13 July 2015

Personal Narrative

Silence in the McDonalds
            Every now and then I take my kids to McDonalds for a special treat.  My kids love to play on the playscape, and I like to people watch.  There are all kinds of people at McDonalds: families playing with small kids, old people enjoying an afternoon out, a businessman working through lunch. Sometimes I see couples enjoying a meal together.  If I watch them for a bit I can tell how long a couple has been together, and every once in a while I come across a couple who is shy and awkward around each other.  Those are the kinds of couples that make me smile.  I’m not laughing at their embarrassment, but rather I commiserate with their situation. 
It was the summer of 2005, and my husband and I were that couple.  Well, we weren’t officially a couple yet.  He was home from BYU for the break.  We met at a church activity for the young single adults in the area.  Even though he is quite introverted, he worked up the nerve to talk to me after overhearing that I had served my mission in the same area he had served.  After that first day, we saw each other a couple of time at church, then we started making up reasons to see each other more.  He invited me to attend the family home evening group that met at his house.  Then, in a desperate attempt to see him more, I asked him to help my mom and I move her real estate business from one office to another across town. 
            To my amazement, he accepted my offer to perform manual labor for my mother.  In return, I promised to make him lunch back at my apartment.  He arrived promptly that morning and we made short order of lifting heaving furniture and boxes of files.  Then we moved our, so called, date to my studio apartment where I offered to dazzle him with my amazing water boiling and jar opening skills by making spaghetti.  Whether it was his sense of propriety, his desire to uphold the BYU honor code, or the fact, unbeknownst to me, that he doesn’t really like marinara sauce, I may never know, but he offered a counter proposal to take me to lunch at the closest fast food restaurant, McDonalds.  So I acquiesced to his request, and we headed back to his car.
            He was, as always is, the perfect gentleman.  Every door was opened for me.  He ordered our meals, paid for us, and we found a table for our meal.  He even offered a prayer over our lunch.  His chivalry was very attractive. Then an odd thing happened.  We started our meal in silence, and the quiet kept lingering.  So we sat in our shared solitude for a brief 15 minute meal, but in our uncomfortable taciturn, it felt like hours.  The whole time my poor brain was thinking that this relationship was doomed because I was not a fan of silence, yet I lacked the talent for small talk.  We had known each other maybe three weeks and we had covered every possible discussion topic.  I really liked this guy, but how were we going to move forward in a relationship when we had nothing to say.  I was sure this was the last time I would ever see this guy again.  I hid it well, but after he dropped me off I was pretty distraught that the most promising relationship I had in years was already over.  I was mopey for the next week.
            I was sure we would never talk again, but we saw each other the following Sunday and everything was okay!  The truth that Hollywood, the media or even our friends in committed relationships forget to tell us is that dating is not always a perfect thing.  Rarely do two sets of eyes meet across a crowded room and that instant connection is perfect for the rest of that couples’ lives.  People attracted to each other have awkward moments, dull moments, and even embarrassing moments.  It is easy to believe that we have to show our perfect self at all time or no one will like us, and that is a lie.  Two people destined for eternity will pass over the awkward speedbumps of life and continue on the road together.  Relationships are meant to be traveled together, through the ups and downs, while we learn to accept the other person for their strengths and weaknesses. 
            Things in our relationship progressed pretty quickly after that quiet lunch date at McDonalds.  He introduced me to Star Wars.  I invited him to meet my friends.  He held my hand in the Celestial room of the San Antonio Temple, and two days later on Independence Day we became an official couple.  Six weeks later he asked me to marry him, and four months after that we were sealed for time and all eternity.  It has been nine years since that summer.  In those years we’ve lived in two apartments, bought two houses, held one amazing job, have 3 precocious children with one more on the way. 

            Recently, my husband and I went to McDonalds with our kids.  Sitting in the room with other families, we smiled at each other over the roar of screaming, happy voices. Sometimes my husband and I have many topics to discuss. Together there are choices that we face in raising our family, and we take our responsibilities seriously.  Sometimes we talk of the things that happened during the day.  He shares something interesting from work, and I tell funny stories about what the two year old did.  We talk about the kids’ school work or their progress with their activities.  On rare occasions, we don’t talk at all, enjoying the quiet comfort of the other’s company.  The quiet doesn’t bother me as much anymore, because I know we’ve built a relationship full of trust, companionship, and sometimes, not a lot to talk about.  

19 June 2015

Let Them Eat Cake

#4 Persuasive Essay: Let Them Eat Cake
            The alarm rings, you open bleary eyes.  The clock reads 6:30am, and it’s time to start a brand new day.  Rolling out of bed, you pad down to the kitchen in bare feet.  “What’s for breakfast?” you wonder.  Opening cupboards you see that options are limited.  Dry toast, cold cereal, or a three-day old bagel stare back at you.  The choices are underwhelming, and you wonder if you should just skip eating breakfast altogether.  Your new day isn’t off to a great start.  Later, after a long day of work and play, you settle down to finally relax with a plate of delicious, moist chocolate cake. “Why couldn’t I eat this chocolate cake for breakfast?” you ponder.  Chocolate cake should be eaten for breakfast!  In fact, as part of a balanced breakfast, chocolate cake is the ultimate breakfast food.
            Bill Cosby and his kids have the right idea.  In his 1982 comedy album, “Himself,” he shares a story of getting up early to make breakfast for his children.  When he first gets up, he is grumpy because he wishes to be in bed and not downstairs making bacon and eggs.  Then his four year old daughter comes downstairs and asks for the chocolate cake for breakfast.  Soon, all his children are downstairs eating chocolate cake and drinking grapefruit juice and enjoying a wonderful time!  The children sing praises to their father and everyone is happy.  All this is possible because of chocolate cake.
            The reason Cosby chooses to feed his children chocolate cake for breakfast is that the ingredients that make cake are good and wholesome.  Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein and good fats.  Milk provides calcium for strong bones.  Many cakes are made with white flour that provides fuel for our bodies through easily digestible glucose, while others made with whole grain flour have the added benefits of fiber and B vitamins.  New research has found that even dark chocolate has healthy benefits, providing antioxidants and lowering the risk of heart diseases.  One might argue that the amount of sugar in chocolate cake negates all the healthy benefits of the other ingredients of the cake.  However, when compared with other traditional breakfast foods, such as cold cereals, bagels, donuts, or muffins, the chocolate cake contains sugar less or equal to these other breakfast items.  In the case of the blueberry muffin, the amount of sugar is over 3 times as much as our delightful chocolate cake!
            It’s not just the ingredients inside chocolate cake that have health benefits.  Chocolate cake is part of a complete breakfast when paired with other breakfast favorites.  Many nutritionist recommend the day be started with a large breakfast containing about 600 calories.  Eating this much jump starts the metabolism and helps people lose weight.  One can enjoy chocolate cake for breakfast paired with scrambled eggs with cheese, fresh fruit and orange juice or milk to create a balanced and nutritious breakfast.  Your mom always reminded you not to skip breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day.  Now, you can be healthy, eat your large breakfast, and have your cake, too!
            Savoring your cake early in the day provides other dietary benefits.  For many dieters, denying the foods they crave causes them to binge on those forbidden fruits later.  By enjoying normal amounts of those cravings periodically, we circumvent the need to excessively eat.  By savoring our chocolate cake at breakfast, we satisfy the need for the food, and there is no need to indulge in a late, unplanned dessert.  For those that watch their calorie intake so they can burn those calories off in daily exercise, they avoid the issue of eating too late in the day to have time to burn those unnecessary calories away.  Instead, they get to enjoy enticing chocolate cake, and still have plenty of time throughout the day to work it off.
            A new day is dawning, and once again, your alarm clock is ringing.  You bound out of bed and jaunt down to the kitchen.  There, waiting for you, is your delicious breakfast of chocolate cake.  Oh, what a wonderful start to the day!  No longer must you worry about melancholy, boring breakfast.  Now you are starting your day off right, jump starting your metabolism, and enjoying food to keep your cravings in check.  You’re ready to take on your day in a positive way.  All this is possible because you partake of chocolate cake, the ultimate breakfast food. 

15 May 2015

This I Believe

Rough draft #2
#2 This I Believe: Timing is Everything
            I believe that timing is everything.  It’s a cliché we have all heard before, but we all use them because they are well worn, true statements.  There’s a time in our speech when using a cliché is appropriate.  That is one reason that timing is everything. 
            Many people rely on perfect timing in their lives.  Musicians practice repeatedly complicated patterns of notes so that their timing can be perfect.  A baseball player times his swing exactly for the moment to hit the ball and score that home run.  Politicians wait for the polls to swing in their favor before they announce their candidacy.  Software developers must work fast to keep up with every changing technology.  If we are too late, we might miss opportunities.  If we are too early, we waste our time waiting around.
            The most important timing belongs to our Father in Heaven.  He knows each and every one of us, and He gives us the opportunity to learn and grow through trials and experiences.  Those experiences come at the perfect time when we are ready to conquer them.  His trust in our abilities often outweighs our own.  He will never give us a trial that we are unable to bear.  His timing is perfect to help us master our challenges, and to be the people He wants us to be. 
            My timing and my plans for my life have not always been perfect. I dreamed of serving a mission right away or marring early and starting a family.  Neither of these things were what Heavenly Father had planned for me.  Because of my poor financial choices I didn’t serve a mission until I was 23 years old and that was exactly when I needed to.  From that first moment I entered the Missionary Training Center, to every day I walked the streets of Germany, I met people and had experiences that shaped the rest of my life.  When I returned home, I did my best to always be where the Lord wanted me to be, when he wanted me there. 
I attended a young single adult activity when I didn’t really want to wake up early to be there, but felt I needed to attend.  There I met a nice young man, only because I was talking about my mission, and it caught his attention.  He had served in my mission, and his last six months overlapped with my first six.  Although we had never served in similar areas, we knew many of the same people.  I gave him a ride home, and he made me lunch.  Seven months later we were married in the San Antonio Temple.  This was the moment that I first saw that Heavenly Father’s timing was better than mine.  His timing gave me experiences to learn and grow, a spouse who is my best friend and perfect for me in every way, and a beautiful family that I adore.  It is everything I ever wanted, in the time I was ready for it. 

There are those little moments in life, the perfect moment to say a kind word, visiting a friend exactly when they needed company, or avoiding a car accident because you stopped just in time.  There are big moments in life, crossing the stage to receive a diploma, meeting a person looking to learn the gospel, marrying your best friend, and holding a brand new little one for the first time.  All of these things require perfect timing, ours and our Heavenly Father’s. If we are out working on our moments of perfect timing, blessings will come.  Thus I believe, timing is everything.  

24 April 2015

An Ode to Yarn and How I Love Thee

Author Note: For my Pathway English class this semester, there are 5 writing assignments.  "The Love Letter" is the first assignment.  Edited: 7th May 2015.  "Final" draft is now up, unless anyone else has any critiques!

#1 Love Letter: Yarn
Dear Yarn,
            Ours is not the sudden burst of love at first sight, or the burning passion of the quick fling that burns bright and fizzles quickly.  No, ours is a love that was planted early, grew from humble beginnings, and flourished into a genuine heritage of creativity and expression. 
            When my great-grandmother placed that first crochet hook into my hand, and I clumsily attempted to crochet my first chain, I could not have foreseen the beautiful creations we would one day make together.  It took many years before we were comfortable with each other.  There were many failed attempts, when my knowledge, understanding, and patience did not match the skills I needed to turn you into a wooly hat or a fuzzy scarf. Slowly I gained that experience and confidence as I found new tools and resources.  My ability grew, as did my repertoire of ways to use you.  From those simple crochet chains, I expanded to looms, crochet hooks of all sizes, and finally to the mysterious knitting needles.
            My storage space for you dwindles, but my love for you ever grows.  Just when I think I have enough, I come across a new yarn that starts my heart a-flutter all over again.  I love everything about you from your pretty pastels to your deep jewel tones.  Solid colors, self-striping, slow color transitioning, and variegated yarn, I love you all.  When I find the perfect pattern for my next project, or three, I race off to the yarn store.  It doesn’t matter which one, a big box, little mom and pop, or an online handmade Etsy store, I know I will find the perfect yarn for each project.  Other skeins of gorgeous yarn will also catch my eye.  I will snatch you all up and save you for the perfect moment.  I can never have too much of you, beautiful yarn!  I will create delicate, breezy shawls with thin, lace yarn, snuggly afghans with worsted yarn, and warm, thick scarfs and hats with bulky yarn.   
            Together we will create amazing projects, and when we are finished, I will step back and look at you and know that you are something unique.  Each special project is made with love.  I will show you off to my friends and family.  I might give you as the perfect gift to someone I had in mind while I was working.  Maybe I will just keep you for myself, to cherish and love.  Each finished project gives me a sense of accomplishment, which is why I work with so many of you at a time.  All my spare moments are filled with you!  You keep my mind alert and engaged with your complicated patterns and new skills to learn.  My hands stay busy sliding you between my knitting needles, or pulling you through loops with my crochet hooks.  I gain more from each project I work with you.  You’re worth every penny I’ve ever spent on you. 
Until we knit again,


13 February 2013

There's a lesson in here somewhere...

While my mom was in town, we took full advantage of her Costco membership, including buying the Kitchaid mixer I've been salivating over a year.  Since then I've made, cookies, more cookies, muffins, pizza crust, banana bread and my own whole wheat bread.  In fact the whole wheat bread turned out so good, we've seriously thought about not buying sandwich bread again and just make our own (it's like a 5 ingredient bread and turns out like Great Harvest honey whole wheat!  Yes, please!)

So here's where life started to get complicated.  See, the blog I got the recipe off suggests that milling your own whole wheat flour is the way to go over store bought whole wheat because fresher tastes better.  So I start looking into it.  I don't really want to buy another expensive kitchen appliance, but I think I can grind the flour in the Vitamix my mom gave us (it was their old one.  Yes, I got a baby, a stand mixer and an amazing blender all in one month, booyah!)  So I start researching that.  Results are inconclusive...

But, I also start looking into wheat and I notice you can buy hard winter red or hard spring white and I'm like, what's the difference, yo?  (Yes, I talk like that now.)  So I start searching and all this info comes up, and I'm still not sure what to buy yet (both I'm thinking, both is good.)  Then, on another blog the writer mentions that you should sprout your wheat berries for even healthier bread, and she shows you how to do it.  So now I'm looking into how to do that, and what I need, and phew!  Life has just gotten very complicated!  What was I trying to do?  Oh yes, I wanted to make bread.

So I start thinking, maybe I'm overthinking this a bit, okay a lot.  I just want to make bread, and I don't have to do all the extra steps to do that and get yummy, good for us bread.  So maybe that's the lesson in this, that life doesn't require all the extra steps to get the blessings we need.


A couple of days later I start thinking that maybe the lesson is if we put a little extra effort into our lives, we can receive even more blessings the the simple original ones.

So now I'm confused.  Which lesson am I suppose to be getting out of this experience?  Maybe both?  Both is good.

18 January 2013

An Unintentional Unmedicated Birth: Jared's birth story.

Friday morning I had an OB appointment with the NP in the office to check how things were going.  I should say that this pregnancy by far as been my easiest  health wise.  I still gained the same amount of weight, but spending so much time at the gym, I wasn't feeling it.  My back has been really strong, my pelvis didn't hurt, and I slept pretty good (except for getting up to use the restroom all the time!)  So that was a big blessing and thankful since I was pretty healthy, I think that helped with labor.  Anyway, at my appointment I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced which was positive news and progress from the week before.  The NP, Dr. Sharp, thought I had a 50/50 chance of delivering over the weekend.  I was slightly discouraged since I hadn't really had any early labor pain that I was going to go over due, and as we know from my previous babies, we make big ones.  Doug and I spent Friday night on a "date," walking the mall, Best Buy & Barnes & Noble together while my mom watched the kids.

Saturday Doug let me sleep in a little, which was nice.  With nothing planned for the day, we decided to stay in pjs all day and be lazy.  I can't tell you what we did all morning, just passed the time I guess.  Afternoon, I took a shower, and I was starting to feel some mild contraction pain, but I wasn't really concerned.  Sometime after two I decided to whip out my iphone and start timing.  Nothing really hurt, so I wasn't concerned, but I did have Doug get showered, dressed and pack his hospital bag (mine had been packed for awhile) just in case.

At 3:30 we sat down to watch the Broncos/Ravens game.  Laboring during football was pretty awesome because I get really into the games and this one was intense.  My contractions were pretty regular at this point, too, 3-4 minutes apart lasting 35-45 seconds or so, but they still didn't really hurt, so I wasn't really concerned about rushing to the hospital, not when there was good football on anyway.  At halftime we had dinner.  Doug and I had talked about it and since the contractions were not going away, we thought we'd eat and put the kids to bed, then head to the hospital.  My contractions stayed the same duration during dinner, but some of them started to be a bit more painful.  It was becoming clear that we weren't going to make it through the bedtime routine, so after we finished eating, we kissed Sariah and Bryson and headed to the hospital.

The drive there wasn't bad.  Constantly timing my contractions was giving me something to focus on, plus a pretty good idea on when the next one was coming.  They were still surprisingly easy to breathe through, so I was kind of worried that we'd get there and have very little progress to show for it.  I guess I shouldn't have been so worried, but my previous experience of heading to triage and not being induced wasn't a pleasant one (I spent 2 hrs in triage with Sariah freaked out and throwing up my guts.)  The walk from the car across the hospital and up to the 2nd floor was more painful.  My contractions got closer together so I was having them every minute and lasted longer, plus I was feeling more pain and pressure so I had to stop walking.  It was slow going.  I think I even stopped and tried to use the restroom half way there, but that was kind of in vain.

So we finally made it to L&D and they set us up in triage one with a very nice nurse named Char.  She was going to hook me up to the monitors first then have the resident come in and check me, but after a look, she decided to have him check me first.  Good thing, too, because I was already progressed to an 8 and a half.  I was pretty shocked, I was hoping for a 4, maybe a 5, Char was rooting for a big number like 6 or 7, but 8, pushing 9?  Yeah, I was having a baby, and soon!  So monitoring could wait, and they walked us to L&D room 10.  (Our hospital is currently remodeling and we were placed in one of the three brand new rooms, lucky us!)

Char had asked what I had done for pain in my last two deliveries and I told her that I had an epidural both times, she was like, "Yeah, there's not going to be time for that!"  But mentioned that I could probably get some IV drugs once I had my IV in.  So they checked us in, put my IV in (this is when I gave Doug my iphone and finally stopped timing my contractions), and set up the monitors for the baby's heartbeat and my contractions.   Because I had tested Group B Strep positive, they hung a bag of penicillin, and were waiting to break my water until they could hopefully get it all in.  Doug asked about the pain meds. at this point.  I was still doing okay with the pain, so I hadn't bothered.  The resident said they could give them to me, but since I was so far along sometimes the drugs caused the baby to stop breathing, but they could give him meds after the birth to fix that.  That seemed like a whole lot of danger to me, and since I was still breathing through the pain okay, I declined, much to Doug's surprise.

At this point it was about 7pm give or take.  They wanted to monitor me for 20 minutes but the monitor for the contractions wasn't always picking them up, so I laid on my left side quite awhile watching the clock and trying to breath through the pain.  It was getting harder to breathe through the pain.  They had evened out to about every 5 minutes, but I was falling asleep in between and seriously questioning my sanity about doing all this unmedicated.  I want to say it was about 7:35pm when I started talking to our L&D nurse, Carmen, about maybe getting something for the pain.  We were discussing it when my water broke!

The next 20 minutes are kind of a blur.  The pressure and pain got really bad after my water broke and my body wanted to push, push, push!  Meconium was present in my water, so the NICU was called just in case he has aspirated any into his lungs.  The resident (who I cannot remember) and Dr. Ogden from my OB practice came in.  I'm pretty sure Carmen called in one other nurse to help.  At one point Dr. Ogden was worried about shoulder dysplasia, where he shoulders get stuck, because he was such a big guy, so the OB surgery team was called in.  Basically, all I remember is voices, faces and a wall of blue scrubs.  My previous calm from labor was gone and I'm freaking out, having a hard time.  Pushing hurt, I'm forgetting to breathe until one of the nurses talked me down.  I remember at one point turning and looking for Doug, he had a quite a look of concern on his face, so I decided not to look at him anymore.  I remember being so tired, there was burning as I tore through old scars, and oh, the pressure, but finally at 7:57pm, his head popped out, followed by the rest of him, and Jared Alan was born screaming his head off!

Crisis averted, people melted away, and they gave him to me to hold.  He was red and perfect.  The nicu checked him out, but he hadn't aspirated anything so they let me keep him.  I didn't hold him too long because I was shaky from delivery, so Doug took him while I got stitched up.  I had a 2nd degree tear, which is better than my first two deliveries, but it took a bit to stitch up because it went funny ways around the old scars.

Jared weighed in at 9 lbs, 9 oz.  Our biggest baby yet!  At 21 inches, he's also our longest.  Because he was so big, they had to check his sugar levels for the first 12 hrs., but everything except the first time came back great, and a little extra nursing after the first test fixed things right up.  We spent 2 hrs. bonding and then were moved to the 3rd floor to our recovery room where we spent the next two nights.

Sunday morning Doug went home about 7:45am and picked up Sariah and Bryson, who were more than a little excited to meet their baby brother.  We gave them the choice of going to church or spending the day at the hospital and they decided that they'd rather be with us.  It was a great day of bonding as a new family (and watching all my football teams lose!  What was up with that?!)  Both kids are doing a pretty good job adjusting to new baby brother.  It's easy to love such a cute little guy!

I'm glad it's over and Jared is here.  I can now say that I never went overdue with any of my labors.  I don't know if I'd say this was my best delivery, I don't know if I'd say them about any of my deliveries.  It's something I've been thinking about a lot, but maybe a post for another day.  Instead, here's some cute pictures to enjoy! 

   More from us later...

31 December 2012