Sunday, April 28, 2013

I Agree With James - Diamonds or Day 6

Day 6: What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

Easily becoming a mom.  Most people complained of all the adjustments they had to make when they got married.  They would talk about how hard it was and how it took time to get use to it.  Not me.  I loved being married.  It was just like dating, but we never had to say goodbye at night.  I never felt the angst of trying to merge two lives.  We made a pretty smooth transition.

Becoming a mom?  My whole life changed overnight.  Well, really over the morning since Ethan was born in the early afternoon.  I had an unexpected C-section, and I went from being in college classes with lots of adult interaction to staying at home, with no adult interaction, and a constantly crying baby.  No matter what I did Ethan was never happy.  I felt I had failed at being a mom. Not too surprisingly I developed postpartum depression (depression, not blues), and my life has never been the same.

I am so grateful for my 3 beautiful kids, but having kids is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done.

Good thing they grow up.  They may have been the hardest babies I have ever met, but they sure turned into great kids!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Memory, And Bulk (in words) Of An Elephant, or a Project and Day 5

A couple of years ago I was wandering through our JoAnn, which basically means I stood in the doorway and looked along all 9 square feet of floor space.  I noticed what I thought were the most perfect Easter baskets.  Not floppy, big enough for a box of peeps, ribbon and even a fabric liner to class it up.  The only problem was I was pregnant with #3 and didn't know if it was a boy or a girl yet.

I got a blue one for Ethan, a pink one for Ella and yellow, which I assumed, wrongly, would be good no matter if it was a boy or a girl.  Since I thought it was a boy I was doubley sure it would be fine.  Livi came along, and for 3 years it was fine.  Last year she noticed that Ethan had a favorite color, Ella had a favorite color, and she had YELLOW.  Nuclear blow out occured, and I promised that the next year (this year) we would paint it purple.  Who would have guessed a 3 year old had the memory of an elephant? 5 days before Easter she reminded me of that promise.
My first attempt at painting.  Ever tried to paint wicker with acrylic paint? I soon went out and bought spray paint.

Ahhhhh, much better.

Since I am my father's daughter I couldn't stop there.  I undid the lining to make a pattern, let Livi pick out some fabric and made a new one.

The finished product.

Everyone is happy...for now...until the next catastrophe.
Onto Day 5: What are the 5 things that make you happiest right now?

1.My husband, kids, parents, siblings, etc.  They are what makes my life worth living. 

The rest of these I am going to go with the things that make me happy in the moment. The fleeting happiness, rather than true joy.  Because I can.  Because I can show a funny videos and great pair of shoes.

2. Shoes...shocker.  I have found that I don't feel totally dressed up without a great pair of shoes.  For years I tried only to find the flattest shoes I possibly could, sometimes wearing ballet slippers to church dances, just so I wouldn't tower over the boys.  Eric and other tall boys were too busy dating 5'1' tiny blonds, so I was stuck with the 5'11' boys who were shorter than me if we stood on an incline.  When I started dating Eric I bought my first pair of heels.  I still have them because they symbolize so much to me.  I was still pretty close in height to Eric wearing them, but he helped me gain the confidence I needed to not care.  I have since let this freedom get a little too free, but nothing feels better when I am getting dressed than a great pair of shoes.

 photo IMG_2480.jpg
I know, right? These are my latest "bankruptcy shoes".  Not because they cost a ton and we will go into bankruptcyI do all the bankruptcies for Eric and after doing 5 I bought myself this awesome pair of shoes!
3.Seeing in my Hulu queue a new episode of favorite shows.  I love it when there is New Girl, Community, Parks and Rec, but mostly Supernatural.  Is it dumb that a 32 year old likes a show based on monsters and cute boys, on the teen channel? No, no it is not.

4. Snow.  Two weeks ago we had a great snow storm.  The kind where the lights flicker, a fire in the fireplace is a must, and the kids get two days off from school.  It is almost magic to wake up, see the snow all over, and have the kids happy to be home.  Well, the first day was magic.  By the end of day 2 I was ready for them to get back to their "important educations".
We don't have hills in Nebraska, so this is about as much sledding as they will ever get!

5. The silly things Tonks does.  When Eric said he thought getting a dog might be a good therapy for me he was right (although maybe I said that, because it certainly was brilliant).  I cannot NOT smile when I look at her.  She is just so loving, small, fluffy, and kind of silly.
She likes to sit like she is people.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Squeaky Wheel, My Town Is Probably Haunted and Day 4

I thought I wrote about my "squeakiness" during December but I went back and couldn't find it to link to so I will recap:
In December they switched my depression medicine to an anti-anxiety/depression medicine.  I'd been having panic attacks and things weren't good.  When you are transitioning there is a time where the old meds are gone from your body, but the new ones haven't been in there long enough to be effective.  One problem I have that gets worse when I am not on the meds is I complain.  Not "oh, poor me," (although I do that too), but go up to managers, call comment phone numbers on the back of trucks, and pick fights about greeting card prices.

One of many times I complained was at McDonald's.  Our McDonald's has been remodeled every two years since we have lived here.  This time they put in a line that splits into two to order.  Someone CUT THE LINE, so I stuck my head out the window and yelled at the top of my lungs "THERE IS ONE LINE!  ONE LINE!"  Spooked Livi, wrote to McDonald's to complain, talked to the manager,and...

they fixed it :
Too bad they can't fix the drivers in town.
 On a totally different note (and day) I was driving my kids to the bakery (yay, good parenting), and Ella points out the window and yells "The Tower of Terror!"  If it was about 5 stories taller, half destroyed by lightening and had a cool sign on the front, I could see it.
Day 4: List 5 things you would tell your 16 year-old self if you could.

Wow.  My 16 year old self was pretty annoying so there is a lot I would say, but probably not a lot she would listen to. Plus our family recently got in a whole big discussion about time travel and paradoxes so I would have to write it all down and give it to someone else to give to me, so I wouldn't cease to exist or blow up the universe, so she would probably believe it even less.

#1 Just because your boyfriend tells you no other guys would like you doesn't make it true.
#2 If you just studied 1/3 as much as you will in college you could get straight A's and an awesome scholarship.
#3 Don't go into education in college.  You will like it, but never want to do it.
#4 You are prettier than you think.  Enjoy this body because in 6 years you will have a C-section, sorry.
#5 You know #2 on the Volleyball team that is totally hot and is the whole reason you go to volleyball games? Yeah, you are totally going to marry him.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eric's Birthday, and Because We Are Over Thirty And Our Birthdays Really Aren't That Exciting: Day 3

Eric turned 34 this year and for some reason every time I saw a calendar and saw the decorations (for Palm Sunday) on his birthday I thought Easter was on his birthday.  It was 2 days before Sunday when I finally realized I had a whole other week to prepare for Easter.  Luckily I was on top of things for Eric's birthday too (which at this point in my year is a miracle).

Even though we have Church at 9:00am the kids were so excited to give Eric his presents I was somehow pushed out of bed a little before 7:00.
Our ever helpful kids.  I think Eric actually got to unwrap a few of his own presents this year.

Eric picked Scotch Bars for his cake.  Mine always turn out sunken in and flatter than his mom's, probably because I add twice as many chocolate chips.  Eric asks why I think recipes always need more chocolate chips than called for and I say to that "Because they are CHOCOLATE chips.  What doesn't need more of them?" I would add more chocolate chips to my bath if my tub worked.
Day 3:  What is the greatest amount of physical pain you have ever endured?

Ha ha ha.  It wasn't all that hard to pick one instance, which is kind of amazing considering I have had 3 C-sections, a gallbladder removed after two years of painful attacks and an appendix removed.  If you combined all of those, added in painful knees and a Chupacabra you would almost the amount of pain of Viral Meningitis.  Almost.

I won't go on and whine about it, but I honestly thought (and then wished) I was going to die.  The worst is when medical personnel tell you it isn't that bad, you probably have a migraine, so you feel stupid for even coming in.  At least the 6th test out of 6 said I wasn't making it all up and that I did indeed have meningitis.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm Only 95% Crazy! or Day 2

I wrote this whole long post about how great it was to learn about Misophonia and indirectly Hyperacusis from my cousin Megan.  How it felt so great to feel a little less guilty about hating the sound of eating (and whistling, and the TV, and other everyday noises) because it is a neurological condition that you can't help.  But then I talked to my Mom and told her about how excited I was to learn about it, that I felt like a little less horrible of a person.  Then she said "yep, you get easily annoyed with sound." Well... I guess I can go back to feeling like a meanie headed jerk.

Day 2:

Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and describe how they became fears.

See James' post about "legitimate."

#1: Being trapped in my own head.  There is almost nothing I fear more than being completely unable to move but being aware of everything around me.  I think mostly it would be because I wouldn't be able to argue or correct people when they are wrong. I'm not sure how I got this fear, but I have had panic attacks just thinking about this (literally).

#2: The death of a child (or Eric).  It is not fair to have a fear that grows exponentially as you increase the amount you love.

#3: Snakes, Sharks, Lightening, and now, thanks to Eric, climbing Mount Everest. Basically anything that is HIGHLY unlikely to happen but if it does then you die a horrible, gruesome death (and then a Yeti eats your carcass).

On a different note, a slice of my life with Livi:

She wanted to eat all my peeps (not people, the marshmallow candy), but being a favorite I told her I didn't want to give her some and then have her only eat one and then waste the rest. She promised she would eat them all, then one minute later 4 bunny peeps were handed back to me. She then said "Mom, peeps look little on the outside but then they get bigger in my the TARDIS."  Hard to get mad while laughing so hard I am crying.

Meeting her friend at Walmart who just got a baby brother Livi was explaining to the girl that we don't have a baby.  She then further explained "there isn't a baby in there.  It only looks like there is a baby in her tummy" while patting my stomach.  Not so much laughing and a little more crying with that one.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just Call Me A Copy Cat, or I am about to be a hypocrite

In Junior High I got a brand new outfit from the "trendy" store.  Unlike some siblings who will not be named, new clothes were not that often an occurrence for me, especially when I was that young.  I was so proud, I felt so cool when I wore that brand new outfit to school.  The next day my friend was wearing literally the same outfit.  She had gone out the night before and bought it after seeing mine.  I know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, blah blah blah, but is it so hard to see a good idea and make it your own?  It was the 90's, the time of uber coordination.  It was part of a group of clothes that she could have picked from for a similar look, but no, she got the exact same pieces.  It took away part of the specialness of the outfit.  I have hated copy-cats ever since.  I know it was stupid to feel that way, and the truly sad thing is that I never grew out of it.  As stupid and as juvenile as it is, I still HATE copy-cats.  I don't mind similar takes on things, but when it is 100% exactly what I have done/worn/played/said I just can't take it (unless asked ahead of time and credited).

Having said that I am about to be a jerk myself.  James recently has been posting the most interesting posts on his blog.  He is doing the 30 day writing challenge that Julia did a while ago.  Her posts were interesting in a way I could never achieve also. I know that nothing I write will be that engaging, but since I am not naive enough to think anyone but my mom and I will find this interesting I thought I would give it a try.  Also I find myself closing off from the world around me again, and I think it might help me at least take my mind in a different direction.

Here is my copy-copy cat post:

Day 1: List 10 Random Facts About Yourself.

1. I love houses.  It is not just when I need a house, or when I want to buy a new one, I just love houses.  Anywhere Eric and I have ever talked about ending up I have found a house, or many houses, in which I could picture my family living.  I love the different styles, the different vibe of each city, the way the yards are landscaped differently.  I love to peek in people's houses with the pictures from listed houses.  It isn't just the houses themselves though.  I love to know the "good" places to live, in the best neighborhoods and best schools.  It is a weird hobby, but I can't pass up a book with house plans at a bookstore, even if I do seem to have 200 rainforest trees on my shelf in the form of pictures of houses I will never live in.

2. One of my favorite college classes was Theater Makeup.  I wish I had kept going with it. My favorite day was the one where we had to age ourselves to our 80's.  I am not going to look very good in 50 years.

3. I wanted to go to culinary school or become a lawyer.  I cook everyday, and I am entrenched in the legal world, but it isn't the same.  It is like building a ship in a bottle instead of sailing on a real ship.

4. My dream car is a 1959 VW Beetle (or really any of the 50's or '37-'39).  Eric has strong feelings against this wish since they are basically as strong as a tin can in an accident.  The new Beetles have a more classic design, so maybe I could talk him into one of those some day...

5. I hate fish.  All fish.

6. I love teaching, but would never teach in a regular classroom.  I love the kids, I love the actual teaching, I HATE the parents.

7. I hate Miami.  Unless a loved one is dying and the only chance they have to survive is in Miami I will never go back.  It is a dirty, dirty, dirty city.  The people aren't nice, and there are cockroaches the size of my dog.  Orlando is about the only place in Florida I will ever go again, the rest they can just saw off and let float away.

8. I love to exercise.  I also love to eat, which is why I am still overweight, but I really do enjoy exercising.  Now that my knees have stopped hurting (after 2 very painful years) I have gotten back in the habit, and I love the feeling of working my muscles and the energy I have afterwards (until 7 that night when I am falling asleep reading to Livi).

9. When I was a child I had a My Little Pony collection.  My Grandpa Bud used to buy them for me all the time and I think they were the majority of my birthday and Christmas presents for a while.  When I was a teenager and my mom made me finally go through them to get rid of the them she said I could keep 50.  I had to give away 200.  No joke. Yes, I had this set:

10. I hate the sound of people eating.  Most nights I try to take my time eating just to keep my mind from hearing everyone else around the table chewing, slurping, and swallowing.  It is truly the sound(s) I have the hardest time listening to.  Yes, worse than fingernails on a chalkboard.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pretty Pretty Princesses or Why Can't We All Keep The Magic Of Childhood?

It has been really fun to go to Disneyland so much, not only for the obvious reasons, but also because you don't feel so much like you have to hit the big, well known attractions.  You can explore, try some of the smaller rides, or try experiences that you wouldn't if it was your only time to go.  I feel a little stupid even writing things like this because most people don't ever get to go to Disneyland, let alone multiple times per year.  I feel pretentious and obnoxious, but since this goes in our photo album I should write about it.

I don't know why, but one of the things we have never done is the Bippity-Boppity-Boutique.  Ok, I do know why, it is expensive and takes a LOT of time out of the day, but with two absolute princesses it seems odd we have never done it.  One of Dad's employees mentioned how much her granddaughters enjoyed it and showed us pictures so we decided to give it a try.

This is definitely NOT an every time type of activity for Disneyland, but it was amazing and, of course, I cried.  To start off with you have to have an appointment ahead of time so when you get there you wait until you are called, and they make you wait, of course, in a princess shop full of the most fun costumes.  I still desperately wish they sold adult princess costumes at Disneyland (thanks for lying Big Bang Theory), but I can live vicariously through my girls, that's totally healthy, right?

When the girls get called, "Princess Olivia" (I was the "Queen", making Mom "The Queen Mother" I guess) they are walked back to a beauty station and their very own "Fairy God Mother In Training."  They get to pick out one of three looks (at least with our package) and then the magic begins.
I have never had Livi sit so well for me when I do her hair,
Every time they sprayed detangler, hair spray (lots and lots and lots of hairspray) or glitter they have the girls put up these shields.  As an Ophthalmologist's daughter I thought it was a smart touch.
I think having her hair so gently played with for such a long time was relaxing for Livi, she kept closing her eyes.

Ella has so much hair it took twice as long as Livi just to get it in a slick ponytail.  I had a few people ask if the girls hair was real, or if we had extensions put in there (yeah, cause I am totally the type of Mom who puts extensions in her 4 year old's hair).
When their hair is mostly done they have a helper (I guess a Fairy God Mother In Training- In Training) come over and paint their nails.  They also get real makeup put on, face stickers to choose from and accessories that go in their hair.  Any of the choices they didn't choose goes in their goodie-bags and they take it ALL home.

Ella getting the final touch (gallon) of glitter
Livi ended first so she came over to admire Ella and "help" her pick which face jewels to wear.
The final results:
 I asked Ethan if he wished he had gotten the boy makeover (they do have one) and he responded with this:
Now this is the part that made me cry.  I feel stupid I cried, but there is something about the magic of Disney, helping to maintain the innocence of childhood, combined with the look on the girls' faces that show they believe totally that magic could exist in this world, that just hits me so hard at moments like this:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Somebody Stop Me, or Like This Post My Words Keep Going and Going and Going...

I am not very good at not speaking my mind, just in general.  I have a hard time hiding how I feel (ok, I can't hide it at all), and for the most part I say what I think.  Before my trip to California I was not in a great place which made me have even more vocal diarrhea.

Hopefully my friend doesn't care that I am sharing this because she was only tangenantly involved.  Yes "tangenangtly."  She had just had her 5th baby and had a nerve thingy which made it so she couldn't walk.  I knew my ward was eager to help, but one day when I, through our texting, found out she didn't have anything lined up for dinner all week.  After making dinner I texted my Relief Society president to find out if they could set up food for the rest of the week.  Here is my text word for word-

"Just wondering if there were any meals planned for Melissa. All her help is gone and she still can't do much.  I am making dinner tonight but hoping relief society can manage a few more."

 I probably shouldn't have written "manage" because it is one of those word that can take on multiple implications depending on tone of voice.  My Relief Society president kept calling until I answered and was very defensive and here is our conversation:

Her: I have 20 people lined up to bring dinner but Chad said they didn't need dinner this week.

Me: Ok, I just went over this afternoon and they didn't have dinner so I thought I would check on the rest of the week.

Her: Nicole, I checked with Chad on Sunday and he said he took this week off so they didn't need dinner.

Me: I know he didn't take today off because I drove the kids from school and I know he took last week off.

Her: Nicole, Charity is bringing the kids home, Nicole.

Me: ????? Um, well I am actually doing Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays and Charity is doing Tuesday and Thursday.

Her: NICOLE, I know that Charity is taking their kids home.

Me: I don't know why that even matters, all I wanted was to make sure they had dinners.


At this point I was severely annoyed, not only by the unexplainable overuse of my name, but by the volume and the fact that no matter how hard I tried to interject and end the conversation she just kept steam rolling over me and wouldn't let me talk.  I had had one of the worst psychological days in my life and this wasn't helping.  I hadn't talked to anyone all day before she called, because I knew if I talked to people I would end up being mean to them.  I was right.  I finally yelled over her


And I hung up.

Not a great story, but it makes the next one make a little more sense.

A few days later at Disneyland Ethan and Ella really wanted to go on the Tower of Terror.  I really don't like that ride, but Ella really wanted to go on it for the first time so I agreed to go:

Ella was a little scarred from the amazing spooky ambiance Disney accomplished and was holding my hand and staying close to my side.  We got shuffled into a room where they show you a video about the "history" of the hotel.  At one point in the film a teenager thought she would be funny and yell at the top of her lungs at a particularly intense point.  Everyone jumped and Ella clung harder to my hand.  I looked over and noticed a little girl, probably 4 or 5 and she looked spooked!  At the end of the video the lights go out for a second and that same teen screamed at the TOP of her lungs.  Exasperated, and having no control or filter anymore, I said loudly "You know, there are little kids in here!"  Then I felt stupid, because that is who I am, and I worry constantly about being shot or stabbed when I complain about something in Southern California.  But then two other people said "Yeah!" so I felt a little better until...we were right behind them in line to get seated.

We, of course, were put in the front row, and they were in the row behind us.  Since they had been mumbling and looking back at me I really did not want to sit in front of them.  I explained that my kids were a little scared (ok, maybe it was me) and would they mind switching us so we wouldn't be right in the front.  They debated in some language I didn't understand and agreed.  Then about 2 second later I realized, nope, we HAD been in the back row and had switched them for the middle.  Now we really were in front of them.  Feeling even stupider (if that was possible), and because I couldn't stop myself,  I explained my mistake and asked if they minded switching back.  They really didn't want to but I explained (insisted) that my kids (me) would do much better in the back.

I guess sometimes it pays to keep talking.  We didn't end up getting stabbed in the neck with a turkey thermometer either!