in the backyard, in the garden.

as soon as i sent out our new year’s letter  it was outdated.

why didn’t you wait to send that? christian asked, wearing his smelly, sun-faded backyard work clothes.

it was january 1st and he had things to do. specifically, repurpose wood from our fence and deck projects that had been taking up space in our garage. by the afternoon he had made me three garden boxes along the side of our house.

you just made these!? i was impressed. i think just how impressed i was may have hurt his pride.

a fourth box would join the others and we filled them up with all the zeal of amateurs.

cute rows of carrots planted too close together are yielding short stumpy things. similarly the beets are plenty and crowded. two-thirds of us used to like beats, but little whopper recently decided he was above the purple root.

the squash, zuccini and cucumber have intertwined in the confines of the smallest box and morphed into something out of little shop of horrors.

kale is coming out of our ears. i am more of a kale lite person. i prefer baby kale for pasta and salads and curly kale for kale chips (which are nothing like chips! christian reminds me). this kale, no matter how much i blend it for my smoothies tastes 100% like eating grass.

the peas took over the lattice. most of the vines dying from lack of adequate water.

the green beans and leeks never made their debuts.

the cilantro and arugula grew rapidly but didn’t quite look right.

we had lettuce and earwigs for days (the only thing i hate more is a cockroach). i was so petrified to clean the lettuce i used tongues and washed each piece individually.

our tomatoes have been the big shocker. tomatoes generally don’t do well in this region so we bought starter plants which have exploded. unfortunately, some birds are keen on stealing our crop before we can harvest them. we may be investing in a scarecrow this weekend.

for this city girl who doesn’t like the work part of yard work and hadn’t really ever gotten her hands dirty, it has been surprisingly rewarding to eat what we grow. but if i’m putting in some requests to the garden gods, i wouldn’t mind having a slugless, earwigless garden next year.

…………..
backyard; guster

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make your mother sigh.

he was sleeping on a nest of blankets while i got ready. i was nervous about being late for his first appointment. i gently picked him up, disturbing his baby slumber. i still wasn’t very good at getting him all strapped in to his car seat. his smallness intimidated me. i worried about hurting his arms or neck. christian loaded him in the car and i made sure we had everything and more stuffed in to the diaper bag.

the clinic doesn’t see very many newborns so the front desk girls were very excited. all checked in we sat near the fish tank. and then i suddenly realized my mistake.

in all my anxiousness and paying attention to the clock, i hadn’t once thought about what it meant to get ready with a baby. my hair and make up were done, but he, well, he was starving. while christian held up a blanket i fumbled through layers of clothes and nursing bra snaps. asher’s tiny baby cries got increasingly angrier. i began sweating as i tried to maneuver this four-day old baby. just as he latched on a nurse called his name.

the visit was longer than i expected. he was down 12 ounces from his birth weight and he also needed a follow-up on some jaundice concerns. but he was hungry and his mom hadn’t even thought about waking him up to eat before we left.

that heal prick did me in.

because he was dehydrated the blood did not run. it did not flow. it didn’t even trickle. the phlebotomist massaged and squeezed his little foot and he screamed. a scream i had not heard yet, and rarely heard since. i stroked his head and couldn’t stop the tears.

i cried the whole way home. he soon forgot why he was so mad. nursing was much easier without a waiting room full of people. and without hiding behind a blanket. and that afternoon on my couch, without a shirt.

……………………………………………..
cry baby cry, the beatles

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when you sleep.

the night asher was born i did not sleep. with his perfectly swaddled little self resting against my knees i just stared.

christian likes to ask me what he is dreaming about. in the very beginning, with all their newness, what are their dreams made of? what makes faint smiles cross their lips?

at just a few days old he did not like his arms to be held captive. he’d sneak those arms out and casually prop them behind his head. he also slept in his crib back then.

around five months everything changed. he’d sleep on us or in our bed – but not his crib. we obliged and then enabled but honestly i didn’t put up much of a fight. the instant we lowered him into our bed he would immediately turn to us. he’d reach for us with a frantic desperation. clutching our clothes and hair, he’d burrow in and fall into a peaceful sleep.

his breathing between us stole my heart.

and then he gradually stole our bed.

that burrowing is long gone. traded in for tossing and turning. rolling until he is comfortable. arms flapping against our faces, feet kicking our sides.

i wake up to his little chatter before he either plows over me or attempts to scale our headboard.

however long and rough the night, his morning smile melts me.  except for last week. last week i was having an awful nightmare. someone dumped snake-lizards all over me (think raiders of the lost ark). the more i struggled the more they spread. i tried to scream but had no voice. the snake-lizards started eating into my stomach. i fought to get away.

i woke up and was startled to realize the snake-lizards were actually little whopper’s feet.

we may need to rethink this sleeping arrangement.

…………………………..
when you sleep; cake

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hope for a better world.

tonight i sang little whopper to sleep with easter songs. jesus shines brighter, jesus shines purer and brings to all the world his love. asher watched me closely through the next verses and i thought on how exactly he makes our sorrowing spirits sing.

i have not been filling this space, but i have been scratching down notes, and thoughts, and essays elsewhere… all of which are patiently waiting for my retro journal project to be complete. it has been harder than i expected. not the remembering, but the reliving. as i’ve immersed myself in certain months and years of my past, i’ve had to step away. take a break. let go of whatever pain or hurt was plaguing me then. in retro journal time i am still wading through the pain and heartache of 2010.

this past easter sunday we reflected on what we can do, because of him. i can have hope. while working on my journal tonight i remembered hope was important to me in the aftermath of that first lost pregnancy. throughout that year i had been working with my young women to complete a challenge we had given them of reading the entire book of mormon. when i concluded the book of mormon that year i found myself drawn to ether. (so much so that i may have tried to convince christian that it was a reasonable baby boy name last year). at our activity to wrap up the book of mormon challenge i spoke. these were my words:


The message of the Book of Mormon to me, is one of Hope.

A hope, that God hears our prayers and will answer and protect us. A hope, that despite how hard and long the journey, we will eventually arrive at our personal promised lands. A hope that even in our darkest hour, we are not alone. A hope, that we will be freed from our private captivities. A hope, that no matter what the mistake, our sins can be washed clean through the atonement of Christ. Ultimately, it speaks of our hope to live again. This kind of hope, along with faith, helps us overcome fear, discouragement and worry. This kind of hope leads us to peace, rejoicing and gladness.

Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” 2009)

The Book of Mormon tells the story of two different civilizations that both were destroyed through wickedness. The Nephites and the Jaredites should have had very different endings. They had the truth. They were followers of Christ. By the end raging wars killed off the people, leaving lone prophets to chronicle their story for us.

We recognize Ether for writing of the Brother of Jared at the time of the tower of Babel. We remember how he asked the Lord to touch stones – believing that the power of His touch could illuminate them, giving light to the barges as they crossed the ocean. Ether was the last Jaredite prophet. He devoted his whole life to the cause of the Savior. Through all the devastation – Ether writes of hope:

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. (Ether 12:4)

Ether could have written a very different journal entry. But he chose the promise of hope, that eventually, he would see a better world.

The prophet Mormon shares a lot with Ether. After watching his people kill one another, he gives the sacred records he had kept to his son, Moroni. In one of his last letters to Moroni, he relates some of the horrors of battle. It is sad and depressing stuff. But a particular verse jumped out at me:

My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. (Moroni 9:25)

Even when Mormon faced death, and knew his son would be left alone – he didn’t waste time complaining. What did he do? He acknowledged the hard things, but he didn’t focus on them. He asks his son to be faithful, to not wallow in grief and most importantly to hope in the glory of Christ.

Each of us has our own private battles raging. Life’s problems and dark, heavy things —— Satan uses despair to bind our hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. But we know better. We trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to us. Despite the current chapter in our lives, because of Christ’s sacrifice, the ending will exceed our expectations.

“We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness,.. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” 2002).

“For the love of the son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow and gladdens every heart” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Infinite Power of Hope,”  2008).

Elder Holland said that when we are confidently obedient, we are exercising our faith toward experiences in the future, the unknown. Mountain-moving faith like that of the brother of Jared precedes the miracle and the knowledge. He had to believe before God spoke. He had to act before the ability to complete that action was apparent. Faith is to agree unconditionally—and in advance—to whatever conditions God may require in both the near and distant future (Jeffrey R. Holland; Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 18–19).

We increase our hope much the same way we increase our faith, by small steps. One decision at a time. We need not fear (Luke 12:32). We need to be still (Psalms 46:10). We need to remember (D&C 90:24).

Ether concludes his writings by asking us to seek this Jesus (Ether 12:41). Moroni echoes his predecessor and invites us to come unto Christ (Moroni 10:30-32).


and here i was tonight, singing to a quickly growing boy about that very jesus.

a boy i didn’t know i would be able to have, but that i hoped for in 2010.

and 2011.

and 2012.easter 2014

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baby room.

baby room

this morning i heard his little stirrings in the next room over. it sounded like he was kicking off his blankets while he yawned. i stepped in the room, opened his curtains and looked down at his little face. his whole face lit up and he smiled at me. it is moments like that when i am stunned that there is a baby in this little crib. in this room. in my house.

ever since we moved in to this house i have called his room the baby room. even when it was empty it was the baby room.

two christmases ago i picked out a blue i loved and we painted the room while listening to flight of the conchords. it would be many months later when i’d finally feel ready to set the room up. several pieces had waited patiently over the years.

20140118-135328.jpgi bought these fantastic mr. fox prints two years ago. i especially love that the son’s name is ash.

stars story people | stained glass star | origami mobile

monsters we purchased the monsters inc. print for the room while at disneyland. i think it’s extra significant since we didn’t know i was pregnant. asher loves looking up at this print especially. he just smiles and laughs. | christian’s super hero stamp collection.

artstar art | langston hughes quote by my momprimary song by christian’s sister

when we first brought asher home i remember showing him his room. those first few nights he’d only sleep on us while in the chair. sitting in that chair, with him on my lap is one of my very favorite spots in the whole house.

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siete.

IMG_2375last night christian said he kisses asher on the head every night before bed and every morning before he leaves for work. something about those kisses, that i didn’t know about until just then, made my whole body smile.

when we left the hospital i was ready to be home. in my own bed. without people intruding on our space every half hour. i felt confident and prepared to take care of our baby. and then we stepped through our front door, and set his car seat down. for a brief second i was seized with fear. what now? we were in charge of this little person. there would be no call button. no immediate assistance or relief. it was just us and this little baby.

the fear quickly passed but not the shock at being a mom.

a few months ago while shopping i stepped away from the stroller just as the teenage clerk peered down at asher. in a voice heard throughout the store she commented on the cute baby and then asked if he was mine. yes, i said, he is mine. she then said just as loudly, you’re a mom? her surprise at my mom-ness in that moment matches my continual surprise. that he used to be inside of me. that he is here. that he is so active. that he is constantly growing. that he is ours.

we are his mom and his dad. he is our little boy.

since asher’s first night christian whispers the same things in his ear daily – we are so glad you are here. we are happy you are part of our family. we love you. when i look in his eyes i think he understands what we are telling him.

i stare at him too much. i hold him too long. but it’s because i know these moments are fleeting. i know he is constantly changing. as much as i miss the tiny new baby he was, i love the little spirit that stares back at me. that laughs with me and tries to talk to me.

things for us are different with him but i think those differences make this 7th year pretty great.

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evermore thanks.

almost a year ago i wrote about how i wasn’t very thankful.

quickly after writing that i found out i was pregnant and then just as quickly i was not. a hard december would usher in shocking news mid-january. months added upon months, filled with something i wanted so badly, and those months were hard. hard in a way the years filled with longing were hard. it took me nearly halfway through the pregnancy to feel confident in what was happening.

but there were other hard things.

growing babies is a crazy wild process. everyone says you’ll forget the hard parts once you have the baby in your arms. i waved off those claims. not me, i won’t forget! i inwardly declared. i did not conceivably think i could forget this year. at times i didn’t know if i could make it to the end of september let alone the end of another day.

and then he came. i remembered the bad still, but it seemed kind of far off.

and then i would stare at his perfect face. and the bad became a little fuzzy.

and then i would hold him and his little arms would cling to me. and the bad started to slip.

and then he’d smile or laugh. and the bad, it was the price i paid for this good.

he doesn’t look like a newborn anymore which breaks my heart a tiny bit. and i do not look like i did before him, for that, i am thankful.

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