Monday, May 30, 2011


As I said once before, my life is full of sunshine and smiles but today I'm so confused. I feel like a lost teenager again. I had expected, or at least hoped, that in my adult years the world would be more clear-cut, more black and white, or at least more predictable. But the older I get, the more I realize that the world is made up of varying shades of temperamental gray.

I feel so confused how such good people with similar life experiences and upbringings, all striving earnestly to do what is right can each take such different paths. Each person likely praying and seeking divine guidance, each motivated to act and feel in drastically different and often conflicting ways.

I feel like the world as I once knew it is falling to pieces around me. Family ties that were once held sacred and untouchable are disintegrating in the face of personal differences. Animosity and mistrust has sprung where affection once bloomed. This saddens me beyond what words can express.

The pain I sense behind my loved one's optimistic words cuts deeply. Life has dealt him a much more difficult hand than most. I wish I could cut out the pain and replace it with the love and acceptance that we all deserve. I lean on his optimism and faith in the innate goodness of others to get me through and to keep in sight the light at the end of the tunnel.

At times I long for days past that though blind, were days of innocence. The days when we were all young and bright-eyed with utopic visions of the future.

I look at my children and can't help but feel a sense of fear. What differences might arise in the coming years that could sever their familial bonds that now seem so unbreakable? How badly a mother wants to build a barrier of innocence around them- one that reminds them constantly of the affection they know now.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

10 Years

This picture was taken the morning we got married before heading to the temple.

It's surreal to think that 10 years ago today I married Dennis. I was so naive and clueless about what I was about to do. I had no concept of the permanence of what I was getting myself into. I had no idea how much I would grow to depend on him and how the way I felt about him that morning was just a drop in a bucket of the love that would develop over the years with each child, hardship, success, and argument overcome.

He is the kind of man that I pray my boys will grow up to emmulate and that my girls will use as a model for their future husbands. I hope they never settle for anything less. I am told constantly by other people how lucky I am to have the husband that I have. I joke (sometimes I'm halfway serious) that I'm getting tired of the swooning over my husband and that dang it, he got himself a good woman too for crying outloud!

Yes, at times I do feel overshadowed by him, but I love the fact that at least he's one that casts such a tall shadow. I like who I am better now than before I married him. He has helped me develop a higher sense of confidence in myself and a sense of really having a place in this world.

I knew just after I met him 12 years ago that the chubby-cheeked, Wrangler wearing, rusty pick-up driving, farmboy who was so quick with a smile and a friendly conversation, would make some lucky woman a very happy wife. And who knew that it would be me?

Marrying Dennis was the best naive decision I ever made.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Almost there

Driving around a bus when you're used to driving a race car- that's what I've decided the last stage of pregnancy feels like. I keep bumping my belly into things and getting stuck in places I should know I don't fit into right now. The tops of most of my maternity shirts are stained where I've underestimated the distance from my plate to my mouth. If I can complain for a minute, the fatigue has been the same fatigue that drove me to quit working night shifts- unbelievably overwhelming. After 11am, I can barely get my tush off the couch, even with an hour nap each day. My body keeps playing tricks with me, like it thinks it's funny to get me in a tizzy thinking that labor is starting. Last night I had almost an hour of regularly spaced, painful contractions. Then just as I was getting ready to call Dennis in from the garage and tell him I thought we needed to start getting things ready to go to the hospital, they stopped and haven't returned since. I've been moving around like an 80-year old women plagued with arthritis. I feel guilty watching Dennis do so much of the housework and having my kids have a Michelin tire man/zombie for a mom. I'm so ready to be myself again! I had felt so great and energized for so long during this pregnancy, that this change has been especially frustrating. I had really hoped the great way I felt would continue on through the end. Even though I know the end is so close, it still feels so far away. Sometimes when I watch and feel the baby turning somersaults in my belly, I think how foreign and almost alien it seems to be carrying another life form inside of me that within a few days will come out and be able to sustain life on it's own!

The thought of ever being pregnant again seemed so unbearable that it literally almost brought me to tears yesterday. But then within that same thought I remembered what it was like to look at my brand-new babies immediately after they were born and to feel smitten with an overwhelming love for them. I thought of each of my kids and thought there isn't anything I wouldn't do or price I wouldn't pay for any of them to be here. I would endure pregnancy for 10 years if that's what it would have taken.




My little Luke turned 4 yesterday. After his little body collapsed to sleep after a day of so much excitement and anticipation, I couldn't help but watch him and think what an honor it is to be the parent of each of my children. At times the task seems so overwhelming. So much rests of their futures and who they become rests on the shoulders of this tired and imperfect mother. I know the Lord would never give me a task He didn't believe I would or could be equal to though.

Now if I could just figure out how to answer some of their little questions that so preoccupy their little minds, like how to pick your nose with your toes (that was Luke yesterday) and why that spider decided to bite Peter Parker of all people (Camden).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Women's Conference

Today is shaping up to be one of those days. From the moment I woke up to rain pounding on the roof, I knew that all I wanted was to lay in bed and watch TV for the rest of the day. My poor kids would probably have been better off with that alternative than the cranky mom they had to deal with this morning. I just didn't have an ounce of energy even after a good night's sleep (mind you, a good night's sleep is only having to get up to pee 3 times instead of 5), my legs have turned into perma-cankles, and my hips ache with almost every movement. I generally enjoy being pregnant but the last few days have made me start counting down the days until our little junior arrives. When I dropped Camden off at school, I promised him that he would have his happy, fun mom back by the time he got home from school. The sweetheart just smiled and quietly gave me a kiss on the cheek. As often is the case, I really didn't deserve forgiveness so quickly.

But on a happier note, here are a couple of pictures from our adventure to Women's Conference. We went to Women's Conference but didn't really attend any of it due to the unbelievably long lines and then not being able to find a class that wasn't bursting at the seams in time to enjoy more than 15 minutes of it. At least I was in good company with my two good friends, Gretchen and Holli, and I was able to spend some time seeing my family. I must say, those girls can shop! I was huffing and puffing trying to keep up with them. I told my mom that I had just found the first people on the planet that could outshop her. She didn't believe me, but I assured her that it's true! If shopping is ever made an olympic sport, these two would definitely take the gold. I don't know what I'd do without good friends, especially these two. We had a great time and talked almost non-stop for the full three days we were gone. Sometimes a girl needs an extended gab session like that, especially when she's very pregnant and can't buy much of anything on her only shopping weekend of the year!

This was pretty much all we saw of Women's Conference. Lines, lines, and more lines.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Lukeisms

Luke loves this Ronaldinho shirt that we bought him in Indonesia, of all places, and insists that it needs to be worn backwards so that everyone can see it. This is one Luke's best friends. Her shirt says, "Sorry, but I only play with boys that sparkle," and insists that Luke sparkles.

The kids making me chocolate chip cookies as part of my Mother's Day gift.

Wow, four posts in the past week. I think that's a record for me. I don't know what things will be like after the baby comes so I'm trying to blog whenever I think of something I want to journal about.

My little Luke has me wrapped around his finger for so many reasons. When I look at him, I see myself as a child with so many of my quirks and almost identical phsyical characteristics, but then mixed in is my brother Jesse. Although my brother terrorized me beyond belief, he also somehow managed to keep my mom wrapped around his mischevious little finger.

Last night as we were going to bed, Camden looked at my belly and then asked me how the baby was going to be coming out. Oh boy... This was the first time I had to go anywhere near that subject. I took out a children's book about the human body that I had bought at Costco and showed him pictures of the baby's development and tried to give him as untraumatic of an explanation as possible about what was going to be happening. I told him that in rare cases, the baby may have to be taken out through the mom's tummy. The doctor would give the mom some medication so it doesn't hurt and take the baby out that way. He asked what kind of situations would require the doctor cutting into someone's tummy and I told him that one of the reasons could be if the baby got stuck coming out of the mom's hips. Camden looked down at my hips and with a relieved look said, "Wow...well there's no way a baby could get stuck in you. You have huge hips!" After we talked some more, he seemed satisfied with my explanation but Luke seemed quite disgusted by it all. This morning he kept shaking his head and saying how "cweepy" (creepy) it was that a baby would be coming out of his mom's body and that he didn't want to see a naked baby.

When I ask him what he wants to name the baby, he keeps saying that Lauren seems like a perfectly good name. I point out that we already have a baby named Lauren and that we can't have two babies named Lauren or it would be too confusing. Then he matter-of-factly points out that Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street has a brother who is also named Mr. Noodle. So if there are two people with the same name on Sesame Street, then it should work in our house, right? (I'm explaining this in the present tense because we've had this discussion many times and I'm sure there will be many more to come.) I don't quite know what to say to that other than I think Mr. Noodle is really the cweepy one.

Luke has quite the ability to come up with interesting threats when things aren't going his way. The other day, Dennis did something that upset Luke. Luke was so angry, trying to express his deep frustration to his dad, and the worst possible thing he could thing of to say was, "Oh yeah?! Well I'm going to make you wear pink and purple and watch Angelina Ballerina!" followed by a long list of other girly tasks he would make his dad do if he didn't cooperate.

This last one really caught me off guard and actually made me back off, a little apprehensive and unsure whether my 3 year old might actually follow through on his threat. I can't remember why I had scolded him but it was apparently uncalled for in his mind even though I wasn't yelling nor had I laid a finger on him. "Mom!!!! If you don't stop being mean, I'm going to call 9-11 and the police will come and take you away!" Yikes. Maybe I should delay in teaching him his numbers and how to use a phone... for my safety!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Mother's Day Weekend

I try to take a picture with the kids every Mother's Day but as you can see from the kid's faces, they weren't really in the sentimental mood. I wanted them to smile pretty but then realized after a few failed attempts that I'd rather capture their real personalities than stiff smiles.

This weekend was a pretty great one. Dennis and I will have our 10 year anniversary later this month but with the baby coming and family reunion plans, we decided to celebrate early. The kids stayed at Dennis' parents house Friday and Saturday while we went to the temple and enjoyed some time alone. It was great to be able to run around town and do some shopping without having to buckle and unbuckle seat belts for all the kids each time we wanted to stop somewhere(along with all the other fun things that go along with dragging kids around town on errands). We ended mostly car shopping for a new truck for Dennis. In the end, he did buy one that if I might say so, is much manlier than our last one. Even though we had bought our last truck brand new off the lot, I always felt bad to have my farm boy hubby driving around in a pretty boy 2WD. As we were driving our new (old) truck home, I kept thinking that Dennis looked like he belonged in that 1990 beast of truck with a cattle guard, lift, and faded paint much more than our last truck with it's gleaming paint job and immaculate interior. He's pretty excited about his new purchase and I'm happy for him.

Even though he says he doesn't mind and he insists that he's happy with where we are in life, I've always felt bad seeing someone like him, who grew up so rurally living in a subdivision, working in a cubicle, driving a minivan, with only a couple pairs of Wranglers in his closet. I feel like anything we can do to move him back in the direction of his roots is a good thing. Just as I long to stay reconnected to my past, I know he does too. As much as we love where we live and feel so blessed for his great job and our friends, I guess you can say we both feel like fish out of water. But this is probably the best middle ground for someone like me and someone like him to come together.

On Mother's Day, Dennis made me a huge breakfast, which he knows is my favorite meal, and my sweet kids gave me sweet love notes and ate the treats that they were supposed to give to me as part of their Mother's Day gift. I guess the empty crumpled bags they gave me in their own way said, "It's the thought that counts." But I did get lots of extra hugs and kisses and unsolicited "I love you"'s which is far better than any candy that I'd have to work off at the gym anyway. Being a mom and a wife are the best things that have ever happened to me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day and Father's Day are the two days of the year that I feel the most emotional about. I find myself tearing up easily and feeling overcome with emotion all day.

I find that I so easily get down on myself. I'm hyperaware of all the things that I feel I fall short in. But today I was thinking that most of the things I like the most about myself, came from mother. From her I got a love for working, especially in the home cleaning and doing laundry- sometimes tirelessly. I got my organization skills, my deep affection for my children, my interest in making new friends, my love of writing, the way I listen so carefully to the lyrics of music, my desire to be surrounded by beauty, the way I try to teach my children manners and other rules of civility, my philosophical thinking, the way I'm always on the move, and my love of nature and the outdoors- all from her.

I am in awe of the things my mom has accomplished during her lifetime. She has been given tasks and situations that to almost any other woman would have been insurmountable but somehow she conquered them.

A mother holds such a hallowed place in a child's heart. What a blessing it has been to be a daughter of Luisa.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Days Like Today

The past few days have been so weird and random, but just the kind that I will miss when the kids are older, the house is quiet, and I am no longer the center of their universe.

Today Luke asked me if he could have a picnic on the lawn. As I prepared the food, he told me he would get a blanket for us to sit on. He went upstairs and dragged downstairs and onto the lawn the brand-new quilt I just bought for Lauren's new room. Yup, the kind that I paid way too much for because I liked it so much. Within about 5 seconds, Lauren had spilt ketchup and water on it, dumped some chips out and stomped on them follwed by rubbing her greasy little paws all over it, with dirt and grass stains on the underside. Niiiiiiiiice. But my little Luke was so proud of himself for being such a good helper that I didn't have the heart to get after him for his blanket selection.

Yesterday he was helping me clean my bathroom and knocked over and broke a glass candle holder. Once again I didn't have the heart to scold him because he had been so vigorously scrubbing the countertop and mirror in hopes of getting paid his promised 50 cents for helping me.

The kids got a hold of my camera on Sunday morning. These are their self-portraits.

Then today as I was cleaning up our picnic lunch, Lauren decided she wanted some baby pickles that were in an unopened jar. She screeched a couple times from the pantry but when I didn't come, she decided it was time to take matters into her own hands since her mother was having obviously having obedience issues. So she slammed the pickle jar onto the floor, sat down, and helped herself to them. Luckily she didn't ingest any shards of glass or sit down on them. Apparently she got her creativity in problem solving from her dad and her impatience from me.

On a sweet note, for scripture study Dennis read the part in the Book of Mormon about Jesus blessing the children and angels surrounding them. We then had a long and impromptu discussion about angels and their role in our lives. I could almost see Camden's little mind racing, drawing conclusions and making applications of how angels could help him while playing basketball during recess and the awesomeness of their invisibility. It was as though we had just told him about the coolest superhero ever- way better than Iron Man, which says a lot. Luke on the other hand, sat completely still, listening with his eyes as big as apples and occassionally making surprising comments that showed he was really internalizing what we were saying.

I also went to Women's Conference with a couple friends this past weekend(more on that later). I got home to the sweetest note that Camden had written for me on the bathroom mirror. I really didn't want to erase it but decided to take a picture of it to make it last longer.