Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 2 Post 2

Christmas is coming.
I'm thinking of baking tiny pumpkin pies.
I drank more water, took my supplements, and ate a bowl of spaghetti with pesto.

Later, I ate an apple, and some heavily buttered popcorn. The apple meant that I ate less popcorn than I otherwise would have.

For dinner, I had a homemade minestrone I guess you'd call it, with 2 small pieces of cheesy bread. Very satisfied.

Later, I ate a few of those gummy vitamins that are supposed to be for my kids. I love 'em. They have to be better for me than candy, right?

Did you ever notice how much exercise speeds up your digestion?

Day 2 Starts off with a BANG!

I ate one yummy fat-burning exercise nutrition bar, and drank a lot of water, and went for a walk around my neighborhood. That was a whopping eight-tenths of a mile. Then I came home, shed the coat, gloves, and shoes, and stepped on the trampoline. My age showed quickly. While my momentum was up, I wanted to jump high, but my neck and my knee revolted! So I bounced a while. My teenagers revolted. *sigh* So the walking was about 20 minutes, and the bouncing, 5 minutes. My yoga DVD won't work. Gonna have to get creative. Anyone got some salsa music?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 1, Part 2

So, after the first half of the day, I didn't do quite as well on eating. But I am going to report it anyway.

1 serving brown rice with pesto

2 servings spaghetti w/ meaty red sauce
4 small pieces cheesy bread
part of the crusts from my daughter's pecan raisin bread

It's obvious I need to eat more vegetables.

Accountability Versus FUN!

A friend of mine bravely started a wellness blog to help his friends help him.

My sister has been doing something similar. Sponsorship!

Brave and smart.

I'm realizing that I need to do the same. But I don't need to re-invent the wheel. I'm giving them credit and following their lead!

So here goes:

I weigh at least 50 lb more than I want to weigh.
I wear at least 8 sizes bigger than I want to wear.
Wait, are all the numbers counted? Seems like the odd numbers are always skipped. Hmm.

Anyway. I'm going to ask you to check up on me from time to time.
You get to decide how often you check in.
I commit to posting daily.

I'll post both what I eat, and how (& how long) I exercise.

You get to choose whether you sponsor me, and if you do, what level, and what incentive.

I'm not asking for money, though. People in my sister's circle pledged incentives like getting a haircut or going shopping or going dancing with her when she's met a certain milestone.

If you feel so moved, feel free to pledge an incentive in the comments section.

So far today, I have eaten:

1 serving dry Life cereal
1 small apple
1 bowl spaghetti w/ meaty red sauce
1 jumbo banana nut muffin
2 bites of a banana
water and supplements

Since today is the Sabbath, I doubt I'll get a lot of exercise. I may go for a walk. I know with God's help, nothing is impossible. I know lots of things I should do, and I know what NOT to do. My plan is to focus on gratitude as I actively dance down to a size 8. I'm picturing that awesome youTube video of the piano staircase, with my goal being to be more and more active, having more and more fun. Have you seen it? Click on the title to this post.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today I knew that playing Christmas and other hymns on my piano would make me feel good.

It really, really did.

I played Sweet Hour of Prayer, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, and lots of other favorites.

Then my four-year-old ran up and hugged me. Just when I think life can't get any better, she asks me to cuddle up with her!

I LOVE that girl :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Talking to Strangers

Imagine you're in a public place. Say a school. Maybe you're at a junior high school choir concert, for example. Purely hypothetical. And say you have a special-needs 8-y-o daughter who loves to talk to strangers. Only they don't stay strangers long.

You try to keep up with her, to set some limits, and sometimes, you have to resort to damage control.

Just imagine you are panicked for just a moment, when you realize she's gotten away while you helped another daughter get a drink of water, or while you were being introduced to your older daughter's school friends.

But then you locate her, and quickly catch up to her, because she's actually not running, at least, not for now. She's got a stranger by the hand, swinging that arm back and forth, and saying, "What's your name? What school do you go to? Do you ride in a carseat? Are you gonna have a baby? Why?"

Sometimes you feel compelled to answer her questions for this kindly stranger, who has miraculously not objected to being touched, handled, and interrogated. You do feel compelled, right? I mean, come on. What do you say?

And aren't you glad when this sweet stranger says kind things back to your darling, like when they ask questions in return? Oh, yes you are. Most definitely! Glad, and relieved. Some precious souls are just so understanding, and I LOVE them.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Healing & Education for African Refugees in Texas
Sometimes when I'm working on one thing, I get inspiration for another.
I love it when that happens!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Learning and Yearning

Today I went to a class. I took more than 2 pages of notes, front and back. I'm not used to going to classes and taking notes, either.

Not that I don't love learning. I really really do. I want to go back to school so bad, I can SMELL it. Seriously. Today I smelled my alma mater on my daughter when she came home. Bandaids!

Anyway. This was a class wherein I learn to be an advocate for my special-needs daughter, who completely baffles me. I was brought to tears twice while I was there. There's just so much to learn, so much to do, and wow, am I overwhelmed on so many fronts.

I had left for class this morning, full of hope and determination and ideas and wanting to jot all sorts of things down that were popping into my head on the way there. I was pumped! But while I was there, I seemed to have so much less confidence and enthusiasm, so much less drive to ask the questions that I can't articulate.

Do I just not know the lingo? No. Am I a brand-new mom of this darling special girl? No, she's 8 years old. Am I new to the school, the district, or the state? No, it's been 5 years she's attended school here, in the district I grew up in.

I just want a silver bullet still. I want the book or class that tells me what kind of food I can cook that will nourish her mind enough to make her able to learn the same as everyone else. I want the medical diagnosis still that will tell me which organ failed her and how to revive or restore it. I want the cure, for me and for her. I want to know, not how to navigate the system of education for those who seem less able to learn, but how to navigate around all the existing systems, to the one that lifts us out of this mist of darkness.

And to be really honest, I have to admit that I was crying about losing my sons, who are making their own ways without much help from me. And I was crying about not being the other moms there, who I feel guilty for wishing to be.

One of them had a much needier child, the same age as mine, but they have plenty of money. That stay-at-home mom was as sharp as a person could be, and was a very willing and assertive advocate for her daughter.

The other one had a much younger child, with a concrete medical diagnosis, and she had a plan, and lots of services already in place. That stay-at-home mom was also very sharp, with a clear vision of what she wants to do, and apparently, the money to do it.

It wasn't just the money that I coveted, although that's a part of it. I was grieving. I still am.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

One Day at a Time

I have this darling page-a-day calendar by Mary Engelbreit. (Sorry I was unable to get the link to work in the title, but if you want to see Mary's art, just go to It was a gift from a great old friend of mine named Barbara.

Each page has a colorful Mary Engelbreit (ME) drawing on it, sometimes with a quote. I've been staring at these pictures and quotes this week.

On Monday, July 6th, the picture is of a young girl standing on the beach, pouring a collection of seashells from her pail onto the sand. Within 4 days, my runaway teen will be pouring out the contents of his backpack onto our living room floor, the color of sand, and showing me the shells he collected at Galveston. But for now, I look at this whimsical drawing of a swimsuit-wearing cutie-pie whose swim cap looks like something from a magazine. It's a lovely sunset-inspired color, with a big purple flower that only Mary Engelbreit would have thought to decorate it with, and oh, there are these pretty little curls sticking out all around her neck and face. The carefree feeling of this picture, an escape in which beauty is frozen yet glowing in every detail . . . I need to have this kind of escape. I need to be a child, adoring the beauties of nature, and imagine my collection of favorites, tumbling slow-motion from my own colorful pail, that I can play with and treasure . . . but for now, I am frozen in this place where I must call the sheriff, report my son as a runaway, and give the deputy his picture. Slow-motion, for sure, but not an escape.

On Tuesday July 7th, I see on my calendar, the drawing of a young skinny blond boy flexing his nearly invisible bicep, with a proud closed-eyes grin, accompanied by the quote: "Believe that you have it, and you have it." (Anonymous) My runaway blond-haired boy believes he does not have an addiction, or a problem; therefore (at least in his mind), he has none. Missing for a little over 24 hours, he returns home. When he arrives, we are away. At the temple, with his older brother, who is about his Father's business. The firstborn, he is not perfect. He is looking forward to being able to serve his brothers and sisters in Russia for two whole years, and he already misses his little bro. After the temple ceremony, we take family pictures in front of this palace, and then my husband and oldest son and oldest daughter travel with the extended family away from town, and I come home to what should be a dark and empty house, but instead is brightly lighted, smells funny, and feels very cold. After being greeted by my newly-returned prodigal son without a key, who broke and entered, I call the precinct again to let them know my runaway is home.

On Wednesday July 8th, my calendar shows me a glimpse of a father carrying his blond-haired toddler on a wooded path toward distant mountains, as the little boy points toward this horizon that reminds me of our former home. My blond-haired blue-eyed baby boy is craving escape and adventure, like he used to have, back near the mountains. Missing out on the especially-for-our-family's-teens-trip out-of-town with his cousins, brother, and sister, and dad, this thrill-seeker leaves again, refusing treatment. I call the precinct 5 number again (again, again!), and put all my friends and relatives on alert. Seven long hours after leaving, he shows up back at home again, this time willing to get checked into rehab. We drive the girls to my folks' place, and then to a psychiatric hospital, which turns out not to be the right kind of place for him. We are turned away, and we go home with a list of other possibilities. After 1:30 a.m., I fall asleep in my bed, alone.

On Thursday July 9th, the drawing on my calendar is of a man's arm holding a bouquet of flowers, and a woman's arms holding a vase. The caption is "A soul without a mate is like a vase without flowers." My husband is out of town. I feel I have to take care of getting our boy the treatment he needs, all by myself. I'm grateful to have a husband who has a job and insurance to cover the cost of this great care, and for parents and friends who are just a phone call away, ready and willing and able to fill in for me, take care of the children. My son has not a friend in the world that he really accepts love from. His only friend that he feels close to gave him enough pot to get him high, and then enough more to make him extremely sick. Said "friend" then dragged my son to the back yard before leaving him in the dirt to vomit alone and be chewed up by spiders and bugs. But that was Monday. Today, we take a tour of the wonderful place where my son will be tucked away for hopefully 30 days or more.

On Friday July 10th, the calendar features a darling young auburn-haired bookworm whose dreamscape includes a moonlit night at the beach, where a tuxedoed gentleman puts his white-gloved hand on the shoulder of a beautiful red-headed young lady in a ball gown adorned with flowers, ribbons, and jewels. The caption is "Use your imagination." I've done way too much of that! Just last night, my blondie told me that he always used to dream of wearing a brand-new tux every day. That goes along with his James Bond fantasy, I suppose. Today, I check my son into a prevention and recovery center for adolescents who have abused drugs and alcohol. This place's nickname is the same as the name we all use for a neighborhood playground. This place is beautiful, this place where my little boy will sleep, eat, study, and play. When he sits in the meeting room, he can look out these misty windows and see a gazebo, and ivy, so romantic. My dreamscape involves a 30-day miracle, a son with softened heart and a willingness to change.

Friday, July 3, 2009

To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season

We've had a lot of funerals lately. A lot of people from church, and an aunt, and an uncle, and a slew of celebrities. While these losses affect others more than they do us, since everyone in our immediate family is still with us, it's hard not to notice, and wonder. I know those folks are in a better place, and I'm so grateful for that understanding. But as these ranks up and march away, I can't help but notice they're not all that old. And I didn't know enough about them before they died.

Then there's my baby boy, all grown up and ready to go on a mission, or almost ready. He's taking a big step in just 4 days. I'm thrilled for him, so glad he's making a big commitment to the Lord. This is a season of joy.

Then there's my other baby boy, so tall, artistic, clever and handsome, but so troubled. This is a season of sadness.

Then there are the darling daughters we adore. Drama queens, all four! This is a season of turning and turning and twirling for joy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If Your Child Gets Stuck in a Baby Swing . . .'s what you do. Ignore the yelling of strangers, codependent teens climbing the wrought iron fence between the park and the pool. Even when they gasp, cover their mouths, point, and yell, "Call the fire department!", remember your calm old friend Diane. She told her daughter that since she climbed up the tree, she could also climb down. You're not too far away to see what's going on. You saw this coming. Your 7-y-o dear daughter is not going to die. She may be really really stuck, as the smoking stranger insists, but that doesn't really change anything, now does it? Let him try to dump your darling, 80-lb daughter out of the baby swing on her head by trying to turn the whole thing upside down!

You got up on top of that graffitied multi-slide playground hunk of plastic and metal in order to see something, and see something you SHOULD. Your 12-y-o daughter is competing in the very first swim meet of her life, and you are not about to miss it just because your darling 7-y-o wanted to swing like a baby. You won't actually see her swim because you can only glimpse, over the sea of swimmers and their families and their canopies, a tiny patch of pool, just the last two lanes, in the middle of their race. But you don't know that yet, and you don't want to feel guilty later, so you just keep those numb feet planted right next to the curly slide, and lean on that heavy-duty plastic.

And besides, who wants to get any closer to the drama, and risk getting kicked?
Be sure to tell that darling 7-y-o to calm down, and that you're not coming down to help while she's kicking and screaming. And when her 9-y-o sister whispers that this is embarrassing and that people are taking pictures, just keep your focus on that oldest sister, the one blissfully unaware that this drama is unfolding just yards away from her, but who is probably sadly aware that no one she loves is watching her swim. Even in that crowd of crocodiles and piranhas and all their families, how can she not notice that she does not feel the gaze of her family, or hear their voices cheering her on?

But when you are good and sure that you have done all you could do to see her swim, and to let the 7-y-o feel the weight of her consequences, go straight over to her and squat right under that baby swing, and pull with all your might on that swing, while the kindly stranger and your older child also pull with all of theirs (him on the 7-y-o, and sister on the swing), and that darling 7-y-o pushes her feet on your thighs, until you feel your heart skip a beat, and the stranger says, "Wiggle!", and you ALL do, and she finally slips free.

Then go home and do nothing, because nothing is what you will get done around the house, because your darling 7-y-o daughter will be asking you and telling you all about that dramatic event all evening long. She will say, "I'm never going to the park again!" and you will try to reassure her that you understand she's afraid of getting stuck again, but then you'll give in to the temptation to tell her that you just don't believe that she'll never go there again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Adamic (Eveish) Language

At the grocery store recently, I was pushing a bright blue car cart with my two youngest darlings at the steering wheels. We were headed down the health food aisle for some sunflower seeds when Louella burst out with "Donut catchers! Can we get donut catchers?" I looked where she was pointing, and saw only pumpkin seeds. Sure enough, these little libido-raising snacks were the very catchers she was asking for. I agreed to buy some, and had a good time telling everyone who would listen about the new name these seeds had been given. When dh Sonny heard the story, he was a little less surprised than I thought he would be. He had been out of town on a campout with our son on the day of the donut catcher christening. And on that day, over two hours away, for the first time in just about forever, he was eating donuts.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Schoolbuses, Sinovial Fluid, and Sobriety

My current gratitude short list.
A cross-section of our family life right now.
Tellingly Mormonish alliteration, tantalizingly randomish combination,

what do we do when we feel something we don't like?
when choosing what to do in order to feel better, do we get feedback about whether the choice is appropriate and healthy?

Sobriety requires that an addict check in with his sponsor when feeling doubtful, anxious, tempted. Before acting out or taking action which might be unhealthy, the addict is supposed to run his plan by a seasoned sober addiction-recovery graduate.

Reminds me of prayer. I can imagine that running a mile in the pouring rain would feel so good while I'm tempted to yell and scream and cry. I might tell someone that's what I'm thinking of doing. Someone else might say that exercise is a healthy way to cope with difficult emotions. But then if I pray about it, I just might get a very specific directive TO do that very thing, but in a certain place at a certain time with a certain someone, and wearing a certain reflective coat. And the answer might not make sense, to me or anyone I might tell about it, but to a loving all-powerful Divine Daddy, these are the best conditions for my plan to work to my best advantage . . . and then again, perhaps He will answer, "No, you will not."

My daughter with the mile-wide aura kept bringing up the idea of walking to school and home every day. I thought I had dissuaded her a time or two, but when the topic arose again, I knew it was time to give her the only answer she would understand. I said that if she was going to walk that route, she'd have to know that route, and how long it would take. So I offered to take that walk with her on the following Sunday evening. Sunday morning came, and my dramatic darling appeared and announced that today was THE day. I reminded her that we would take the walk LATER after supper.

Supper came and went. On went the walking shoes, and out WE went. Right on our street. Right on the street at the bus stop corner. Left at the end of that street. Right at the next corner. Left at the big street. Left soon again. Then just keep walking and mentally reviewing the directions for a long time. Lots of things to see and talk about. Finally this winding street ends and we go left, and we're almost there! We insisted on her going all the way to the front door and touching it before the timer was stopped. 45 minutes, one way!

That means that I would have to get up and get EVERYBODY ready quite early. My walk would be an hour and a half long, if there were no distractions, disruptions, or injury. Not that I couldn't use the exercise, but . . .

When I think of that big yellow schoolbus, I am grateful. No worries of whether my darlings make it all the way to their school. No having to get everyone up 45 minutes early. And no driving for me, which means less stress, and hopefully, fewer self injuries . . .

Several weeks ago, I was driving, and tried to put my left hand on the steering wheel the underhanded way. My index finger poked the wheel instead, and my finger was jammed. No breaks, no blood, just jammed. For a while it doesn't hurt, but then it does again. I had it checked out by a doctor, because I didn't want to suffer longer than I have to. He checked for breaks and assured me that I just have to give it time to heal. Having pulled this finger repeatedly, because that seems to alleviate the pain, I asked the doc whether that was wise. He said sure, that lets more sinovial fluid into the painful joints. It couldn't hurt.

Thank goodness these things I'm taking advantage of and grateful for are harmless enough.

Friday, April 10, 2009

That River in Egypt, or Emotional Roller Coaster Part 0.5

Trying to accept the apparently pregnant state of my body, I realized that I needed divine intervention. I knelt down to pray, and the serenity prayer seemed appropriate. So I tried to recite it, but to no avail. I started out all wrong: God, grant me the courage to change the things I can (that's the second phrase, not first), the ummmm ... what is it? ... no, it can't be serenity, I know that's not it ... in fact, I don't know WHY it's called the Serenity Prayer. I don't think that word is even IN the prayer! ... the whatever to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to know the difference.

Yeah. It wasn't 'til the parents' support group meeting that night that I realized how ironic that was.

The actual Serenity Prayer goes like this:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and other recovery support meetings all over the world, recovering addicts and their loved ones stand together and embrace as they recite the first verse.

Tonight at a parents' support group meeting again, I remembered that I had not recorded this juicy little piece of the story. So out of order though it may be, here ya go.

And as for Emotional Roller Coaster Parts II through XVII, stay tuned . . .

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Sweet It Is

It was a magical time. It was dinner time. The kids were here and they were hungry. We sat down to a home-cooked meal that I hadn't been super hopeful about, but which turned out to be very well received.

The Menu
Italian Green Beans
Steamed Broccoli
Lemon Chicken Pilaf

The Recipes

Italian Green Beans

3 c fresh green beans, cooked in boiling water til tender
GOPS all-purpose seasoning (1 part each: garlic, onion, pepper; 4 parts salt)
butter or olive oil
tomato paste
Parmesan cheese

Place green beans (drained) in shallow serving dish or pie plate. Sprinkle GOPS on. Slather with butter or drizzle melted butter or olive oil on top. Smear tomato paste over all, or over just half in case you have a tomato hater. Sprinkle Parmesan over, and heat in microwave or conventional oven just 'til heated through and melty cheese.

Lemon Chicken Pilaf

4 plump chicken breasts (boneless/skinless)
1 cup lemon juice
several cloves garlic
1.5 cups H.E.B. wild rice/brown rice pilaf
4 cups water
chicken bouillon

Cook first 3 ingredients in crock-pot 'til thoroughly cooked.
Cook pilaf with water and bouillon on stove top.
Shred the chicken.
Blend lemon juice and garlic in blender 'til milky.
Add chicken and garlic-lemon juice mixture to pilaf. Let simmer 'til you're done with prayer and salad.

Consider putting the steamed broccoli into the pilaf. Otherwise, place broccoli in covered bowl as far away from Mozy as possible 'til everyone else has had some.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Breakfast Table Banter

Louella (3) "When I grow up I'm gonna be a WOK STAR!"
I smiled and encouraged her. "What will you sing?"
"Tinkle Tinkle Little Star."
12-y-o Jolie: "That would be a shooting star!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anticipating Hurricane Esther Jenn

Hubby Sonny works nights every other month. On the evens, he misses church because he has to work on Sundays.

Jack will be moving out in a few months to go on a mission.

Bob will be moving out this weekend to live with a family whose son has attained sobriety.

That leaves me with four daughters. With only the occasional male presence. Can you say "estrogen overload"?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For Sonny: Stargazing, Surprises, and Sparklies

Twenty years ago today, you asked me as we gazed at the stars
To wish on one of them.

The third of three proposals that Valentine week, this one caught me dozing off.
Had I been wide awake, I wonder . . . would I have been more shocked?

Running to the planetarium that night, after not being sure we wanted to go, I was feeling so yanked around. I even fell and skinned my knee and ripped my hose. But good thing I did, since my ducking into the ladies' room afforded you a few moments to be sure that your plan was under way.

Proposal # 1 was on Sunday night, when we were at your apartment, and it seemed to me like we were planning calendar items. But there must have been some goal setting going on. You asked me to prepare to go to the temple with you. I happily agreed. I dreamt later that night that you and I were at a party, looking for my mom, to tell her of our engagement. First thing in the morning, you called and asked me if we were, in fact, engaged. I laughed and said "No!"

Tuesday evening was a romantic end to a full day of Valentining for you and me. We had surprised each other all day long with cards in lockers, service (remember "breakfast in bed" at 4 pm?), and homemade gifts. We went to the BYU basketball game, and you held my hand. While playing with my ring, you asked me to go ring shopping with you. Afterward, we stood on the bridge between the Marriott Center and the admin bldg. I was on top of the world.

So we agreed to keep our engagement a surprise, a yummy little treat to share just between the two of us, for the time being. Mmm-mmm!

But our ring-shopping date did not happen. You stood me up for hours. That turned out to be a blessing for me, because while I waited for you at our spot in the library, I caught up on my journal writing. I realized that we had something serious going on, and that it was all developing really, really fast.

You finally did show up, and you were nervous. But I did not recognize that. I just noticed that you were holding back. No handholding?! Then you started talking about maybe slowing things down a bit. I thought, "Take your time, do what you gotta do. I'll be right here waiting for you when you get back!"

We walked to my apartment, since we decided that the ring shopping could wait. I was feeling let down, but I was also tired. It was Friday afternoon, and I just started unwinding. I was surprised when, at the last minute, you said, "Let's go!" to the much-earlier-planned planetarium show. Whatever.

I changed clothes fast, but not too fast to tell my old roommate Michelle that "Men were put on this Earth to frustrate and confuse women!"

Wearing my red suede skirt, a borrowed black top from my roomie Loraine, and black boots, I walked with you back up to campus. No, we did NOT walk. You held my hand and made me run! I'm sure we did the walk-20, run-20.

I guess those boots didn't have much traction on the ice.

Hmm, ice, stars, and diamonds . . .
clear, bright, and hard.

I fell on the ice, then a diamond fell into my hand, and finally, we climbed onto the planetarium roof . . . I've been freefalling ever since. Thanks for holding my hand.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How's that?

So my hubby was having a little fun with our very special 7-y-o daughter Mozy. She was bearing her testimony in her own karaoke microphone. Then she was saying "I love you" to him, and then he took turns with her. It became a game of one-uppance and he said, "I love you oodles and gobs!" Mozelle answered, "I love you NOODLES and DOGS!"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Emotional Roller Coaster, Part I

Thursday, January, 8 2009

Peed on a stick. Hubby said "Looks like a nnnnnnnnnegative?"

I looked. Two lines. "No, that's a positive. [Moan.] I was not ready to know that."

I researched midwives and doctors. Made an appointment, midwife canceled because she was at a birth, I made another appointment with a doctor, went to the clinic and paid $25 to pee in their cup, learned more about the relative costs of delivering at different hospitals, canceled appointment, called another doctor, and made another appointment.

As this first prenatal visit loomed, I got a little bit excited. Also nauseous. I was dealing with the roller coaster ride of having a child in drug rehab, and I was so confused about how to pick the right care provider for this pregnancy, and I would cry . . . and take lots of naps . . . and worry about whether I should really exercise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

After hesitating and procrastinating for weeks, we finally tell the children. There are already 6 of them, so we might as well have held a press conference with the Associated Press and CNN. Instead, it went more like this:

Daddy tells Louella (3). She says "I went pee. I want candy."
Daddy tells Mozelle (7) while we're eating lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Mozy tells the waiters that I'm having a baby. Mozy tells her big brother Bob when we pick him up at school that I'm having a baby. Bob (16) looks at me in disbelief. I confirm with a smile. He gets belligerent. I ask Mozy to keep quiet about the baby. I drop Bob off at outpatient group therapy, and then finally Mozy gets to talk again about the baby. We go home, and I get the camera ready, and Mozy tells Jolie on video that I'm having a baby. Jolie (12) gets excited and has questions. Noelle (9) comes home from school, and Jolie tells Noelle on camera (game-show-style) that I'm having a baby. Noelle goes NUTS! Jack (18) comes home from work and Noelle tells Jack on camera (game-show-style) that I'm having a baby. Jack nearly posts the news on Facebook, until I politely ask him not to, as I have not yet shared the news with my parents.

Thursday February 5, 2009

Dropping the girls off at my folks' house before heading off to a parents' support group meeting, I enter their living room as Mozelle tells GrandDad that I'm having a baby. GrandDad looks at me in disbelief. I say, "Guess what?!" GrandDad calls Gram into the room. I tell them both that we are having a baby in mid-September. GrandDad says, "You're 40 years old!" I say, "Yep, and I'll be 41 when I deliver this baby."

Friday February 6, 2009

I take Louella with me to see the OB/gyn. Fill out papers, wait to be called, get weighed, pee in a cup, have blood pressure measured. Nurse says the pregnancy test is positive. I say, "Yeah, I'd hate to feel like this if I weren't having a baby."

I get undressed, meet the doctor. Ultrasound shows nothing but placenta. Doctor says "blighted ovum blah blah blah" and I get to learn more about reproduction. I am relieved that I will get to take some pain relievers now for this crazy headache I've had for over 24 hours.

I get dressed and explain to Louella that there's no baby inside my belly after all. We go into doctor's personal office, where we discuss things like further ultrasounds, D & C procedures, prescriptions for pain medications, and follow-up appointments.

We go to the front desk to check out, where we get a sucker for Louella. I get to make follow-up appointments (3 of them, because the scheduler cannot read the doctor's handwriting!), and I get to pay $25 as co-payment for this lovely experience.

Louella and I head down to the hospital registration department to get ready for a more high-tech ultrasound. It takes a half-mile hike, filling out paperwork twice, and four helpful and polite hospital workers.

While waiting, I try to get Louella to use the bathroom. She is steadfast in her need for only food and water, not for a toilet. I tell her that she has to hold still during the ultrasound. We do a lot of waiting and I do a lot of praying.

The hospital sound system blares loudly the lullaby tune that signals a newborn's arrival three or four times before I get to have my fancy shmancy ultrasound that gives me no more hope than the first one had.

We leave the hospital but not without getting some lunch first. Louella and I eat a turkey sandwich, a fruit salad, and quite a bit of pudding on our way home.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I lived in Heaven

"I was with Jesus, and my mom got a new child, me!"--Louella, age 3

I love these precious moments of truth out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I was tucking my youngest daughters into bed the other night, when my youngest asked me to sleep in her bed. I was glad to get off my feet for a few minutes. I lay down and she snuggled right up next to me and said, "I love you, Big Fat Mommy!" and then she growled.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Like Father Like Son: FAILURE

Like Father Like Son: FAILURE
I really like this post because, well for one thing, it's funny! And also because I've been thinking a lot lately about how I have felt that I have a habit of failing. I'm not sure that's the best way to put it, but I want to learn the behaviors of successful people. Anyway.

Count Your Blessings

Recently I was invited to sing with a quartet of ladies who have grown up in my hometown for the most part, and who all belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We were to sing at a celebration of the 30-year anniversary of our meetinghouse. Our congregation here in this town has grown in the last 3 decades so much! We were a branch when my family moved here way back in 1975. Meetings were held (lots of meetings, all the time!) in a little duplex right by the railroad tracks, not far from the local high school. Fifteen years later, we had a stake!

We chose to sing "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel", a favorite old hymn that reminds us of those early days when we were younger, and when perhaps our pianist only knew a few numbers. But I was thinking about what hymns I remember singing, and I suddenly remembered we ALWAYS used to sing, "Count Your Blessings", which begins with the phrase "When upon life's billows". I love that hymn!

I'm struggling to accept my circumstances lately. I'm tempted to think that 30 years after the groundbreaking for our chapel, I'm 40 yrs old, and 50 lbs overweight, and I wonder if I'm earning a 60% grade on my life . . . so I think it's time to count my blessings, or some of them, anyway:

1. I'm grateful to be the firstborn. This ensured my position as favorite ;)
2. I'm grateful to have been born of 2 goodly parents, taught somewhat according to the learning of my parents, and enriched by the teachings they encountered later.
3. I'm grateful that when I was 3, my parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Grateful to those dedicated missionaries and Flo Agee, our sweet neighbor, who knew the Truth.
4. I'm grateful that when I was 4, we were sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple.
5. I'm grateful that at the age of 5, I started attending school, a private kindergarten held in the home of my teacher, Mrs. Harris. I already knew how to read, thanks to #2.
6. I'm grateful to be one of 6 blessed children of our parents.
7. I'm grateful we moved to our hometown when I was almost 7 years old.
8. I'm grateful to have been baptized and to have received the gift of the Holy Ghost when I was 8 years old.
9. I'm grateful to have had fabulous gospel teachers, such as Esther Peterson. I loved the scripture chases, and memorizing Bible verses. Sister Peterson encouraged us to pick our own favorite verses. I chose Matthew 7:7 when I was 8 or 9 years old. Thanks Dad (Sunday School President)for making sure I got to have Sis. Peterson as my teacher for 2 years in a row :)
10. I'm grateful to have had wonderful school teachers, like Mrs. Hicks, Pearson, Longtain, Greer, Kohlmaier and Franer.
11. I'm grateful to have taken lots of lessons in dance and piano from wonderful teachers like Miss Lesa, LaDawn Cottongim, and Sister Abercrombie (and genealogy too).
12. I'm grateful for the YW program of the church. I loved being secretary of the Beehive class, and loved loved loved going to ward dances!
13. I'm grateful for the home I was brought up in. We moved to a larger house when I was in 7th grade. We had ample room. We had order. My parents loved beauty and peace.
14. I'm grateful for stake dances, the dance festival, and drill team, and especially seminary. Uncomparable teachers like Bishop Campbell and Bishop Layton!!! Remember being taught to rehearse potential situations of peer pressure and how I would react. Also personal interviews with Brother Layton. He asked about future goals, one of which was marriage. When he asked where, I didn't know how to answer, because to me, marriage meant temple marriage. I couldn't conceive of marriage outside the temple. All I could think was, how do I know which temple I'll be closest to when I get engaged?
15. I'm grateful for wonderful loving friends like Tricia Matthews and Lotte Hass, and later, Michelle Lesue.
16. I'm grateful my parents let me grow into greater responsibility, and saw that I was trained. I got a driver's license when I was 17.
17. I'm grateful to have a gift for learning and understanding languages like French and Latin. I had great teachers like Mr. Chandler.
18. I'm Grateful to have been accepted as a freshman student by BYU, with 3 scholarships.
19. I'm Grateful to have been taught by wonderful thoughtful spiritually-led professors like Eugene England.
20. I'm Grateful to have met and married my sweetheart in the Salt Lake City temple.
21. I'm Grateful to have born our first son, a spiritual leader.
22. I'm Grateful to have met wonderful friends (Kent and Keisha H) and to have served in callings in our Wymount ward.
23. I'm Grateful to have a romantic husband who swept me away for an anniversary getaway.
24. I'm Grateful to have born another son, a bold and daring leader of independence.
25. I'm Grateful to have had nurturing environments in which to bring up our family, especially the family home in Orem.
26. I'm grateful to learn more about health and the human body, for continuing education, and good doctors (Remington, Loveland)and friends (LaurieKae).
27. I'm grateful to have born a beautiful baby girl, who will greet us in Heaven someday.
28. I'm grateful to have born a beautiful bright healthy daughter who loves music and dance, and who excels.
29. I'm grateful for opportunities to grow through service, such as my primary music calling. Also having a foreign German student named Laura come and live with us, and the great opportunity of traveling around the world with my husband and baby daughter.
30. I'm grateful to have found a new home when it came our time to move away from the family home, and for good friends (Burtons and Holdens and Norrises and Swans)and a welcoming ward.
31. I'm grateful to have born another healthy beautiful daughter who loves learning, music and dance, and to have birthed at home finally.
32. I'm grateful to have performed as part of a great big community theatre family in a production of Fiddler on the Roof, and to be part of the audience and support team for other shows like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.
33. I'm grateful to have such a supportive extended family, who sacrifice a lot on our behalf, including wonderful in-laws, and Heidi and Matt Parker.
34. I'm grateful to community members and neighbors who served and loved our children.
35. I'm grateful for wonderful city libraries.
36. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as a part-time church service missionary in the Curriculum department, where I worked here a little and there a little. I enjoyed General Conference proofreading so much! The foreign language reading, and the visiting with wonderful proofreaders and editors like Carol Frasier.
37. I'm grateful to have born a beautiful healthy baby girl (whose struggles will teach me patience if it kills both of us) at home.
38. I'm grateful to have a wonderful warm and welcoming hometown to come home to, and to have found the home which I had previously seen only in a dream of promise.
39. I'm grateful to have born another beautiful healthy baby girl, a fair little Texas rose.
40. I'm grateful to have found an inspired program of rehabilitation for our rebelling teen, including AA, KCS, AIR, and the 12-step meetings at our church.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Looking for Jesus

Today Louella (3) said that I had Heaven inside of me, that everyone has Heaven inside of them, and that this Heaven inside each one of us is looking for Jesus.