Friday, December 14, 2012

Ramblings from sad things

I'm so angry tonight. I don't usually post things like this, but this blog has evolved {fallen to the wayside} and I need to process some things. And writing is how I process, so here it is. I'm angry and rambling, and so I reserve the right to change my mind on all of it, but this is how I feel now.

Today, a horrible, tragic thing happened. Today a man, no--still a BOY, went into a school and did the unthinkable. The unthinkable--and I really mean that. My own mind tries to get there, to understand. Considers the terror those parents felt, considers the gripping, life-altering fear those sweet, sweet babies endured, pictures them holding hands to make it out of those corridors with their eyes closed {thank God for the first-responders who came to their aide and in the midst of that carnage still sought to protect their tattered innocence}. My brain tries to go there and it can't, it send the message to start the tears and then it shuts the door and turns away.


And now will roll out the debates: ban guns; arm teachers; eliminate HIPPA for mental health providers; provide universal mental health care; etc. etc. etc. Everyone has an opinion about policy or politics about how to "fix" this. 

I don't know the answer, but I don't think we'll ever find it until we know the cause. And for that I think we are to blame. I think it's all of us right here in our homes. To be honest, I think we in the U.S. are mighty good at CREATING mental health problems in our children by this repeated exposure to violence and pornography. We aren't just desensitizing them. You can be desensitized to violence and not wander into a school or a mall or a movie theater and massacre people. We are allowing our children to create pathways to PLEASURE through violent and explicit content. We are allowing them to depart from reality, from the nuance of relationships, physical and emotional connection and delve into a world of constant input and gratification. We are desensitizing them to LIFE through the types of media we expose them to, and because they have used violent and provocative media to tread down the pathway again and again, that's what we know and that's what we begin to seek on more intense levels. 

Pornography perverts sex--it makes it an object, it requires no love, no communication, no romance. It's about self, it's about pleasure for nothing, and soon it requires more of you to create those feelings--more of your time, more of your thoughts, more objectification, more misogyny, more violence. 

Video games are made to give or require input from a player on average every few SECONDS. They are designed to require a deepening level of commitment at each stage. They function around the idea that we must commit ourselves to the world they have created. What then, when the game no longer elicits that physical reaction? What when the player must seek out something MORE to FEEL? 

We are letting, teaching, our children to ENJOY violence. This is our punishment for allowing children to vicariously seek pleasure through the imagined act of killing. They become addicted to that feeling and as with all addictions, they can get away from us until the old high no longer satisfies.

It happens on so many levels--kids who sass and check out b/c school is more "boring" than television. The person who checks facebook too often. The parents that let their five-year-old watch the war movie with them because they think he's too young to "get it." The college student who only responds to in-person questions through text; the apartments I walk by every night with four girls sitting in the living room only talking to each other through facebook; the kid who can't make it to the freaking grocery store without asking for a movie on the minivan DVD player, the mom who ignores her kid to read Shades of Grey, ...etc, etc. etc. {I myself am guilty--the great debate lately here has been that I want my three- and five-year-olds to watch Star Wars. In his wisdom, Rob has disallowed it. I've taught my daughter to tell me not to answer my phone when it rings while I drive because I found myself using the car as phone time, putting my own precious children's lives at risk. I avoid housework to talk with friends online. There are levels and SO MANY of us are guilty of the attachment to things that are not real, the enticing aspect of media and technology.} 

Am I saying that mental health doesn't play a part in these things? No. That armed teachers or stricter gun laws or better healthcare or metal detectors or self-defense classes or anything else won't help? No.

 What I mean is that we sure are damn good at building a society that creates the perfect storm to make sick people sicker. Parents have a responsibility to PROTECT their children. In this world, that unfortunately means from guns and bad guys. But it also means to protect them from the things that steal away their innocence, virtually or otherwise. 

That's all. I'm tired and my heart is sad, and maybe the world will be brighter tomorrow--at least for those of us who were lucky this time and will see our precious babies, smelling of sleep and dreams, wake up at least once more.  :(


Friday, November 30, 2012

The Grasshopper is SIX MONTHS OLD!

How can this be?

How can my tiny, precious, heart of my heart be half a year already? Soon half a decade and then half a century...

It's only a half birthday, but it's his first one, so I think I will write him a letter anyway. I hope you enjoy it.

Dear sweet little Grasshopper,

Oh, I love you so! I can hardly believe you are six months old, and yet it seems at times to me that I've had you for all of eternity! I can barely remember a time that you weren't here. You have brought us so much happiness and joy in your short sweet little life. You have this smile that just makes me laugh from deep, deep, deep down. You have this funny little dimple in your chin, off to the side, under your mouth. I love it, and yet you categorically refuse to let it be photographed. I hope it sticks around for always. When you smile, your eyes crinkle, just like your daddy's do. Really, there is so MUCH of your daddy in you. Sometimes I laugh for joy and fun just because I see so much of him when I look at you. He's not as baby-faced as he once was, but sometimes I look at you and see your baby-faced daddy from his college days, and it just tickles me to know that you may look so much like another great man I love so deeply and who loves you so deeply too.

You are so very happy. I know people think all babies are happy, but you, you really are! You don't hardly ever sleep (oh, how many a woman has said something along the lines of, "Oh, I can put him to sleep. Give him here!" and then had to admit her defeat...) but even without it, you are not cranky or ornery. You love to giggle and movemovemove. As your nickname suggests, you are a jumper. I think you jumped in the womb...and still do it all the time! In spite of your distaste for sleep, I can occasionally get a few things done because you have been known to bounce in the jumper for close to an hour at a time. I thank you for this. (But seriously...start taking naps. They are rad and some day you will wish back all the naps you ever wrestled your way out of...)

You possess a near-constant need to be talked to. Although, I will admit this need is decreased significantly since you were very tiny and have developed the ability and desire to explore the world around you. However much you wish to explore though, you will stop everything if someone will talk to you. You study faces SO intently, and are getting to the stage where you don't have the ability, but I can see the desire, to mimic expressions and facial movements. Your brother and sister adore this quality in you and have probably spent what amounts to days in front of your face, talking, giggling, and making silly faces to get reactions out of you. They are truly happiest when they can make you laugh.

I love our nursing relationship. It's just recently reached that stage where I can call it that--a "relationship." Before, it was pretty much just you eating, but now you look for my hand to hold, or stop eating to study my face and smile at me. You pause to share a giggle or watch until I turn my diverted attention back to you. Nursing is so full of sweet moments that were so easily forgotten with the older two, and I am so grateful to have this connection to you. Even though there are times I'd give just about anything for a little more space between feedings, I always enjoy being close to you and am grateful for the special bond we have at this age.

You are, as I said, beginning to explore. This is your first little stage of independence. and you enjoy it fairly confidently. You are rolling everywhere now. You get all over the living room, though you cannot always choose your direction completely reliably, sometimes reaching for an item and find yourself rolling away instead of getting it in your grasp. You are |thisclose| to sitting up on your own--you have an excellent model pose/lounge position going on. You've been trying to get up on your knees, but still can't get them under you. I think (thankfully) that crawling is at least several weeks out.

Right now, your favorite things are peek-a-boo, being tickled, "This is the way the ladies ride," Open, Shut Them," and crumpling/shredding paper. (I think when you giggle sometimes in your sleep, you are probably dreaming of having free reign to tear up everything in a paper factory.)

You remind me in many ways of each of your siblings at this age--you look so very much like your big sister, you fight sleep like she did, and the endless motion and jumping are so like her.

Like your brother was, you are happy, happy, happy, and have a smile that just lights the whole world.

You are totally yourself too though--you are a bit more pensive than the other two. I love watching you observe people and objects with this perfect, curious expression with a little sucked in bottom lip. (I try so often to capture it in a photo, but have thus far failed.) You are also always attentive--even between tickle attacks in a tickle session, you will stop smiling and look very intently to assess what's happening around you. I am so looking forward to see what that thoughtfulness turns into as you grow older.

I love getting to know you better every day. I feel so privileged to have you here in our home. I love every tiny thing about you. Thank you for coming into our family and for the exquisite joy you brought along! Thank you for expanding the love we had in our home bigger than I could have thought possible.

I love you my sweet little Grasshopper!

All my love,


Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Poor little neglected blog. I admit I do a terrible job of updating it these past months. The reasons I could give are many. But I think I've narrowed it down to one: I've lost my purpose in writing this. It's true. This whole blog was started on my hope of taking things more slowly, of kicking the consumer habit, of living more present in each moment. And in the past year, I've kind of sucked at that. I mostly want to blame my job. About a year and a half ago, we got a lot of changes at work that drastically reduced the flexibility that I had to enjoy my family and focus. Ultimately, I know that I am more than my circumstances, and the responsibility has to lie with me.

We had to move again this summer. Did I mention that? We moved the summer of 2011 because we were moving to an apartment twice the size. It was ultimately what led us to have our little Grasshopper and for that I am grateful! But, just a year later--this past August, we were forced into another parking lot move that put us back into about 500 square feet--half of what we'd spent the last year in. We thought we'd had it good moving into the bigger space, and that was evidenced by the amount of STUFF we'd let ourselves accumulate. Granted, there was now a whole other person added to the mix, with all the accompanying stuff that comes with a baby, but truly, we had allowed our belongings to balloon well past our need. There's a lot of frustration that comes with this move, and in large part, it's because I had been feeling entitled--one of the dirtiest feelings for people to have, I think. I felt entitled to my space--I do, after all, have the most children, the most seniority, etc when compared with my coworkers--and entitled to the STUFF I had accumulated. All this meaningless stuff, which has largely spent the last three months sitting up in a storage room, in the boxes it was originally packed into. One of the very few things I DO believe I am entitled to is happiness, and I can see that it will not be found in all that stuff. I KNOW it's true, but I somehow let us slip back to that place.

So, more recently, I have realized that once again, I have to fight back those old demons---the ones who tell me I NEED it, that my kids NEED it, or that it will bring us happiness. None of those things are true. I've got to try to shake the entitlement trap, the consumer habit, and get my hands dirty to get back to that place where living simply and free from the bondage of belongings brought me so much peace. So...once more into the fray. I'll try not to neglect this piece of that along the way.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dinosaur Park

Little Bird LOVES dinosaurs. He and Squirrel know a rather outlandish number of their names and characteristics. And I'm not just talking T-Rex and Triceratops (which Little Bird says Tri-terra-sops, which I LOVE!). I'm talking dinosaurs like Parasarolophus, Arceopteryx, Ichthyosaur, and Pachacephalasaurus. (I cannot guarantee the spelling of any of those.) Because of this, one of the things we did on a recent visit to see Rob's family in Utah was to go to Eccles Dinosaur Park in Odgen.

It was such a fun little park and museum. The kids loved walking through the park and seeing all the statues of dinosaurs. They even had an indoor animatronic display of a T-Rex and a mama Tri-terra-sops with babies. In addition, there was a large geology exhibit and fossils of various dinosaurs on display. (I'm secretly a rock nerd. I had this pretty impressive rock collection as a kid. I don't know what happened to it...but sometimes, like, 20 years later, I still think about it and wish I had it. I think if I were to start college all over, I'd get a degree in Geology. That's how cool I am.)

Anyway, if you're out that way and have a kid who loves dinos, I highly recommend it!

Big scary dino means run to Daddy! 

Little Brother, just chillin'

Everybody say "RRAAAAWWWRRR!!!"


Sunday, September 30, 2012

{Four Months Old!}

My little grasshopper is four months old! It amazes me how quickly he grows. Everything is fleeting, and it is so hard for me to focus on what he's doing and enjoy it. He is such a sweet baby though. He loves to talk and coo, jump in his jumper and play and bat at the toys above him on his play mat. He's also started doing his crunches quite regularly.

It's amazing that such a short time ago, he was just a wiggly little lump. Now, he seems easily twice his length (though I know it's mostly from uncurling), definitely is twice his weight, and is becoming a little person.

Here are just a couple of quick shots I took of him to commemorate four months. He melts my heart with that big goofy grin!


Friday, August 31, 2012

How fast it flies....

...time that is. And how fast my little Grasshopper is growing!
He is three months old! Three months old!
Look here, how completly different he looks in such a short amount of time:

{About one week old} 

{And three months old}
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

He doesn't even look like the same little guy! But I love that he still sleeps like that with his hand by his face. Is there anything more angelic??

Let's see, three months old...he is in the 85th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height. I don't know why, but my babies get big fast when they are youngins. {A recent height predictor told me that Squirrel would probably be 5'11"...not likely given her parentage. I think we just peak really early...}While my parents were here, Dad kept saying, "I swear he's grown an inch since we've been here." Which turned out to be true. I think he actually grew two inches in the month they were here, and gained close to four pounds. This kid ain't messing around. 

He is cutting his first tooth, I'm pretty sure. I am not crazy about this at three months, and it's a lot earlier than the other two did, but what'ya gonna do? He's been snotty and snuffly for days, is drooling like Squirrel did when she had her cavities filled, and is generally a bit more cranky than he usually is. We'd gotten to the point where he finally started sleeping a little more reliably, but now that's all gone to pot again. I used to say about Squirrel, "She fights naps like a ninja," and I must say, this guy is the same! He even gets the little purple bags under his eyes that she would get from fighting sleep until the point of utter exhaustion. I am very grateful that like his siblings, he sleeps through the night pretty well--waking to eat a couple times, but then going right back down.

My little Grasshopper is not much a fan of baby-wearing like my other two were, but in the last week or so has softened up to it. That's a relief, because it really makes life SO much easier.
He still loves his hands best, and has started the habit of chomping desperately on any blanket that might be near him--another thing that makes me think he is teething. He loves having his feet rubbed in the evening. I really do think that a little lavender oil foot rub helps him settle down for bed in the evenings. He wakes up each morning as happy as can be--he'll just coo and purr and smile at me for as long as I can stand it, or until his belly decides it needs filling! He's also started to giggle. Rob loves to tickle him to get belly laughs out of him, and they are becoming bigger and more delightful each day. As for me, my favorite thing to do is talk to him and nibble on his little squishy ears and the scruff on the back of his neck and his little bald head. (Is that weird? Do other moms do that?) 

I'm continually amazed at how much Little Bird adores him. To be honest, I thought Little Bird would have a tough time, but he is just as sweet and gentle with his baby brother as any child could be. He loves to be a helper and takes a lot of personal pride in pitching in, especially when it comes to baby. Surprisingly, Squirrel is a little less helpful. She's much more interested in the playing side of things--trying to make him giggle, wanting to dress him up like a doll or read him a story. She'll turn her nose up and run out of the room if I suggest she toss out a diaper or go fetch me an item. But that's okay, it means he'll have a well-rounded, though separate, relationship with each of them. :) 

I'm already looking forward to seeing who this little guy will turn into. I compare him to his siblings, and think he looks more like Squirrel did at this age, but not exactly. And sometimes I laugh because I think he looks SO much like Rob...but doesn't look like Rob's baby pictures. This guessing game is really half the fun of having a child--one part is enjoying who they are now, at any given moment; the other part is guessing who they will turn out to be and watching as that person emerges. Either way, I'm enjoying the journey with this little hunk of love! 

Thanks, as always, for stopping by! 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Poor Little Bird.

The last couple of months have been a bit of a whirlwind for him--since May, he's gotten a new baby brother, had to move (again), had non-stop house guests, and had his sister start Kindergarten. Everything has been topsy-turvy for my already sensitive little guy. I know that Squirrel going to Kindergarten has been hard for him. He likes to tell me all about his "Kindergarten"--this usually consists of him repeating the stories that he's heard Squirrel tell. Or he will sometimes interrupt Squirrel's play-by-play of her day on the ride home to tell me something really important. ("Mom. Mom. I havva tell you sumping!") When it's time to load up to take her to Kinder, he often drags his feet and takes his sweet time. On the way to pick her up, he'll usually hop right up from any activity and beat me out the door. He loves his big sister fiercely, and has ALWAYS had her by his side. This school thing is messing with his groove.

However, in the past week or so since Squirrel started Kindergarten, I have realized a couple of things:

1) He really enjoys the time to himself.

2) He's never had any!

It's fun to see how he spends the couple of hours he gets alone now--he goes in his room and plays and plays. He talks to himself; I like to listen to him acting out big scenarios between his cars and his dinosaurs, his two very favorite types of toys. He makes different voices for each one and finds new ways for them to interact, weaving long tales into his play. To be honest, I don't even think I realized that he liked to do that enough to spend hours a week doing it. His play has always been much shorter; but then, he's always had a big sister who could interrupt. Now, he finally has the freedom to do exactly what he wants to in that time. And I have to admit, I feel a level of guilt realizing that it is something he has wanted but not gotten in the three years of his life. Something *I* know that I need to have in my life, but which I never even gave a thought to when it came to him: alone time. Quiet, individual activity is something I really value. It's why I'm a night owl (hmm...maybe why he's one too...), because staying up late after everyone goes to bed gives me the time I need to have my own thoughts and time to relax without having to play by anyone else's rules.

I've been reading a book suggested to me by a friend called Raising Your Spirited Child, and must say it has been eye opening for me as it relates to Little Bird. I'll probably go into it more in later posts, but one thing it discusses is how being an extravert or introvert affects us because it is how we "recharge our batteries." Extraverts (like Rob and Squirrel) are energized by being in company and playing and talking with others. Introverts (like me and Little Bird) are energized through alone time and reflection. So, even though I know that Little Bird misses his sister and feels pretty left out whenever she gets to go to Kindergarten, I also know that he is getting something that his little soul needs: a little more time to be at peace, look inside himself and recharge his mind and spirit.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Squirrel is a Kindergartener!

So, mommy heartbreak:
My little girl, my sweet little Squirrel, is in Kindergarten!
{First Day of Kindergarten! 8/22/2012}


I'm grateful she has done preschool the last couple of years, or I would have been a tremendous mess. She, however, was out of her mind excited.
The night before, she told me, "I am SO excited to go to Kindergarten, I might cry. In fact, my eyes are watering right now thinking about it!" She seriously is a-DOR-able. And she really was that happy, just giddy with anticipation and bubbling over.

{Here she is, demonstrating her excitement right before line up.}
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

While I am endlessly grateful to have a child that is just joyful about pretty much everything, a teeny tiny part of my heart was a bit broken that she didn't have any trepidation marching off to school, hopping in line, and happily entering public education with barely a kiss goodbye. I'm so happy she's happy...but there's something about wanting a bit of reliance on me too.

I will say, she pays me back every day at the end of school when she comes running at me with enough force to cause injury, calls "MOMMY!!!!" and jumps into my arms, usually full of things to tell me, with great detail, about her day. She is making friends, learning songs, and enjoying every minute of it, and for that I am truly grateful.

She's also working hard. The second day of school, she came home EXHAUSTED. She barely made it home without falling asleep and just crashed on the couch. She told me, "School is hard. It made me tired. All we did was walk around looking for the Gingerbread Man." (Apparently, this was some kind of get-to-know-the-school activity.) We talked about how school is sometimes hard because it helps our brains grow. I'm hoping to instill a love of that brain exercise. I'm not sure how I got it, but I sure hope I can pass it on to her.

This week, she also turned in her first homework assignment--a poster board sheet that could be filled however she wanted for an "About Me" display. She worked really hard on it--she wrote a list of things she likes or that are important and then she drew pictures or colored ones she looked on the internet for of the things on her list. She did a great job and was SO proud of it. But, when I picked her up, she frantically and emphatically informed me that we HAD to make another as SOON as we got home...this one for keeps. I guess I failed to explain that homework--especially the kind that you put a lot of effort into--usually gets kept by the teacher. It's funny, the lessons they learn that we take for granted. I wonder when I learned that lesson, and if it affected me, but there isn't a lot I remember from then.

My only real memories of Kindergarten are these:
1) Learning how to round corners with scissors when making a bear's face out of brown construction paper. And I must say, rounding corners with scissors is a valuable skill I still use and am thankful for.

2) Frantically working to finish a 26-letter project that required cutting pictures out of magazines that start with each letter. I guess I was supposed to have been doing one each week all year and pretty much didn't. If my memory serves me (doubtful), I think it was a requirement to pass on to 1st grade. Thankfully, I got it done and quite well. I am still skilled in the art of procrastination and tell myself that "I work best under pressure."

3) Sitting in a circle for show-and-tell when this one kid brought in a stapler. Though probably not in my vocabulary at the time, I'm pretty sure my thoughts amounted to the equivalent of "lame" while he explained its use and began to pass it around. I feigned interest and passed it along. Then another kid put the stapler on the ground, inserted his finger, and STAPLED HIS FINGER--the staple went right through the nail. I remember watching him as he was about to do it, knowing exactly what the outcome would be, and thinking what an idiot he was. And then, when he began screaming bloody murder and Mrs. Wamsley, my teacher, took him into the bathroom to remove the staple and clean him up, again thinking what an idiot he was. Apparently, I understood cause and effect better than some of my peers, and maintained a high degree of skepticism even then, something I still value about my personality.

I wonder what memories Squirrel will carry with her from this experience? Hopefully, she'll take away a few valuable lessons--perhaps some more meaningful than mine. Either way, she's having a blast, and I'm grateful we live in such a wonderful area with a great school so I have less apprehension about sending her off. And besides, how can you worry too much when they are THIS excited to be learning?

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Baby Grasshopper Gets Blessed!

We were so grateful to have so much family in town for Grasshopper's blessing! My parents came into town and spent about a month with us, and that weekend, we were also joined by Rob's parents and several siblings, as well as his Aunt Ellen. It felt like we were introducing half the congregation at church that Sunday!

Rob gave the little Grasshopper a really beautiful blessing.
Some of the things he was blessed with:
to be a comfort to others, to love them and provide comfort
to be a leader of men
to know the gospel and understand it
to be married in the temple and serve a mission
with the power of discernment and to know the truth of what people tell him
to live a long life full of mysteries and adventure
to know his parents and siblings love him

I really appreciated especially the blessing that he would be a comfort to others. Already I have seen this true for me. Given all the excitement of his pregnancy, he has indeed been a comfort to me. Even now, his sweet little smiles and delightfulness bring me back to myself and ground me. He just warms my heart so much. Even in utero, when I would really focus on him and handing over my worries to the Lord, I was so comforted. I love that he has been blessed to carry that with him through his life. And gee whiz, isn't he the cutest little thing you've ever seen?

Other pictures taken:

{Our little family--we got Little Bird to smile, but only if he showed his belly. Goofball}

 {All our parents! LOVE THEM!}

{Aunt Ellen--I call her one of my favorite "wedding presents"--I didn't know her before we married, but am SO grateful for her and her wonderfulness! I actually got a lot of these amazing relatives when I married Rob. It's pretty awesome.}

 {Look at him, sucking on his bottom lip. Does this all the time!}

The only thing I wish I'd thought to do was take a photo with all of our famiy that was there for the event. But, silly me, I didn't... :(

Anyway, it was such a great day with a wonderful spirit and I was so grateful to have it in our lives!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Some photos of the new guy!

These are a little (like over a month!) late, but I was super awesome and set everything up just perfectly two days after getting back from the hospital for a giant mug of water to be dumped directly onto Rob's computer. Needless to say, the computer was toast. Very expensive toast, and thank heavens for insurance! Anyway, we're only just back "online" and so I was only just able to upload the photos.

And thankfully, my husband still loves me (probably because I'm the one who makes sure the insurance gets paid every month).

My little grasshopper is growing so quickly! He's already ten pounds, and too big for all his "preemie" sized clothes. So even though it's only been a month since taking these, it's amazing to me how totally different he already is.

{This kid's hands are his best friends--we couldn't see his face in the ultrasound because they were over his face the whole time, and even now, he always wants them near his face or in his mouth.}

{Sweet smiles!} 

{All my babies!} 

 {Proud Daddy!}

Anyway, nothing great, since I did them myself a week post-partum (and have don't have my photo-editing software back yet), but at least they capture his teeny-tininess