Why can't he just embrace the perfection of The Wedding Singer and cease all other efforts?)

Pushed the news away, and picked up your princess crown. It looks like it is made of frosting. The day you turned two, I decided not to despair that pink princess crowns exist in a world in which some 14 year olds don't get to grow up. There is darkness, but there is also light. Someday there will be just the blazing, glorious light. Until then, we will spread it the best we can.

The day you turned two, was the day I decided to make our home just like the world I wish you could live in. There will be bagel bites and story time and flowers. We will eat and drink love, charity and understanding.

And we will do it all bedecked in glitter, ribbons and crowns.

Happy Birthday, Darling.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Nine Months of Fridays

Ready for the weekend

It is Friday.

In a world in which I am not pregnant, Friday is generally a throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air day. The end of the week. A little behind on laundry. Maybe I haven't made my bed yet. Basically, I have already checked out in anticipation of a Saturday sleep in. Not chaos, but not perfect.

This Friday happens to be one of many pregnant Friday's to come. How to sum it up? This morning I made some oatmeal. All the bowls were dirty. So I ate the oatmeal...out of a serving bowl we received as a wedding gift. This particular receptacle is big enough to hold an army's worth of mashed potatos. It is also made of fine bone china.


It all sounds a little Lindsay Lohan pre-rehab. I know.

Despite its ignominious beginning, I have high hopes for this weekend. There are about three hours out of every day that I feel both well and awake. I plan to fill them. There will be a date. We will purchase food storage. Maybe I will read. Maybe I will watch How to Steal a Million ...again. (seriously, Peter O'Toole. Yes. Please. Always.)

And dancing. There will be dancing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When you wish upon a...

Constellations by Brian Kershisnik

After 5 days of visiting with Riley's lovely mama (more importantly known as Margaret's dear, dear Nana), today is a lazy day. The little girl and I had rice-a-roni for lunch, "mmmmm MOMMY! GOOD FOOD!", and M&M's for breakfast, snack and second lunch. She is sleeping and I am trying to stay awake.

Zuzu talks so much now. She is "HUNGRY!", "THE BABY IS HAPPY!", "GO ON!", "DADDY BACK!", "OH HUG. NICE!", and my personal favorite, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" (Said with a bewitching mix of desperation and toddler contempt. Really, quite fetching.) If it can be said in 7 words or less, Zuzu says it. Loudly.

Her favorite word, by far, is "STAR". Really, stars are her favorite...everything. The fascination began with the celestial bodies in the opening scene of Princess and the Frog. The star shines brightly, the heroine is introduced, hijinks and love follow. Obviously, those sparkly lights are harbingers of good things to come. Her love of all things "STAR!" quickly expanded to encompass US Bank billboards, the NFL logo, astronomy pictures on google image and the American flag.

For Margaret, there is no such thing as a simple drive across town. Every time we get in the car she taps into some primal hunter-gatherer aspect of her genetic history. The only difference between the girl and her hungry ancestors? She is not looking for berries or non-poisonous mushrooms, no, my daughter is looking for stars.

And she finds them. EVERYWHERE.


"Yes, Margaret. Good job. There is a star on that flag."


"What? Oh, I mean, yes. There is a star on that sign. Good girl."


"Okay. Now you are just making things up, there is not a star....oh wait. Oh. Yes there is. The girl driving next to us. Has a star tattoo. On her neck. Um. Good job."

The thing is, Margaret sees stars everywhere, because they are, well, everywhere. It is like some vast right wing star lobby is working behind the scenes to keep us earth dwellers good and aware of our sky bound neighbors. (This seems a stretch, even for a conspiracy theorist like me. I mean, where is the profit?) Dismissing the cosmic cabal theory, one is left to assume that the rest of the world is as star centric as Margaret has become. Perhaps it is because we need to know there is something out there beyond just us, or maybe stars, are like, totally back in, because a Kardashian said it was so.

It doesn't really matter.

Margaret has felt the power of a symbol and what it represents. What a gift! Clear nights are heralded as miracles, as she points from, "STAR!" to "STAR!" to "STAR!".

A little thing. It has made my life better.