Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
on sunday i played the sacrament hymn at church. even though i took lessons when i was younger (a lot younger), i have always avoided playing in front of other people. my hands shake and i can't seem to understand the notes that i'm seeing--i can't even remember how the song goes! when you combine those memories with the fact that i haven't been actively playing the piano since i was about seventeen, perhaps you'll understand why my smile was completely fake and frozen when the president of the spanish branch, out of pure desperation (obviously) asked me to por favor, por favor, POR FAVOR pull out that old "hymns made easy" and play a couple so we can stop using the ipod?
so i begrudgingly schlepped myself up to my parent's house, ignored my mother and all of the visiting we could have done and played the same simplified version of "In Humility Our Savior" over and over and over again. to the point that ava politely asked, "do you know any other songs, mommy?"
i only managed to play it all the way through without a single mistake once before saturday. and my husband, bless his heart, stood there smiling and said, "it sounds great."
what a nice man.
and of course, sunday came all too soon and i got to the piano and was so nervous i couldn't figure out how to even find the music holder until my brother (who helped me out by playing the first and the third hymn) came along and showed me how to do it. and also encouraged me to play louder. "so they can, you know, hear you." he said.
of course, my moment came all too quickly. and of course, i was so nervous i forgot to pay attention and they announced the sacrament hymn and then everyone got out their books and THEN i put two and two together and hopped up to rush up to the piano. of course, i messed up. and of course, no one really cared. and it was just as terrifying as i imagined it would be. was i playing too fast? too slow? where were my fingers? where was the music? where were the notes? why was i doing this? IS THIS RIDICULOUS OR WHAT?
and mercifully, it ended and i slunk off that bench and sank into the pew just behind it to hide out until the sacrament was over. i didn't really want to look up to see the pitying looks from the congregation, but i looked up anyway.
and ryan was looking right at me. and he smiled and wiggled his eyebrows. and despite the fact that i'd just disgraced myself in front of an entire branch, i smiled back.
to me, that is the most important thing about my marriage. it isn't the romance, the laughter, the sex, the cute pictures, the family dinners, the presents, cards or letters. it's the fact that when i have something hard to do, i look up and ryan is there, smiling and wiggling his eyebrows.
this thought never crossed my mind until sunday. isn't that awful?
now i'm just waiting on that phone call from presidente where he's all, por favor, hermana, POR FAVOR NEVER play again. the ipod will work just fine from now on.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
kevin doesn't get much mention on this blog because he's a teenager and appearing on some sort of blog is embarrassing. as embarrassing as when i drop him off at school and i hang out of the car window waving goodbye wildly and shouting his name.
if teenagers don't want to be embarrassed then they shouldn't make it so easy.
an introduction of kevin: kevin is one of ryan's young men (he's the leader in charge of the spanish speaking teenage boys at church) who doesn't have a dad (or much of a mom) around and so ryan and i have sort of adopted him. we love him. he loves us, too, but he shows it like a teenager.
so twice now in the last week and a half i've found myself waiting outside some sort of jevenile center with kevin and this experience just BEGS me to spill it on the blog. kevin is currently on academic probation because he accidentally stole his friend's x-box. perhaps i'll tell the story sometime (with kevin's permission, of course). as of now, i will say only that this experience proves the claim that a teenager's frontal lobe is not fully developed and that's why they constantly do stupid things that always end with a parent exclaiming, "what were you thinking?" and the teenager shrugging and answering, "i don't know." BECAUSE THEY REALLY DON'T KNOW.
i'm proud to say that when told the full story i did not ask, "what were you thinking?" instead i said, "dude, kevin. that was like, really, really stupid."
and kevin said, "i know."
well, good. i guess if i were his real mother that would conclude the lecture part of the job and i'd have to move on to the punishment part. good thing he's not really my teenager. this makes hanging out with him more fun.
anyway, juvie: first of all, i had to bring seth because leaving my heavily pregnant friend with both of my children just seems cruel. really, the whole thing was fine, except for the fact that they made us wait THREE AND A HALF HOURS. and i didn't bring enough toys. also, seth pulled his shoes out of the diaper bag right before we left so he didn't have any shoes and there was one security guard who seemed obsessed with the fact that he was shoeless and she was constantly chasing me down and saying, "he can't be on the floor if he doesn't have shoes."
and i was all, "really? shoes are your biggest concern? I'M SITTING NEXT TO A TEENAGE GANG MEMBER WHO'S GOT TEARS TATTOOED ON HIS FACE and you're worried that my baby is shoeless???" actually, all i said was, "we've been waiting for two hours and i can't keep him on my--"
and then she cut me off. "he can't be on the floor."
so i got mad. and i picked seth up and said, "at all?"
and then my inner teenager reared her ugly head and i rolled my eyes in a way that only my mom has seen and she saw it when i was seventeen and then she grounded me (and then i wrote this really clever poem about being grounded and it was genius). since this security officer deals with awful teenagers all day every day she wasn't phased in the least.
then i did what any rotten teenager would do: i went around the corner and did whatever i wanted. except i wasn't snorting coke lines, i was letting my baby down so he wouldn't drive me crazy AND I THINK I SHOULD GET EXTRA POINTS FOR THAT.
seriously, though, i didn't think much about where i was actually going. i walked in, walked through the metal detector and sat down only to look over and see some kid next to me in super baggy clothes with a shaved head and all sorts of tattoos and i realized for the first time that i was surrounded by future criminals. and then i was just dying to ask everyone i made eye contact with why they were there. and what was it like to be in a gang? and do you normally "carry" when not expected to appear in court and walk through a metal detector? and also, did you have to buy that collared shirt and tie just for today's court appearance? is that your girlfriend outside? the pregnant one that's smoking?
guess what? the day before kevin and i sat in that awful waiting room for three and a half hours i cried a little because i'm not doing a very good job being a mother. i'm not spending enough quality time with them, i'm not eating enough healthy food, i'm not doing the laundry fast enough. . .
and now? now i feel great! i'm an excellent mother! i've never been arrested! i've never had a probation officer! i am amazing! should you ever feel that you are not doing a good job as a parent, i would urge you to show your face at juvie. you will walk out of there feeling totally on top of things.
best moment of the day was when a father and his daughter (i would guess she's about 13) show up and, while waiting, are briefed by an attorney. i, of course, listened in as carefully as i could.
the attorney: . . .you should contact the probation officer before you go-
the father: oh, i just got of the phone with him. i'm seeing him thursday morning.
the attorney (pointing to the daughter): her probation officer.
and i thought, OF COURSE YOU HAVE A PROBATION OFFICER!
like i said, i am doing an amazing job.
Monday, January 18, 2010
so, new phase! proof that yet again life moves on. and on. the new phase is to constantly be talking, even if you're eating. and, should your mouth be too full and should your mother have banned from speaking with your mouth full, you can simply chew as loud as possible. because i don't think the point of this phase is really to say something, i think it is simply to say anything, and if it's just strange noises, SO BE IT.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
that's right; journaling purposes. allow me to warn you: this could be long. really long.
for awhile now, i have been struggling. i can't say it was postpartum, i don't even know if it was depression. anxiety maybe? i know there were a couple times when i thought perhaps i needed to see a therapist for some kind of relief from the constant inability to function with motivation or interest or energy.
the worst part was feeling a loss of identity. the fact that i mattered. it was as if ava's endless requests and seth's constant cries for attention were smothering me. smothering me to the point that i wasn't even paying attention to myself anymore. i was exhausted, bored, irritable and unmotivated. i mean, not all the time, but enough of the time that it was a problem. maybe it's having two kids. maybe it's starting a business. maybe it's letting myself drift away from friends. or not exercising enough. or. . .
it doesn't matter. i was frustrated. and the more frustrated i become, the more pressure i put on myself to do things right and the less i relaxed and enjoyed my life. it was becoming this awful cycle and it was spinning me thicker and thicker into a tangle.
so when ryan pointed out our anniversary at the end of the year, i thought maybe we could get away. for a whole weekend, i could unravel, unwind, let go, sigh and sit back--sleep in! it was going to be heaven, i had all sorts of things planned--and then we realized that things weren't going to work out. the thought of that weekend slipping away almost sent me into hysterics. ryan salvaged things by arranging for his parents to take over for a day.
so we had a day. we went mountain biking (terrifying and fun and hard all at the same time) and we climbed on the rocks at the beach, we ate at a seafood place we've been going to since we first started dating, we went to see avator on the imax 3d screen, we ate chocolate molten cake at chili's. i showered without a single person coming in and urging me to "hurry up and get out" or inform me that "seth dropped his shoes in the toilet" or wondering "what are you doing in there? showering? washing? shaving?"
this day was wonderful for many reasons.
1. no one sat next to me while we were eating with their mouth wide open. also, i didn't have to look down at my plate and figure out how to feed someone else with a minimum of mess.
2. once i got used to the feeling of flying around a dirt road on a bike, avoiding rocks, ditches, gopher holes and brush, i got to think. and you know what i realized? i should relax. i should enjoy my children. i should enjoy what i have when i have it and where i have it. and right now, i have two small children that really like to hang out with me. and we love to do things like go to the beach and hike and go to the zoo and go to the park. and i can do those things! i should do those things. if i focus on the fun of being a mother and i let myself have that fun, it is fun. right now, the most important work i have is motherhood. if i put that first, i can do this! and not only that, but i can do it well.
3. ryan is still my best friend. and to be able to talk and talk and then get to the place where we drive along in the sunshine just holding hands and listening to music, that's heavenly. saturday was a day that included perfectly comfortable and relaxed pauses in conversation. and laughter. a lot of laughter.
4. i love the beach.
5. i love being outside.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
so ryan and i think we're hilarious. i suspect that we're not because no one ever seems to laugh as hard as we do when we're around. so, in the spirit of the holiday season, ryan and i perhaps claimed that one too many things were christmas miracles (because that is hilarious). and ava, the little sponge that she is (example: i describe my car as "hell on wheels" and she scoots right on out to mailbox with the eagerness of a new puppy to inform the mailman that his mail truck is hell on wheels. cool.) has caught on to the trend and has proclaimed many a mundane thing a christmas miracle. she also likes to repeat (or question) that "christmas has been canceled". anyway, i thought you might want to know that. i mean, i know my parents (and ryan's!) do.
so here's our christmas morning breakdown. it began the night before with the tradition of setting christmas treats out for santa, along with some carrots for the reindeer (this process was pronounced a christmas miracle) and then some firm bedtime-ing. ava was a little excited and spent a lot of time requesting drinks of water and one more song.
christmas morning began with ava slamming a plate down on top of ryan's face and announcing that sometime during the night santa had come and had eaten his cookies.
i was just short of devastated. "you went into the living room already?" i asked.
"yes," ava answered, then brightly, "and the reindeer ate the carrots!"
so we go through this huge ordeal to buy presents and hide them, to build presents, to set things up like some jolly old elf snuck into our house and leaves presents behind and come morningtime, all ava really cares about is the fact that somebody ate the cookies and carrots.
"well, did you see what santa left you?" i ask.
"oh, yeah, a pink bike," ava answered. like i just asked her if she remembered to brush her teeth before she went to bed the night before.
so the moment i envisioned as i purchased that stupid pink bike never occurred. the joy, the happiness, the glee, the hands clapping, the feet jumping, the ecstatic exclamations of "it's a christmas miracle!"? none of it. i got none of it.
oh well. hasn't motherhood just been one enormous journey of learning how to cope with all of your careful plans going completely haywire and working with something completely different?
in all fairness, seth, after we poked and prodded to wake him and then bribed him, was thrilled with his little rocking moose. at least one of my children will fulfill my dreams as i play st nick for him.
naturally, the number of presents overwhelmed them, i enjoyed my presents and was not overwhelmed and ryan videotaped far too much. including the reaction to my opening a present and, as soon as he'd shut the darn thing off he asked, "so, what do you really think?"
oh please. i don't have enough minutes in my day to fake a reaction to a christmas present.
luckily my family has a christmas tradition good enough to cure the disappointment of a jilted santa claus. after the magic of christmas had lifted, we packed up and headed over for a heart attack breakfast: a once a year treat prepared by my father which includes scrambled eggs, bacon, homemade hash browns and fresh squeezed orange juice. it is divine.
so while we ate food that slowly clogged our arteries, ava pronounced her bacon a christmas miracle and i found myself looking forward to next year; another shot at experiencing some pure, unadulterated joy.
*also, i'd like to take this opportunity to record the moment where, unable to bear leaving his blankee for even a few moments, seth dragged his blankee into the bathtub. despite my washing the thing weekly, the bath water turned light brown. it was disgusting. but as seth snuggled in the bath, i couldn't help but smile.
kids do the weirdest things to you. i swear, at one point, i was a reasonable adult who did more than chit chat about her kids all day.
Monday, January 4, 2010
rodge and i share a deep love for old, abandoned houses. our love separates where i want to live in one and fix it up my way and he wants to never live in one, but to live in something new and nice.
we love to explore old and abandoned houses. we have been known to climb the roofs of these houses and attempt to break in.
i love this about us.
ps if you're looking for the weekly picture (and let's be honest, you totally are), i've moved that little feature next door, to the photoblog.
Friday, January 1, 2010
ryan was not to be deterred. "lady, i'm danish! those are my people! they will welcome us with open arms."
well, that didn't happen. but we had a good time all the same. i mean, there are danishes in solvang, so who wasn't going to have a good time? and i discovered something called a cinnamon crisp. and after i "shared" with my family, i went right back in and bought two more. because they are delicious. we hiked, we ate, we looked at a statue of the little mermaid and we accosted a metal statue of a bulldog.
also, did you know that there's a miniature horse farm out there? A MINIATURE HORSE FARM (click for pictures). guess what animal i've added to my list? yeah, right underneath donkey (which is underneath an elephant and, i don't know if you knew, but i'm also going to one day have bees and yes maybe i have a problem).