London and I are making a quilt. Mostly it’s me that is making the quilt, but it has been a team effort to some extent. She picked out the fabric, chose the pattern, and arranged the patches the way she wanted. She has sewn a lot of the squares together. It has been frustrating at times, but I’m glad we can do it together. She is at girls camp this week and I spent the early part of the afternoon finishing sewing the top together. I have had so many thoughts about what to do next and I just can’t decide. My original plan was to machine quilt it, but the more I think about that, the more nervous I get about it. I have never used this particular machine to quilt anything and the last time I tried to machine quilt something, it didn’t turn out so good. This quilt is big enough for a twin bed, so it’s not super small and I can imagine myself getting frustrated and having to pick out stitching more than I’d like. My next thought was, maybe I should just pay someone to quilt it for me. Obviously that makes the quilt cost a lot more money, but maybe it’s worth my sanity. But then I wanted it to be us making it, so I’m not sure I necessarily want someone else quilting it. Another part of me thinks that maybe I should borrow some quilting frames from someone and hand quilt it. Maybe I could invite a bunch of London’s friends over and we could just knock it out. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house with cousins. My grandma always had a quilt on frames in her family room. I spent countless hours with her and my cousins and aunts quilting and chatting. My other grandma also quilts by hand. I feel like I should hand that skill down to my daughter. But maybe it will just cause more frustration and clutter in my house and I will have an unfinished quilt sitting out for months. Maybe it will never get finished because I just can’t decide what to do.
I came home from running this morning. London immediately greeted me with the fact that Donald Trump had won the election. She wasn’t excited. She knows the things he has said about immigrants, building a wall, and deporting people. We live in a place that is very diverse. Some of her best friends are from the Middle East. She knows refugees. She is genuinely afraid that her friends will be deported. And she has reason to be afraid. I thought a lot last night about what I would say to her when she woke up this morning.
In times like this, I remember something my mother said to me long ago. She probably doesn’t even remember this, but it has stuck with me. When I was in high school, Bill Clinton was the president. There were a lot of things about him and his presidency that I did not agree with. I was disgusted by things he was doing. One day my mom told me that he was going to be in Sacramento and maybe we could go catch a glimpse. I immediately rejected the idea. I didn’t need to see him, but my mom said, “Kiersten, he is our president. Whether you agree with the things he does or not, we still need to respect him.” I know my mom wasn’t a fan of Bill Clinton. I’m pretty sure she didn’t vote for him and she most definitely did not agree with the way he was acting, but she recognized that we needed to respect him. We needed to respect the office, no matter who it was. And he needed our support. So that is what I told London this morning. It may not be the outcome we wanted, but come January, Donald Trump will be our president. We may not agree with him or even like him, but we have to respect him. And we have to fight. We have to fight for our beliefs and our freedoms and our friends and our neighbors. We have been awakened and we will be involved. And we will pray. We pray for our country and we pray for our president. And with that, she promptly sat down and wrote Mr. Trump a letter, explaining why he shouldn’t build a wall.
Yesterday after school, all of the neighborhood kids were out riding their bikes together and talking politics. The girls next door told my kids that their parents voted for Donald Trump. Hillary should be in jail. The Iraqi immigrant kids across the street told them that if Donald Trump won, their whole lives would be turned upside down. And the girl down the street told my kids that her mom voted for Clinton and her dad voted for Trump. She couldn’t believe her dad would do that! But in all of this, the kids played together. The kids are friends. They put their differences aside and they play. They respect each other. They care about each other. They want our neighborhood to be a safe place for them. I hope that we can, as a country, do the same thing. I hope that we can play together. I hope that we can respect each other. I hope that we can put our differences aside and move through this for a better us.
It was a month ago yesterday that we started our kitchen demo. In the grand scheme of things, a month isn’t very long, especially if it was interspersed with a vacation and beach camping. But a month is a long time to live without a kitchen. The cabinets have been in for almost 2 weeks now, so at least I have been able to unpack and put most things away. We’re still eating off of paper plates, though, and everything always seems like such a mess. In this whole process, we also decided to replace the kitchen and dining room windows for various reasons I won’t go into right now. The windows were installed this week. I can’t believe what a difference they make in the noise I don’t hear! I love them already and I’m excited that I can now open and close (and lock) my dining room and kitchen windows. The problem is, we no longer have any space to hang blinds in the inside of the window opening, which means we need new window coverings. We decided that the best option for the dining room would be curtains just like we have in the living room, since they are on the same wall. The problem is, these curtains are kind of a pain. I bought white curtains at Ikea. They need to be hemmed, and then to match the others, I have to paint grey stripes on them. That’s what I should be doing right now while the kids are enjoying their 2nd day of school. I could have just bought grey and white striped curtains, but then they wouldn’t match the others as well. And then, as if our money hasn’t disappeared already and we’re not busy enough, we took one of our cars in the other day because the check engine light was on. It was about due for a tire rotation and alignment, so we figured we might as well do it all at the same time. As it turns out, we also needed new tires. One was so bad that the guy told us that if we didn’t get new tires, he would put our spare on. So new tires its was. Later that day, I noticed that the check engine light was still on. So back to the shop Taylor went. The very next day, we noticed that we had a leak in one of the tires on our other car. Upon further investigation, we found a screw in the tire. Of course, we took that car in. It also needed an oil change, so we had that done as well as an alignment and tire rotation. But with all of the other things going on, they forgot to fix the tire, so I ended up with a low tire again last night. I think I’ve been to the tire shop every single day this week. So I went back this morning. I better not see them for a long, long time. At least I got to watch synchronized swimming today while I waited for the car. I was hoping to be able to see that.
The good news is, the counter tops will be installed Tuesday and hopefully we can get our house back in order.
Over the weekend, we were invited by some friends to join them and some others for a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park. We’re only a couple of hours from there (without traffic) and the kids an I have never been, so we thought it might be fun. I’m not a camper. I’ve never been one to enjoy a good campout. Growing up, I hated going to girls camp every summer. Every summer I would come home after a week of sleeping under the starts and using an outhouse and wonder why I would ever go back. Taylor knew this when he married me. But he loved camping. He has fond memories of campouts and hiking adventures. For me it’s more about the bathrooms and the dirt. I’m not a fan. One year about 8 summers ago, we were planning a trip to Sacramento. Taylor wasn’t super excited about going, so I asked him what might make him a little less grumpy about it. He thought about it and then threw out the most outrageous thing he could think of. He wanted to take his surf board and camp in Santa Cruz. So me, being the good wife that I am, immediately threw out that idea. He was just being difficult. But then after I let the idea settle, I got online and booked a campsite for 2 nights. He was shocked. I was shocked with myself. But we went and had a great time. Surprisingly, I loved it! For the last few years, we have gone beach camping every summer. It has become part of our summer and I really look forward to it every year. Camping at the beach is different, though. The bathrooms aren’t super clean, but at least the toilets flush. There is running water where I can wash my hands, brush my teeth, and rinse off my feet. There are showers. And most of all, there’s a huge ocean of water that we can jump in any time we get hot. We spend our days lounging on the beach and our nights up at the campfire. I love it. But I still wouldn’t consider myself a camper. I thought, though, since I do love beach camping, maybe Joshua Tree would be alright. The pit toilet made me nervous and having to bring all of our water in didn’t make me so excited either. But I was feeling adventurous. Kind of. I went out and bought a new air mattress, you know, one that would hold air. The problem was, it didn’t hold air. We forgot to pack the heavier blankets, so the first night, we were FREEZING and our air mattress was losing air. I though that maybe if I just let all of the air out, we would be less cold. That may have been the case, but then I was uncomfortable on the hard ground. Eventually Ashton ended up in our bed and we were able to use his sleeping bag to cover all of us. The next day some other friends showed up and brought us an extra blanket. That was really helpful and appreciated. We filled up the air mattress again, hoping that the first night was just a leaky valve or something. The second night wasn’t any better. In fact, it may have been worse. But I didn’t let the air out and I wasn’t freezing, so that was a plus. When Ashton woke up (in our bed again), he was pretty much enveloped in the mattress and he whacked his nose on something. He said it was the bed. Anyway, he ended up with a bloody nose. Blood was all over the sheets and the mattress (and him). So we packed it up and went home. It was definitely an adventure.
The first day we were there, London decided to touch a cactus and ended up with a bunch of prickles in her thumb. She said "I thought it was a friendly cactus, but it was not!" You think? But all of these crazy things aside, we did have a good time.
It was great to be in the desert with friends. Ashton was funny when I told him we were camping in the desert. He said, “The DESERT??? But there’s no water! Where are we going to swim?” Lucky kid. He doesn’t know what real camping is. Joshua tree was beautiful in it’s own way. We had a nice big camp site, right next to some huge boulders where the kids could climb all over the place. When we were in Yosemite a couple of months ago, all they wanted to do was climb on the rocks, so this was the perfect place for them, as long as I wasn’t too close behind and watching them, because I may have freaked out a little by the crazy things they were doing on those rocks. We even hiked to an oasis. There was a lot of grumbling (mostly from the kids) on that hike, but I’m glad we did it. Saturday night, a friend and I went driving around to take some pictures as the sun was setting. More friends showed up on Saturday. Sunday morning, we went on another photo adventure. We got up with the sun and went out for some early morning shots. They are both professionals. I was just along for the ride. It was as soon as we got back, that I heard Ashton yelling from the tent with a bloody nose. When London asked how we were going to sleep in our bed with blood all over the sheets, I told her we weren’t, that we were going home. She started crying and said, “But our friends just got here!” I kind of felt bad and we had originally planned on staying an extra day, but we were done. I was glad we came home when we did because we were all exhausted. The kids had music lessons on Monday and London didn’t feel so well. She fell asleep on the way home (just after 6) and didn’t wake up until 8:30 the next morning!
As it turns out, I’m still no camper. I’m glad we went. We had a good time and we saw some beautiful and unique things, but I was happy to come home to my bed.
Check out the pictures here.
There’s this photo that has haunted me since 4th grade. My family lovingly refers to it as the “lion hair picture”. You can see why. It’s probably the most awkward, unflattering photo taken of anybody ever. I blame my mom for this one. Seriously, who would let their child leave the house with hair like that, on baseball picture day, no less?! Thanks to my mom’s poor choices, you can all benefit from the beauty behind this pasted on face. You’re welcome.
Ashton is seven years old today. It’s hard to believe that he’s been around that long, but it’s also hard to imagine life without him because I feel like he has been part of our family forever. Our lives would be so much less fun without him. He is so entertaining. Ashton is very smart. He’s witty and funny. And he’s fast on his feet. He always has a quick comeback or response. A couple of weeks ago I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up and without batting an eye he said, “a Cheez-it”. I don’t know where he comes up with this stuff.
Ashton loves to snuggle. When he gets upset, all he needs is a big hug to help him feel better. Every night he asks for someone to snuggle with him. Most mornings I find that he has wiggled his way into our bed, right between Taylor and me. I try to get him to stop, but part of me wants to just keep letting him squeeze in because I know it won’t last forever. Sometimes I feel like it will, though. That’s the sleep deprivation talking.
Ashton loves to play games. He would be the happiest boy on the planet if we spent every waking minute playing board games or the Wii. He also loves to be outside riding his bike or scooter or skateboard. I think he’s also enjoying cello. Sometimes he complains about it, but he practices well and he’s doing a good job.
The good news is, he's at school and I didn't yell at him, but today Ashton spent the majority of his morning locked in his bedroom. Getting up is not the problem. It’s actually doing something once he’s up. This morning he climbed into our bed at 5:30. I dragged him to the bathroom and then escorted him back to his bed, where, I’m sure, he never went back to sleep. When I got home from running at 7, he was up snuggling on the couch with Taylor. He had already eaten breakfast. I reminded him to look at his morning checklist and check it off. Then I reminded him again. And again. Finally I told him that if he didn’t get dressed, I would lock him in his room until he did. By this time it was 8:00 (an hour after I had started telling him to get things done). So up to his room he went. I locked the door. He screamed and cried and whined and tried tactics like, “I’m scared!” or, “My pillows are in the way of me opening my drawer! I need help!” or finally, “I need to go to the bathroom! I’m going to pee my pants!” He had already gone twice before going into his room (and didn’t go again at all after he was finally released). I knew he just wanted to get out. I told him that he better hurry up and get dressed so he could go to the bathroom. He told me a number of times that he was dressed. Lies. At 8:45, I told him that London was leaving for school on her bike and that if he wanted, he could ride his bike to school with her. Oh, he wanted to, but not bad enough to actually get dressed. I sent London off. He was still in his pajamas. Finally, at 8:55, he was almost dressed and we left the house at 9, just as the late bell was ringing. I’m not sure what to do to light a fire under that child. This is only one example of the things he refuses to do. He also won’t do any math problems that involve writing the number 8, because when he tries, his 8s always “look bad”. But that’s another story for another day.
I yelled at my kids today. I’ve made a goal not to do that and today I failed. But tomorrow I’ll pick up the pieces and try again. Some days are just really hard. I have this cold I’m fighting off so I’m already a bit tired. We spent the weekend away at a funeral for Taylor’s grandpa, so the kids are tired and emotional too. Something snapped in Ashton this morning and he decided he didn’t want to go to school. He laid down on the floor and whined about how he wasn’t feeling well and that he didn’t want to go to school. Somehow I got him there. I imagine school was just fine. When they got home, things were okay for a little while, until the homework started. I hate elementary school homework. I hate it so much. I’m sure I’ll hate middle school and high school homework too, but elementary school is the worst. The kids are at school all day and then they have to come home and do homework. Trying to get a 6-year-old to do anything is already not an easy task, but when it’s homework, we’re all doomed. And today’s homework was something that he misunderstood, so I had to correct him. He didn’t like that. He kept telling me that it is okay to get some of the problems wrong. Fine. But stop screaming at me. And the whining. I’ve had enough. He’s a smart kid. He doesn’t need to spend all afternoon on homework. If he would just not whine about it, he could have it done really, really fast. It’s the same with getting dressed. Finally it was time for cello. There was whining about the position the back of the seat was in. I had had enough. I pulled over and yelled at him. And I threatened him. His cello lesson went well. Maybe because of the threats. We came home and the homework saga continued while I made dinner. Thankfully I made grilled cheese for dinner so there wasn’t any whining about that, but it did take London 45 minutes to eat 10 carrots. Seriously. And I was frustrated, so I yelled again.
But now I sit here writing this while Ashton is reading and telling me about dolphins, looking at me with those big, blue eyes, and I realize all is forgiven.
Taylor’s grandfather passed away last week. We all knew it was going to happen fairly soon (except his Grandma. She expected him to live forever). He had bladder cancer and had his bladder removed last year, but he never fully recovered. He was in constant pain, but hardly complained. We visited him right before Christmas. He looked thin and frail. We asked him how he was doing. When his reply was “not good,” we knew he was worse than he was acting. He was a hard-working non-complaining man, so if he said he wasn’t well, we knew it was really bad. The last time we saw him was the day after Christmas. We thought about visiting again in the last week (he was only 100 miles away), but we decided that we wanted to remember him as he was, not as dying. Taylor’s mom has been with him and now is staying with Taylor’s grandmother for a little bit. We went up yesterday to visit them. It was difficult for London. When we got to their house, London just cried and cried. I watched as Taylor’s grandma sat and talked with London and comforted London. It was very sweet to witness. This is a woman who is sassy and has no filter. She’s very abrasive. But I got to watch this sweet moment where she sat and comforted her great-granddaughter. I’m glad we decided to make the trip yesterday. That’s something I’ll probably never see again.
Today was a fun day. I spent it with Ashton; just the two of us. London had a full schedule today and Taylor took her to her various activities while I was on Ashton duty. First stop, cello class. Since my Saturday morning classes haven’t begun yet, I get to take Ashton to his. Since we knew London and Taylor would be busy, Ashton told me he wanted to go to Sea World. I don’t often spend time with just him. He always seems to be clamoring for attention, but the way he goes about it mostly just annoys me (and moreso London). Usually he just wants someone to play with him. So today when he had my full attention, we had a great time! He got to do whatever he wanted and see which ever attractions he wanted to see. There was no fighting about who wanted to do what. We had a great time. The Sea World app has a fun little scavenger hunt. You have to collect 20 badges around the park. Once you are done, you get a free ice cream bar! I tried to convince Ashton that he wanted to ride Manta, the rollercoaster. He has never been tall enough, but I was sure that he had grown just enough. I was right, but he didn’t want to ride. After a few hours of doing other things, he changed his mind and told me he would ride it with me. He was pretty nervous, but he went and loved it! Me too! We were also lucky enough to be close by during the dolphin interaction. The trainers get into the pool with the dolphins and bring them close to the wall where we were standing. I got to touch the dolphin (Ashton didn’t want to) and Ashton made the dolphin wave to him. He thought it was pretty cool. It was. We had a great time. I think I need to spend more one-on-one time with my children. I love it and they love it.
I played my violin in church today. It was kind of a last minute thing. Our music coordinator realized last night that she had a nice arrangement of the closing him that used organ, piano, and violin in the accompaniment. She sent out an email to a couple of us and we both said we were game. We had a quick run-through before sacrament meeting. It really was a last minute, throw-together type thing. But it sounded good and turned out just fine. My goal when playing in church never has anything to do with me playing to show my skill. I really, truly want to bring the spirit into the meeting. I feel like I have been given this talent for that reason. Today when we were packing up after sacrament meeting, we were stopped by a man attending church who wanted to thank us for the beautiful job we did. He was choked up. He went on to explain that he is not a musician and he doesn’t normally get emotional, but he was so touched by the closing hymn and he wanted to thank us for all of the hours of preparation and practice that went into learning our instruments so that we could easily throw together something like that. He was there when we had our run-through. He knew we hadn't really practiced it. He recognized that it took years of work to be at that point and he was impressed and touched by the performance. I’m so thankful that I could participate in that ensemble today and bring the spirit into the meeting. I’ve been so busy with performances that sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and see what I’m really doing and why I am really doing it. This afternoon I played for the San Diego Festival Chorus. I was less than excited for the performance because I'm tired and I’ve been run-down with a cold, but as we played the beautiful music from Mendelssohn’s “Hymn of Praise”, I was impressed with the message we were sending to the audience. Although our performance could have used a bit more preparation, I was able to feel the message of that music. Right after that concert, I listened to the last bit of a Christmas devotional. Following the devotional was a rehearsal for our church's Christmas choir concert next week. I was asked to play in a number with them. Again, I felt blessed to be playing this gorgeous music. I could feel the spirit and I really was touched by the message we, as a group, were sending to those who were listening. As busy as I get at this time of year, I’m so glad I can be part of so many opportunities to share the spirit of Christ with others.
Ashton says he hates kisses. I don’t believe him. He puts on a tough guy act, but he’s a real softie. Every morning when he gets up, he comes into our room and climbs into bed. On rare occasions when we’re both still there, he starts at the foot of the bed and pushes his way up right in between us, trying to cuddle. He loves cuddles. He’s a funny guy. He’s funny about kisses, though. I know he likes them, but he pretends not to. If you kiss him, he will chase you down and wipe them off. The other day when I dropped him off at school, we got close to his classroom and before I could even try to kiss him, he took off running, yelling, “Bye Mom!” probably so that I wouldn’t kiss him. Usually when I tuck him in at night, I’ll give him a kiss and run away before he can wipe it back on me, but tonight I didn’t even try. I just tucked him in and left. A couple minutes later he called for me. “Mom! Kisses! Even though I do NOT like kisses, I’ll let you give me a kiss and I will not wipe it off.”
It seems like the days slip away and I never get a chance to sit down and write anymore. Here it is October already! A couple of weeks ago London turned TEN! Ten seems old. Ten seems big. I can hardly believe she has been part of our family for ten whole years. The night before her birthday, she wanted me to sit down with her and tell her all about the day she was born. It’s amazing how much I have changed as a mother in the past ten years and I can only imagine how much I will change in the next ten.
It’s so interesting to me to think back on how London was when she was small, compared to how she is now. So much has changed, but I can see those parts of her personality that never have changed, and I’m sure never will. It’s those parts that make her who she is. London is spunky. She is precocious. She is curious. She is emotional. She is busy. She is entertaining. She is talented. She is in tune to the way others feel. She is spiritual. She is sweet. She is compassionate. Because of London, I am a better me. She has taught me so much about so many things. Sometimes the things she teaches me are not lessons I want to learn, but I have grown because of her.
We celebrated London’s birthday with dinner at her favorite restaurant, Corvette Diner, followed by watching “Hairspray”. Taylor was in the band and it was a fun show to watch. London loved it. Ashton just kept asking when it was going to be over. Of course. We didn’t have cake until a couple of days later. London requested chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough cake and boy was it yummy! It was very rich, but very good. And since cookie dough is London’s favorite food, it was definitely a hit with her. I’m glad we’re past the point of me having to make cakes that look like they came out of a toy store and instead just have yummy cake. I’m not much of a cake decorator, but I can make one that tastes good!
I wrote this journal entry 3 weeks ago while we were on our vacation, driving down the coast.
“Polish eloquence [except I'm pretty sure he said 'elegance' not 'eloquence'] is not an oxymoron,” the seemingly homeless man told me as I was leaving the Taco Bell in Santa Cruz. “You have no idea how many deals I just made in the time you guys have been here,” he said. I'm sure I don't want to know. He told us all about how he raised twin boys. Then his story changed to triplets later. And he also had a younger son who now is on a swimming scholarship at Yale and is almost as fast as Michael Phelps. It was quite an interesting conversation. I may have been more than a bit neurotic when I took my kids to the bathroom there and didn't let them touch anything. This particular Taco Bell had its fair share of homeless tweakers (and at least one woman looking for a boyfriend). It was an interesting lunch, to say the least and now I know where not to eat the next time we’re in Santa Cruz.
We went on a cruise to Mexico last week (more on that later). The kids flew up to Sacramento for a week with my family while we were gone. We drove to Sacramento as soon as we docked. We spent a few days there and then went to San Francisco where we stayed with some good friends in Walnut Creek. We left this morning to drive down the coast. Our first stop was Mission San Jose. London was very excited to be there since that is the mission she had to research for her 4th grade mission project. After we finished at the mission, we headed to Santa Cruz. Since we're going all the way to Morro Bay along the coast today, we didn't stay there long, but we were sure to stop at Steamer Lane and watch the crazy surfers for a few minutes. Usually surfing isn't so exciting to watch. Today it was. The waves were really big and the surfers were tearing it up. It was quite the spectacle. Today will consist of deriving though Big Sur, something we have been wanting to do for a long time.
P.S. I just saw a pig crossing sign in Monterey.
*To see photos of our trip, check out the "images" tab up top.
I woke up to the sound of rain this morning. I was a bit confused at first, I almost forgot what that sound was. Not long after I woke up, there was a flash of light and a giant crash of thunder. I worried that it woke the kids, so I hurried into their bedrooms to check on them: both sleeping. I mosied downstairs to see if Taylor was gone. He was going to go surfing this morning. I found him on the couch and then I heard Ashton call me.
“Mom! What is that sound?”
“Really?! It’s raining?! I heard a rolling sound too.”
“That was thunder. It’s really loud, huh?”
I don’t think this kid knew what thunder sounded like! I can’t remember the last time we had a thunderstorm here. I think we were caught in one last summer when we were on vacation. Maybe. But it’s new for us here. It’s just too bad that it woke up my kids prematurely. It might be a long day with cranky kids.
When it comes to getting off to school, Ashton has one speed: slow. This morning he was all ready. He was ready long before it was time to leave. Except he didn’t have his shoes on. 15 minutes before it was time to go, I told him to put his shoes on. I reminded him softly probably close to five THOUSAND times. Still, no shoes. Then, of course, when it’s time to go, he still doesn’t have shoes on and he still can’t find shoes. Finally, he put his shoes on and we headed out the door at 8:58. School starts at 9. Then, often we get to the gate, and I realize that he didn't put his backpack on. Back to the house we go. This isn’t just a story about today. This is the story of every day. Luckily it only takes us 3-4 minutes to walk to school, but it takes Ashton at least that long because he refuses to hurry. He mosies along without a care in the world. This used to bother me a lot more than it does now. Now, I try to remember that it’s his problem, not mine. I shouldn’t care that much that he’s late for school. I just feel bad that he makes London late fairly often. He told me on the way to school that last week when they had a babysitter before school, he was really early. She must have put his shoes on for him.
I made ice cream last night. Rocky road. Kind of. I guess it’s not really rocky road as much as it is chocolate ice cream with marshmallows. And it’s really good. Ashton, for some reason, says he doesn’t like chocolate. Strange kid. So he didn’t want ice cream tonight with the rest of us. Instead, he wanted a popsicle. I made orange julius a while ago and froze the leftovers in popsicle molds. He was biting into it, complaining about how it made his tooth hurt. I took a look in his mouth and sure enough, he has his first loose tooth! I think the popsicle may have aided in it’s loosening because it’s one of his top teeth and usually the bottom ones go first. This one was also bleeding. He was pretty upset when I told him he had a loose tooth. It took him a while to warm up to the idea, but now he’s excited about the prospect of growing bigger teeth. It’s funny because I’ve never been one to lament the stages he is growing out of. I have so many friends who get sad when their babies grow up. I wasn’t sad to send him to kindergarten. I wasn’t sad when he reached different milestones. I was happy. But lately, it’s kind of bittersweet to see him growing. I love his squishiness that’s now going away. I love his little gappy smile. I’m not ready for a snaggletooth six-year-old. What happened to my four-year-old? I’m not mourning the baby stages, but I really loved the pre-school stages with this guy. It’s fun to watch him grow, but I’ll be sad when he stops saying things like “breakfrixt” (for breakfast) and “goed” (instead of “went”). And I’ll be sad when I can’t squish his chubby cheeks anymore and when those dimpled knuckles lengthen out and turn into kid hands. I’m not sure that I’m ready for that part of growing up yet.
I have this constant battle raging inside of me. Almost a year ago, I weighed almost 10 pounds less than I do today. That’s not a lot and I’m not necessarily worried so much about my weight, as much as I am about the way my clothes fit. Right now I’m not really liking the way my clothes are fitting. Anyway, the battle is between the part of me that wants to lose 10 pounds, and the part of me that wants to eat ice cream every day. The problem is, I’m quite active. I exercise 5 days a week. I eat fairly healthy. I do have my share of junk food, but for the most part, I do well. It becomes frustrating that instead of the number on the scale slowly getting lower, it keeps creeping up, much like my age. I know there are things I could do better and I keep telling myself that I will, but on Saturday I made cookies. And they were really good cookies. I didn’t make a lot, so there aren’t any left, which is probably good. But a couple of cookies a couple of times a week shouldn’t be a big deal. That’s where the battle lies. Sometimes I wonder if I really care enough to make the changes I need to make to put myself back to my ideal size. Then the other part of me tells me that it doesn’t matter. My size doesn’t matter, as long as I’m healthy. And I am. I see people posting on social media all the time about whatever challenges or supplements or things they are using to achieve their ideal body. Some days I want to jump in, make the change. Other days I think it’s too much of a commitment. And every time I have joined a challenge, I’ve gotten frustrated half way through that nothing is changing. All that happens is I deny myself of foods that I love. Besides all of my feelings of insecurity and need to feel good in my skin, I have a daughter. I don’t want to follow extreme diets or fads just to look good. I want to teach her how to choose a healthy lifestyle. Last week I saw her tighten the belt of her jacket. She told me that sometimes she makes it tight so she looks skinnier. She’s nine. And tiny. That comment scared me. I’ve always been conscientious of what I say around her about the way I feel about my body. I want her to be confident and happy with what God has given her. I want to feel that way about myself.
I came across this article last week. I think it’s fantastic. But I still want to fit into my jeans comfortably.
Last Saturday was Taylor’s graduation. We spent the night before in a shared hotel room with my parents and Taylor's mom and sister down the hall. The next morning we got up early and made our way to the college. The speakers didn’t take long and the ceremony really wasn’t that long, but it took a while for all of the doctoral candidates to be hooded. It was all worth the wait, though, when we saw Taylor! It was a very exciting time for all of us. I think that even our kids understand the huge accomplishment that this is. It was a wonderful day full of celebration and although he walked then, he didn't technically graduate then. Today was that final step in Taylor's doctoral status. The one thing that needed to be finished that he was unable to schedule before graduation was the defense of his dissertation. That happened today. We got a babysitter to get the kids off to school this morning and the two of us drove to Claremont to close the books of this long journey. The defense went really well. I sat there thinking that it’s a good thing he was the one doing the talking, not me, because I’m sure I would be stumbling over my words and thoughts. Taylor was very succinct and always knew exactly what to say and how to answer every question. After about an hour of talking and questions, we (Taylor, his dad, and I) were invited to leave while the committee deliberated. It didn’t take long before we (although just Taylor went back in because I was in the bathroom) were invited back in and Taylor was told that he passed. He wasn’t asked to make any revisions or anything. He just passed. And just like that, he’s done! A momentous occasion indeed.
I was thinking while at graduation last week, all of the time that this has taken him. Taylor started graduate school when I was barely pregnant with London, more than ten years ago. He finished his doctoral course work and took his qualifying exams when I was just a month or so away from delivering Ashton. That was more than six years ago. Our kids have no idea what it’s like to have a dad who isn’t in graduate school. They are as excited as we are that he’s finished and this summer we can really celebrate because Taylor will get to be with us, without a dissertation hanging over his head.
It's 10:00 on a Saturday morning. Taylor is sleeping and I'm still in bed too. I know he got up earlier with the kids. I can hear them downstairs playing the wii and I don't plan on getting up yet. I have no clue how long they've been up. Is it bad that I don't care? Last night I fainted while I was saying my prayers. It was really weird. That was a first. And I felt like I was going to throw up. I slept well. And long. But part of me is a little worried to get up. But maybe I just need to eat.