Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Today I finally went for my first bike ride since surgery. I've been wondering how it would go and wanting to do it, but putting it off out of fear of it not being good for my hands. I don't think it will turn out to be an issue at all. I found that I do a lot more pulling back with my fingers than I do pushing on my palms when I'm going hard, and when it's easy I can sit back and take the weight off my hands all together.

So, I have just given myself medical clearance to pursue my new goal of doing a triathlon. I don't want to do anything like an iron man. I don't even want (at this point) to do one that as a combined total of effort would be comparable to a marathon. But I do want to have to push myself from what I can do right now. I'm not sure exactly where that puts me. I have found a couple of people with triathlon experience/aspirations that I can call on, but I haven't done that yet. I need to figure out, especially if I'm not going to be pregnant for a while, when and where one is that I can try to do, so I have a little more concrete of a goal.

Yesterday at the gym I swam 20 laps--5/8 of a mile--and ran 3 miles with a little bit of walking interspersed totalling another 1/4 mile. I've never been a runner before, so this is the newest experience for me. I know I have frequently ridden 7 or 8 miles at a time easily. I just have to figure out how and where to push myself. And start running outside on real ground instead of an indoor track. And figure out how to swim in open water instead of a pool. Does anyone want to coach me?

The Hand of the Lord: I'm not pregnant. I'm fairly certain this is His doing. As much as I want to be pregnant, this gives me the opportunity to accomplish things that I could not do, or do as easily if I was--for example, have carpel tunnel surgery. The biggest one on my mind right now is that I am free physically to pursue my goal of doing a triathlon. I could not be in training if I was pregnant. I could maintain what I was already doing, but not be constantly pushing my body to do more than it had before, let alone to do the actual event when it comes up. I am actually very grateful that, however the cause or effect may have occur ed, the Lord has inspired me to make this goal at the same time that He also is arranging my life to allow me the physical ability to work for it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Good Idea of the Week: Showering With Children in the Handicap Stall

I should have applied my previous Good Idea. Kevin and I just got back from the temple and I had trouble staying awake. We're actually hiding out in the car after pulling up so I can finish my personal study while Neoma watches the kids. It's cool that the wi-fi reaches us out here.

Tuesday we took Willow swimming at the YMCA. Usually the after part of this--showering in one of the stalls--is a less than ideal process with the showerhead being fixed such that at about Willow height the stream of water has dispersed to a radius that fills the entire stall, so she can't get away from it unless I block it for her with my body and she can't look up at me so she wants to be held all the time. This, and her consuming desire to do everything she feels capable of by herself--notably rinsing out and hanging up swimsuits over the stall wall--mean a lot of lifting and catering to her, and overextended, exhausting showers. But this time we happened to choose the handicap access stall. It is a little bigger and it has a bench, and a hand rail, and an adjustable height shower head with detachable wand. This was perfect. Willow could wash out and hang up the suits on the hand rail without needing to be lifted. She could escape the water when she needed to, and she could stand on the bench and reach the shower head. Now if I can just work out a system for when she gets to hold the wand vs when it has to be on the peg so I can use it, it will be perfect. And I think it would work really well for when I have 2 kids, too, because I can stand Rhysie on the bench and not worry about him wandering off. Yay!

The Hand of the Lord: Today while in the temple I was reflecting on symbolism and how a particular place is designated to represent being in God's prensence. I thought about actually being in God's presence and what that might be like, and then Kevin walked in and I thought about being with him in His presence. and in that moment a little hole was punctured in the typical temporal perspective and in flooded feelings of joy and eternity. I can't make those feelings. They can't be faked. And when you feel them, you know that what you are working for is absolutely the best and most important that there possibly can be. And I am grateful for those small glimpses at what is in store. But I'm also glad right now I don't have to live every day in that quivering, life melting joy that is felt when the veil is removed from your heart and you feel the pure love and happiness of the presence of God and loved ones for eternity. It would be paralyzing in my current state. I'm glad we have the mental and emotional buffers of flesh while we are learning to have stronger Spirits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Illegal Wakefulness

My kids, both of them, woke up crying at 4:00 this morning. I don't know what started it, but Willow was crying that Rhys was sitting on her hair. This was entirely possible. They have lately been sleeping crammed together inside the cardboard castle we added to their bed for Christmas. It is only designed to hold two children sitting up, but they pile in there with pillows and blankets and sleep in a pile (though not without a lot of complaint on Willow's part usually. In her defense, it is often justified. Rhys only ever wants to sleep on top of her and her pillow).

Amazingly, Rhys didn't get mad at me and immediately demand Daddy as is most often the case when he is first waking up. He actually first came right to me and snuggled. And then he asked for food. Only after that did he ask for his Daddy. This was very exciting. I took Willow to the bathroom, with Rhys tagging along (hanging along is more like it--he wouldn't let go of my neck), and changed her clothes, which, not surprisingly, were wet. Then I gave in and brought the kids to our bed so Rhys could have his Daddy.

I secretly love sleeping with my children. So I don't mind too much. But tonight after Rhys finally found Daddy (it was really hard for him in the dark with so many people in the bed) and we all got snuggled in, he suddenly started talking. "A goat. A goat grass a movie. A goat movie. Goat says "Baaaa" a movie. A goat movie!" I can only assume he was describing a dream because we haven't seen a movie with a goat in it that I can think of. When Willow started chiming in to encourage him to "Baaaaaa," I told them that if they talked, they would have to go to their own room. Willow quieted right down, but Rhys kept jabbering away until I picked him up and carried him out of the room. He cried when I put him in his own bed, but I was undeterred.

Unfortunately, he still kept me awake for at least another half hour. I guess I had been too thoroughly aroused. I eventually did fall back asleep, just in time for my alarm to go off.

Kevin just came to sit next to me and confessed that he wishes I'd let Rhys lay there and talk. He wanted to hear the whole story. I told him he's perfectly welcome to join Rhys in his own bed next time. I'm sure Rhys would love it.

The Hand of the Lord: Last night I was reading to my children from the Friend magazine a message from President Uchtdorf. He was enumerating places we can listen for the voice of the Lord--in the scriptures, in nature--and one place he mentioned was in the laughter of a child. I had to pause as I read that one, because it struck a chord in my heart that I know only the Lord's Spirit can touch. I fought back tears as I finished reading to the two beautiful spirits sitting on my lap. How often I need reminders of the overwhelming beauty I have literally at my fingertips (especially when I'm tickling them) everyday in my children. And I am so grateful that He readily provides them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Popular Blogs, and Probably Why I'm Not.

Last night I was watching some of the profiles on mormon.org. I watched one about a mother who blogs and was reminded of another one about a mother who had a widely popular blog (I'd actually heard about her from 2 very disperate sources before she ever came into the more public news for an accident that she and her husband had). Then I thought, "How do these women get people to read their blog?" And I quickly reminded myself that I am blogging for unsuccess, so this is a forbidden topic in the first place.

But I secretly indulged (and then publically recorded). And I think the thought that most struck me was--I don't read random people's blogs. I really should not be at all suprized that they don't read mine. I have occasionally stumbled upon some unknown-to-me person's blog that I enjoyed (from another friend's friend list, usually) One even inspired me to start cloth diapering (which venture is having traumas of it's own right now). But have I been back to see it since then? No. I have appreciated other's blogs that answered questions I posed to the internet at large: How do you make crockpot yogurt, for example. But I think the only stranger's blog that I check regularly is cakewrecks. I have a hard enough time just getting to the blogs of people I know.

So if I ever want anyone like me who doesn't already know me to read my blog, I probably first have to become a different person. Because people like me don't follow random blogs. Good thing I'm not the kind of person who blogs for success. So I don't care. Really. Right?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Big Families

Yesterday and today I am watching my sister's kids. At least, 6 of them. She has the baby with her. I'm glad that kids come one or two at a time. And that they start out small, with no extracurricular activities (or curricular activities, for that matter). The oldest is in Jr. High. The next 3 are in Elementary School, and one of the youngest goes to preschool once or twice a week.

For Christmas we gave my sister and her husband a night away at a resort in Downtown Seattle, and as part of that are watching their kids. She is spending one night away, and we are spending 3 nights at their house, so they could leave early and come home late. I'm not saying it's a piece of cake, but it hasn't detered me from wanting a big family. There is nothing like a big family that has been parented well to make you excited about having more kids.

Be that as it may, it is still difficult to try to meld your parenting style into another family's routines. For example, last night we tried to put 2 preschoolers and 2 toddlers (1 of each of mine, one of each of my sister's) to bed in the same room, and part of the time the 6 year old who insisted on sleeping there, too. Eventually he got kicked out to his own room. And I figured out why their dad usually lays with them until they (and he) are all asleep. Instead of sleeping with them, I made them go to other rooms by themselves. It was really distressing for the 2 year old who didn't understand, but he was the one who was jumping on the bed and hitting and kicking his brothers, and he did calm down eventually. And after a little while the 4 year old came out and told me he needed to go in a different room by himself. OK. It wasn't until after I had them all in bed initally that I realized I was doing this about an hour earlier than my sister's kids were used to going to bed. But I wasn't going to go through the whole thing again, so I toughed it out. It worked out for the night, but I don't know that it would be a long-term solution. I'm glad I only have it for one more night at this point.

And I've put off getting them up for too long. They have school today. Curse this responsibility thing!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

For Good

So, I don't know that I believe that every single happenstance or coincidence that turns out to be a good thing was decreed that it should be so by the Hand of the Lord, any more than I believe that every setback of seeming chance was not actually chance but either a punishment or a "learning opportunity" instituted by the same. Be that as it may, I am hard pressed when examining any single event or occurrence to say this or that one was definitely not. Perhaps it was. It makes it even harder to determine knowing that for those who are striving to follow Him, the Lord finds ways to work every existent circumstance for good, even those that came about through neutral, or even unrighteous means.

The impetus behind these thoughts was the events of this afternoon surrounding my boots and the garbage can. I noticed as I came home in the late morning that the garbage was not picked up this morning (due to snow) and the can had been knocked over and was spilling into the street. I tried to pick it up, but due to the mass of large and awkward pieces protruding from the top (we cleaned out the garage this weekend), it was too difficult to do alone without spilling more than half the contents. So I went inside for help instead.

Kevin was busy at the time, so I decided to wait until he was done. I didn't get to it before Neoma got home, also, and so I put on my boots and went out with her to clean it up. We decided that probably, since the garbage hadn't been picked up by then and it was usually done in the early morning, it probably wouldn't be gotten today. So we brought the garbage can, the extra garbage can, and the 3 more bags of trash inside the garage. I took my boots off just inside the door so I wouldn't track anything around the house. After I got upstairs I remembered I left my boots by the door instead of putting them away in the closet and I silently reminded myself that I needed to do that soon to be tidy. But I quickly forgot again.

Later that afternoon, I ignored some sound wafting in from the cul-de-sac until Neoma yelled, "The garbage truck is coming, right now! They passed us! It's in the cul-de-sac! Get the can out to the other side of the road (where they would pick it up as they came back past)!" I was covered in piles of laundry on the couch and didn't know that I could make it in time, but Kevin was just coming in from the garage and I yelled at him, "Go!" He ripped off his socks and headed back out. I got myself unburied and dashed toward the door to join him and saw, right there waiting for me, my boots! I was able to slip my feet into them in as much time as it took Kevin to get his socks off and we got all 5 containers of garbage across the street and they got picked up and taken away. It was wonderful and gloriously fortuitous.

I have often left my shoes out, and thought I need to put them away and then forgot and had to put them away later after there was a mess. But somehow I have a hard time saying that this particular time was not divinely appointed. It certainly worked out for good. And I know Who does that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Big Girl

My daughter thinks that people get bigger by stretching. Whenever someone remarks, "You are getting so big," or, "Look how big you are!" she responds, "Yes, because I'm stretching!" I just passed her standing on a bench reaching her arms into the sky with gritted teeth saying, "Rrrrr, rrrrr, rrrruh!" Then she proudly exclaimed, "Look how big I am!"

Speaking of big girls, Willow has been having a little regressive week with regard to potty training. And I am working really hard on not going crazy, not because of the work, but with frustration that we've already been through this and I wanted to be all done. Why can't she just stay done? Today, though, I was blessed with a little insight--it is that way for me, too. Oh, not with using the bathroom. I'm pretty sure I have that one mastered for my forseeable future (perhaps some day I'll need diapers again, but I don't count that). But there are so many things in my life that I learn to do them and do them consistently and then I have a period where all that learning just flies out the window and I don't apply it at all. Case in point--all my new leaves. You, know, the ones I was oh, so modestly boasting about all those posts ago? I'm still pretty good, but I had some major regression over the month of December. I got through it, and I hope this next stint will be stronger, but I don't have any delusions that regression cannot happen to me, too. I'm just glad that my Heavenly Parent doesn't berate me the way I feel like laying into Willow sometimes. I hope that I can make my compassion for human frailty, or preschooler frailty as the case may be, mirror His. I love my daughter. It makes it easier to help her clean up the messes when I remember the mess of a life I would have without His contantly available help.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Good Idea of the Week: Napping at the Temple

Yesterday afternoon, Kevin and I went to the temple. We knew as we were leaving the house at 1:40 that we would not be in time for the 2:00 session, but we decided to leave then anyway so that we would be out of the house and not scrambling to get out the door for the 3:00 session after dawdling too long. So we got to the temple with at least half an hour to spare before we needed to go in even to be early. I, as is my default state right now, was feeling sleepy, so Kevin insisted I spend the 30 minutes to take a nap. He did too, and we slept right there in the parking lot in our car. When his phone alarm went off, we got up, collected ourselves, and went inside with plenty of time to spare.

Asside from a few brief moments of wandering mind, I actually stayed awake and alert the entire time while in the temple. This is a major event. I have such a hard time keeping my eyes open there. I don't know what it is, maybe just the peaceful atmosphere, but it is like a drug to me. I usually can't fight the sleepiness. Actually, although it seem like it helped (and probably it did), I know that the nap was not the hinge point of my staying awake. I give all the credit to the Hand of the Lord. I know from long experience that it doesn't matter what I do or don't do to affect my sleepiness level, ultimately whether or not I stay awake is up to a power outside of me. I don't know why that is, but that is how it is for me. And I prayed really hard (not like this was the only time I ever have done that, either) and this time the answer was yes. I got to stay awake and pay attention to the whole thing. It was marvelous.