Thursday, October 30, 2008


I just deleted a medium length post because I decided that less is more on this subject. (I was getting into issues of faith and how I've learned how different we all are in that area. Gone.)

I love blogging. I love that when I come across a blog that I feel uncomfortable reading, either because of the subject matter or the way subjects are addressed, I can just not read them. Even if they're hilarious or clever or well written or intelligent, and "everyone is reading them." I don't have to go back there and I don't have to worry that they might think I'm judging them, which would surely happen if we were in the same Relief Society and I chose not to spend too much time with someone. I love that they can be them, and I can be me without us getting in each other's way.

I just want to tell you guys that I think you are awesome. I should probably be emailing you individually or something, but I am really grateful that the blogs I have chosen to read consistently do not contain things that I feel uncomfortable with. No obnoxious political posts (political post are fine, just leave out the obnoxious), no gossiping, no questioning their faith in an irreverent way or mocking people they disagree with.

I wasn't ever going to include anything political on this blog, and I actually don't think the Prop 8 thing is a political issue, so I just wanted to tell you all that I love that there have been some good positive yes on 8 posts, and none of you have felt the need to vent your feelings on your blogs against the church for it's stance, or against the "evil" people who are against the proposition. I kind of think (hope) it's because you don't struggle with those feelings, but if you do, I recommend this post written by a woman who has tried to reconcile her personal feelings with the church's stance. Half of that post I can't relate to, as I've never struggled with an opinion that went against doctrine, but it's definitely worth a read for those who have.

So sorry to be all serious and whatnot, but I had to thank you guys. And now to lighten the mood, I'll share something else I appreciate. It was going to be part of my birthday post. Yes, that post was originally 72 pages long.

Things Greg's done that I think are amazing:
Greg's mother is something of an artist (but she never paints anymore). His sister is a good artist, too. Out of the blue, a couple of years ago, Greg decided to see if he could draw. He spent all his free time sketching for about 2 months, and hasn't picked up a pencil since (strange guy). As it turned out he can draw. He sketched this while the kids were playing with "goo" (cornstarch and water, no color or anything, that's how lazy I am) on Halloween two years ago. Evie was a fairy and David was Batman, I think.

And I like this, as well:

Quite a lot, actually.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stuff I Was Going to Post on My Birthday but am Posting the Day After Instead

Sometimes when people have a birthday they're allowed to write anything and everything that they want to without caring what anybody says. This also goes for people who always write anything and everything they want to without caring what anybody says.

Proof that I've always been awesome: Journal excerpts (as written)
On Sunday I was reading some of my old journal entries out loud to the kids and I had a really hard time because I was laughing so hard. You know when you keep trying to say something over and over but you can't get it out because you're laughing so hard? Like that. Only when I typed it up the funny was kinda gone out of it.
Feb. 11, 1986 (
age 9)
Sorry I haven't written for so long but my Journal was lost the hole time! Now I will write about Christmas. Well, we went to grandmas, sang songs, opened, presents, ate goodys, and played. I got. . . (list of presents, a description of the following morning and the presents received then, including a Ramses II sweatshirt and tickets to the Ramses II exhibit). . . It was so fun that I wished that day would have lasted forever. Well the time is 9:17 and I don't have anything to write so good-bye.
Oops. I almost forgot! I still haven't written about Halloween in 1985! Well, mostly it was boring, but now I remember one more thing about it. Cold! Oh, gee, I musent forget what I was. A punker. My mom did my hair all (
illegible, looks like, "snandy" I'm guessing I meant to write "standy-upy") and put red floresent hair spray on it. We got lots of candy and had a blast! I remember something really funny!
As we were leaving Eddnes (Edna's) house she was talking to my dad and said, "make sure your kids don't say what some are! Trick-or-treat smell my feet give me something good to eat, if you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear! (I refuse to believe I ever found something like this funny.)
Feb.12, 1986 (
apparently mom and dad were off on some extended trip)
Mom and dad have just pulled out. I feel like bursting into tears so I sing a song Im playing in piano.
I will be writting much more this month than usuall.
(To express my feelings.)They have left us with many treats. I know Ill miss them.
March 17, 1986

Sorry I lied on the other page. I just never think about this book. It is now 8:58 pm so I am very tired. (then an account of my St. Patrick's Day, which I'm skipping)
Hello! It's 8:03, Mar 18. I had a good day. I wore my Ramsese II shirt. I can't beileve I haven't written about the Ramsese II excibite the BYU has set up. I went to the exibit and saw many outragous things. I got my sweat shirt from dad for Christmas and the ticket from mom. We just said family prayer and it is 8:17 I am tired. Tonight we got 1 whole pack of starbursts for cleaning up's dessert good night.
I was so excited to show David, the lover of all things Ancient Egypt, about how I went to the Ramses II exhibit. Love that I said more about the "whole package" of Starbursts that we got for having cleaned up, than I did about the priceless, ancient artifacts I was able to see up close. I really haven't changed a whole lot. *sigh*

And I love the telling what time it was, and the "They left us with many treats." in the middle of my melancholy post about missing my parents. And the going back four months to relate the tale of Halloween 1985, which begins, ". . . it was boring"

Here's one other entry that I remember SO vividly. This one is from earlier on before I understood dates. I never wrote them, I just started my entries like this:
Wene I was seven I Liked PeoPle to feel sorry for me. And I told my dad. He said "come and sit on my lap." So me and anne sat on his lap. And he said "if you get hurt it hurts huh? and we said yes.
And thene we knew that it wasn't good too get hurt just for a stupud reson.

Things the kids have said that made me feel old somehow:
Evie came into the kitchen where I was washing dishes and asked, "What's a typewriter?" After I recovered, I learned that she read something about one in a Boxcar Children book. After I explained what it is a lightbulb came on, "OH!!! Like in Tarzan!!" (Trashing the Camp)

* David from the back seat of the car: "Mom, does everyone have to have iPods when they are big?" "I'm not really sure what you mean?" "Like when you get older do have to have iPods?" "Well, most people have some kind of MP3 or MP4 player, but you don't have to have one. Why are you asking?" "I just think I always want to wear glasses, instead." --- isn't "eye-pods" the most perfect name EVER for contact lenses? I love it.

* (from the mom tag) When asked "how old is mom?" David replies, "82?" I ask him to please be serious for once. He says, with a very sincere question mark on his face, "83?"

Well, sometimes she feels 82, even though she has 50 years to go. . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Best Birthday Present Ever

I celebrated my fifth birthday at my grandparent's house. We always had our family birthday parties at our house, but this time my parents, most especially my mother, seemed to think that it was important to focus on someone else's birth than mine that day. What better way to celebrate your child's birth than by giving birth to another child? She was in the hospital having my present.

I only remember sensing that something was terribly wrong. I most especially remember uncle Carl's (mom's brother) anxious and worried expression as he and grandpa rushed to the car. There were some very serious complications and both mother and baby seemed to be in danger. I learned later that Micah was NOT coming and was extremely stressed. The cord was wrapped around his neck and there were a number of other issues. Mom had been in labor for days and there was something very wrong. My dad had called from the hospital and my frantic grandmother had sent grandpa and uncle Carl racing to the hospital to give my mom a blessing. Soon after the hands of dad, grandpa, Uncle Carl and the doctor were placed on her head, Dr. Lewis proclaimed, "I think I can get this dude out!" And with a yank of the foreceps, he did!! Out came a very blue little boy.

I remember later that night, when the rest of us arrived at the hospital, the dear doctor asked who the birthday girl was. I stepped forward shyly. He said, "well, I think the birthday girl should be the first to touch her baby brother!" Following the doctor's instructions, I reached my hand forward, through the little twisty things on the incubator, toward his bruised and misshapen head, and lightly petted his his warm, pink skin. A bond was formed.

Throughout our childhood I remember trying to look after little Micah. He had his favorite big brother Adam, and his beloved mother for a summer sister, Su, but I was always proud that this little guy was mine. I remember one night when we were sleeping at grandma and grandpa's house while visiting Utah from California Micah woke up cold in the night. I was the only one that woke up as well and got him settled with an extra blanket. I remember wondering why he was so grateful for that, and wishing that I had more opportunities to do things like that for him.

These days, though we rarely (never?) talk to each other, I think, and hope, that Micah knows that he is very special to me. Not sure how it is that I feel MORE special because I share my birthday, instead of feeling less special, but I think it may have to do with who I'm sharing it with. We share more than just a date of birth, though.

* We both love(d) hot dogs. There were never any arguments over what we would have for our birthday dinner.
* In some ways I think he and I are the most emotional members of the family(though we show it differently)
* We both have longish faces? Or eyes a little close together? Not sure what it is, but we look a little alike
* The corners of both of our mouths turn up slightly. Micah's is more Joker-ish than mine is, but mine is bad enough that my friend in high school had a hard time talking to me while looking in my face because she would always burst out laughing about the upturn on the edges of my mouth.
* We both were smart in school (is it bad manners to add a "quite" or "extremely" (kidding) in here if I'm not only talking about me?) but neither of us applied ourselves, or got very good grades.
* We both like to eat sweets quite a lot. Like way too much, if we're not careful.
* We both have spiky hair and nice little beards.

Oh wait. It appears I ran out of ideas. My beard is actually much thinner than his, and my hair is only spiky about a year after I give birth to a child (if you've never had one, that's from all the hair that fell out after the birth growing back in)

Micah is such a smarty. He has about the sharpest sense of humor of anyone I know. He is a very loyal sibling and friend. He has always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. He's not half ugly, either (read: drop dead gorgeous. Are you allowed to say things like that about your brother?)

I really love this guy. I feel privileged to have this special bond with him. Although I may not show that I care like I should, I hope he knows that I think about him and remember him in my prayers. I wish him all the best this life as to offer, and the fullest of happiness.

Here you see the beautiful girl he's chosen for keeps, Heather. They will be married in June, and I am so happy for them. I wish them the very best.

Love you, Micah! Happy Birthday!

On our 17th and 22nd birthday our oldest brother and his wife decided to celebrate our birthday the same way mom celebrated my 5th. Our nephew Noah was born. He loves basketball almost as much as his birthday uncle. And he has his birthday aunt's long face! Happy Birthday, Noah!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Part III: A Relationship with Some Long Distance Parts

(The next installment for SOS hosted by 2 hearts at My life in type. Theme "Long Distance Relationships." Beginning of the story here, and you can follow the links at the end of each post. Remember these posts are written as my own journal, but I'm still linking them up at Soap Opera Sunday. Whatever.)

Let's start this session with some pictures. This is sort of how I thought of Greg at first. Very Polish (skinny, tucked in shirt, Polish shirt and flag). He's the one on the left. On the right is Dewayne, one of the RMs who served in Poland. Funny guy. This is how he dressed to go to school. Just kidding. I think he was in a dance group or something.

Me sticking my head out of the kitchen window of our basement apartment. In the background you can see Greg's apartment]

Summertime roommate Sarah (long before she was Sarah of Hope is Power), me and Andrea (when she was just "Me" and there was no "3" in Me + 3) standing in our kitchen. Behind us on the left you see the door that leads to the stairs going outside. Behind us on the right you see the door to the bathroom. Right off of the kitchen. Disgusting. That apartment was a hole.

Now I've mentioned that Greg and I dated on and off. This morning I asked him if he'd write a post from his perspective (per Erin's suggestion). I knew he wouldn't be that excited about it, so I just asked him for his side of the story.

L: So why did we keep dating off and on?
G: Well, I always knew. [Here he gave an analogy that I won't share but basically saying that even though "he knew" he still felt like he couldn't be sure until he'd dated everyone else in the world] "I thought, it's so fun being with Lisa, but is it Lisa? Maybe this is just what it's like when you're dating a girl."
L: Oh, and I mentioned in my last post about how you were always visiting all the girls in the ward. Making the rounds to all their apartments. Just so you know.
G: What? I did not! I sometimes visited girl's apartments but not that much.
L: Of course you did. You liked so many girls and you would visit them all the time!
G: WHAT!?! I didn't like any girls in our ward. I went on a few dates with girls from work (MTC) but that's all.
L: No you were sorta after a bunch of girls in the ward. Remember S-----?
G: Oh yeah, but I wasn't interested in her for long.
L: And how about D----? You were really hung up on her.
G: Oh yeah.
L: And A-----? And remember J-----?
G: Okay, okay. You've made your point.

So no, I didn't misrepresent the case. He liked a lot of girls. Whenever we ended a dating term it was because one of us realized that HE was getting restless.

Once when we weren't dating, Greg and one of his roommates were taking dates snowshoeing. Brad was taking Andrea, and Greg was going with a girl from upstairs. The morning of, Greg called me to say that his date had some emergency come up and he wondered if I would go with him. I was so excited (but not too excited, as I was kind of the only person who he could count on going with him last minute, but snowshoeing? awesome!!...) Here we are:

That was a fun "date".

Just before Christmas Greg was making his travel plans. He always spent his Christmases with his "adoptive" American family, the Hughes, the family of one of his former mission companions, Vaughn. Vaughn's younger brother, Jason, was Greg's good friend and roommate. They always spent Christmas in Oregon and then headed down to San Fransisco to visit his Grandmother. For some reason we decided that from there, Jason and Greg should fly down to Burbank and visit me for a few days. They did and we had a great time, except for the fact that Greg and I acted like we were dating even though technically we weren't. Jason was a great sport and we did Hollywood, Disneyland, and a Singles New Years dance. During that Christmas in Oregon, Jason gave Greg some very good advice that got him thinking. Thinking, but not acting, really. (I think he gave him the idea that someone (specific) might steal me from him if he didn't make a permanent-type move. Of course I didn't know about this until after we were married)

I mentioned that I didn't really go on many actual dates. Everyone knew Greg and that he liked me and wouldn't ask me out because it was taboo. So Greg would see other girls 'til his heart was content (not really, he was never content until he realized what his problem was, which is at the end of the story) but I couldn't date anyone else.

I had a few guys tell me that they wanted to ask me out but they didn't want Greg to come after them. I was sort of flattered but mostly annoyed that I was missing opportunities. Once when I was going to a Christmas Around the World (or whatever that annual thing is at BYU where they have people performing from all different cultures) with my good friend Lance, he asked as we were pulling out of the driveway, "Are you sure I'm not making anyone too jealous, here?" Ugh!

Another time (when we weren't dating) when I was on my way to Greg's house I met one of his roommates in between our houses. I told him I was going to see Greg. He said he was on his way over to see Lisa because he had something to ask her. I told him I wasn't sure if she was at home, but he could go and check (this guy was really hilarious and didn't really hide the fact that he liked me). He looked a little flustered and then kept going on to my apartment. I felt a little weird, but since he kept going, I kept going, assuming I'd talk to him later. He came back to his apartment a little while later and I asked him what it was he needed. He said, "Oh, never mind." I found out later that he'd asked my roommate out on a very cool date.

It was more of the same all winter and spring. At the end of the school year (BYU and Head Start both) I started thinking that I really just needed to go somewhere where I would be able to date other people. Sticking around here wasn't working and it was keeping me hung up on Greg. Around this time Andrea stopped listening to me whine on and on about Greg. Of course I felt bad about having dumped everything on her (too bad people didn't have blogs back then, because I would TOTALLY have done what Cordy is doing. And the story would have been very similar, too, except the posts would have been 10 times as long) and I could feel that this was really going to help me get through this. (I know we never actually talked about this Andrea, but I do thank you for that).

Once, around this time, Greg and I went for a drive "to get lost" in the hills of Provo. We did this all the time and, on occasions when we actually found our way to the top, we would park and look over the city and chat. This time while we were talking about us I just told him flat out that there was no reason for us to give it another try anymore. I told him that there was no future for us. None. He disagreed and was upset that I was giving up on us and tried to convince me etc.

Heaven smiled on me (it often does, you see, because it's very nice like that). My sister (Su, married) who was soon to be moving away from Provo to Maryland told me of a nannying position available 45 minutes from where they would be living. I thought, NO WAY. Nannying? my thing. Waaaaaaay across the country from Greg? just what I needed. With family living nearby? I'll take it!!! This was seriously an answer to my prayers. I contacted the family and got the job. This was at the beginning of July. I would fly out early in August. My plan was to nanny for a year and save money for my mission.

For some reason Greg and I started dating again, without talking about it. Suddenly we were just holding hands and stuff. We were dating. This was the best period of dating ever. EVER. There was NO uncertainty. I didn't feel like he was at all restless. We both knew when it would end, and we cared so much about each other that we wanted to spend as much time together as we could before I left. It was heaven. We never talked about what would happen when I left.

For two of our last 4 weeks together Greg was in Salt Lake City helping a Polish television crew with translation. They were there to cover the 150th anniversary of the pioneers coming into the Salt Lake Valley. I missed him so much while he was gone, but loved to hear how the filming was going etc. Instead of having Greg help with translation, they decided to have him be the host/narrator of the entire documentary! He was a star, and had the opportunity to bear his testimony on screen for his entire country to hear!

I was able to attend the whatever-it's-called ceremony when the modern day "pioneers," who had made the trek to emulate their progenitors, came into the valley. Here we are, there on Ensign Peak. I've got my media pass around my neck (which meant I could go anywhere).

Do you guys know who Dan Rascon is? News anchor there in SLC, I think (looked it up, KUTV2 News). Back then he worked for the church and he was assigned to the Polish TV crew, so Greg spent those two weeks with him. We both think he's a really great person.

I had one other experience while the TV crew was in Provo. We went to a huge pioneer celebration at Cougar Stadium. Here I am on top of the stadium with some of the crew.

At one point all the missionaries from the MTC, thousands of them, came flooding onto the field and marched around the track singing a hymn. It was one of the most moving things I've ever witnessed. My sister had just left for her mission to Korea, so I was extra weepy. In that moment a sudden impression came over me that saddened me, and my tears of wonder and gratitude for those missionaries and the restored Gospel turned, for a moment, to tears of mourning for a loss. I understood that I was not going to serve a mission.

But I also knew I was flying out to my nannying job in one week.

Part Four

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Photographic Prophecy Phulphilled

Okay everyone. Remember whose blog this is? Mine. Remember who gets to make up the post titles? I do. I also get to decide if they're awesome or lame. Not you. This one is awesome, so please stop giving it dirty looks (or furrowing your brow at it or rolling your eyes or whatever that is you're doing). (I'm not actually mad at you for thinking it's a dumb title, don't worry.)

Greg scanned all the pictures I wanted for posting on the Soap Opera Sundays. I had him scan an extra one because I felt I really must share. Now don't look down yet. I must explain.

I hate pictures of myself. All those I will be posting in the next little while are no exceptions. I honestly have looked at each one and thought, "I look so weird in this picture." Then I came to a very unfortunate conclusion. That's how I look.

Back in the post about my high school prom, I told you that I couldn't find my pictures from high school anywhere. Well, I found two mixed in with pictures of my post college days (I went to Ricks College and then lived in Provo with BYU students for a year, so they were mixed in with pictures from that year). I'll share one of them with you today.

First, though, you need to understand. I was a babysitter from age 10. I babysat maybe two nights a week from that age up (I really wonder how the Wardle's and the the Henson's are doing these days. I keep hoping one of their kids will end up in Poland on a mission and I'll bump into them at church one Sunday). My senior year of high school I babysat everyday for about 5 hours after school.

When I was getting ready to go to Ricks my mom showed me a major called Professional Preschool Education. It got you a specialized Associate degree (meaning little or no general ed-- I passed the AP tests in the three GE classes I would have had to take, so for me it was all Early Childhood Ed. all the time) that was meant to qualify you to run a preschool, as it gave experience in assisting, teaching, overseeing and managing. I took it. I loved it.

After that I went to Provo and got that job at Head Start that I've mentioned. After that I was a nanny. After that I was a mother's helper. After that I was a mother. Do you see the pattern? No? Oh. I always worked with children.

Not to brag, but I was great with kids. I loved watching them, playing with them, helping them be creative, teaching them, and even disciplining them. There was something about a behavioral challenge that I just loved. Figuring out how to show empathy and still teach the inappropriateness of their actions. Coming up with a suitable distraction or punishment or way to teach an important lesson. Speaking in a way that would command respect and admiration and obedience all at once. Okay, I'm getting way hung up on myself here. But I really loved it, and I think I was above average, which I'm only mentioning because... you'll see why.

I was patient. I don't remember ever feeling angry at any of those kids. I was a bundle of energy. People told me I was going to be an amazing mother. I hoped so.

Then I had my own kids. I was an unbelievably amazing mother when Evie was a baby. After that? Two kids? TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY. All the things I had been? GONE.

That's why I thought it was so funny when I found this picture. This is from way back when I was babysitting after school my senior year of high school. It was one of my last days before I would leave for Ricks, and I took Anne (sister) along to take some shots of the girls. I think this one shot was totally a prophecy of things to come (as opposed to a prophecy of things that have already happened). It is a revelation of how I would feel once I had my own children. I certainly didn't feel it back then, no matter how much it looks like it. It was a trick of the blinking/posture/gaping mouth or something.

I think this was the day after prom or something, because my lips are dyed red and my fingernails are painted red (which you would see if you clicked on the picture. Which you won't). I don't do red, but I did for prom, with my black dress and shoes.

Besides the fact that I look 11 years old, don't I look like a forty year old mother of 12? I mean bedraggled-ness-wise? Like The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe?

* In case you want to see, I posted the other high school picture that I found of me and my friend and Chris and his friend after graduation. You can jump by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Brings You To These Parts?

I love when people share some of the search words that brought people to their blog. I especially love when Alison Wonderland does it. That link will take you to my favorite "Whatcha Lookin' For Wednesday" of hers so far.

The only problem is that Alison comes up with the best responses ever, and I can't do that, so I'll just share the key words and what I think about them (this is probably what she was doing, too, but she's just naturally SO funny.)

teenager shaky stomach pain cough - Not funny really at all. I feel so bad to have wasted this poor person's time (probably a mother), since I'm pretty sure it took her to my post about breaking into my house when my arms were shaky and my stomach was a flutter. I doubt this teenager experienced these symptoms as a result of having tried to climb up and over a balcony.

lessons learned in "candy freak" This one was a lot more hilarious to me before I realized that Erin had actually left a comment recommending the book Candy Freak. It was mostly linking to that. I really do need to get my hands on that book. . .

thick rectangular glasses super dork of the universe I'm sure most people have thought all these words together, but me and the searcher were the only two that typed them up. I feel quite a bond with this person. Too bad it doesn't give email address when it tells you what the person was searching for.

"cared for still" What was this person hoping to find? Probably not a post about the spiders in our garage. . .

is it bad manners not to say goodbye to polish family visitors I'm not sure their being Polish comes into play here. Maybe this person was hoping that it was good Polish etiquette to ignore departing relatives.

Brownies or dried fruit and nuts + which is more healthy If you honestly think that fruit and nuts might be less healthy why would you even ask? EAT THE BROWNIES!!!

And speaking of eating brownies, on Sunday I made my favorite brownies which I love love love. I was short an egg which somehow made them extra fudgey and I was out of milk chocolate and used white instead. These brownies were so good I could NOT stop eating them. Not like I just kept wanting to eat them because they were so delicious, but like I COULD NOT STOP EATING THEM.

And accidentally it was during the day (yesterday). I was eating brownies during the day. I forgot the rule about never leaving the spatula or knife or whatever you use to "accidentally" make a crooked edge that has to be corrected crookedly in the opposite direction etc. etc. etc. in the pan! I know that rule. I just forgot it Sunday night before bed and in the morning I started correcting. Then I told myself that I was very, very bad and I wasn't getting any brownies for dessert as punishment. Then Greg didn't eat his after dinner (he recently saw those pictures he's supposed to scan for me of us when we were dating where I'm fatter than I am now and he's thinner than he is now. . .) for dessert so I ate it for him. I'm going to try to not make ANY dessert tonight to compensate.

So I'm feeling slightly low about pigging out on the brownies (or mostly that I don't get dessert tonight) and also about not being hilarious like Alison (not really, I'm okay about that), but then I remembered about THIS:

Pam at McEwens gave it to me!! Thanks so much, Pam!! I don't feel terribly creative in general, so this was a nice surprise.

I'm going to break the trend and pass this on to only one person. I think awards would be much more awesome if you only chose ONE person to give it to who you think really meets the requirements. Of course we want to give awards to everyone we read because we read them because we love them (I hope!), but I want to choose one truly creative blogger here.

Nance at Wash Your Hands Afterwards writes about everything. Seriously everything. I think that means she's truly a creative blogger. As in her blogging is creative, and not necessarily just the things she says shows that she's creative (so many of you guys are creative in different ways).

So she gets it!

I'm off to NOT eat any brownies or anything else until tomorrow evening. *sigh* Maybe I'll settle for some dried fruit and nuts since it'll probably be less healthy than brownies anyway! ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Feeding the Birds

Here's another journal type entry written for me. I'll copy the heading of my earlier one: **I was going to close comments on this one, as it is more of a journal entry than a regular post, but of course you are welcome to read it if you like. I have sometimes read through posts and came to the "comments closed" at the end and felt like I ran into a wall, which is why I'm leaving them open, but I certainly don't want people to feel they should either read or respond to this post**

On my way home from taking the kids to school, I was driving down a small side street that was littered with yellow and brown leaves. There was a group of little black birds feasting on something on the side of the street. I drove slowly by and they all flew up into a nearby tree. A few yards farther down was another group of birds doing the same thing. As these ones flew up into the tree I started thinking, "What are those birds eating? I didn't see anything there. How weird that birds just take care of themselves. How do they live? They just always have something to eat, but they have to find it for themselves. I suppose it's just like all animals who have to hunt or gather to keep themselves alive. How strange it would be to live in that kind of uncertain way." etc.

When we first came to Poland, we had come straight from the terror of Greg having graduated and not found a real job, and I was staying home with the baby. Things were very tight and we were nervous. Then he got the job here in Poland and we moved here. After a year or two we realized that we were very comfortable. We had everything we needed and were able to buy new things as we needed them (I sort of gage how we're doing financially with how I feel when a new school year starts and we have to buy clothes/books or an appliance breaks and needs replacing). There was no financial stress at all. After the long pause after David came a baby and we got a bigger car (we were literally smashing the car seats together and against the doors every time we closed the car door). Then we had to move. We had been tripping over each other in our two bedroom apartment and Aaron's crib was in the hallway. We needed a bigger place.

When we first moved into this house, we did it knowing that we could not afford to live here unless we rented out the basement apartment. Before we did that we changed our minds and decided that we would have some business of our own, and settled on an English school. We, okay Greg, has been working very hard setting up a web page, planning lessons, designing fliers, delivering them etc. We have been living in this house now for 10 months without any extra income. That's 10 months of not affording this place. Now we have been trying to advertise and get classes organized and things are extremely slow. We don't have any classes put together at all. We haven't started teaching. We haven't started making money, and our finances are stretched waaaaay over their limit. There is a great deal of anxiety and worry between me and Greg. We rarely talk about it. We mostly just laugh (remember when Greg asked if the couch I was looking at in the paper would fit in our tent? It's laugh or cry.) and try to do the best we can. But it's scary.

When I got home from dropping the kids off at school that day I put sick little Aaron down for a nap. In the still and silence I remembered my new-formed resolution to read through the New Testament before Christmas. I opened up to where I'd left off the night before. I was in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. I'm always looking for what the Lord wants me to hear while I study, of course, and Matthew 6:25 was one of those things:

. . .Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Oh! Comfort! Then I read the next verse, 26:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

This happened right after I had thought about those birds. Right after. At the time, I had thought nothing more than what a strange/difficult life birds have.

I wept. Birds don't really have a difficult life. Their loving father provides for them, and they know He will.

Are ye not much better than they? I could almost feel my Father's arms around me.

I am so very grateful for a loving Father who is very aware of my needs and concerns and heartaches. I am so grateful that he finds ways to speak to and comfort me, sometimes through the words of his Son, if I will but listen.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Part II: A Relationship with Some Long Distance Parts

Here's the next installment, continued from here, written for Soap Opera Sunday, which is hosted this month by 2 hearts at My Life In Type. This month's theme is Long Distance Relationships. I hate this post, as it reminds me of things I don't like about myself.

Summer ended and fall semester began. I got the job of my dreams (seriously) working as an assistant teacher at Head Start. With the new semester came new roommates. My roomies were the very best the world had to offer. I love them. My room roommate was awesome. We got along famously.

[picture coming soon (once it's scanned on Monday) Me sticking my head out of the kitchen window of our basement apartment. In the background you can see Greg's apartment]

After work I would spend time with my roommates and the guys next door. Greg spent all kinds of time making his rounds on our block, especially at the girl's houses. He won't like how that makes him sound, but he really was good friends with most everyone in the ward, and he did spend a lot of time in girl's apartments. Still, he spent a lot of time at our apartment, too, and we were spending a fair amount of time alone together as well.

I liked him. A lot. I really don't remember how it started, but he wanted us to start dating. I said no. I didn't think he was ready to be in the kind of relationship I was looking for. Not the kind that leads to marriage, necessarily, but the kind where the other person doesn't spend a good deal of time visiting various apartments full of other girls. I think I was a tad bit possessive, but at least I knew it and kept it simple so I wouldn't have to get all ugly and jealous (maybe it was already too late about the ugly part). If we were just great friends I could force myself to be okay with him being everywhere all the time.

So everyone kind of knew we liked each other, but we weren't exclusive. Until the day I had an awful, awful, awful day at work. Greg and I came back from somewhere and were talking in the car and I poured out my soul to him. Then I realized that we should definitely be more than just friends, because he was too perfect in every way. I told him we should be a thing. He was like, "Finally!!!"

I won't give any salacious details about our first kiss, but I will tell you that he walked me down the stairs into my apartment and kissed me and then went home to start in on his homework. After he left, I could hear him passing one of the girls upstairs. She said, "Hi Greg! How are you?" He said," Reeeeeeally good." I suppose the fact that I remember that tells you how much I liked hearing it. I was feeling the very same way.

That period of dating lasted an extremely short time. I won't even say how short because it's rather embarrassing. But we went back to being friends, by mutual consent and I started this awful cycle of wishing we could be together, but knowing that it wouldn't be good for us.

I worked a lot and played a lot. It was the best time of my life. There were so many terrific people in our ward that there was always something going on. Always someone to visit or somewhere to go. Greg and I gave dating another shot. We lasted a little longer, but it just really wasn't going to work. But we still spent loads of time together. At that point I felt quite a lot like Cordy, if you follow her, except that both Greg and I knew we liked each other.

Okay, I was going to go on and on about that, because, trust me, I could go on and on about it (and on). Actually, I DID go on and on about it to my wonderful roommate, Andrea. Poor, dear Andrea. Andrea who was so awesome. Andrea who was cute. Andrea who was athletic. Andrea who was clever. Andrea who made people pee their pants with her hilarity. And who made some people not really get it because she was a little too smart for them. Andrea the girl anyone would want to be roommates with. And the girl who any roommate at all interested in guys would sort of wish didn't live in their neighborhood. There was this tiny bit of competition. Only a tiny bit, but it was there. Andrea was a free spirit and I felt kind of tied down because none of the guys ever knew if Greg and I were dating or not, so how could any of them ask me out?

[picture to come of summertime roommate Sarah (long before she was Sarah of Hope is Power, me and Andrea (when she was just "Me" and there were not the three in Me + 3) standing in our kitchen. Behind us on the left you see the door that leads to the stairs going outside. Behind us on the right you see the door to the bathroom. Right off of the kitchen. Disgusting.]

In October I went home to California for a few days for my birthday. One day a lovely basket of flowers (really nice ones) arrived on our doorstep. For me. I was so excited. I opened the tiny envelope. There were 2 words on it, and they weren't "happy" and "birthday." It said, "STO LAT!" Oh! A mystery!! I rushed to get my Polish book (I'd been trying to learn a little, and knew how to say "jam" and "what's new?" neither of which were on that card, thankfully) and translated, STO means. . . one hundred. Wha? There must be some other meaning that they weren't listing? LAT means. . . year? One hundred years? Not "happy birthday?" Not "I love you?" I reeeeally wanted it to be I love you. Or at least I miss you. Or at least anything more meaningful than "one hundred years*." But I had my flowers and I knew they were from Greg, and that it was a huge effort for a someone who'd lived in the country for only a few years to have flowers delivered to someone living far away, before the Internet was all that much of a thing. I was happy. (Do you see that this paragraph constitutes the "long distance" part in this post?)

I've really lost track of my own story, because I'm not sure if we tried dating again right after that or not. It doesn't really matter, though. All you need to know is that it was more of the same. I think it's safe to say Greg and I were best friends. He went out with other girls. I spent time with other people but never dated anyone else, because I'm not the type to ask guys out. So I was left to wallow in self pity. But that was only at night before bed when I would unload on poor, dear Andrea.

I knew something had to change. This was just a terrible cycle. I couldn't imagine losing Greg as a friend, but I also knew I was being torn up with our on again, off again. It was lame and I knew I couldn't handle it much longer. Plus I didn't like the jealous side of me that I tried very hard to suppress, usually unsuccessfully.

Okay, this post was a downer (hate single life drama!!), so I'm going to console myself now, and try to give a more balanced look for you guys: I really was very busy and social. And I was always looking for ways to serve others. So apart from that relationship, I really liked myself, and even when it came to things with Greg, I'm not sure what I could have/should have done differently. Especially since I would never want to change the final outcome of all the heartache!
And there will be pictures of Greg just as soon as I can get them up!

*I found out later that Sto Lat is essentially the way they say Happy Birthday.

Part Three

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Kept Myself From Going Into a Sugar Coma Last Week

I've mentioned before about my sugar addiction. From the earliest days I can remember I have eaten loads of candy all the time. Through my first two pregnancies I ate even more than usual. It was awful, but I turned out some super sweet kids because of it.

About a year after David was born I got sick of being the frumpiest woman in all of Poland, and possibly the world. I'd lost my pregnancy weight, but I still had all my old late nineties baggy clothes. I did some shopping, got a haircut and wore a tad more make up than before. I was feeling great. For some reason at this point I decided to go off of chocolate. I had already decided that candy wasn't worth the calories, but I was still gorging on all things chocolate. I decided not to eat it, unless it was in something baked (I knew I could never give up brownies and cookies). I went more than two years without eating much chocolate. (And I don't think it was related, but I was at my thinnest ever, too. Okay, maybe it was related)

Then I got pregnant with Aaron and one day decided I wanted a bar of chocolate. Milk chocolate with bits of toffee, just like in Andes Toffee Crunch. Oh, it was yummy! I didn't stop after that. I realized with a sense of pride in my forethought, how unfair it would have been to this poor little fetus, to not give him the same chance at sweetness that I'd given his siblings.

I totally believe it the "moderation in all things" thing. I recently realized (maybe had some inkling before, too) that eating 2 candy bars and 15 cookies in a 24 hour period isn't really all that moderate. So I decided to go back to my no chocolate/candy that hasn't been baked into something. I also decided that I could only eat those somethings after dinner. So no eating cookies all day every day, either. It's been like a week and a half and I'm still totally alive. I'm shocked about that.

Some of you know that Greg took on a kiosk that sold primarily media, cleaning/personal hygiene supplies, school supplies and candy. It was a great (cough cough) experience for him. No, actually it really was. He learned a ton and also I'm so glad I can say "was" because that means he doesn't have the kiosk anymore and that the wackiness that was our lives has decreased slightly as a result. (He did it for almost a year and then decided to call it quits, and handed it back to the chain)

Another result, though is that we have suitcases full of stuff. Things like:

Toilet paper, soap, deodorant, laundry detergent, etc. all in brands I would never choose.

20 little paintbrushes, 15 pencil sharpeners, 10 glue sticks, 7 black permanent markers, etc.

AND LOTS OF CANDY! By lots I mean maybe 75 candy bars, plus little individually wrapped chocolates and fizzy candies. (oh, and 50 little boxes of extra strong tic tacs. bleh.)

So, if I hadn't started my "diet of moderation" 2 days before this stuff arrived at our house, I can guarantee (mostly because there is no way to prove it, so I'm safe here) that I would have eaten and eaten without ceasing and ended up in a sugar coma. As it is, though, I've eaten none of it.

My "diet" saved my life!! I'm sort of sure of it.

Also, my moderation motto is keeping me from going all house cleaning crazy or craft crazy with the other takings. Yes, I practice a great deal of moderation in cleaning and crafting. I'm really very good about those things.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Have an Unforgettable Weekend

Start by getting ready on Saturday morning for an overnight trip for which you are leaving on...Saturday morning. Laugh while racing around the house getting things ready when you think back on all the times people have said, "Oh, you must really have the packing-for-the-weekend thing down." Falser words were never (or rarely) spoken.

Finally leave the house only one and half hours later than you had originally intended.

Realize when you are almost out of town that you left the "food bag" with the sandwiches and drinks on the floor in the hall. Be very mad at self for forgetting. Drive back to get the food bag.

When your husband comes back to the car with the bag, be terrified to learn that you had left the iron on. Oh My Gosh (that's a verb) for 10 minutes. Realize that you were obviously inspired to leave the food bag at home, and wonder why you weren't just inspired to turn the iron off before leaving with the food bag, instead.

Prepare your talk for the meeting on the drive. (This will be significantly easier if you did a mini-prep in your head while washing dishes the night before)

Because you are conducting this meeting, in the five minutes before it starts, try to choose hymns that are appropriate to the subject of the meeting. This will require searching through many titles, and determining whether or not there is something in each song about the subject, using either your memory, or your extremely slow skimming through Polish skills. In the same five minutes meet and greet a dozen sisters who you love and haven't seen for a while and would like to have an actual conversation with instead of glancing up from a hymn book to say "Oh!! Hello! I'm SO glad to see you, even if it looks like I'm much more glad to see this hymn book!" Realize that sometimes 5 minutes isn't quite enough time in which to choose two hymns.

While giving the talk (in Polish) realize that you were wrong in the past to be slightly annoyed with people who nod their heads throughout a talk or lesson. Feel very grateful that most of the sisters listening to your talk nod their heads periodically throughout. Suppress the nagging feeling that those nods might just imply, "Yes, we heard the part about 'the closer we draw to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the easier it will be for us to love and forgive each other and be closer as sisters in Relief Society.' " because you are very much aware of the fact that you said that sentence, or a very similar one at least 4 or 5 times. Instead, tell yourself that they're assuring you that they understand your Polish and agree with what you're saying.

When you get to the hotel learn that because they are booked, besides the double bed (which, you'll remember, you and your husband don't share with kids) there is only a little fold out bed with a small blanket and pillow plus one other blanket. As in NO CRIB. Act bewildered/frustrated (because you feel that way) and tell your husband that you think it's a terrific idea for him to figure out how to make it all work. Once he comes up with a plan, point out it's weaknesses and make a few minor changes to it and one major one. Wonder why he puts up with you.

After sleeping for 1 1/2 hours waken to the screaming of the baby who has not only slid off the bed, but ended up under the chair you put against the bed to prevent that from happening. As you try to extract him in the dark realize that, while his body is under the chair, his head is trying to get under there with the rest of him, but can't get past the bar that goes across the legs of the chair. When your husband wakes to help you rescue the wailing child, and starts lifting the chair, scream at him (over the baby noise) NOT TO LIFT THE CHAIR because baby's head is stuck in there funny. Finally, through teamwork, release the child, and hug and rock him until the whimpering stops. Lay him back down and rethink your safety measures.

Don't fall back to sleep for 2 hours because there are some extremely loud guys standing outside.

20 minutes after you finally do fall back to sleep, waken again and realize that you have to get rid of the stupid bed the baby's on and just put the thin mattress on the floor. Learn that this is MUCH harder than it seemed at the time the idea popped into your head, as the mattress is connected with some funky hooks. Work up a sweat, but finally succeed and be grateful the baby is safe.

Don't really fall back to sleep until an hour before your alarm will go off. Wake up again 15 minutes before alarm time because of the noisy neighbors. Get out of bed and try to open your dry puffy eyes. Realize that you got less than 3 hours of sleep, all broken up. Fear for your ability to stay awake/not explode at the children during a 3 hour meeting.

Learn at checkout, that The Soccer Game last night (a BIG one) took place in the very town you're in, hence the noise (the non-baby related noise) all night long.

Survive and enjoy the meeting and finally head home through the autumnal beauty that is the Polish countryside. Wonder how your husband stays awake the whole drive.

Be grateful that the items listed above are not the only things you remember from the weekend because you heard some amazing words and music, and are on the road to an improved life because of them (you really are! Er, I actually am!! We had a terrific District Conference, and between that and the General Conference talks we listened to on the drive, I'm a new person. This is the part of the post in which I am being serious.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Relationship with Some Long Distance Parts

I'm following the theme (Long Distance Relationships) for Soap Opera Sunday (okay, sort of) for the next few weeks to tell the tale of my relationship with Greg, and again, because the journal I wrote it in went missing years ago. Hosted this month by 2 hearts at My Life in Type

The relationship began long distance. It was the beginning of summer and I had just graduated from Ricks College and moved to Provo to live with my sister who was attending BYU. We lived in a house off campus, and (almost) our entire ward lived on that one block. My roommates were wonderful, and so was the neighboring duplex full of guys.

After I'd lived there for a few weeks, my rommies started talking about some "Greg" character. Soon they started talking specifically to me about this personage. How wonderful he was. How well we'd get along. How he was the favorite of all the guys living next door (many of whom had served missions in Poland). How hilarious he was. How he and I should totally hook up. (and I, of course, was wondering, "If he's so wonderful and beloved, why am I supposed to hook up with him? Why are you all trying to pawn him off on me?")

I hadn't even met him. Apparently he was Polish and had gone home to visit his family for the summer. There was something of a countdown to the day he would return. I remember coming home from somewhere and my roommate Carmen grabbing me by the arm and saying, "Greg's back! You have to come and meet him!!" She dragged me across the yard of the neighboring duplex, up the stairs and through the open screen door into a room full of strangers.

Yes, the room was full. It seems Carmen wasn't the only person that wanted to see him immediately on his return. She pointed him out to me. He was sitting on the floor, but I could tell that he was tall and very thin. He also looked very European with his thin rimmed glasses, his large eyes and not terribly small nose, his never-braced teeth (they weren't crooked, but they had personality), and his not very matching clothes. He seemed nice. He was talking and laughing with people and playing with a cute black puppy. He had amazing hands (best hands I've ever seen, before or since) and I loved the way he pet and shook and wrestled with that little puppy. We eventually made our way across the room to him and Carmen introduced us. He shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me. Then we wandered out and went back home.

WOW!! What an impression! Apparently I had made quite an impression on him, too because the next day we crossed paths with each other and he held out his hand and introduced himself again. I explained that I'd met him the night before at his house. He didn't remember (makes perfect sense, it was crowded, loud and he'd seen me for 3 seconds). We chatted for a second and went our separate ways.

A few days later a friend of mine came to visit and showed me a letter she'd received from her boyfriend who was serving a mission in Poland. He'd written something in Polish and I was going to take her next door to one of the returned missionaries from Poland. The one we talked to suggested we ask Greg. He came into the room and shook hands with my friend and then reached out to shake my hand. While we were shaking I told him we'd met before. Twice. He apologized and translated the letter. Within a week or two he'd asked me for my friend's phone number and asked her out.

He was friends with my roommates and all the other girls in the ward. And he spent a lot of time with girls. Chatting and teasing. We were around each other quite a lot. I was getting to know him. He was funny. I did like him. But we definitely weren't headed in any sort of direction together. I put the prophesies of my roommates waaaaay in the back of my mind.

He started tagging along when I went to do my grocery shopping (I had a car, he didn't). It was fun to spend time alone with him. Over the weeks we started to become friends. I would watch him make his Polish open faced sandwiches, for which he skillfully sliced (with those awesome hands) all manner of vegetables; radishes, pickles, tomatoes, as well as cheese, keilbasa and hard boiled eggs. He would eat the sadwiches (I always passed when he offered to share) and then get back to his homework.

I liked him. He really was hilarious. And he was rather handsome. Okay, very handsome. And he seemed to like to spend time with me. The words of my roommates weren't quite so far back in my mind anymore...

Part Two

Friday, October 10, 2008


The purpose of this post is to shock Anne (I said I might post these and. . . I AM!) and make it so Gramma Lee can finally see some video (she works at BYU where you can't view things from you tube (!?!).

Proof that Aaron does the things I accuse him of in the previous post:

Exhibit A: Playing with Plastic Bag
(but first getting an sms-I believe you Americans call them text messages-because editor daddy* couldn't leave it out. And please pretend that you can't hear me calling him "hona" instead of honey in the flusteredness of trying to balance the camera AND throw the bag farther away at the same time. Add speaking into the mix, and it's apparently too much for me.)

Exhibit B: Bouncing a Ball in His Hands
(but first answering my question "Is it yummy?" about the kielbasa he's eating. That "nah" and ardent head shaking means he looooooves it, of course. Apparently it still hasn't stopped being opposite day)
It seems the editor thought this one was a little too quite, so he's added music. And he's the boss. Watch Aaron's eyes. He only looks at the ball the one time he lets it drop on purpose.

Exhibit C: Dying a Western Movie Death
WARNING: While this video contains no gore, it still may be too much for the sensitive viewer.

* Those who have ever commented on the quality of the pictures posted, like those on Evie's birthday post, should know that I do not take pictures. Greg is the photog in our family. Not I. And he does all the video editing as well.

*Before I posted this I watched these videos with Aaron over and over. He kept laughing. His favorite part was after he dies that one time and I ask him if he's okay in that annoying voice. He finds it hilarious. I don't really get why.

Oh, and speaking of texting, I have to share this. It's another one I saw on JustRandi's blog Is it Just Me?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Easily Entertained

Aaron (18 months old yesterday!!) can spend hours with a plastic bag (I know, DANGER) throwing it up in the air and watching it fall down and trying to catch it. He is also constantly walking around the house with a ball in his hands tossing it up and catching it over and over. It doesn't usually go up higher than a few inches, but he's never looking at the ball. He just walks around and looks at stuff while he bounces the ball in his hands. Good fun.

David spends his time outside, riding his bike (until recently when the chain broke and now he's been wearing black and moping around the house for the last few days--not really, but we think it's kind of a miracle that he doesn't, he loved that bike so much). Or he plays inside with Aaron, teaching him to be about 30 times louder than we'd like him to be. He also teaches him such important life skills as pretending to be shot(making a shocked face, freezing with his back arched and then suddenly dropping dramatically to the floor and always, always keeping his right foot up in the air. I'll try to get some video of this). Aaron still can't feed himself cold cereal or make an "m" sound, but he can throw up a ball and catch it and fake a western movie death.

Evie, however has issues. She's "always bored." If you've ever read her blog, you are aware that this is quite a theme with her. I think being bored means she needs something to complain about, but nothing hurts her, she's not hungry and nobody is beating her up. So boredom becomes the default dilemma. She's not "in the mood" for any of the 12,000 interesting activities you suggest to her.

Well, there is one thing she sometimes wants to do, which is to play games with me, but that usually means, wait for mom to get the dinner in the oven, change Aaron's diaper, and quickly finish hanging the laundry. Then we finally sit down for a rousing game of Mastermind and after the first round realize that the dinner will be coming out very soon and there's still a salad to be made. Fortunately Evie loves to make salad dressing. And she's dang good at it too. No recipe or anything. Just a little of this and a little of that. Once it was too sweet, but we just thought of it as candied lettuce. So after the salad is ready we set the table and Mastermind goes back on the floor in the playroom, where it belongs (all board games should be stored on the floor of the room in which they are most likely to be stepped upon, in case you didn't know).

I guess I shouldn't fault her for the frequency of her boredom. She obviously needs a great deal of mental stimulation. I know this because of the kinds of math she's learning at school. Just a sec, I'm gonna run up and grab her book and give you a sample. Are these the same kinds of things kids are learning in the 5th week of fourth grade in America? I don't remember at all:
[(7x6-15)x3-17] ÷2^3 or
Well, I'm impressed. It's no wonder she's bored when she's done homework for 3 hours and then read or watched TV for an hour. She needs MORE stimulation!! Or maybe we just need to be making more salads.

And, um, I'm really nervous about the prospect of trying to help her with her sixth grade math.

* I forgot to mention that Greg is really big on the whole, "intelligent people are never bored" thing, and reminds the kids of it often. I don't think they care a whole lot about being(or being considered) intelligent at this point. They just want something FUN to do!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soap Opera Smonday, or Actually Tuesday

I have a tale to record, as I never wrote it in any journal or anything at the time, and it needs to be remembered for future generations. As it is a memory of dating days (sort of) I thought it would be great to use for Soap Opera Sunday (SOS) hosted this month by 2 hearts at My life in type, but, as you may know, it's not really exactly Sunday, and I wouldn't post this on a Sunday, anyway (as explained in previous post). So I'm posting it now. (Oh, and I'm extremely bugged that I can't find the pictures I wanted to post to help your imaginations along. I searched high and low and in between 8 times each. NO PICTURES!!)

I'm a little embarrassed to take you all back with me to the days I'm slightly ashamed of. High school. Those were the days when people knew Lisa was coming from the other end of the hall because of the extremely loud laugh. It was sort of my signature. One that I hadn't really chosen on purpose, as if I kept trying to sign "Lisa" all swirly and fancy and I accidentally kept marking a big, fat X.

So I had a loud laugh. And I liked laughing then, as I do now. I was a teenager so I laughed more than I meant to around guys that I had a crush on. And it's possible that the laugh was even louder with them. Mr. Crush of the Month might come into class and slide into his desk behind mine and ask, "Did you do the homework?" "HA! haaaaheee." I might respond, before I realized that he hadn't cracked a joke, but asked a serious question that he wanted an answer for. Oops! Okay, I don't remember that specifically happening, but it very well could have, I was that bad.

Chris, whose name I'm not changing and who I'm still in contact with and who I'm considering sending a link to this post and asking him for some explanation, was Mr. Crush of, not the Month, but the Semester! The last semester of my last year of high school. Chris was funny and clever and smart and a tiny bit shy. He was in many of my classes, since we were doing the AP thing and most of the kids in those classes ended up together.

The class that we sat next to each other in was AP Government. About 80% of what was taught in that class went straight over my head. I found it to be enormously boring. I'm a little afraid to admit, looking back, that it was very likely because I was somewhat distracted. I sat next to one of my best friends and Chris and one of his best friends who I also really liked. It was a mini party and I'm not sure that I ever really listened to that teacher. I don't like thinking about that. I prefer to imagine that I was a good, engaged, hard working student. Sometimes I'm grateful for a good imagination.

(insert disappearing picture of a party held for AP Government at our teacher's house, wherein the four of us mentioned above are sitting on a couch with about 10 other people around as well. Chris has his right arm behind me on the couch and his right hand is covering my forehead. I don't get it either.)Here we have Jen, Chris, Roy and me after graduation (and way after prom, of course). We're the ones who sat together in AP Government. We were the party. I was the biggest bawl baby after graduation, and as you can see, my eyes/face gets red and stays that way for an hour or two. It made for excellent graduation shots! Jen also happens to be the friend that came over to have a boyfriends letter translated by Greg, who he went on to ask out. . .

Toward the end of the year Chris and I started to get to know each other better and better. My friends knew about my crush. Heck, the entire school probably could tell by the volume of my laugh around him. Ugh. Anyway, a very good friend of mine who was on the yearbook staff stole a black and white picture of him running hurdles. I think I still have it somewhere.

(insert disappearing picture of hurdle jumping crush here)

So Chris and I started calling each other now and again about homework. I had my own room out behind the garage (detached) with my own bathroom etc. (actually, not etc. it's not like I had my own kitchen or anything, just a bathroom.) I was feeling all independent, and when I was talking on the phone with a boy I really felt grown up. During the course of one of our phone conversations about government, Chris asked me if I was going to prom. I told him I didn't know. He asked why and I said, honestly without trying to be flirty or hinty or anything, "Because no one's asked me." (good one, Lis!) Prom was still pretty far away and I think only the kids who were already spending their senior year completely stuck to another person already had dates. Well, Chris suggested that maybe I should go with him.

Did I die? Thankfully not. Did almost die? I was this close. I said yes, and got off the phone quick so he wouldn't wonder what had happened if I suddenly fainted. I ran into the house to tell my family. We rejoiced. My friends rejoiced as well, even though this presented a number of problems. At school I hung out with my LDS friends and Chris had his very cool, but not very LDS friends (maybe it makes more sense to say that they weren't LDS, as it's sort of an all or nothing thing). Prom was one of those nights where you kinda wanna stick with the friends in your group. We figured we'd work it all out.

A few days later I was talking to my best friend from elementary school whose locker was just across the hall from mine.

(insert disappearing picture of her and I at age 11 sitting in our front yard, facing each other with our feet in the air balancing a ball between us)

She asked if I was going to prom, and with whom. When I told her I was going with Chris she asked, "Really?" and had a strange look on her face. I think she also asked which of us asked the other. I'm not the type that ever worries about making people jealous (not because I'm so callous, but more because why would you be) so I really didn't understand her reaction. (I'm not saying it was jealousy, it may have been confusion--read on)

Well, some of the details are kinda hazy for me since, as I mentioned, I didn't write them down, but within a few days, I think it was, Chris had called me and told me that it might be better if we actually didn't go to prom together. I'm sure he gave me some excuses, but I don't remember them, and I'm not sure I even heard them at the time because, really, I wasn't going with Chris: enough said. I was of course really confused and pretty disappointed, but I was somehow okay with it. I just figured, well, he obviously likes me, on some level, but since asking me to prom has realized that it was a mistake. No biggie. Of course my DH thinks this is such a terrible thing and that I should never have talked to him again, but we were friends, and it was kind of like one of my girlfriends asking me if I wanted to go with her to a movie on Friday night and then calling back later and saying she couldn't actually go. You don't get mad about things like that. (I do realize that it isn't actually the same thing, but similar, sort of.)

About a week later I asked Sarah if she had a date yet. She said yes, and didn't offer any more information until I asked with whom. "Chris." she said. . . then we both realized at the exact same second that we were totally going to be late for our next classes if we didn't RUN to them immediately, in opposite directions.

I never did find out what happened with them, if Chris cancelled with me and then went and asked Sarah. Or maybe while he was "engaged" to go with me, Sarah asked him and that made him realize that he would rather go with her group of sporty friends than with my more conservative ones. (of course I could only think in terms of what group he would be with and not which girl he was choosing. Can we say DENIAL?)

Really, it was so much better for both of us this way. He could do the typical go to a hotel afterwards thing, and I could find someone I would be more comfortable figuring out what to do after prom with. It ended up that my awesome friends and I (there were five of us) all asked our own dates. Three of us asked some excellent boys who were a year younger than us that we knew from seminary. I believe this makes us Awesome.

Actually, my date I had known since we first moved from Utah to California (age 11). His dad was our home teacher and showed up while we were moving in with a loaf of fresh baked bread and a helping hand. Then he became our dentist and his son became my little brother's best friend. We had always liked each other too, in a sort of flirting with/teasing your brother's cute, funny friend/ best friend's older sister sort of way, so I decided to ask him to go with me to prom. Plus, he had a girlfriend from a different ward in our stake so I knew he wouldn't take my proposal the wrong way.

Oh yeah. So he had a girlfriend. Don't worry! I called her up before I ever talked to him and asked if she would mind if I borrowed her boyfriend for a night. I don't think she'd ever been asked that kind of favor, but she was really great about it. HE was a little surprised, however when I asked, so I had to assure him I had permission.

Way too late for a "long story short" here, but to wrap it up quickly, we had a great night. Sarah and I swapped partners for a dance, but we mostly stayed in our separate groups. After the dance we went to my friend's house and had a delicious brunch served to us by her mother. And then we either watched a movie or went home, can't remember.

(insert disappearing pictures of all of us lined up with our dates, one with me and my date by the pool before leaving my house to meet up with the rest of our group, and one under exposed one of my date and I laughing while sitting at our table at prom with our mouths wide open in unattractive, but extremely happy smiles. You can almost hear the laughter in that last one, if you could only see it, but never mind. You can neither see nor hear it)

Later I talked to Sarah about how her date went. We were both really open about it after the initial weirdness wore off. She said that after the dance they went to the hotel and all the girls were in one room and all the guys in another playing some stupid game or something. She basically sat there all night playing cards and said almost everyone agreed it was fairly lame. And I'm pretty sure she wasn't just trying to spare my feelings. :) (she actually went into greater detail, but that is the gist of it)

Moral of the story for my children? Go to formal occasions with people you know you'll be comfortable with. And also, yes, mom was always this socially weird.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sabbath Impressions

**I was going to close comments on this one, as it is more of a journal entry than a regular post, but of course you are welcome to read it if you like. I have sometimes read through posts and came to the "comments closed" at the end and felt like I ran into a wall, which is why I'm leaving them open, but I certainly don't want people to feel they should read or respond to this post**

I missed the General Relief Society Meeting last weekend, and had been meaning to watch or listen to it all week. Greg was awesome enough to know that I would not have found/made the time and he downloaded it for us to listen to on the drive to church today. He didn't even ask, he just knew. I am so grateful.

As we drove through the countryside, villages and towns, I listened, drinking in the view as I "feasted on the words." I'm so grateful for the Relief Society and was uplifted by the words of encouragement and reminders of purpose that were spoken by those great ladies.

When sister Allred spoke about temples, I felt a little of the love that I feel from my Father when I am in His house. I remembered that there is no place on Earth where I feel His love for and awareness of me as I do in the temple. Gazing outside in wonderment at the brilliant, fall leaves I could almost see the love he has for me. We passed fields of beets, cauliflower and cabbage with their sage colored leaves, fields littered with orange and salmon colored pumpkins, and some covered with a flood of bright yellow flowers. As I observed the cottages along the road and those off in the distance I had a strong impression. This overwhelming, unbounded love I knew my Father had for me, He also has for the inhabitants of those humble little homes. Of course I knew this before. I have always known that God loves His children, but it became so real to me at that moment that I could not stop the tears. I was filled to overflowing, and I vowed that I would try harder to love others more unconditionally, forgive their faults, and remember how their Father feels about them.

Then came the hymn Now Let Us Rejoice, and the tears kept coming with phrases like, "We'll love one another and never dissemble, but cease to do evil and ever be one." And the ending phrase, a representation of the Great End, "And Christ and his people will ever be one."

After that, Elder Uchtdorf entered with a little comic relief. He had Greg and I laughing out loud about his wife's apologies with her presentation of dinner, “I’m afraid I used a touch too much ginger,” and especially the, “Next time, I think it would be better if I used a little more curry and one additional bay leaf.” I'm sure a lot of women do this, but I rarely present a meal without first naming all its faults. I talk about this in an old post. Glad to know Sister Uchtdorf and I have something in common. I'm also glad for her husband's talk to set us both straight and encourage us to have joy in creating, and recognize our strengths instead of dwelling on our weaknesses.

At church it was fast and testimony meeting and I bawled my eyeballs out again while I shared my love for my family, the gospel, the scriptures and my Savior. Periodically throughout my testimony I turned around to ask Greg for help with a word, (he was on the stand) as I forget 50% of my vocabulary when I'm speaking in front of people. Once I was in the middle of a sentence about how he (Greg) is such a strong support to me. I forgot the term for support (and they don't use indefinite articles like "a" in Polish) so I had said essentially, "He is very strong" and I turned to him to ask for the word for support, but before I could even give him the word to be translated, he provided me, in a very loud whisper, with the word "physically." More great comic relief in a deeply spiritual meeting.

Our lesson in Relief Society was about the Sabbath day. I keep waiting for the day when I magically desire to do lots of intense scripture study and read some of our many wonderful gospel related books on the sabbath. It keeps not coming, but I decided to try and bring it a little faster by not blogging on Sunday, unless the posts I'm reading or writing are spiritual in nature. Baby steps. I don't really have many sins of commission on the sabbath day, but there is far too much o-mission. I like the idea that my Pearl of Great Price teacher shared when I was in college. The sabbath is a day of rest--from regular weekday activities. That doesn't mean that we should be lazy. On the contrary, the Sabbath is a day to weary ourselves with study of the word of the Lord. So, Lisa, it's not just a day to not watch TV or listen to popular music. It isn't a day to lie around the house and do nothing. It is a day set aside for the Lord because he wants us to draw near to him. I need to be better about wearing myself out with study. There are all kinds of things I still have to learn. Get learning, Lady!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Love Eviething About Her

That's not strictly true. There are a number of things she does that I'm not crazy about, but rather crazy because of. But today is my little Evie's birthday, so for today, the title feels right. (and for my readers who don't know us, we pronounce "Evie" with a short e, like in Evan (or Ewelina, for that matter), just so you know and you can read it correctly from here on out)

One of the very best, most heart-bursting moments of my life was immediately after Ewelina was born. She had been extremely stressed during the labor and there were loads of doctors around to check her out. She'd been out and breathing oxygen, screaming her tiny lungs out for about 30 seconds before Greg went to the table on which she was being examined and began talking to her in a low voice, amidst all the doctors' poking, reaching, stretching, talking and relaying information. The moment she heard him speak her name she fell silent. She just stopped crying to listen to him. And she kept listening with all the craziness that was going on around her. She recognized her daddy before she'd ever seen him, and he had the power to soothe her then, and still does today.

Today she's nine. Nine seems like a good number of things to tell you that I love about my girl.

1. She sometimes tries really hard to change her mood/attitude when she knows she's heading into a bad one. You can watch her fight against her feelings, pretending to be positive until she actually feels that way and it becomes natural again. It's really inspiring.

2. She came and laid by me on the bed in the hotel last weekend while David and Aaron were playing in the bathroom and said, "Let's talk, mom." When I asked what about she said, "Girl stuff." I loved that.

3. She's amazing at encouraging others. When she was in first grade I once had to take something to her class during school that she'd forgotten to take. When I opened the door I saw all the kids working on some art project. A boy from a few seats away was trying to get Evie's attention. I thought he was going to tell her that I was there. He wasn't. He showed her his art work and Evie smiled and said, "Wow, that looks really great!" or something and the boy sat back down in his chair with a smile on his face. There were at least three kids between them, but he wanted to show her because he knew she would give him positive feedback, and actually care to see his project.

4. She's always had a wonderful laugh. Always. It's one of my favorite sounds. She is wonderful about laughing at all of our jokes. She went through a phase of hating being the least funny one in the family. I explained to her that her gift was to make people feel great by laughing at their jokes and that that was at least as important as actually making the jokes. But really, she's getting funnier by the minute, too.

5. I totally trust her fashion sense. This probably says more about me than about her, but I love to take her along when I'm getting something for myself and ask her advice. She's a wonderful critic.

6. She loves to sing.

7. She's wonderful with her baby brother. She will watch him when I'm busy or tired and she does a great job. David has also always looked up to her, and they've been best friends for years.

8. She is a loyal friend. She stands up for her friends when others (sometimes her parents, unfortunately) question their motives/judgement.

9. She still gives great hugs. We recently realized that we hug far too infrequently and since then she comes up to me and reminds me. And she's still soft and great for hugging.

Happy Birthday to my dear girl! Here's to many more of the same (birthdays, not dear girls). You have been such a blessing in our lives!