Friday, October 31, 2008

This Is Fun Because....?

I, like so many others, love the fall. Growing up I think one of the main reasons I wanted to be mother is so that I could make Halloween sugar cookies and decorate them with little helpers as a crisp wind whipped up a swirl of leaves outside the window of my cozy kitchen full of yummy baking smells. Every year I get excited about the start of the fall holidays with Halloween. But, I have to be honest here. So far it just isn't living up to my expectations. The last two years CT has been seriously ill on Halloween. This year he wasn't sick, but after the first block he started crying and saying "I'm thirsty. I need a drink." Instead of saying "Trick or Treat" he would say with a sob "I"m thirsty" and hold out his plastic pumpkin. To his credit, after a runner was sent home for a juice box he perked up. Of course, by then Lily had reached her limit and started saying she couldn't walk anymore and wanted to eat some of her candy and go home. Disappointing, because I had high hopes for her when the evening began. I thought she was going to pull through. She started the evening out so well. She would always say "trick or treat" and "Thank you" and then as we were walking away she would say to me "We still need to get more candy, right?". I can't think of a time when the answer to that question would be "no". Actually, I don't mind only trick or treating two blocks worth of homes. I just wish we could do it without the inevitable break downs. Maybe next year?

Monday, October 13, 2008

This One's For Amanda

Let me express a few opinions on the topic of giving birth. Actually, on the topic of telling stories about giving birth. This is what I have observed about women who have gone through childbirth: the stories of their labor and delivery are badges of honor. When you gather a group of young mothers the conversation will inevitably turn to birth stories. It quickly becomes a competition. And there are rules about what constitutes a "winning" birth story. Here are some guidelines to follow if you want your birth story to top all others:

1) The length of labor is key. There are two ways to win in this category - having an agonizing and slow labor, preferably with several false alarms, or having a lightning fast labor. The fast labor story seems to be the current trend, so don't think you have a chance of competing in the category unless your baby was born within 15 minutes of parking the car (while being wheeled to the delivery room is preferable). Naturally, if you have your baby IN the car, you are an undisputed birth story champ.

2) The behavior of your husband is an important element. You get more mileage out of insensitive behavior than anything. Things like husbands leaving the hospital to get an In N Out burger and bringing it back to the hospital just in time for the delivery and eating it as you push away because he just can't let an In N Out burger get cold score big points. You get the idea. Stories about husbands amazingly sensitive behavior are impressive, but don't score as many points because people feel you then had an unfair advantage in the birthing scenario.

3) Medication is a must. For discussion, that is. If you had some, it is best to have had some strange reaction to it or some mistreatment during it's administration by medical staff to liven your story up. If you didn't have any, people tend to feel threatened. Not having any is best received when it is accompanied by an amazingly fast delivery story as discussed in point #1.

Of course, after the baby is born the game continues. Contests over who is surviving on the least amount of sleep, whose baby wins the prize for most colicky, and the nursing sagas I have heard are a whole separate category.

My point here, Amanda, is, take what you hear about giving birth, good and bad, with a grain of salt. No one else will have the same story you will have, but in the end, you will be an official player in the exciting game of My Labor and Delivery.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Come Into My Parlor

I love the Little House books. I have re-read the entire series every year of my life since the time I was about 8 yrs old until about, oh, three years ago. You know how sometimes you know a book so well that you know exactly where to go to read the one scene that will evoke the feeling you want to have at a certain moment? The Little House books are full of such passages for me, and in fact, whole books in the series are like that. Every fall I always get the urge to read Farmer Boy. One thing that book mentions quite a bit is the formal parlor of their farmhouse.

Now, I'm not trying to sound fancy, but my house definitely has a parlor. A room that is always kept clean, from lack of use as much as anything else, and only used on special occasions like home teaching visits. My formal living/dining room area is never used as a hang out space for our family, except when I play the piano, or when CT and Lily use the couch cushions to build a lion's den. The room is never off limits to anyone, we just don't gravitate to it. Also, a big factor is that it has no ceiling fan, and it is so swelteringly hot here that we stick to rooms with fans as much as possible. We don't even put our Christmas tree in there.

Sometimes, I feel like it is a big waste of space to have this whole area that we never use, but more often I am very grateful that it's there. It is the first area of our house guests walk into, and I find it extremely comforting that no matter the state of the rooms just beyond it's walls, this room, at least, is visitor ready.

Like every room in our house, it isn't totally finished. I still have visions of crown molding in my head, and someday a big dining room table that our family could actually fit around. And I still need to replace the standing lamp with one that matches and repaint the little dining table and chairs to a cherry-brownish shade.

Here are some pictures, although they don't include my latest acquisition. We bought a nice area rug at a neighbor's garage sale ($10!) that is now under the dining table and looks really great. My favorite things about this room as it is now are: my red lamps that I got at Hobby Lobby for 80% off and my little chandelier lamp shades that I found at the thrift store for $2 a piece. I was a bit worried about the lighting in the room since the shades were all red and gold. I feel there is a fine line between red lamps that look good in a family home and red lamps that look good in a bordello, but I'm pleased with the look of these. I also love our big painting above the couch that was a wedding present from my parent's former bishop who is an artist. It cost us more to frame it than we've paid for any piece of furniture in our home, but I love it. So, you're all welcome to come on over and visit in my parlor, it's always available, unless the home teachers happen to be here...