Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What a Year!

As Christmas fast approaches and it becomes clear to me that I will NOT be putting together Christmas cards/photos/letters in the next two days, the relief is palpable. The house feels brighter, lighter and dirtier. Because not only have I not been taking pictures or composing well-wishes, I've not been cleaning much either. But fa-la-la and ho-ho-ho, here's what we have been doing this year....

Everyone has had a birthday. And I mean everyone. Including Thomas, who turned three in April but refuses to acknowledge it. When he found out he wasn't turning four (his first pick) he just put his foot down and remained two. The others are as follows: Hinckley-9, Halle-7, Ava-5 and fabulous. Darron and I refused to be interviewed for this paragraph, but I would estimate we are somewhere close to last year's age.

Next up: hair. Thomas has perfect shiny luscious shepherd boy locks. I don't know that I've mentioned that before. And with them comes the source of his power. Ava has thick, long, and according to Grandma golden hair that swings from side to side when she walks and flips perfectly over her shoulders when batted with the back of her hand. I am proud to say my daughter is "that girl". And Halle. Shortly before school she came up with the idea to cut her long hair into a cute bob. Whomever says subliminal messaging doesn't work has not met me. Her hair has not yet "come in", so her cut worked wonders with what she does have, and it suits her sunshiny personality. Hinckley was given the go ahead to grow his out, by which I mean longer than a #1 on the electric clippers. We fear a surly attitude and penchant for throwing rocks at kittens will surely follow, but Darron doesn't even like cats and we prefer surl to whine, so we're going ahead. Moi....? Darron voiced a suggestion, for the first time in our entire marriage, that I grow it a little longer. I am all about doing what my husband wants--and immediately--so out it grows. I am also seeing a licensed professional again (for my HAIR) which is a relief to all. Speaking of suggestions, mine to Darron was that he stop shaving his head for awhile. Which, of course, he has. The last time you saw his hair nine years ago it was brown. No longer. He blames the grey and white on me. At least that's all I've done.
Our main expenses this year have been food, school uniforms, and Dr. Gordon. We eat food every day. And the kids go to school most days. And we went to the dentist after a (ahem) significant hiatus from dental coverage. I like to imagine he spent it on something nice, like a diamond bracelet for his wife, or an extended European tour for his family, 324 closest facebook friends and their favorite neighbors.

It has occurred to me that "cool houses" cannot be "created". The purchase and installation of a play center from Costco and a basketball backboard does not guarantee that your kids and their friends will use them. You may find that they persist in going to the play at the neighbors' house, complete with a pool, a trampoline, and an endless supply of neighborhood kids.

And speaking of fun, why go to Disneyland when we have a perfectly good "local amusement park" a mere 45 minutes away? Come to think of it, why go to the local amusement park, when we can go to the local-er "fun center" just down the freeway? And then--even better--why the fun center, when there are parks for free all around? They have slides, no swings if we're lucky, and nary a fried chicken finger to be found. The kids have fun and Mom doesn't get weird looks if she sits on a bench and reads a book. AND Dad can still go to work to help support the Gordon Family European fund. Win-win-win. Your nine year old may sadly sigh and look woefully up at you when his friends talk about their latest Disney trip, but in my opinion, sighing is good for children and woe is a sign of maturity.

Our children are perfect, our life is ideal. If you don't want to be us after reading this, you probably read it too fast. And I may have forgotten to mention, but it now occurs to me to tell you that we had a romantic couples getaway to RadioShack last night. Yes, technically, our kids were there, but I tell you, when we locked eyes over the electronic yapping dogs...magic.

A very merry Christmas to each one of you. This season is the perfect opportunity to think about what matters most to us. We love our family, our friends, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. May He guide each of us though our lives as we develop greater trust in Him and a desire to live as He wants us to live. We hope the new year brings joy, love, and peace to each of you. We also hope to find Hinckley's Cub Scout book.

Love and Best Wishes!!!

Darron, Heather, Hinckley, Halle, Ava, and Thomas

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Even Fairies Have Bad Days...

...and other gems from my C: drive

Newport Beach at sunset

Graduation Day: in which he and she were speaking to one another

I, Hinckley, promise to do my duty

Favorite picture of my sisters (quick, Susie, name the extra!)

...and a sampling of their progeny

A couple o' ol-timers

Cause I never did post "First Day" pictures

And another one

This one goes to school over his mother's dead body.

Cute hubs' (third from right) cute high school reunion

Dad's beautiful family (please let me have these genes please let me have these genes)

Elizabeth's modeling days (secret modeling days)

For merrily on our way we go until we reach the valley-o!

Crazy about this picture! Seinfeld army helmet, matching potbellies, washed out morlock faces, me llllikey!

Um... Salvador Halle's Disney period (are those millipedes coming out of her ear?)

Bags on hooks

And lastly, a little inspiration for things yet to come...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

You May Want to Leave Your Shoes On

Good things are happening in my basement.

What's the complete opposite of this sentence? My basement 3 1/2 weeks ago, that's what. In case you didn't hear about the Great Poo Flood of 2010, let me fill you in. There was a great flood of poo. In my house. In 2010.

3 1/2 weeks ago...

Me: (upstairs in my bare feet, thinks) I need to vacuum the kids' rooms downstairs. And get their laundry while I'm down there. Ok. (walks down the stairs in my bare feet) Vacuum and laundry. Vacuum and laundry. Don't forget. Vacuum, then stay and pick up the laundry. Don't come back upstairs after vacuuming, remember to get the laundry. (walks past the utility closet in my bare feet) Vacuum and--- oh no! Is the carpet wet? Oh no, it is! It feels nice and warm...I bet the water heater is leaking. Well, we were thinking of putting in a tankless anyway, I guess this will be a good excuse. Ooh, it's like the perfect temperature, mmm that's nice. Gosh, it kinda stinks down here. If those kids left the toilet unflushed again...grrr...(opens the closet door in my bare feet as the water swirls lazily around my bare toes. Seeing brown water burbling up through the sewage drain) WHAT IN THE..?!!! NOOOOOO!!!! It's POOOO!!! Omigosh, what do I do? Ok, call Darron. (turns around, heading for the stairs, sees two little ones heading down towards me with wide eyes)

Ava and Thomas: Why did you scream, Mom?

Me: Get out!! Turn around, get out of here! There's poo water! Stay away! Stay away!!! (Drop to my knees, begin walking on knees out along the unaffected carpet, up the stairs, over the tile and hardwood into the bathroom, heft myself onto toilet, then onto counter, put feet in the sink. Wash and scrub. And Lysol.

So by the time everything gets sorted out in the ol' sewer line, the water (if one may call it that) has flooded into every room of the basement. Family room, 2 bedrooms, playroom, bathroom. Everything is pulled out, down to the concrete and studs. And then I walk out leaving just the concrete. ba-dum-ching! (Men are so lucky. I looong to be able to make stud jokes. *sigh*) It hasn't been fun. For me. The kids are fine. But me? Not. Sure, someone else had to clean it up. Sure, we don't have to pay for it. Sure, everyone has been a peach to work with. Sure, I realize I am lucky and still have half a house to live in and food to eat and running water. But my nerves! My nerves?! Already stretched a little thin due to some unrelated circumstances, I find they just cannot handle the constant vigilance of germ patrol, keeping ALL of our stuff crammed into 50% of the space, not to mention ALL of the kids into 50% of the bedrooms. No toys. No video games. No church shoes. Or scout book. And the flies! Aargh! Feeling guilty for complaining. Feeling guilty for not being grateful enough. Feeling guilty for being a shrew.

On the up side, Darron's never been better. Me taking over as "the neurotic one" has given him a little vacation of sorts.

But now let's talk about the "good things" that have been going on. If my camera were not MIA, I would put up pictures. And I still plan on doing a reveal post once everything is finished and I find the camera, but we're not quite to that point. Probably two more weeks to go. In the meantime, here's a good old fashioned list of the good things: cabinets, paneling, new paint, subway tile, new carpet. Sound yummy? Yes it does. Look yummy? Oh yes, so far. I'm rubbing my hands together with glee.

And then there was Halloween amidst the yuck. Once again grateful I hadn't decided to sew the costumes this year. And as I mentioned my camera was lost, so I wasn't able to take all the beautiful photos like usual which really just makes my heart hurt. They looked so so sweet, every one of them. Here are some pictures taken by a friend, a good mom who brings her camera to take pictures of her children during milestone events like major holidays.

First we have a "phantom" with a dreamy smile and yummy blue eyes

So sad I didn't get a close-up of Halle's makeup and hair. She was quite lavender and glittery. A little butterfly/fairy/sparkly girlthing

And then the cooperation stops. True to form, Ava pretends the camera does not exist. She prefers the unposed "action" shot.

She's a mermaid by they way. NOT "the little" mermaid.

C'mon Ava. U smile, I smile. One two three...

If you aren't normally accustomed to prodigious amounts of cuteness, you may want to look away. I ate this little one up. Then I polished off his candy.

Aargh! I can't take it! My eyes!
I didn't get an official shot of my costume, but 10 points if you can figure it out from those ones up there. I like to call it my "better than a headache" outfit. It's been a week and Darron still won't look at me.

Ho hum, I guess that's all for now. Back to the swamp. Oh, my goal for this year btw is to have Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. I'm posting it here for all the world to see because social pressure is a really big motivator for me.

NOW back to the swamp. Don't you want me to prepare some food for you? Come on over. You can roll around on my carpet while you wait.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Anticipation and Disaster Averted

Don't you love fall? And Hawaii and baby kittens and the smell of clean laundry? I enjoy all the seasons, in moderation, but this year fall is just getting to me. The clothes, the weather, the food, the beauty. It's still fairly warm here, but we're experiencing a nice slow slide down the thermostat that we don't often get in Utah. There is so much anticipation wrapped up in this time of year, so much to look forward to. A new year of school, a new attempt at scheduling and organizing. Real holidays. Now, I am not the kind to get excited for Christmas (sad) but this year is different, I've been anticipating it since June. Don't know exactly why or what for, but I've been so kind of buzzed about it and I think about it ALL the time. Like a 16 year old boy and um, skateboards. I've bought a few gifts already and feel a bit smug and totally on track, a really foreign feeling to me (minus the smugness).

Halloween? I have 2 of the 4 required costumes (mostly) bought. As you may remember from last year, this is also quite unprecedented. I must admit I presently am toying with the idea of sewing Tommy's Woody costume, but such insanity must be at least considered, if only so I can assure others I have not been alien-abducted and replaced by a pod. I also put up a decoration. Darron told me I should decorate for Halloween this year. He tells me this every year. So do my kids. Every year. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "So-and-so has her decorations up! When are we getting ours?" I'd have lots of dollars and I wouldn't spend one of them on Halloween decorations. But I spent a few bucks at Roberts and Dollar Tree and put this out:
Come a little closer, my dears... Thanksgiving is still a bit of a quandary, although I know there isn't that much to quandar, but this holiday actually is causing me stress for the first time, like, ever. You may have noticed me calling you and inviting myself to your house for the big day. If not, check your phone because I totally texted you and I'm bugged cause you didn't respond.

Ooh and crock-pot meals! To change the subject. Don'tcha love 'em? Put your energy into cooking when you have it, early in the day, then you're ahead of the game when 4:30 rolls around. I love being ahead of the game. Again, not a frequent occurrence with me. I tried a couple recipes from this month's Costco magazine. French Lentil Rice Soup yesterday and Hearty Beef Short-ribs today. Tasty. I'm giving this recipe a go tomorrow, because I do love the rotisserie chickens. SO tasty. Plus, I like to make my own chicken stock with the bones. And now I'm just bragging.

And in closing...

Ok. You have your emergency food supply, extra water, toilet paper, clothing, what have you. But what about your emergency pencil, hmm? It's ok. You can use ours.

Wishing everyone an on-track, slow-cooked, emergency-prepared Fall!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where the Path May Lead

For those of us on facebook, one of the biggest kicks is the ability to find friends from years past. Old childhood pals, who years ago might have been lost forever after life moves them apart, can once again reconnect, reliving those times when friendship was sweet and uncomplicated.

One such childhood friend and I found each other shortly after my facebook debut. I was so excited to hear from Alyson, a friend I met at church when I lived in Modesto, California during part of elementary and junior high school. Who knows what draws kids to one another and turns them into friends? I don't remember how exactly we became friends, but we did. And she was one of my favorites. We went to church together, but attended different schools, so we didn't see a whole lot of each other, yet still managed to become close. She was fun and enthusiastic, sensitive and imaginative. After I moved away to Clovis, we wrote one another once or twice with--you know-- a pen and paper, and even crossed paths briefly at BYU...her going, my coming I believe. I came to her wedding in Utah. She came to my reception a few days before giving birth to her first child. And then... nothing. We got caught up in our separate lives and lost track.

Ten years later...

(Enter the world's largest social networking site. Right? It's the only one I use, so I assume it's the biggest--but I could be wrong, I'm a 34-year-old housewife.)

...We found each other. And as we reconnected, she revealed to me some darkness from her childhood, of which I had been completely unaware. Beginning at the age of 9, she had been repeatedly and continuously sexually abused by her brother-in-law for 8 years, until she physically removed herself from the country (the country!) during high school. To say I was utterly dumbfounded doesn't begin to get close to how I felt. My little friend, that sweet innocent beautiful girl, was living this nightmare completely unbeknownst to me. My heart ached for her. It does now as I write this. I felt sorrow and fury and condemnation and guilt as I thought about her life over those years and how I was completely oblivious and happy and safe in my own home while she battled this monster in hers. I hoped I hadn't been insensitive. I hoped I had been kind when she needed kindness, silly when she needed silliness. I hoped we had had so much fun together that she was able to forget on occasion, just leave her burden for a few minutes and feel as happy as a child should.

My grown-up friend Alyson is an amazing person. She has a loving husband and four precious children. She is adventurous. She is a talented writer and photographer. She has an eye for beauty. And she has a voice. She's started a blog recording her pursuit of justice, her battle and her peace with her abuse. It's called ...leave a trail . I know my readership isn't very big, but I hope someone reading this will find a little more strength or a little more compassion from her words. I have.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Have Smelled the Future...and It Has Morning Breath

So what it's looking like is if Darron ever dies or leaves me for some big-haired Utah floozy you will find me at home in my bed watchin' movies and eatin' Hot Tamales. Because I think I've found that that is my happy place. Not my "happy" happy place...that place is a little secluded beach in Maui with a hammock and a lifetime supply of books carried in on the backs of sea turtles. And Darron's invited. If he keeps his mouth shut and gives me a scalp massage. This other place is more my "fetal position" happy place, where you just want time to pass as quickly and mindlessly as possible but also need to satisfy your sugar lusts.

The morning after Darron left for a 4-day backpacking trip---wh-wh-whoa! Waitaminute! Really? BACKpacking? OH Yes. Darron went backpacking. It's true. Big breath, take a minute if you need one. Everyone ready? Ok, continuing...the morning after Darron and Hinckley left for a backpacking trip found me laying in bed prolonging the moment when I'd have to rise and begin the day. Which may remind one of every other morning (and I use that word loosely) this summer that has found me in precisely the same spot, but it was totally different because this particular morning I was contemplating whether or not I was going to brush my teeth immediately after arising, or just, you know, whenever I felt like it...whenever the kids complained. For some reason, that is the first thing to be compromised when Darron leaves. First-thing-in-the-morning toothbrushing. Of course, as my bed began to fill with children, alternately whining for breakfast, pulling the pillow off of my head, and yes, complaining about my breath, toothbrushing was put back on the schedule, and I reluctantly rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom.

Housecleaning is the next thing to go. I generally try to keep up with things during the day, at least one big tidy-up around dinnertime, but no, not when there's no one around to care or notice. Meals? If my kids say they're hungry, they get fed. If not, well, they just may not. Things I DID do? That I'm proud of? Shower. On more than one occasion. Scrub two bathtubs. Go to church. Mop part of a kitchen floor that got honey on it. Buy Hot Tamales, which entailed going to two stores because the first sorry store did not carry them. Bathe my children. Now comes the good part. Watch 12 movies. Eat a corresponding number of bags of Hot Tamales. A-a-a-and there you have it. The last four days of my life, condensed, reduced to their essence, and totally, completely wasted.

Ugh. I hate when my husband is gone. Ugh. I hate how whiny I sound when I whine about my husband being gone. And this time, not only was he gone, he was out of cell-phone range. WAAAAH!!

It's not like this when I am the one doing the leaving. I recently got back from my summerly trip to see my family, the one that takes 3 weeks, the one Darron is not invited to, for various and sundry reasons. The kids and I drive around and see all my siblings and parents. I love this trip. We have a grand time and I do just fine without my husband. I mean, I miss him, but I can function, don't have to take up agoraphobia as a hobby, I brush my teeth. What's the deal?


I miss him.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Friday Rundown

This just got too long for a facebook status, so I'm moving things over here. Can I get a....PROJECT RUNWAY HURRAH?!!! And you might want to get ready for lots of caps because my excitement level is pretty high.

It's BACK! One of the only three tv shows I watch, the others being House Hunters International (although I don't care for all the Caribbean episodes, I will watch them, I just prefer the European, Middle Eastern, etc. Even Canada I like. But I'm all burned out on Roatan.), and Your Total Body Workout, an hourlong yoga program on KBYU.

So last night was the big premiere and it did not disappoint. Of COURSE it did not disappoint!Here are the things I loved:

1) Heidi, Tim, Michael, and Nina. In no particular order. Well ok, here's the order of preference: Michael, Nina, Heidi, and Tim. I just love these folks. If we could have an entire episode of the post-runway critiques, I'd be truly happy and have nothing left to wish for. Michael's gift for the outrageously creative and spot on put-down, his hilarious catty-but-not-too chemistry with Nina (don't you hope they hang out in real life? Like all the time? That he just comes to the Marie Claire offices every morning and they have their Starbucks together and look through piles of fashion photos and samples and they aren't mean, just honest and they do that thing where one of them says something funny and then they look at each other and do that laugh.....), Tim's dry, self-aware, spinsterly little persona, Heidi's killer shoes and constant state of pregnancy (just a little disappointing that she isn't this season).

2) The episodes are now 90 minutes and I am NOT KIDDING! Because 60 minutes were NOT enough. 90 minutes aren't either, but it's more and more is better. 90 MINUTES!!! It's like Christmas Day!

3) A really really great guest judge. Selma Blair. Who knew? I'm not that into pop culture anymore, so I didn't know much about her, but she was marvelous. Not afraid to disagree with the other judges, capable of being witty and daring in her taste and remarks, and so clever I am pretty sure she even swayed the others enough to save that "full Italian" guy, the one who made the backwards kimono Friar Tuck bathrobe. I can't specifically remember all the other guest judges, but I'm going to just venture out and say that she is the best one they've ever had. Because quite often, even usually, they are just terrible. Remember Lindsay Lohan? I don't know what her agent had to do to get her that gig, and although it was nice to see her sober, it couldn't make up for the fact that she was Lindsay Lohan and she had NO place being there, nothing to say, no clout or taste. Or ew, how about that little girl from the OC? Summer...I can't remember her real name. Please PR producers, if you are going to take air and face time away from my true love MichaelandNina, make it someone palatable and funny. Like Selma Blair.

Okay, I could go on, but I need to get on with my day. Darron has his 20 year high school reunion tonight and we are actually going for the first time ever, so it's kind of a big deal.

What about you? Is that an "amen" I hear? Any other Project Runway peeps out there? What are you most excited about and how-- HOW are we going to make it through another 7 days until the next episode?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to Relax, When You're Me

What have I been doing with myself for the past two weeks? Now that school's out? Oh not much. Get it? NOT MUCH??? It's not actually a joke, it's just true, and absolutely, deliciously, delightful. Here are some of my favorite (and not-so) things I've been indulging in lately...
My Nook. :)

I'm not a technosavant or whatever you call it. But Darron got me this e-reader for my birthday. It's always nice to have a book under thumb. Of course, I still have to pay for them, so I've been mostly catching up on my Bronte and James and the like, the "freebies". Oh, they're terribly boring you're right, but it's reading, and I love it.

A little spray paint goes a long way. Not literally. No, you always need 4x the amount you thought you would. But it does have the power to transform an ugly orange-brown rattan-and-pine tray into this little lovely...

Yes, I did put the "good magazines" on top. And is the guy on this month's Ensign a dead ringer for Kevin Wright or what? Anyone? Anyone?

Next thing I've been into... the closets. Organizing and chucking. Or, in order, chucking then organizing. I don't have all the matching containers and paper lined walls, but the dust bunnies and mismatched sheets have been banished and turns out, we have plenty of Irish Spring soap. I can take that off my list for 15 years.

Oh yeah. Big boys wear Matchbox cars on their bums. They ain't tighty. They ain't whitey. But they're here to stay. Diapers are soooo 8 days ago. As soon as I finished this picture, he came running over and said "Ok, now I want to see my butt!" And who wouldn't. It's under there somewhere, swimming in a sea of yellow Lambourghini.
(Insert cute picture of scrawny little Tommy in his undies. Darron wisely suggested I take it down.)
Now here's what I haven't been doing much of:

Yeah. I think in the last two weeks, aside from my yoga program, I've watched no tv. The only show I actually still record is "House Hunters International" and I like to save it up for a month and watch a mini-marathon. More satisfying that way. I prefer my fantasies to last a little longer than 23 minutes.

When one organizes one's food storage room and discovers one has the better part of a case of chili that will expire in 4 weeks, and then also a half case of refried beans, one eliminates one's interaction with genteel folk and gets down to the business of eating beans.

Oh and I've taken to parking in the driveway. I don't know. Just cause.

What with all the walking around to the front door, I find I just don't have as much time for housework. Two pots: one for chili, one for oatmeal. I did give them the option. Oh, we're regular. Ve-ry regular.

I'd like to entitle this piece "Mom On Hiatus" and I dedicate it to my unwashed, unkempt, Popsicle-sweetened children. Happy Summer Everyone!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary

I have heard that for a significant portion of you, your favorite posts are the ones featuring my handsome and persnickety love interest, Darron. If it seems they have been scarce of late, it's because they have. After a minor posting fiasco involving some unedited emotional vomit, I gave myself a stern talking-to about what is mine to share and what is mine to keep to myself. And it has made me a bit gun shy to write about Darron. It shouldn't, but it has. I would rather err on the side of caution than say something that would make people unfairly make assumptions about him. It hasn't been much fun though, because Darron is quite interesting. I mean, I think he is.

But. It's our anniversary. Our 13th wedding anniversary. And my sappy heart feels like it's time for a little tribute to the man who won it all those years ago...

A long time ago, before wrinkles, varicose veins, and mummy tummy on her part, and gray hair, IBS, and professional styling on his, a boy married a girl and had a big huge cake. (10 points if you can identify the "extras")

How did the two of you come together? We met at BYU-- where the name of the game is find an eligible young man to marry pronto before you go back home where the only Mormon boys are the ones you knew when they were 14 and you can never ever forget that-- and our stars collided. Several times, actually, because one star didn't make up its mind as quickly as the other and because they kept getting in fights and making big scenes and all sorts of uncomfortable and adolescent drama.

What attracted you to one another? For him, it was my physical appearance. Yep. Very deep, my man. For me, it was that he was the first person to intrigue me enough to continue to accept his pursuit. I was (am) intensely shy and he didn't let that get in the way. He was polite, treated me with respect, talked when I couldn't, and carefully courted me until I had fallen in love with him without realizing it was happening.

Were you soul mates? Ha! Don't make me laugh. My baby is sleeping in the next room. Not even anything remotely resembling that. Ha! We were attracted to each other, in lust *AHEM* love, and wanted to get married. Is he my soul's mate now? A thousand times yes.

What was your marriage like in the beginning? If I say dreadful, that does not count as emotional vomit. It absolutely was and there is no way to make it sound better. Darron actually makes it sound worse. We had a horrid first year followed by an only marginally less horrid second year. We fought about everything and if my calculations are correct were only actually speaking to each other for only 14 of the 730 days in question. Main sources of conflict: family, sex, money, employment, religion, schooling, friends, movies, what constitutes a "breakfast food", the color of my toenail polish. I am not making this up.

So, um, are things better now? Yes, thank you. When "they" say marriage is work, "they" are making it sound a little too easy and way too fun. We worked and strained and sweated and toiled those first few years to move through our immaturity and selfishness and emerge problem-free and blissfully happy. Oh now, that's just my little joke. We still have problems. But they are exponentially fewer and father between. He still drives my nuts and I still make him furious, but you know, it just ain't the end of the world anymore. And on occasion, we'll give each other the silent treatment, just for old times' sake and to keep the home fires burnin.

What would be your advice for other married couples? How did you know I love to give advice? It's my favorite, right after being right and bossing people. My message to the world is this: if you have problems in your marriage, you are not alone. It took me awhile to realize this. I think many people wonder if they are the only one who struggles in their marriage. Now I know there are plenty of people who have "easier" marriages than we have had, are more "compatible" with their spouse, have had fewer fights and frustrations, and that's fine. Probably even great. Way to go, you guys. But that's not us, and comparing one's marriage to someone else's is fruitless and even detrimental. I am truly proud of what God has helped us build over the course of 13 years. We have come far. You just have no idea. It is hands down the biggest accomplishment of my life.

Happy Anniversary to my absolute favorite person in the whole wide world. You give me a reason to get up in the morning and brush my teeth and put on pants. Cause you have to know I don't necessarily do that when you are out of town. I love that I can talk to you and think I know exactly what you are going to say and then you bust out with this amazing bit of wisdom and I'm left speechless, staring at you like some adoring groupie. I love being your adoring groupie. I love that you continue to exceed my expectations, as a husband, a father, and a human being. I love that you are loving, funny, sensitive, solicitous, and courageous and that for some reason you like to hang out with me the best. I love that you teach our children to treat me with respect, through your example and your standing up for me when they don't. I love that it is so easy to turn you on. I love that we laugh at the same parts on "Seinfeld". I love that no matter what you will always be on my side, because with you there, I feel like I can do scary things, like ride roller coasters or raise children. I love that you love God and that you take the responsibilities of the priesthood so seriously. I love that you are completely masculine. I love being with you and knowing we will continue to get better together. That thought alone gives me more joy than anything else. I love that 14 years ago, you thought I was cute enough to ask out.

And am thankful I had the sense to say yes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"That" Mom

Every now and then I get the urge to completely overhaul my diet. I'm not the healthiest eater-- not the worst, but not the healthiest. I likes me butter. The biggest incident was when my sister introduced me to the tv show "You Are What You Eat" on BBCAmerica. Not sure if it's still on, that was several years ago, but if you can find it?....WATCH IT!!! You will not be sorry. Not only is it informative, eye-opening, inspiring, and scary, it is entertainment at its best. Oh my gosh is it ever. I guess in the UK it's ok if you blatantly insult some one's lifestyle, intelligence, personal appearance, smell, and poop, which may make you think twice about visiting, but really is refreshing when you watch it safely from your own home one ocean and two-thirds of a continent away. And the participants are not afraid to grab their fat and shake it for the before shots. (That's for you, Susie. Actually it's all for you. It's like the producers had a wormhole to your mind. But I digress...)

So periodically something like this show comes along and makes me realize how lousy I eat and how much I could help my family by cleaning up our diet. My husband wouldn't be too cool with it, but I am the only cook in the house, so... :) More vegetables, whole grains, etc. etc. I don't have to tell you. But lately my musings have taken me further. Ava has mild allergies, which we recently discovered are affecting her more than we thought. So I'm reading all this stuff about what causes allergies, why it is more of an epidemic than a fact of natural life, alternative treatments (alternative to taking a pill every 12 hours for the rest of her life), you know, real subversive annoying stuff like that. Oh and by "reading" I mean "googling" of course. Which academic research has led me to questions many things and come to the realization that if I were an energetic, intense, driven person I would completely and thoroughly overhaul our diet. Move away from wheat, positively eschew anything processed or refined, grow my own darned vegetables, and spend my entire waking life preparing food for my miserable and mutinous family. Because I want to be that mom. The one that tells her son's kindergarten teacher that he can not have any birthday/holiday class treats EVER because "we're gluten-free" as the son sits crying at his desk while the rest of the class bounces off the walls in mass cupcake ecstasy. Maybe just a tiny step back from that mom. Cause I'm pretty scared of her and I'd like to have a head start if needed.

Do you ever feel that way? As more and more research reveals that 80%-ish of our bodily woes are liked caused or worsened by poor diet and ingestion of harmful things? Obesity, cancer, depression, hormonal imbalance, depression, allergies, chronic fatigue, acne, stinky poo, hair loss, I mean, it's more than a little freaky, yeah? And, yes, I made up that statistic, but it just feels right. A massive lifestyle overhaul makes sense, it does completely and utterly and my heart buys into it, but my butt just doesn't. My lazy butt. I don't know if you guys have met. Generally this is how it goes.

Heather gets big brainstorm idea.

**I Know!!!** Let's sew all my family's clothes for the year from scraps of fabric I have laying around in my craft cabinet! And purses, too! I'll make purses!


**Hey!** How 'bout I keep a spreadsheet of all of the food I buy and then use and update it every time I cook or shop so I can keep track of what comes in and out and know how much of what we go through! You know, to simplify things around here!

(or, here--here is a good one)

**I've got it!** I'll empty out ALL the closets and cabinets at the same time! Then I can organize all our stuff according to use frequency and proximity. I'll divide the stuff into categories, subcategories, then create a floor plan to scale of each room and it's potential storage capabilities. Each item will be entered onto a master li--"

But at that moment, in ambles my big old lazy butt.

"Hey, I'm gonna go lookit facebook, 'kay? Then prolly a nap."

My grand schemes are doused and deflated like that. All my fire and ambition...gone. Kaput. I am all talk and noooo action. So although I feel like a complete diet transformation is a really really great idea (really!), I know deep down I will never go through with it. I'll buy a few extra fruits and vegetables and take it easy on the Cheez-its this week to keep the guilt at bay and in a few more weeks I'll completely forget what it was I was so worked up about. And go back to what I usually do...naps, facebook, and poor nutritional choices.

What do you do to find motivation in the face of a huge insurmountable undertaking that will suck the joy out of living, create four times the work and cost five times the money, and cause your children to openly despise you and secretly buy white bread and marshmallows to eat under their beds at night? Anyone???

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

In the wee small hours of the morning
When all the world is fast asleep...
That's when I miss you most of all.

It's after midnight when I come in to check on you before going to bed. The house is completely still. You are long asleep. Your blankets are still in place where I tucked them hours earlier, covering your shoulders. Your face is relaxed and I am amazed at how small you look. I can see the baby face that is usually hidden these days by your big kid expressions. Your cheeks look fuller than during the day, your lashes long and dark against them. I feel a sudden urge to place my cheek on yours, as I did when you were a newborn--it was so soft, unlike anything I could think to compare it to. I kneel on my knees, lean in, and lay my cheek against yours. Oh! Still so soft! I can smell your baby scent again: your skin, your hair, your breath. It is masked these days, it seems, by kid sweat, dirty clothes, hair, and teeth. I forget, sometimes, that it's still there, underneath all that. You are still just a baby, although you seem so big. Nearly three years old. My hand reached up to stroke your silky baby curls. My breathing slows and quiets so that I can take yours in. I feel wetness on your cheek and realize I am crying.

I cried so many times during our first nights together, as I cradled you in my arms those years ago: from pain, from overwhelm, from frustration, from all the reasons that seem to crowd into an exhausted mind with inadequate sleep. Even after three other children, the wave of hormones and consuming fatigue still came as a shock. You cried with me, maybe from fears and confusion of your own, to relieve your own stresses of the day, of being in a new environment, of having to learn new things, of being poked and prodded and tickled and kissed and wiped and washed. As I held you, the motion of the rocking chair soothed us both, sending you back to sleep, so I could then go back to sleep. Nights eventually settled out--my hormones, your appetite--and we fell into our routine. Once a night, you would wake and call out for me and I would come to you.

With your older brother and sisters, I regretfully admit that I did not look forward to these midnight rendezvous. I just wanted to get back to sleep as quickly as possible. And did. My goal was for eight uninterrupted hours of sleep and I actively worked towards that with each one. Of course, I enjoyed the bonding and intimacy that such quiet shared moments afforded, but in the back of my mind I anticipated the future, when our nights would be quiet and still again. With everyone in his own bed, fast asleep. Although on occasion God would see fit to open my eyes to the miracle we were sharing as mother and child, a determined mind is hard to reach, and I fear I made myself unreachable much of the time.

But with you... You know at the time, I didn't know you would be my last. Didn't even suspect it. During pregnancy and your first couple of years, I just assumed there would be more babies to come. I had none of the "last child" anxiety of some moms who know they are holding their last infant, trying to carefully savor and remember each "last" experience with them. No, that was not part of my plan. I fully expected to try for more in a year or two in our usual pattern. But as I held you and nursed you and rocked you, something told me to hold on a little tighter and a little longer, to commit to memory the scent and the feel and the spirit of this angel in my arms, and as I listened and did so, my vision was expanded and I could see us as we really were. Mother and child! Few times in my life have I felt so powerfully the manifestation of God's love for His children. Of His love for you, one of His most precious and perfect creations. Of His love for me, entrusting me with you! Of His love for both of us in joining us together in this divine eternal relationship. Of the love He gave me for this tiny little person, love so intense it could not be physically contained and leaked out my eyes. I truly felt that those nights together, we stood, or rocked, on sacred ground. Many nights we just sat-- alone together while the world slept-- your feeding long finished, and I marveled in the moment, feeling so unworthy, yet so capable of being your mother and fulfilling the deepest yearnings of my soul.

How many mothers have felt this indescribable connection to their child? Many? Most? I would guess all have that would let themselves experience it. How could a feeling be so universal, yet so intimately ours?

Tonight I lay as close to you as I can, holding on so tightly to these memories that I hardly dare breathe for fear of disturbing them. My heart is so full, yet physically aching for the chance to be there again, in the quiet of your old nursery. What I would not give for one more sleepless night with you, for just one more precious hour to return to our rocking chair with you curled into my chest and my arms wrapped around your tiny body breathing in your scent and your perfection. I know this can't happen, that time must move forward and on toward other experiences. But as the years continue to distance me from the font of memories, I ask God to allow me to always keep this one. In the most protected and hallowed recesses of my heart, may He find a place for it and protect it there, that I may never forget what it felt like to hold you, my angel baby, close to my heart in the wee small hours of the morning.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Bit and a Bob

A couple of things. First, the shallow. I'm old. Middle-aged, actually. Those older than me will kick and protest (thank you), because they know what that makes them. Mm-hm. Those younger than me will just roll their eyes and say...uh, yeah.

You know what I realized my face looks like these days? Stage makeup for the middle-aged. You know, all the cliches, the undereye circles, the frown line between the eyebrows, the deepened laugh lines, and the narrowed nose and deflated cheeks whose facial fat has sought a more southerly clime. So I google-imaged it, just for fun.

Here is the frumpy, frousy, probably Irish housekeeper, whom they keep around mainly for comic relief.

Here is the middle-aged spinster before spontaneously deciding to go to Italy on holiday.

Here is the mother of the ingenue. Which I technically could be. For I was but an ingenue myself when I met her dashing father.

In church several weeks ago, the statistic was given that of our entire congregation, only 10% was over age 35. Now, I am not yet in that decrepit minority, but I'm pushing it. My husband is in it, and my continued association with him I feel is having deleterious effects on my face. Especially in the mornings. And the evenings. Whenever he's around. 10%? I need a Tums.

Ok, the next thing. This is way more fun and not offensive to the elderly. Big things are happening in my living room. This beauty

arrived on Monday, along with THIS....

Ooh, it makes me excited to get up in the morning. Not that my four demanding starving children aren't enough to excite me, it just makes me even MORE excited to get out there and POUR SOME MILK!!! WOOO!!
I have attempted my own version of this window treatment and as soon as I can figure out how to hang it, you will get pictures of the whole thing.
That, friends, is what's known as a teaser. Or in other words, it's not done yet.

It's like looking in a mirror.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heather Doesn't Live Here Anymore

If there's one thing I hate to be, it's presumptuous. So what exactly was I thinking when I gave myself the blogger/google moniker of "HeatherIsHere"? This: I was trying to be clever. Never a good start to anything I say or do. My blog title is "Here We All Are" so Heather is Here... get it? I know you do, it's not subtle.

Well, that name just sticks in my craw. Every time I post a comment, I cringe to see it black and white. A small swell of embarrassment washes over me and I think I even blush a little. Heather is here! Here I am everyone!!! Aren'tcha glad to see me? I'm here, I'm here, now the fun can start! I'm going to say something! And hold on, cause whatever I say is going to be momentous and stupendous because I am here! It is quite mortifying.

So to ask the million dollar question...Why not change it? Well, here's the deal firstly. That's who I'm known as. (That's as whom I'm known?) When friends see that name in their blog comments, they know it was me. You know, when actresses get married, they keep their screen name and only privately change their name, because we would get all confused and stop going to see their movies. Who the heck is Julia Moder?

I had considered originally being just "Heather". I like my name (thank you Mom) although it is wildly popular among the born between 1974-1979 set. Which means every single person not named Heather has a sister named it. Which makes for a lot of "Heather" commenters out there. I didn't want people to have to decipher which "Heather" it was that was leaving all these stupendous and momentous comments on their blogs. So I fancied it up and now I'm here. Blushing and cringing and presuming. SHE'S HERE!!! START THE PAR-TAY!!!!!

Then like an uninsured driver it hit me. With just a minor change, I could go from being brash and self-absorbed to being withdrawn and reticent. Which I love. Folks, here it is, here I am, here we go...


She was?

No one noticed when I walked in. No one noticed when I slipped out. No hi's no good-bye's. So much more my style.

Monday, January 4, 2010


7 new books waiting be to read.