Sunday, September 28, 2008

The O.R. Playlist

In just a few days I'll be checking myself into the hospital to have baby #2. Since part of this delivery will be spent laying flat on an operating room table, I thought I'd go a little bit more prepared than last baby delivery. I'll go armed with good music. I'm loading my iPod (1) to keep me from having the panic attack I had when I was having a c-section with baby #1 and (2) to give me something to do while I'm being stitched up and I have some alone time when they whisk my baby and husband away for clean up, measurements, etc (baby, not husband).

So, what would you be listening to if you were in my shoes or, well, unsightly hospital gown? I'm working on a playlist and I'd love the hear your suggestions. I'll also be in the hospital for the better part of four days, but am only allowed to have the baby in my room (at least for the first two days) if someone else is in there with me (c-sections make you fairly immobile). So any great downloadable books, short stories or other fun ideas would be great.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One of My Heros

Yesterday I had the chance to meet one of my heroes.

Jane Clayson Johnson used to be the host of one of the nationally broadcast morning shows. She had a very distinguished career in broadcast journalism. However, when she met her husband, she decided to leave the work she had been doing to start a family. She received a lot of criticism from the industry. I met her two biological children yesterday and, I'll tell you what, I'd trade them any day for all the interviews with presidents of nations, celebrities, and anyone else news worthy.

Sister Johnson and her husband were in town from Boston for Brother Johnson's son's baptism. Brother Johnson is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his own teenage son from a previous marriage lives in our ward and decided to be baptized. The son has been coming to church for many months and I've associated with him through my calling in the Young Women's program. But I don't think anyone in our ward knew who Sister Johnson was before yesterday. Oddly enough I had the thought yesterday morning that maybe this young man's dad was married to Jane Clayson and I secretly hoped I'd get to meet her at the baptism.

I first heard Sister Johnson speak at BYU shortly after her daughter was born. She gave a speech that I think startled a few young aspiring females in the audience. She basically said you can't have it all, meaning children, career, happy marriage, all at the same time. There are times and seasons of life. Make the most of what you have in the moment, but don't put off the most important.

She's written a fantastic book called I Am A Mother. It is inspiring. I read it at a time in my life when I needed some reassurance that my life could be complete within my stay-at-home-mom life. She is as kind and amiable in person as I would imagine after reading her book. Her son is about a week younger than mine and is just as cute!

Some may argue that the best kind of heroes are the people that you can observe day in and day out, someone close to you that you know. We live in a society that idolizes people for their sports prowess or their musical ability or their political power. While I'd never met this woman before, I feel a special connection to this woman who is a shining example of how to live your best life without compromising your best self. All said and done, it was just very, very cool!

And in her own words: "Never be afraid to aspire to be a mother."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Few Silly Things from My Almost-Three-year-old

This week A said and did some things that just made me laugh. I thought I'd share in the joy:

1. While drinking regular Sprite soda (which I'm not sure he's ever had before) said, "It's too sweet. It has too many apples in it."

2. While looking through a book, A started singing "where is Jesus, where is Jesus," then knowingly and in a very serious tone said, "Oh, I found Him."

3. We were at the library and A needed a drink. This drinking fountain just had a small button to push instead of a long bar across the front. He got very creative with his knee.

4. During bedtime scripture reading we had this conversation (we were reading the children's Book of Mormon reader about the Nephi and Lehi, the sons of Helaman when they were in prison)

Me: "...and Nephi and Lehi looked toward heaven."
A: "Mom, where is heaven?
Me: "Humm. Well, it's in the sky over the earth. Heavenly Father lives there."
A: "Oh, by Jackson's house." (about 10 minutes away)
Me: "No, in the sky."
A: laughing "No, Heavenly Father's house is by Jackson's house!"

5. Another night, instead of the Book of Mormon reader, A wanted to look at a Book of Mormon picture calendar from Grandma for scripture study. Daddy turned to the first page, a picture of Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem.

Daddy: "I spy with my little eye a camel." (A loves I Spy books)
A: Very confused, turning to mom, "That's not I Spy."

6. I was on the phone in the other room when A came and asked if he could have a lollipop. I said yes and kept talking. Some time later I came out to the kitchen to find six bare lollipop sticks and then nine wrappers! I'm not sure where the other three sticks ended up...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

This morning A and I went outside to hang our American flag. We put it up to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on New York City and Washington D.C. I once asked my parents where they were when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII. Even though they were small children, they remembered very specific details about the day.

As for my own memories of September 11, my then-boyfriend, now husband had come to pick me up from my apartment, to walk me to work on his way to class, as always. It was about 7:45 and J asked if I had heard what happened that morning. His roommates or neighbors had been watching the news and heard the initial reports. Things were still very unclear as to what was happening. As we walked up the long flight of stairs past the BYU botany pond to campus, everyone in the busy 8:00 rush was talking about it. I remember one kid on his cell phone calling some far away friend to incredulously share the news.

At work it was all we could do to keep ourselves focused. We were glued to the internet and any updates available.,, and stick out in my mind. There was no live streamed video, just pictures and mostly second hand accounts of the events. We knew that planes were down, but some missing. We knew that people were trapped. We knew that nothing was certain as far as how safe we were every where else.

It was a Tuesday and BYU's traditional weekly devotional was canceled and the university president, President Merrill J. Bateman, spoke instead. There is something incredibly reassuring having a general authority speak at such a complicated and confusing time. J and I usually attended the devotionals together every week and it had been a while since we had seen such a packed house in the Marriott Center. President Bateman reassured us that we would be fine, that we would figure this out, and that we had to proceed the best we could under the circumstances.

I went to other classes that afternoon, knowing that the twin towers had fallen, the Pentagon had been hit and a plane had crashed somewhere else, ultimate destination still unknown. One or two classes were canceled. One went on as planned, but with much less enthusiasm.

By the end of the day, we all just sat mesmerized by the reports on TV and the images of people jumping out of windows, huge clouds of black billowy smoke and ash swirling through Manhattan, and the beginnings of the loss of life reports.

Eventually the "bring the story home" journalism started to touch our BYU campus. Reports of the BYU interns in the affected areas having gone out to dinner together the night before and all getting such bad food poisoning that none of them could go to work the next day and people's cars not starting or decisions to take the day off from work unexpectedly were now common. I had one friend who worked high in one of the twin towers and just a week and a half earlier left his high-paced job to find something a little more family friendly. While I know that as followers of Jesus Christ and members of His Church we are not immune from danger and heartache, it is remarkable to think how many people were protected and able to avoid harms way.

I've always been a very patriotic person and often get choked up when I sing the Star Spangled Banner or say the pledge. I am grateful for a nation of such resilience and such desire to overcome. This campaign year has brought a lot of questions about our national security and the well being of our nation with regards to our economy and health care and quality of life.They all talk a lot about change. In the last seven years since those attacks, so many things in my life have changed: my marital status, my economic situation, my parental status, my residence to name a few. But one thing never changes: we are a people who will rise above. We have a spirit born within us that will not let us give in or give up.

What a legacy we have. Will we pay the necessary price to perpetuate that? Will we teach our children to love our country and take pride in the values, opportunities and challenges that come with citizenship in this great community? Perhaps that was one of the great lessons that the 9/11 attacks taught us. We are a group with much in common, regardless of out differences. To borrow words from Paul in the New Testament, we are no longer strangers, but fellow citizens in the kingdom of God.

So wherever you were that day, where are you now? And where do you want to be in the future of this great nation? President Gordon B. Hinckley often said, it isn't enough to be good. We must be good for something.

Let's go be good for something this year. Let's not let 9/11 anniversary #8 come without having made our communities a better, safer, more optimistic place to be. Let us find within us that same strength and pride and open our arms a little wider to expand our personal communities. Let's do it!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Three Weeks and Three Days

So here's the belly shot that, if posted in a timely enough manner, is supposed to bring we a well behaved child who learns to sleep to the night at a good young age. I'm scheduled for a c-section on October 2. My nesting instincts are really kicking in this go around. For anyone who might be interested and would like to come for a visit (if you don't already live here), we are planning on blessing our baby on October 19. Church starts at 10:00.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Vacation Part 2

Our vacation adventure continued with so many ordinary events that made for extraordinary memories, especially for little A.

THE 4th OF JULY: Family Reunion Day 1

The Tank

Since the 4th of July is just about my favorite holiday I thought I'd add a couple of more tank photos since the Hellcat tank was such a huge hit in the Provo parade. Tree Climbing

Aunt A and Uncle C took A to a Freedom Festival Celebration activity and, of course, A's favorite thing was the tree we sat under to eat lunch. This was really A's first attempt at seriously climbing a tree. I think he saw his cousins and the others kids giving it a go. It was almost like this tree was made for climbing; get a load of the huge knots on the lower trunk.

Great Grandma's House

I think the thing that makes the 4th of July so special to me is that we always spent it as a family and had some great traditions. Any of the family th
at is in town for the holiday always ends up at my Grandma's house (my dad's mom). She's 93 and, with the help of her children and grandchildren, always hosts a fantastic afternoon of lazy summer activity. She lives in a farm house on the west side of Provo that used to belong to the foreman of the sugar beet factory and farms that in days on gone by dominated the area. My dad was raised in that house. I get my red hair from Grandma. Someday I hope I can grow up to be like her, full of wit and wisdom and a jar full of apricot jam for every person who walks through her door.

This old tire swing has been at Grandma's house for as long as I can remember and I'm sure much longer. From it you have a spectacular view of the Wasatch Mountain, Mount Timpanoogos, and Y mountain, all defining places for my grandparents. As a girl I spent countless hours with my cousins in this swing and even had my engagement photos taken here.

The Great American Meal: KFC and A&W

We have always had the 4th of July tradition of eating fried chicken and getting a gallon of ice cold A&W rootbeer right from the tap at the restaurant (it even comes in gallon jugs). This year was no different. I love this tradition and fully intend to keep it up in my own family. Only once as a little girl do I remember not being able to hold it down. Though I think it was more the effects of a long day in the sun rather than the food choice. I remember that year because I was so sick I slept through the fireworks and wore my too-small Strawberry Shortcake PJs because I was so hot and sunburned. Here is mom and son enjoying the tradition and below is A with his cousin ED sharing a little extra.


Oakcrest Girls Camp Adventure

My sister's responsibilities at church include a regional assignment to help with a local girls' camp facility. She made arrangements for us to spend the day there as part of our family reunion. We went on the zip line, did archery, did a ropes course and just enjoyed being together. J got this great idea that he could take A on the zip line, which scared my whole family to death. It turned out well, A liked it so much, we figured out a way to tighten the harness so he could actually do it himself. He loved it. See the video below.

Following the leader. A wanted to be where the big boy cousins were and did the whole ropes course, with help!


One of the things we told A about was how many temples we would see while we were visiting Utah. Grandma and Grandpa C have a spectacular view of the Timpanoogos Temple right out their front window. We also saw the Salt Lake, Provo, Jordan River, and the unfinished Draper and Ocher Mountain temples. Six temples within a half hour drive! It was great.


On our last day in Utah we went to the Bean Museum on the BYU campus. It is full of hundreds of stuffed animals. It is a really fun place to go. Grandpa and a few cousins met us there and we had fun seeing everything from Polar bears to zebras, to alligators to enormous fish. Grandpa asked A which animal he liked and wanted his picture taken in front of. He chose this grizzly bear. Afterwards we got ice cream cones at the BYU creamery. You can't go all the way from NY to Utah and not get a cone at the Creamery.

This is one last shot of A playing in his cousins' castle. He had so much fun being with everyone and enjoying their company. We look forward to another get together soon.