Follow by Email

Saturday, December 25, 2010

WOOT!

One of the day's best Christmas presents? ETS called and I PASSED the GRE Literature Subject Test. It is a HUGE relief to me. The test was a pretty constant stress and test of my intellectual identity this year - nothing has ever made me feel more aggravated or stupid (except maybe college stats).

One step closer to that PHD - and that is a really good feeling.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow Angel

Is she seriously too cute or what?
Really, I love this little person, so much more than I could ever have comprehended I would. Sometimes I still find myself at a loss of words to describe how I feel about my child. I type the words "my" but she is becoming more and more her own each day. She may be the bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, but it is truly a privlege to be in her presence, to soak up the little life that she shares with us.
I beleive a lot of things. And one of them is that we all hold a unique and intelligent spirit inside the walls of these physcial bodies. I beleive those spirits have been before and will always be. I beleive in an eternal and physical progression of things. I hold my baby in my arms, and feel more like I am not really holding anything that is "mine," rather that I have the privlege of enoying a short-lived stewardship over, and an intimate and forever connection to another human spirit.
And it is fascinating to watch that little spirit unfold into a personality all her own. Sometimes I sit and stare at her and wonder who she will be, what things she will like, what she will do. I consider the thrills and the heartaches that wait for her and hope that she never forgets her worth.
Because it is so great. For me, she is a manifestation of so many things. And I wish I could tell her someday, make her understand somehow what and who she is to me, to her father, to herself and to the world.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Well, I did it...

On Saturday, I went to this place
to take this test.I feel good about parts of it, and wish I felt better about other parts. Now I have to wait and wait and wait to get my score and decide if it is high enough that I can live with it, or if I will be going back toagain in April 2011 to take it one more time.

I was so relieved to be out of the testing center 3 1/2 hours later, and my brain was so tired that I got on the freeway heading NORTH and didn't even realize my mistake until I saw this sign an hour later.A little indicator of my intelligence that I will NOT be including in my PHD applications.

Monday, November 8, 2010

{Untitled}

My neighbor is dying of cancer tonight.

We stopped to see her yesterday after church and things were not good. I regret not taking Ivie over enough in the time that was left. She loves Ivie. Her husband asked me to bring the baby as much as possible. But really, I only went about three times. And I feel badly for this.

Last night was the first time I have been with someone at such a terminal stage. She is young. She should be healthy. She should get to see her oldest daughter graduate from college in three years. She should get to watch her son start high school in one. Trevor told me later that he could not even find words to speak as we sat by her bedside with the baby. I don't know how to describe the feeling in that room. It was certainly sad, but to leave the thought at that does not do it justice, in fact, leaving it at that would be a disrespect. It was solemn there last night. It was sacred. It was dignified and resolved and heartbreaking.

We tried to visit tonight - but her family was all there, and they are not taking outside visitors anymore. My mind keeps flitting back to their home. The hug at the door from another neighbor there to guard the family's last bits of time and privacy. The disease. The kids. all of it.

But, what I really want to say is that she is a good woman. Her family is an amazing example of a family that has pulled together and grown together in these last few difficult months. I do not ache well in front of other people. Nor am I always a good support in the midst of a life crisis. I do not know if I would be as incredible as her husband and children have been. And, to me, that is the greatest testament of the kind of women that she is.

My heart fills full up of a million emotions tonight. Sadness, respect, fear, regret, admiration, hope and faith. There are too many things in this world that I will never understand, at least not in this life. I do believe that there is more. And whatever it may be, when the time comes, I hope she finds it in all of the glory and peace and wholeness and universal oneness that such an amazing life deserves.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

The best thing about taking an infant trick-or-treating is that you get to eat all ehr candy later! Everyone knows this, but she is so cute that they all seem cool with it. While we were walking around our neighborhood I decided that there must be some unwritten rule that children a year and a half or young must be some type of animal or bug for their costume. Ivie was a dragonfly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Murder Mystery Party Sneak Peak!

(Most handsome Jafar and Mystery host ever!)
I am wiped out tonight becuase we threw our annual Murder Mystery halloween party tonight.



I LOVE halloween. It is my very, very, very favorite. And Trev, and my good friends Blake and Michelle love it - and me enough - to help throw a murder mystery each year.
There is alot I want to tell about - but for now, just know that we had an awesome time - the theme was the "Where are they Now? - The After Story of Disney Characters."
People went way out on their costumes this year - which ROCKED. Serious kudos to everyone. I love this party.
I love our friends. I love my amazing neighbor for babysitting Ivie while we played. I love my husband and how fun he is. I love cheesy carnival games. And I really love disney song-singing contests with helium balloons. I love everything tonight. Thanks to everyone that was a part. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Autumn - the year's last, loveliest, smile" ~ William Cullen Bryant

Autumn does have a lovely smile, and I am biased, but I don't think that Fall's finest grin could rival Ivie's.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have been thinking of buying some of these:

Because Lil Miss Ivie is doing alot of this lately:

(PS - Don't you love the dress and headband? An awesome HANDMADE baby gift from the very talented CYN who I am lucky enough to call a dear friend. Check out her craftiness here and jealously oogle her massive sewing capability. )
(PSS - also notice my child's wonky hair? It is out of control. If you have any suggestions on how to do the hair of a little girl who inherited her fathers wild locks, please let me know. My mom, who babysat Ivie in Vegas for us a couple weekends ago while we were doing some stuff down there, just kept saying to me every morning, "I don't know what you are going to do with this hair.")







Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bullies, Kids and Solutions

since we aren't doing the TV thing with Ivie, I rely on her nap-times to stream the news and such shows off the Internet and catch up on the happenings of the world. Yesterday I happened to watch the ABC 20/20 Fri. Oct. 15,2010 episode (I think this will still be up on Hulu for awhile). Anyhow, it was a special on teenagers and bullying - given the recent events in the news about kids committing suicide after being, no pun intended, teased to death. Anyhow - it really got me thinking.

Some of the main arguments I took from the episode that the producers seem to be making about the problem of bullying are
  1. kids can never get away from it - kids in today's generations are so linked to facebook, cell phones and other net sites that bullying happens outside of school zones and playgrounds - it happens in cyber space.
  2. Adults don't do enough. From school officials to parents involved in situations that arise, there seems to be more adults who think it is best for kids to sort out their stuff, rather than intervene. One striking thing about this documentary was that ABC set up 4 teenage girl actors in a public park, where there were lots of adults. Three girls were surrounding and mercilessly teasing the fourth. They were saying horrid things to her. She was crying. All around them adults would look and stare, they would even look upset, but no one did anything.
The program bugged me. I always watch special news reports each day, and while I find a lot of them to be striking and interesting, some well done and others not, this one has really stayed with me.

And I think the reasoning is this: I have a kid. A kid who some day is going to have to start dealing with other kids. And kids can be very mean.

And, I know they can be very mean because after watching and thinking about the program I realized that I had a serious bullying issue in high school, even though I never would have called it that until yesterday.

In eighth grade I was attending Ririe Middle School and for some stupid reason a boy named Kory Anderson became the absolute bane of my existence there. Kory and I had been friends through middle school, but then one week in the eighth grade he started to "tease" me. he would say terrible things. Every time I would walk by Kory he would call me a "25 cent slut" or some variation of that. Soon it wasn't just Kory - it was all of his friends as well. Even though I knew Kory for years after this incident and I assume he grew up to be a decent guy - when I think of him even today I see his mean weasily little eighth grade face. Things got so bad and I was so bothered that after a few weeks I told my mom who told the principal who called Kory's mom who made him apologize. And even though Kory mostly left me alone after that, it was really too late and too many other 8th grade boys still made little comments here and there. Sure, the intensity backed off a bit, but there were still comments.

And I HATED it. I hoped that with the start of high school in 9th grade it would be over, that with lots more students, different classes and other activities those lame boys would lose track of me. And they did, to a degree. But just before school let out in May, when I was playing basketball for Ririe's freshman team the cheerleaders had all put these signs on our lockers that read Bad to the Bone" on them (our mascot was the bulldogs) and Marc Wicman - one of Kory's friends and an original teaser added an R to the end of my sign, making it read Bad to the Boner.

Standing in the hallway that day, staring at that sign on my locker I was done. I knew that I was never coming back to that high school.

Luckily, I had a good out. My parents were divorced and my dad lived in Madison school district's boundaries. I never told my parents about the continued teasing or that stupid sign. I told them I wanted to switch schools because there were more opportunities at Madison High school.

In fact, I have never really told anybody all of that until now. And I am not sharing in hopes of sympathy or anything. I have made my peace with that part of my past and switching high schools was one of the biggest blessings in my entire life. I did have so many more opportunities, met many dear friends, and arguably - without going to MHS I would never have met Trevor which set us up to date and marry later.

I bring this up because until yesterday, i would never have considered what happened to my BULLYING. I just thought of it as TEASING. Even last year, when my little sister Rachel told me about a group of boys at her middle school that she hated that were always calling her PIG and how she couldn't wait for JR High because she was pretty sure they would lose track of her there, I just thought she was being teased

And I can't help but wonder if sometimes kids who are being bullied don't even really know what is happening to them We always think of bullies as people who physically beat you up and take your lunch money.

And maybe more adults would step up and tell kids to knock it off if we weren't so afraid of disciplining or directing other people's children.

And maybe it is just a part of childhood that we all have to go through - but it seems like it is getting more mean and more intense each year.

And if I dealt with it, and then 13 years later my little sister dealt with the exact same thing, how do I protect and prepare my little girl sleeping in the next room to deal with it in another 13 years?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is anyone out there?

Life is crazy right now. There are so many things that I should be blogging about...but...for some reason, I seem to have sort of lost my blogging drive.

I know it has to with a lot of things. Obviously with a new little lady in my life I am lots busier than before, studying for the PHD entrance test is kicking my butt, and I also think that ever since moving my blog private I have lost momentum.

Added to that, is that I always loved that my blog was a way to hear from folks I don't often hear from, and a way for me to comment on others' lives...

But lately, it doesn't seem that much of this is happening. I find myself wanting to blog, and then deciding I am tired with a "meh, no one reads that stuff anyway.." Which doesn't help, becuase I know there are private blogs on my reading list that I rarely check because they are not updated enough (Clarissa and Shalee - you two are always so good I check you every day! ).

And I am guilty of not leaving enough comments for others as well.

There are things I want to blog about. Thoughts that I have. Updates on the fam or course, but more questions and conversations that I would like to throw out to a general readership. I have also had a literary journal solicit some poetry work from me, and I have to put some stuff together to publish in their Feb. edition - so I could use some feedback (good critical stuff, not compliments) on that...but sometimes I just don't feel like there are many folks out there.

I remember when my aunt Jessica, the one who inspired me to blog, left her final blogger note saying she was signing off, and I am kind of wondering if this is how she felt. Anyone else out there struggle with this? I guess what I am wondering, to rip off Hamlet, is to blog or not to blog...that is the question.

Monday, October 4, 2010

JUST GO TAKE A HIKE!

After a serious lack of hiking in my life over the last 13 months - due to pregnancy and babies

(I hiked Angel's Landing in Zion during my first trimester and puked the ENTIRE way up the trail, and decided that prego hiking was no good for me, other hikers in the area or the great outdoors in general.)

I am back. And oh does it feel good. Actually, the good is mostly mental right now. My body is out of shape and my knees are shot, but slowly and surely my joints are strengthening again, and each hike gets progressively better.

Last weekend one of Trevor's instructors, who he really admires and respects, invited us to come along on one of their family's traditional hikes. They even let us borrow their old baby-backpack. I was so nervous about going. We hadn't been hiking in a long time, we have a 6 month old baby, the hike was 16 miles and trev and I are generally slower hikers anyway, due to my wussiness and Trev's weak leg. However, they assured us they would be happy to go at our pace, that they were willing to stop whenever the baby needed a stop. So we went. And I am so glad we did. Ivie did awesome, she was such a happy camper. She cooed and sang and slept in her pack and only fussed when she needed a bite to eat or a clean diaper. The trail was incredible. We hiked the West Rim Trail in Zion National Park and it will forever be one of my favorite hikes. It really gives you a different perspective on the hike. We didn't take enough pictures to even do it justice. If my life flashes before my eyes on my deathbed, I hope it moves slowly through this scene. It was simply breathtaking.
Ivie eating dirt. :)

And we MADE it. It took us all day, and we went slow and I was really hurting towards the end, but I am so glad we did it.

We enjoyed it so much we went out his week and picked up our own baby back-pack. It is an awesome pack, and if you are in the market for one, this is the one to go with. Trevor, Ivie and I all love it.

And Sunday, after conference, our good friends Steve and Lancia gave us a reason to use it. Steve, Lancia, their son Lykin and their dog Charley took us (Trev, Chelsi, Ivie and Ripsi) on a short hike (about 4 miles) to the incredible Snow Canyon Overlook.














We got caught in a quick and furious rainstorm. I love that Trevor is always so prepared - he had rain ponchos and jackets enough for everybody. I was unprepared though - Mother-of-the-year that I am, I forgot to bring warm socks for Ivie in the event that weather turned nasty. So she had to due make-shift booties from an adult sock and a bandanna.
The geology is so different here compared to where i grew up hiking. I do not have words to capture the sensation of cresting the last hill on a trail to have the valley below suddenly drastically open up with red rock and white sandstone formation. It is a type of poetry I cannot articulate yet, and it is a feeling I hope I never forget.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Together


We didn't look like this when all three of us, myself, Trevor and Ivie, woke up in our bed this morning. Some of us had a little drool running from our mouths, all of us had really wild bedhead, and someone seriously needed to either brush their teeth or get a clean diaper...

BUT - we were together. And after a weekend of Trevor being gone to Las Vegas for a tax conference, Monday morning never looked so good. I love these guys.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reactions to the new hairstyle:

Remember how I decided to try some pinup-rockabilly style? A month into the experiment these are two comments I had this week from two different students (both girls, of course, only girls probably really notice or would ever say anything).

Student One: "How long does it take you to do your hair? It is always so cool. I've only ever seen people with hair like that in movies."

Student Two: "Did you go to hair school before you became a teacher? Your hair is always so pretty."

All of which - added to the comments some of you were sweet enough to leave - leads me to believe that this is a new look I will be keeping. I've tried some doosies in the past (the bad bang explosion of 8th grade, the freaky flipped out thing my freshman year of college. Yikes.)

So I think I will be keeping the new look:
  1. It's relatively unique - and I like that. I appreciate it when my neighbor (a darling older woman) tells me often. "You just have such a classic, interesting, but different style." Even if she doesn't mean this as a compliment, that is how I am taking it.
  2. it is WAY EASY to do. Serious. I think the time spent doing my hair has been cut in half. Don't believe me? Check out Youtube tutorials on pin-up looks, most of them are between 5-10 minutes in length - cause your hair really does pin-up that fast.
  3. It is the PERFECT way to deal with long, hot heavy hair in the sizzling St. George sun.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I can do hard things

These were some words that titled a post by a blogging friend of mine awhile back. I find myself thinking of them, repeating them to myself, often this week. Because, the truth is, that I am pretty discouraged and frustrated right now. Before anyone panics - it is nothing to do with Trev or the baby. We are all healthy and happy. Our lives are really good right now.

So good, in fact, that it would be easy to just sit back and coast and enjoy the wonderfulness that is us at this moment. It would be easy to forget that I am supposed to take my PHD entrance exam in a month and a half. An exam that scares the pants off of me.

And it is easy to justify that I don't really even need to get my PHD right now. After all, we just had a baby - I am doing the mom thing (and loving it!) I have a really great position at DSC for only having a Master's degree...maybe now is just not the right time.

Problem is that now is exactly the right time. Not long after Trevor and I were married we made a deal with each other. We decided to spend the first ten years of our marriage living dirt poor, not buying homes or furniture or too many toys, and pour all of our energy and money into our educations. That was always the plan, and the last two years of my non-schooling are evidence of my slackage. We have six more years to get a PHD - even if I could go full time (which is probably not a realistic possibility due to one beautiful little baby) we are talking about 3-4 years, so odds are that I may need all 6.

But the test is REALLY REALLY REALLY hard. And quite often I find myself more than a little discouraged. I hate the entire premise of the GRE Literature Subject test. It is, by design, meant for you to fail. Consider the following passages from my prep material:


On most tests, answering only 78 percent of the questions correctly results in a mediocre score. Not on the GRE Literature in English Subject Test. Seventy-eight percent correct on the Literature Test puts you in the 94th percentile.

...You must be aware that the test is going to feel extremely difficult. Most students come away from the test feeling like they have been mugged. It is certain that confidence can erode over the test and that performance can decline. Try not to let questions about material you have never studied by someone you have never heard of alarm you.

Discussions of raw score numbers demonstrate that, all things being equal, the more questions you answer the better your score will be. But the test is designed to push the average and even the above-average student to the limits of their reading ability. Don't expect to get to all 230 questions in the three hours you have.

And all of this seems to be completely true, judging by the practice tests I have tried to take. I have yet to complete one because I find myself so frustrated and feeling so stupid and asking myself - over and over again - how can I not know more of this?! I have been studying for a freakin' year! I eventually just quit and go back to reviewing my notes. The psychological warfare of the folks at the Education Testing services division is completely owning me.

And, if I am being really honest, the idea of failing paralyzes me. I hate failing. Truthfully, most of the time I keep my environment pretty safe. I rarely engage in activities or events where I have a good chance of failing. This is not a very honorable character trait, but it is one I hold. Risk scares me. And when it comes to this test, I have a good chance of failing. I know a lot of people who have failed, once twice, some even three times. it would be, for lack of a better wor, "safer" not to even try. But that also makes me pretty weak and lame. Isn't there some old proverb: "A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built to do"?

Anyway....I have more complaints, more whining. And, I even have more happy things to blog about: Ivie's new inch-worm method of movement, My awesome husband's accomplishments, the massive deck project in our backyard, the cool new class I am teaching at the college, Ivie's stand-by sure-to-induce fits of hysteria games, BUT I can't write about any of it. I have to go study. :(

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What's NEW with you?

What's new with us is that we spent this past Labor Day weekend at Newport Beach. Trevor's family had a condo for the week down there, and we joined them for the end of their vacation. Cool things about this trip:
  • Trevor's Aunt and Uncle and kids were sealed to their son that they adopted from Romania in the Newport temple.
  • It was Ivie's first time at the beach. She loved the sand. Loved sticking her toes in it and - despite my best efforts - eating it.
  • Trev and I read the final book of the Hunger Games series aloud. We read the first one our trip to the Grand Canyon, the second one on our trip to Moab, and this final installment this last weekend - kind of a fun way to spend our summer trips. We had mixed feelings about the series conclusion.
We had a wonderful time. I love these pictures of Ivie on the beach. She is a little ham! She already seems to understand what a camera is for. This little grinning, proud personality emerges the second that Trevor takes out his big camera and starts snapping pictures. She is the most precious thing in our lives.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

i NEED

a PHD.
and maybe a massage.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A new look...a vain post....

As I am beginning to get my pre-baby body back more and more, school was starting and summer was drawing to a close, I have found myself wanting some type of change.

You would think a baby would be enough change for one girl, and it certainly is, that is not the sort of change I mean. Though I think becoming a mother somewhat inspired the desire for a change in look and style. I have lately just found myself rifling through my closet thinking, "I'm a Mom now, I can't wear this anymore." I know that sounds silly, and it probably is. I just never want to be one of those moms who doesn't seem to know she's a mom.
Plus, I have been bored with my hair, but after growing it out forever and knowing that Trev likes it best long and red, cutting or dying weren't really options.

And with school starting again I also found myself looking for something professional, and for me that means hair mostly up and out of my face. Then Trev and I were watching Casablanca and I found myself wishing that people these days still dressed and talked and interacted like Humphrey Boggart and Ingrid Bergman.
I have loved the 1940's look for awhile. It started in college when my roommate and I happened upon a little 1940's dress in great condition in an antiques shop. I bought it, and several others throughout the years as they cycled through the antique shop. Then I discovered my favorite dress line in the world, Stop Staring. I have a dear friend in Logan who owns a little boutique that carries this line and I started picking up a dress or two each year at wholesale cost from her.

So I thought, why not give the complete look a try. We are talking bright lipstick, red nails and retro pin-up rockabilly inspired hair.
The hair is a pretty dramatic shift from my old hair-styles - victory rolls, big front bang roll and flower accessories. But I am having fun with it, and hope it isn't completely crazy looking. You be the judge - the following pics aren't great, but they showcase a couple of the styles I have tried over the last two weeks. Tell me if you think this is a bad move.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Glad

After some consideration, and lots of creepy internet-facebook stalking of past peoples, I have to say that I am very glad about the way my life ended up, and even more glad it didn't end up the way I thought I wanted it to once.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Four Down...Forever to go.

Date: August 17, 2006 - we took the plunge.

Date: August 17, 2010 - a couple of moves, a couple of degrees, a couple of pets, a couple of jobs, and a baby later we are still together.

I love this man.

Really. Marrying him was a good move.
This past Tuesday was a wild day on our anniversary. School is starting up again and so I have had faculty meetings this week. Trev and I have been juggling staying home and going to work. It has been kinda a crazy week. Tuesday we swapped back and forth doing the mommy/daddy thing and the work thing, and we didn't end up together until about 9:00 p.m. We were both tired and hungry and didn't want to cook. So Trevor called as I was driving home with these instructions: "Stop by taco-time. Spend 20.00. Get as much food as you can."


Taco-time is one of the few fast food places that I eat at on occasion. So I stopped. 20.00 bucks at Taco Time will buy you 4 hard shell tacos, 4 crisp bean burritos, 2 soft shell tacos, large stuffed mexi-fries and regular large mexi fries.


At home Trevor had the couch bed in the living room all set up, big glasses of water poured and a movie qued and ready to go. We gorged ourselves on a greasy taco-fest and watched some spy movie I can't remember the name of. We probably took years off of our marriage in grease and fat...but it was completely worth it.


Love you darlin' here is to lots and lots more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lifestyle Shift

Trevor and I read an intriguing book whilst on our travels this past few weeks - we actually read several intriguing books, but one that has inspired a lifestyle shift at our house.

It is fascinating and written by this man. My mother went to a conference he was speaking at and recommended his book, Brain Rules, and we LOVED it.

I have been thinking about several of the ideas he introduces and the different things he suggests. PLUS, the man is a lovely writer. The writing is very scientific and research driven, yet the concepts leap off the page and stick with you (which makes sense as one of his main posits is that our brains don't pay attention to boring things).

The very first idea Medina mentions is that our fancy brains did not become fancy by lounging around - he cites loads of research suggesting that our early ancestors walked and walked and walked (not unlike pioneer children) and that is a major component in how human intelligence was honed and sharpened. Medina's big complaint is that we have become a stationary society. And the man isn't far off on that observation. Instead of exploring the more obvious and extensively discussed consequences of this societal shift like obesity, health care cost and shorter life expectancy, Medina instead looks at how all the sitting around we do (at work, at school, at home) effects our brain.

He has some great suggestions for incorporating more movement into educational and work environments. But what I like most are his ideas about incorporating exercise into our daily lives, without necessarily setting aside more time to exercise. His idea is to take things we are already doing and add exercise to them. One such suggestion was to read reports, books, etc while walking on a treadmill.

Most of you know that I have been studying my tail off for the GRE Lit Subject test, so tonight I walked and studied that tail off simultaneously.

Admittedly, it took some getting used to. My brain is not used to walking and reading together, but after about ten minutes I found a groove and worked up a smooth-sailing sweat while reviewing the great works of Christopher Marlow (I may never get the phrase, "Come live with me and be my love..." out of my brain, which is Medina's point and which - when it comes to my test - is a good thing.).

It was exhilarating. And I am not sure if it is an exercise-endorphin or simply great pleasure at my multiple accomplishments that has me grinning from ear to ear. Either way - I think this is a lifestyle shift I want to embrace and keep.

So, I may be upping my pace a bit tomorrow night and hitting Sir Walter Raleigh's works.

****Just a disclaimer to very Christian readers: Medina comes from an entirely evolutionary based view point, and that is pretty foundational to all of his arguments. So that might be a turnoff for creationists - but if you can, take it with a grain of salt and look for the truth that is in all things and positions - the ride is completely worth it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Funny place, that zone between wakefullness and dreams...

Time: 5:30 AM

I had just come back to bed from rocking a baby who seems to think the day begins at 5.30 AM

Me: "Know what I miss?"

Trev, mostly still asleep: "Mr. Rogers."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The missing link

Consider yourself warned, this may be a slightly whiny post...you see, I find myself annoyed today. Annoyed by students, annoyed by collegiate education and even annoyed by myself. And here is why:

A couple of times this week I have had this conversation with different people. "I was so mad that my paper was marked so low in _(insert any class besides English here)____, I mean, it isn't a writing class."
Perhaps because I am an English teacher I bristle. But it really does make me wonder about the core concept of collegiate education and where students miss the link. Generals in every subject are not required so you can pass a single class and then forget all about it as you make your way into your major. So when I hear someone make the above statement I can't help but roll my eyes inside and think, "just because it is a biology class if you turn in an essay with blatant formation and punctuation mistakes you can't be upset to get docked for it. Biologists are expected to write well too." If I had a student turn in a flawlessly written essay about the function of the PIE formula, but the math was completely wrong, I would mark the student down for a failure of understanding their subject matter - so doesn't it make sense that writing matters in other disciplines?

Of course it does. So where does the misconception come from? Is it the specialized nature of our "major" system that breeds the idea that a general course is just "something you have to do?" Is it more indicative of the poor state of education across all levels in this country? Or is it just pure human laziness?

And don't think that this high-horse kettle isn't entirely aware of her hypocrisy in calling the pot black. I am not sure I even remember the last time that someone threw out even a basic math question and my brain made any attempt to compute it. And I know someone out there can quote me as I exited the GRE grad school entrance exam test saying, "I didn't even try on the math section because I am going into English and it doesn't matter."

What happened to the idea of a classical Renaissance education? And why don't many of us embrace it anymore (my husband, who loves every class he ever takes, remembers everything he learns, and always wants to try to learn something else, may be the single exception in my life to this).

And even though I really do feel all of the above...I still kinda want this sweatshirt. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heartache

In retrospect, I remember this remark made by my uncle when I was pregnant, "You won't believe how much you will be affected by what happens to children after you have your own child."
So, I suppose, in fairness I had been warned. But I don't think anything could have prepared me for the intensity of the sadness he described at the stories of children being hurt or lost.

And to say my heart aches and that I can't breathe when I learn that some of our new, dear friends down here lost their first son to SIDS at six months old, or when I hear about this little girl, back in my home town, only begins to describe an emotion that as a mother, and as one small member of this large human family, I have no words for.
I didn't know the parents of this little girl well, though I grew up in the same town as that little girl's mother. My mom is friends with the grandparents that were watching her when she fell into the canal. I knew her uncle very well, he is my age and we debated together all through high school. So I guess it would be easy to say that this story affects me so much because I have some tenuous ties to these people.
But, I think I have cried more tonight for this family and for this little girl because her eyes were the exact same shade of blue as my child's.
Or maybe it is because after you feed, clean and care for someone so tiny and tender, you only just begin to realize how fragile and precious and pure they really are. When you watch them stare with intent interest at their tiny hands, opening and closing their fingers as if trying to comprehend how they work, maybe you just begin to get a slight idea of how much life they have to live. And when something terrible happens to one of them, it doesn't seem fair. And the seemingly injustice of it all strikes something painful deep down inside of you.
Or perhaps as a parent you imagine, and fear, the pain those parents must experience. You see someone else live your nightmare and it reminds you that bad things happen to good people, and sometimes the most awful things happen to the most innocent of all of us. And it is terrifying, and, for a moment, immobilizing, to know that no matter what you do, there are things you cannot protect your child from.
One summer my family went to Lake Powell. My siblings and I climbed up some small cliffs to jump into the water. We screamed in delight and terror, and my mother wouldn't watch. I think I am beginning to understand why.
What is harder for me to understand and reconcile, is that she let us climb, she let us jump. I have thought much about the Sullengers and about our friends down here over the last two weeks. And I hold my little girl, I rub lotion on her brand-new skin, I sing to her and make her laugh hysterically by playing peek-a-boo, not because I think she loves it - but because I cannot get enough of her tiny squeals. I lay her in her cradle and stand back to watch her sleeping and feel like my heart is beating outside of my body, snuggled up in a paisley print blanket. And I say to Trevor, "How can we keep her safe? Can we just lock her away somewhere that she can't be hurt."
And because sometimes he is the more grown-up of the two of us, he tells me we can't. That we will have to let her go.
But I still ask him, "What if something happens to her? What if we lose her?"
He says back, "We just have to love her everyday as much as we can."
And I know that is the right answer. But sometimes it doesn't seem like enough.
It doesn't make the fear go away, or the hurt inside of me as I think of another family, back where I grew up mourning the loss of their little girl who won't get to grow up.
(Ivie at the Grand Canyon)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Always good to have a little reminder

of how much I like my husband.

He is my very best friend - even though I am a hard friend to have sometimes. Really, I don't think anyone else in the entire world could be married to me. And I can't imagine my life with anybody else.

He left for Scout Camp at 6:00 AM this morning, and it already feels like he has been gone a million years. I'm lonely. Not sad-lonely, just quietly and reflectively lonely. Ivie is sound asleep and I should go to bed too, but I find myself wandering around the house looking for one more thing to do because a king sized bed is just too empty when there is no one in it to breathe on the back of your neck.

Which he does - and which I hate...but miss tonight.

It would be impossible to list the reasons that I love Trevor. Or to discuss all the reasons that I would be so sad to live a life without him.I would be lying if I said that every day was perfect - he and I both are strong personalities, extremely verbal and we both think that we are right most of the time. My dear friend's mother, who is a marriage counselor, told me once that Trevor and I probably picked each other out in the life before this one, because we could recognize the qualities the other had that we needed, and as much as we might intensely clash against one another at times, when we are in sync it would be even more intense and powerful. I think about those words sometimes and I think that is why it feels like home when I am next to him, no matter where we are.And I am so lucky that I ended up with him - because he is vastly different from the other boys I dated. Always more attracted to the stereotypical, sort-of-lousy bad boy type, I was just friends with Trev long before we dated. And for any girl like me out there who might also be silly enough to think that fast-talking, fast-moving boys with cool cars are where it is at let me tell you that they are not really what you want.

What you want is a man who calls you beautiful instead of hot. You want someone who calls you back when you hang up on him. You want someone who will kiss your forehead the first time he kisses you. You want someone who will tell you to wear less make-up. You want someone who describes you to his friends as "fun" and "smart" instead of "sexy."

Because that is the kind of man who will hold you when you are having a nervous breakdown. Who will buy you rock-climbing gear and teach you how to do it, because he wants you to come along with all "the boys." The kind of man who will move somewhere he can't get a job he wants for your career, and then will go everyday to a job he has to go to, so you can stay home with your little girl. He is the kind of man that can walk into any restaurant and order for you (tomatoes on the side and all) because he pays attention to what you like. He is the kind of man that walks closest to the street when you go for a walk in the evening. He is the kind of man who will breathe on your neck in the middle of the night, and when you tell him you hate it will pull the sheet between his mouth and your skin so he doesn't have to stop holding you. He is the kind of man that when your cousin asks him "why he wants to marry you?" for a bridal shower game will answer, "because she is my best friend." He is the kind of man who may be rarely mushy, and may seldom say "I love you," but shows you that he does every single day in a million little ways.

I don't pretend to know everything there is about love. Nor do I pretend to know what love means for everyone. I only know what it is for me. And for me love is knowing all about someone and still wanting to be with them more than any other person in the world. And love is trusting them enough to let them know everything about yourself, including the things that you are most ashamed of, and still knowing that they will walk through the front door at the end of the day. It is feeling so comfortable and low-key with someone, but still having your heart flutter when you are in a crowded room and he puts his hand on your lower back to introduce you to someone.

It is real. It is messy. It is intense. And it is oh-so wonderful.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A very FIRST

Giggle.

My darling little girl looked up at me today, (while she was supposed to be eating - even though she wasn't really hungry- and I was stressing about getting out of the house on time because I was waiting for her to eat so I could take her to the babysitter where she hopefully wouldn't get hungry in the hour and a half I was at exercise class) grinned, her eyes sparkled and then she let out the biggest and very first giggle!

Pretty sure something inside of me melted.

And suddenly I didn't really care about the babysitter, or the class or the clock. I just held her and smiled and talked back to her and listened while she giggled over and over and over again.
This is us hiking to Ripple Arch last Saturday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Rockin' Day!

Remember last August when I wrote this post explaining how nervous I was about the life changes a baby would bring?

Several wonderful friends left comments and made phone calls reassuring me it would all be okay. I will never forget a friend's advice who said, "Your baby will learn to love your life. it will love the outdoors because you love the outdoors. It will love hiking because you love hiking. Babies learn to live our lives really well, your life isn't over - you just get to share it now with this new person." Lovely advice.
And today, since Ivie turned 3 months old, I figured it was time for her to get outside and eat some dirt. Ok - not really eat some dirt, but I have been keeping her in all the time, and it was a big deal for me to let her hang out for several hours outside today. It was a beautiful evening, about 87 degrees, slightly overcast and just perfect for rock climbing.And that is exactly what we did. We went with our good friends, the Atkins. And had a blast! It was Ivie's first rock climbing trip and she was perfect. She hung out in her baby tent all the time. ***For anyone with a little guy/gal like us who loves the outdoors, this TENT is awesome. Seriously, it is one of my favorite things. Order one now.*** She was so happy in there with a little rattle (If you put a rattle in her hand these days she holds it in a death grip and waves it all around). She stretched and kicked and cooed and then fell right asleep.
Chelsea A. and I kissing the chains when we reach the top of the climb!
We really enjoyed climbing. I haven't been in ages, and was proud of myself for getting up two different climbs. But boy are my arms TIRED tonight.

Ripsi also loved running around like a maniac and chasing lizards.
We stayed out for four and a half hours, then we came home, put the baby to bed, built a little fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows.

It was lovely. An absolutely perfect day with my perfect family and perfect friends. Thanks so much Atkins!