Monday, January 31, 2005

Dancin' With Myself (oh-oh-oh-oh)

This is what I found my daughter doing at 8:16pm in her room when she SAID she was going to play Noah's Ark with Heidi. She put "Billy Idol-Ultimate Collection" on her CD player by herself, then got up on her table and started dancing for Heidi IN HER UNDERWEAR! Should I be concerned? The girl LOVES Billy Idol, especially "Dancing with Myself" and "Mony, Mony." If she starts to dance the pogo, I'm gonna be reeeeeally scared. Posted by Hello

Amber Waves of Grain

Isn't Montana gorgeous? Yesterday we took a little roadtrip. First we drove to Three Forks, Montana (where the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin Rivers meet to form the Missouri River and where you turn and go north to Helena) and went to church there. Then we ate lunch at the Wheat Montana Deli at the Wheat Montana Farms (this photo was taken just north of there) and drove another hour to Helena to visit Matt, Amie and Jake. We let the kids play, ate tasty venison stew and biscuits, played Scattergories, and watched Iraq election coverage (thank you, by the way, to our friends and family who have been serving in the military to make this happen! Indigo fingers are beautiful!). Posted by Hello

Helena Handbasket

Addie watching "Barbie Rapunzel" just north of Three Forks, MT (I like it when she wants to watch that movie because the music is nice--not annoying like most kids' movies). Posted by Hello

Sleepy Heidi offers me her bottle as we drive to Helena... Posted by Hello

There's Rich driving his hoopty... Posted by Hello

That's me with Montana hills in the background. Posted by Hello

Look how skinny Jakers is! He is always on the move! Posted by Hello

Heidi: Hi, Jakers! I missed you!
Jake: I missed you, too! Enough small talk...let's get to work destroying the living room!
Heidi: Yay! Where do we start?
Jake: Let's start with the DVDs and videos, then we'll move on to the dog's bowl in the kitchen! Posted by Hello

Demolition Duo hard at work. Posted by Hello

The Posts and Melins say good night--Happy Iraq Election Day! (Amie, Jake, Matt-my bro, Rich, Addie, Me, & Heidi) Posted by Hello

Casa Melin

Here's our house from the front (that's Rich's new paid-cash hoopty in the driveway) early Satuday morning. Aside from steps and landscaping, the outside is DONE! Posted by Hello

Back of the house Saturday morning... Posted by Hello

How the back looked Saturday morning--there are decks off the thresholds now. Posted by Hello

Friday, January 28, 2005

Just Like Brent

I had so much fun doing Brent's Quiz, I thought I'd make one of my own--so click and try! I've got prizes for the 3 highest scores!
CLICK on the link below or PASTE it into your browser.

We're GORGEOUS! Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Reading Tent

Yesterday we made a tent in the girls' room. Addie called it her "reading tent." After a while, These two sillies got the giggles and had all kinds of fun in there! King sized quilts are great for that! Posted by Hello

Heidi Peek

Heidi was not sure what to make of the tent. Here she is peeking out...later I caught her crawling in there and playing peek-a-boo with herself. Posted by Hello

Bloggy Bloggerton

We have this silly thing we say in our family--we make any word into a name and say it to each other, like when the kids are whining, we say "Whiny Whinerton" or if we're coughing, we say "Coughy Cougherton." Addie has apparently picked up on it, cause listen to this: the other day she was standing here by my desk and she said, "Oops! 'Scuse me...I tooted........I'm a Farty Farterton." Can you believe that? I had never heard that one!

Then tonight I was cleaning up the garage at our new house (because were are finished siding--can I get a woo-woo?--) and I found a piece of siding with a circle marked on it, which read "Holey Holerton." My husband, bless his heart, even talks that way to himself!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Subconscious Commitment Tests

Last night I had a dream about a boy I fell in love with about 18 years ago. In fact, I met him and fell in “like” with him at a Valentine’s Dance in 1986, so that’s 19 years ago—jeeze! He was part of this pack of boys that my friends and I “ran with"—East End girls and West End boys. He told me he’d met me before but I didn’t remember (and I would have, cuz MAN, the boy had big brown eyes and pretty lips), and then we danced a few times. At the end of the night he brought me conversation hearts. He handed me one that said “Call Me” and I looked up at him and said, “But I can’t…here [I wrote down my number]…you call me.” We were henceforth known as the Telephone Twins because we were too young to drive and lived about 20 miles apart. He did wonderful things for me like make cards and paper flowers and did yard work to buy me presents. When he moved away to Tempe, he gave me fabulous bike tours of the town and even kissed me on the Mill Avenue footbridge while the Highway 60 traffic below honked and egged him on (don’t worry--we were going on 17 by then).

Anyway, that’s what was weird about the dream—it all happened like 18 years ago, but I remembered so many little details. We were hanging out in the same neighborhood in the west Tucson foothills with the same friends, but we were all in our 30s. He was divorced and had a couple of kids, including this baby girl I found myself holding. So we’re hanging out like we used to except we’re old now and so are all our friends and we’re all just talking, and through the conversation I find out that we are engaged. People are saying things like, “I always thought you two should be together,” and congratulating us and this is all news to me but I am playing along. It’s so fun to see everyone again—the “B” twin brothers have bellies now, but they are still fun and they’re hilarious and nice and they get along better. All the boys tell skating stories and there are only a couple of other girls there—wives, I guess—and my cute red-haired best friend from High School who also did some time with these boys. It’s a blast. I am so happy to see everyone again. Then someone hands me my fiancĂ©’s baby and I am suddenly reminded—hey, I have a baby girl like this. That realization triggers several others, like, oh and I have a beautiful new home and another kid and a fabulous husband and yeah, I used to love you and you’re all great, but I REALLY love him and he is the best thing that ever happened to me, so—HELLO—I must be going!

When I woke up, relieved that my husband and babies were there with me, I remembered a conversation I had with my sister a few months ago about this kind of dream.

JILL: “Do you ever have dreams where you’re like single again and out with an old boyfriend or some celebrity you had a crush on, and then you remember that you’re married and stuff and you’re like, ‘Uh, I gotta go! I’m married and I love my husband!’ and you’re just so glad to have your real life?”

ME: “Yeah, I had one the other night and I was on this show like Survivor that’s called American Dream or something like that and it’s like a dating show. They get all these well-suited people together and if two of them can fall in love and get engaged, they get a million bucks, plus the mansion where the show is filmed. Rich and I decide to pretend we’re not married, then get on the show and choose each other and win the prize. But some other guy beats him to it and Rich tells me to just go along with it. But then I can’t because I pass Rich sleeping in his room and I start crying and tell everyone the truth and we get kicked off the show and all we get is a boat.”

JILL: “But aren’t you so relieved in your dream when you’re back in your real life?”

ME: “Always! It’s such a weird feeling, and then I wonder why I have those dreams.”

JILL: “Yeah, I have them, too. I’m always on dates or at the beach or something with some guy and I really like him and stuff, but then I remember Drew and my family and I almost cry—I want them back so bad.”

ME: “Maybe we are subconsciously testing our commitment.”

JILL: “And isn’t it cool that our husbands always win out?”

It is cool, but I wonder why I have the dreams in the first place. And why, oh why is my brain going back 19 years, for the love of Pete? Craziness. Is it just us, or has anyone else had dreams like this? My mind is forever having fantasy conflict resolution in my dreams, too. If there was ever a time when I didn’t have the right words or there was some relationship that needed closure, you can bet I have dreamt about it more than once. And in my dream, I said all the right things and the problems were resolved and everyone went on their merry way, except I was the empathetic, verbally-blessed, insightful hero. Pure fantasy.

What recurring dream-themes do you have?

[PS: I just remembered what I was wearing at that 1986 dance—an outfit I bought at the Limited with donut shop money--a cream-colored ‘mermaid ‘skirt (the kind that are long and fitted with a flare at the bottom) and flowery shirt, buttoned all the way up, of course. I was going for the granny look perfected by Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink]

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My two princesses being silly today... Posted by Hello

Heidi wants her milk, not a picture! Posted by Hello

Heidi shows off the royal choppers... Posted by Hello

Look at Adeline's royal mug! Posted by Hello

A Lovely Day

I talked to my cute Grandma on Saturday night because she called to thank us for the little birthday package we sent (a card and a little framed picture of the girls). She had spent the day celebrating her birthday with Grandpa and she said, "It's been a lovely day. Just lovely. Probably my best birthday ever." How cute is that?

She told me all about her day, how they went to this cute antique store, Annabelle's Attic, and Grandpa bought her a beautiful garnet ring (her birthstone). Then they went to try out the Claim Jumper restaurant that just opened in Tucson. They had a nice dinner and good service--birthday ice cream, even--and then found out that it was an employee day--kind of a "check ride" before the grand opening, so their meal was free. And the nice people at Claim Jumper never siad anything til the end--isn't that so nice? My grandparents are sooo cute, and it's just the best when grandma has fun. She's a hoot--I wish we had been there (and NOT just for a free Claim Jumper meal ;)).

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Too Funny

Sunday Night, 8pm-ish...

Addie: "What's in your mouth, mom?"
Me: "Asparagus. Want some?"
Addie: [thinking hard] "I think so."
[walk into kitchen; hand Addie an asparagus spear; she nibbles]
Addie: "Uuugghh! [wincing] I don't want this, mom. It's too funny!"

PS: We had asparagus left over from our yummy special Sunday Supper with Uncle Matt and Aunt Amie and Baby Jake who stopped by on their way home to Helena from the temple in Billings. We were so happy to see them! Jake is almost walking and making the cutest noises; he and Heidi did some laps speed crawling and had a few rolling wrestling matches (sorry; forgot to take pix). Cuties! Heidi is bigger than Jake now, I think--she's a tanker! Matt and Amie were floored when they saw her (she has gained almost 6 pounds and 2 inches since they saw her last, almost 3 months ago). Fun Sunday.

Mothers Be Good to Your Daughters

A combination of four things has reminded me of the enormous charge I have as a mom and the most important things I need to change (or work on changing—some of my worst weaknesses spring from scars so deep, I’ll be lucky to tame them before I have grandchildren).

It all started with the first thing (#1), my New Year’s mini-breakdown, when I realized that I was terribly angry at myself for my shortcomings, but the anger was spilling out all over my house, my kids, my husband—my most precious things—and creating yet another failure. I traced these feelings back to this multi-generational, mother-daughter history of OCD-like perfectionism and people-pleasing and self-loathing masquerading as humility. I stopped and listened to the “self-talk” soundtrack (please excuse this pop-psych slang—I hate it, but it’s the best term for the stuff you say to yourself all day, everyday, that makes you into who you are) playing in my head and it is so ugly. It’s full of things I would never, ever say to another being, but it’s ringing in my own ears.

Changing my self-talk was the primary goal in my little resolution to exercise and study on my own 3 days a week. Perhaps if I can read some scripture and meditate every morning, I can reprogram myself with some god-like, encouraging words. And if I am exercising maybe I will stop avoiding mirrors and crying when I have to look at myself in this sumo suit I’ve been wearing the past 3 years.

The second motivator (#2) was that one of my dearest friends is going through a similar thing, but her thing is linked to a depression which is linked to an unhealthy relationship with her mom (i.e., her mom is a constant stream of criticism and negativity—the kind of thing you’d cut out of your life, except for her, it’s her mom—there’s no cutting out). I told her about how I had to hash out all this stuff with my mom and how we got to this place where we just—are. Still different, not always agreeing, but not taking everything personally. I was reminded of how long it took to get here, and –sadly—how some of the wounds and the “muscle memory,” for lack of a better term, just never go away. It’s almost unfair how things a mom might say in frustration or a depression-induced haze are etched indelibly into our minds and hearts, forming our self image (and planting the seeds of self-doubt and plain old sadness).

And then that reminded me of this chain of thoughts I have occasionally—if my sadness and inability to cope with certain things comes from how I was (inadvertently) taught to feel about myself, then what am I doing to my own girls? I am all they get. This is it. I, in turn, am their basket-case mother, etching all kinds of things on to their hearts and minds and the cycle will just go on. That is, unless I stop it right here, right now. But what do I do different? How do I keep my own cup full so I can give generously to them, without taking too much time and attention away? How do I balance all the opportunities to serve outside of my family—in church, the community, our build, etc, plus the housekeeping and wife things, and be a better mother? How so I keep my girls from being thirty-something, and finding themselves paralyzed and deflated from an inexplicable broken heart? I mean, my heart is mostly NOT broken—God knows I have the best of everything now—the best husband, hometown, in-laws, family of origin, children, little daily comforts, etc. But sometimes I just crumple up and feel like a scared little five-year-old and why? Why is that tiny little crack in my heart still there???

So thing #3 happened today. I was still thinking about this whole breaking-of-the-cycle when I lay down and read a story today in the Ensign. It was about a mother who could barely handle her little girl and prayed for help. Then her grandmother came to her in a dream and told her to play with her children. You’ve forgotten how to play. Now, I didn’t know how to play as a child, but Heavenly Father let me learn how in college. So I need to remember that. And I also love all the things the Gordon B. and Marjorie Hinckley said about parenting in their biographies. Get to know your kids. Earn their respect and respect them. Listen. Play and Work together. Always try to find a way to say yes. I know my kids are different from their kids and I am not nearly as patient, but it’s good advice, you know? And, if you saw Marjorie Hinckley’s funeral, you know it definitely worked.

So I pondered on that article and drifted off to a nap and when I woke up, the last 40 minutes or so of “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” was on TBS. I saw this movie with 6 of my sisters in the theatre and we almost died laughing. All of us (except my very youngest sister) could relate all too well. The consensus was, “At least mom didn’t drink!” I remembered I loved the movie, but couldn’t remember exactly why, so I watched it. It reminded me that the mother–daughter thing happens a lot. It also reminded me of what my mom said in one of our ‘resolution’ conversations, about me. In the movie, at the end, when the mom and daughter talk on the porch swing, the mom talks about all the years she prayed for God to make her better, to make her more, etc. and then she realized she got her answer. She says to the daughter, “My answer is you. All I wanted to be, all my dreams came through me in you.” That scene kills me. And it kills me even more now because when I first saw it, I could only see it as a daughter. This time, I could see both sides.

And the mother side is sad, too. I think the tragic flaw is that the mother doesn’t realize what her personal demons are doing to her kids. And the daughter doesn’t realize that mothers have personal demons (don’t you remember at some point thinking that your mother existed solely for you, as a mother, and nothing else?). The mom doesn’t comprehend the enormous weight of her words and actions as a mother, and the daughter doesn’t realize that it’s not her fault—that the sadness her mom feels came from decades ago (from her own mother, mostly—interestingly—ugh! The cycle!). I did all the things that Sidda does in the movie—avoided marriage, avoided motherhood (avoided even real closeness) for fear of passing all of the pain around. But I got past the fears, then encountered them again as I try not to pulverize my daughters’ psyches.

Man, does it ever go away? Do we bury our mothers wishing we could have been more and done more for them? Or that they could have loved the way we turned out? Can we ever shut off the soundtrack that keep telling us we’re not cute enough or fun enough or nice enough or athletic enough or clean enough or righteous enough? I think I know the answer to that, and I will find the off switch soon. And I will play with my girls and tell them with my actions and my words that they are the smartest, most beautiful, capable girls God ever made and they can do anything. I’ll let them figure out their limitations instead of creating them.

[PS: Happy 74th Birthday to my beautiful grandmother; thank you for all you have taught me and for your example of patience and love for your children]

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Power of the Pen (or keyboard)

I have received a few questions about our housing progress, so let me give you the update.

We are still working mostly on finishing our own house, but have committed to help 4 (yep, only four) other families finish their homes by the end of March (that is our official do-or-die deadline). We found out that we have to have little porches and steps out of every door in order to pass our framing inspection and start dry walling, so we are working furiously on that. Porches, steps and siding. It will all be done this Saturday (including the fascia and soffit—the stuff that covers the eaves). Then we can pass inspection and start all the finish work. Our cabinets have already arrived, we ordered carpet, Pergo, and light fixtures last week, and I have even bought a couple of cans of paint. It won’t be long now, as long as everybody does his or her best. We will be moved in before we go to SLC for conference in April.

So yeah—the building group got split into 2 phases. The poky little puppies have until summer to finish their houses and we have until March. This split is partially due to an email I happened to send the very day the USDA came to review our progress (or lack thereof) and they felt sorry for me. Even though it was a rant that I was kind of embarrassed about (I sent an apology a short time later), it got something done and I am proud of that. See, channeling your rage into writing can occasionally make things happen.

So soon our “Acacia” siding will be all done, our Almond crunch (or whatever it’s called) light “Frieze” carpet and honey oak laminate floors will be installed, then our natural oak cabinets and speckly counters and Corian “Tahiti Sand” sink, but not before we paint the walls colors like “Basic Beige”, “Soft Suede,” “Scrubs” (sea green), “Tea Rose,” and “Cayenne.” One of these days.

Of course I will take pictures and post them here, so keep your eyes peeled, then come see it for yourself!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Superfluity of Naughtiness

Yesterday Addie cut a chunk out of her hair right between her bangs and her longer hair. I took her to the stylist to get her hair cut today and she got a lecture there, too. The stylist showed Addie her license and said only people with a license or mommy can cut your hair and Addie said, "Sorry."

By the way, the title of this entry actually comes from scripture--no joke. James 1:21. I love James. Posted by Hello

Here's Addie with her new haircut and some mad-short bangs. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Highly Mobile Baby

At the age of nine months and two days, Heidi Lynn has decided to crawl! She went from the Soldier Scoot to Speed Crawling over the weekend (in honor of Uncle Drew's birthday). These two photos were taken of her this morning while she was crawling AND singing at the same time--the girl is talented! Posted by Hello

The Roads and The Weather

Remember in Sense and Sensiblity when they say that the only polite topics of conversation are the roads and the weather? So they kep talking about the roads and the weather, when they really want to scream, "I love you and I want you to love me back!!!"

Well, I 'm not trying to be polite, but man, I just keep writing incessantly about the weather. Seriously--it hardly got over 20 degrees ALL week last week and this week--it's in the FIFTIES! Five-oh. As in ARIZONA winter. What the freak? Today's forecast from, zip code 59047:
Windy with mostly cloudy skies. High 54F. Winds WSW at 25 to 35 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 50 mph.
I suppose I should just be glad but I fear my rejoicing will only bring the wrath of the Alberta Clip and freeze us all up again.

I Am Not A Terrorist

I've heard conflicting reports about the high temperature on Saturday--some say it was 20, some say 15, others say less. All I know is that is was cold and I will never, ever work on my house for 8 hours in below-freezing weather again (it's the equivalent of siding a house in Phoenix in July). I really COULDN'T feel my legs, and when I tried to thaw them in warm water, they stung and got all red and splotchy. Poor little desert girl in her fleecy burqa, oppressed by Old Man Winter. Posted by Hello

Favorite Things

Here are Addie and Heidi playing with the stuff Uncle Mikey got them for Christmas--Heidi got the big Lego boat and Addie got the Strawberry Shortcake blanket. What a great Uncle--seriously, he's got his finger on the pulse of the kiddies. Posted by Hello


Dear Loved Ones ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...