Monday, March 17, 2014

You Are My Sunshine

My baby will be 3 tomorrow.
I am going to try really hard not to rant about how lightning fast the time went or the fact that all my babies are growing up (WAAAAAAAAHH!)
She is nothing but pure sunshine in our lives.
There is not a mean bone in that tiny little body.
Just don't let her hear that, she'll correct you in a hurry, she's not tiny, she's a BIG girl.
It seems like just yesterday she was brand new and I was introducing her to family for the first time.
Don't let the cuteness fool you, she was a hard infant, cried everyday for hours on end.
For the first 6 weeks of her life she refused to go to sleep before 4am, she chose instead to scream her little heart out from 11pm-4am Every. Single. Night.
It felt like Chinese sleep torture, I'd cry right along with her.
Then my midwife gave me tips on switching her days and nights.
Then she screamed all day, but at least she was sleeping some at night.
But it's OK, she's more than made up for it in her sweetness the past few years.

I'd go through those torturous nights a million times over if it meant I could have her just the way she is right now.
If you ask me, she's perfect.
She is the cutest little girly girl.
Doodle was just the opposite,  She barely knew what to do with a doll and refused to wear anything resembling a dress.
Not this little M&M, she's carting around a doll or a pony or a Lalaloopsy or all threee at all times.
She loves to wear dresses and glitter and have her hair look just so.

She begs me to paint her fingernails.
She is constantly stealing my jewelry and lip gloss when I have my back turned.
She already has me nervous for her teenage years, her preferred state of being is nude.
She has been know to sneak into bedrooms at family members houses and take off all her clothes with a house full of family.
I have raised 5 toddlers, and she is the only one of my kids that has been a stripper.
I thought, by some miracle, that gene passed over my family, 'fraid not.
From the very moment her tiny fingers figured out how to pull clothes off, she has been doing it.
Now we are training her to keep her clothes on by making them pretty dresses that she likes to wear (and can't reach the buttons or zipper in the back).

So Happy Birthday to the sweetest little girl on the block.
Our lives just would not be complete without you in it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

All We Have is Here and Now

Huelux from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

I saw this video the other day and was spellbound.
I could not look away.
It really put things into perspective.
This earth is in constant motion, time never stands still, even if we feel it does at times.
Time marches on and I can't help but feeling the overwheling desire to make it slow down.
But that is not within my powers.
All that I have power to do is enjoy each and every moment I have, for all too soon even those are gone.
As fast as we acknowledge the fleetingness of the present, it becomes the past.
There is no rewind button, no matter how much we might feel we want to go back, have a do over.
It's all right here, right now.
It's how we treat people, it's how we learn form our mistakes and apologize and move on.
It's the people we serve and the acts of love that make each moment worthwhile.
Here's to a day, a life full of purpose.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Earth Says, "Hello!"

While in Texas for Josh's funeral, we had some time to burn.
We decided to drive around the once small town, which has more then tripled in size since we packed up our U-Haul and drove away in the early 80's, and reminisce about our childhood stomping grounds. 
I was in first grade, a mere 6 years old, when we moved to California, where I would spend the rest of my growing up years.
While I'll always consider Stockton, Ca my hometown, McKinney, Tx will always hold a special place in my heart.
 As we drove and walked down the familiar roads of my first recollections of this earth, memories came flooding back to me like forgotten whispers of another lifetime.
I stood and stared into the very pecan trees which so willingly gave me their fruit from the time I was a toddler.
The trees themselves seems to greet me, to recognize me and welcome me back.
It was such a surreal feeling, the paths begged me to walk down them, part of me didn't ever want to get in the car and drive away.
There was a longing in me that I can not put into words, I'm not sure I even understand it.
A longing to be little again, to be completely enthralled in this world that once was my every breath.
If no one had been looking I would have gone over and given those trees a huge bear hug.
I did, however, bend down and move the dead leaves aside to find some of the little pecans that were left over from last Summer's harvest.
I gathered a few of those little gems and slipped them into my pocket.
A token of my visit, a tangible remembrance of a time long ago.
We stood on the lot of our old home, which within the last year had been torn down.
In it's place, in true hick fashion,  is a double wide trailer. 
That was hard to see.
My dad had built that house just for our growing family over 30 years ago, this was before the divorce.
The house sat on 3/4 of an acre in the middle of no where at the end of an old dirt road.
We had a few neighbors, but they all seemed to live far, far away.
Our yard itself seemed as big as the whole Texas sky to my small self.
My whole world consisted of that yard and surrounding dirt paths.
I would wonder up the paths for what seemed like miles and miles in search of fallen horse apples in the ditch, while side stepping the piles of fierce fire ants.
As a grown up, I realize I never did wonder all that far from home, a few hundred yards maybe.
I was always bare footed and would come home with dirt caked thick on the bottoms of my tiny feet.
I remember sitting for hours and hours in the front yard picking up pecans that had fallen from the trees in the front yard.
I think in the late Summer I lived on those things, just like the squirrels.
I remembered going in the back yard and walking for what seemed like forever to get to the back fence.
Oh, the adventures we had back there.
I remember the hiding place for small things in the knot hole of the fence post in the back corner of the yard.
We had an old tire swing hung from a branch.
We'd get the garden hose and fill the bare dirt patch under the swing with water until it was a huge mud pit. Then we'd hang on to the bottom of the tire and slide right through the pile of mud. 
We would be covered in mud head to foot.
It was the BEST!
There was a space under the cement in the back steps and frogs lived in there, hundreds of them.
We'd take the water hose and spray it into the gap and watch as distraught frogs came bounding out at an alarming rate.
Then we'd have a big glass jar just waiting and we'd scoop up as many of the frogs into the jar as we could get our hands on.
The poor things never saw it coming.
I remember walking out in the back field in the endless Summer days just as dusk was setting in and seeing the sky slowly fill with  tiny flickering lights, FIRE FLIES!
We'd catch them in jars as well and bring them into our bedrooms and watch them bounce around the sides of the jar as we fell asleep.
To our complete dismay, they were always dead in the mornings.
Then there were the peacocks.
One of our neighbors was a peacock farmer.
We could hear the cry of the peacocks from sun up to sun down.
What a treasure when we'd find a fallen feather to bring home.
I remember finding turtles in the huge open fields and bringing them home, only to realize that they were snapping turtles and their bite hurt like the dickens.
We'd set them free after a few hour of tortured fun, mad that they did not know how to be nice.
I rememebered our neighbor, Arty and his pond.
We drove past the house where my younger brother had wondered to when he was just 2 or 3 and had fallen into their swimming pool, only to be rescued and dragged out by their dog.
Memories of starting school, where the bus stop was, the freak snow day waiting for the bus on "the triangle" only to find out school was canceled. 
Getting stuck, wedged, in the huge tire at recess and needing rescuing by the teacher.
There were not so happy memories as well.
The divorce and all that came after.
Leaving that place, I remember being small and sitting in the backseat of the car bawling my eyes out as we drove away.
I remember the last goodby with my father. Oh, how I cried. He stayed in Texas when we moved half way across the country.
It would be many years before I'd see him again, little did I know he'd literally be going through a hell all of his own.
While I haven't lived in that place for literally a lifetime, it is a part of me, it will always be a part of me.
I wanted to soak up every memory I possibly could.
My dad's family had lived in that town for generations before me, but now everyone of us has moved away and all of my grandparents on his side have passed.
I will likely never have another reason to return that that corner of the world.
But as long as I'm living, that place will be a part of me, a part I hold very close to my heart.


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Boy Next Door

My wonderful nephew, Bradley reminded me that today is the 14th anniversary of the day I moved to Utah.
14 years! Man, that made me feel beyond old.
I expressed this thought of aging with Bradley, to which he replied, "Ya, but it doesn't matter because you're still as fabulous as ever!"
Ya, I knew I loved that kid.
Little did I know he was just buttering me up. :)
I had just returned from my 18 month (not nearly long enough) mission for the LDS church in Montreal, Canada.
I came to live with my father, whom I hadn't lived with since I was 2 years old.
My dad had moved two doors down from Mr Bird's family while I was in Canada.
The morning after I arrived, my dad and Mr Bird's dad were talking in the driveway, plotting to get the two of us together.
They planned to bring their family over to meet me and my sister and her husband, we had all moved together, the following evening.
When Mr bird heard this plan, he had no desire, at all, whatsoever, to come over.
All RM girls are weird, he thought.
Plus he was at that age where everyone and their dogs were trying to set him up with girls and get him married off, in true Mormon fashion.
Mr Bird had grown tired of it.
Yet, somehow, the following day his family convinced him to join them in the visit.
He showed up, all smiles and his happy self that I would come to know and love.
Introductions were made and he was pleased that I did not seem as awkward as he had imagined for an RM.
Everyone went into the living room to sit and visit.
As everyone took their seat, Mr Bird and I found ourselves the only two left standing with two spots, side by side, left unoccupied just for us. 
How kind of them.
We awkwardly took our seats. 
I don't remember anything that we talked about or what was said that night.
I do remember that it was arranged that Mr Bird would give me a ride to institute within the next week.
I remember being struck by his confidence and how he just seemed comfortable in this intensely awkward moment.
So the day of institute came and we drove together.
It was pleasant, but nothing special.
On the way home he had to stop where they kept their horses to feed them.
It was early Spring, but a nice warm day. I got out and helped fling some hay over the fence.
I think I managed to get more of it on myself than to the horses.
During this time, little did I know that his dad was giving him a hard time, trying to get him to ask me out.
Mr Bird was dragging his feet (in his dad's opinion, there was nothing slow about our courtship), so his dad decided to up the stakes.
Mr Bird wanted to borrow his dad's laptop for a computer gaming party with his friends, so his dad told him he could only borrow it if he asked me out.
That did the trick.
He came over to ask me out, but we ended up hanging out together all afternoon, then saw a movie later in the evening.
From that day on, we were inseparable.
I was looking for a job, but was not yet gainfully employed.
He had a part time job and had classes at the local university.
Whenever he wasn't in class or at work, we were together, every single day.
Living so close to one another made it really hard to stay away.
We were like two magnets, we just couldn't be apart.
By the first weekend in April we realized things were developing, yet we hadn't even held hands. 
After spending the day together watching the semi annual conference of the church, we just couldn't part ways. We ended up at a friends house hanging out and watching movies.
That's when the snuggling began.
On a light tan leather couch in the basement family room of his best friend's house surrounded by chaos of people.
I never wanted to get off that couch, if I could have just melted myself into him, I would have.
He walked me home night after night, then came the goodnight kisses.
We'd stay up sometimes until 4am talking and playing games.
It was so hard to send him home every night.
I just always wanted to be with him, and I think he felt the same.
That lasted until my dad made a rule that wherever we were at midnight, that's where we'd have to stay for the night.
He was tired of us waking him up night after night.
We obliged and we all got to be more rested, but then Mr Bird started skipping work so he could do more things with me.
Within 6 weeks we were engaged to be married.
But in dating time it was more like a year because of all the time we'd spent together.
He took me on horse rides with his family and we did everything together.
I went to his family gatherings and met all his married siblings.
I was at his house a lot so I saw how he interacted with his family,  how he treated his mom and younger sister.
By the middle of June we were married and have lived happily ever after since.
Yes, we had a whirl wind courting and engagement.
We only knew each other two and a half months from the time we met until we got married.
Yet, it has been the best decision I have ever made.
That man owns every inch of my heart, I'd do anything if I had him by my side.
Our marriage has not been all rainbows and butterflies, we've had our shares of troubles, but there has always been a whole lot of love.
With each passing year I find it hard to believe that I could possibly love him more, yet I do.
Moving here those 14 long years ago was the best thing I could have ever done.
I'd do it over again a million times if that's what I had to do to get to where we are now.
Each baby we have brought home has multiplied our love that much more.
I think all the time about how lucky I am to have him.
He's such a true and honest and hard working man.
Everything he does is for me and our kids.
I don't know how I ever got so lucky, but to quote the iconic Sound of Music, 
"I must have done something good!"