"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Janes In My Life...

Or Why I Didn't Get Emma Read.

Since the divorce I have become obsessed with Jane Austin's "Sense & Sensibility" and "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte. I have watched to movies over and over (the new Sense & Sensibility & Jane Eyre that came out last spring) and read the books until the wee hours of the mornings. I love these books. They have been therapy for me. I have felt like I was Elinor living out Marianne's story, having to make the decisions of Jane Eyre. (That will make sense to no one but me!) I love these women's goodness, their determination to make good choices, their heartbreak. I have loved the line from Sense & Sensibility - "It is not what we say or feel that makes us good. It is what we do."

I think that Jane Eyre should be required reading for most laurels. Maybe that is going too far, but I love that (in the book) she relies on her convictions that were made before the moments of temptation. Her heart wants to stay with Rochester. It could easily be justified. Yet, she knows it is wrong in God's eyes and she sacrifices all for her convictions. I love how she learns to be happy in her new single life. She finds purpose even when life has not offered her happiness.

I love the endings- I love that Marianne finds love again. A real, lasting, good love. I love that Elinor & Jane are rewarded with love for their sacrifices. Have I said that I love these books? My obsession is beginning to ebb but these books & movies will always hold a special place in my heart as they have helped me see myself in their heartache, reinforced eternal truths, and given me hope for happiness.

Book Group & Book Review

When we moved back to Oklahoma 6 years ago, I was invited to join a book group. I loved it. We met monthly and I read some very cool books. I loved talking about books to others who wanted to get into them as well. After a year or two, the group fizzled as life pulled us all in different directions. This past Mother's day, I was invited to a friend's home for dinner and we both expresses a desire for book group. We decided that we were going to do it, even if it was only one book for the summer. Well, as word got out, others were feeling the literary pull as well and our book group has been reborn.

Our first book was "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. I loved this book! The writing is amazing. The plot is good, thought provoking and provides ample fuel for discussion. But the writing drew me in and kept me spellbound. I loved the vocabulary, the turns of phrases. I could feel the small southern town. It was so refreshing to read a really good book again and have friends to talk to about it. We had a great evening chatting - looovvveedd it!

We decided that we will meet every other month. Our second book was "Emma" by Jane Austin. We were welcomed into Regina's house to the smell of hot spiced cider. Oh, it smelled & tasted heavenly! She had gone all out - Boston Creme Pie, cheese & crackers (the tomato basil triscuits are awesome) and I don't know what all. Few of us had actually read the book - I did try but other books kept getting in my way. More about that later. We have all seen the movie, some of us both versions, so we did discuss the plot & the characters. We were able to compare the book with the movies as a few had read the book. More than anything, we talked about all kinds of books. So much fun.

One of the best parts - Caroline came to book group with a book under her arm to share with us all. It is called "Puppy Stew" and she is the author!!!!!!! We have a published member! I personally know an author! It is a super cute book about how the magical love of a pet can change a person. Her brother did all the illustrations. Anyway, it was so much fun.

Our next book is "The Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale. I have until the first week of January to get it read. Exciting!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Giving a Shout Out -

for new traditions ideas. I came home a week or so ago to a brown bag on my doorstep. When I opened it, I found an adorable clay Jack-o-Lantern candle holder and a bunch of wonderful smelling votive candles. The note said something about needing new traditions. I would have cute pic for you except my camera won't work. Uggghhh!

Anyway, I digress. I loved the gift and we have used it almost every day. It also got me thinking. I have the unique opportunity to recreate myself a bit. After thinking it over, I do have some traditions that I want to keep. They are special to me and I think they will help Ry as well. However, I would like some new things to mark this new book in my life. So, I am asking for your favorite traditions. Holiday, Birthday, Fast Sunday, Vacation, Fun, etc. Traditions, decorations, music, etc. You get the idea.

So, please share! Or email me privately. Or call me. Or send me a cute card. Or even a not cute card. I promise 15 mins. free babysitting for each tradition shared (that means you need to share a few to have enough time for dinner - even more for dinner & a movie!) For those of you who live far, far away - you know I am good for it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why I blog...

I started reading the blogs of 3 friends over a year ago. Meghan had moved and we hadn't kept in touch much. I think that we were headed to a Christmas Card friendship when I started reading her blog. I loved it! I felt like they were still in my town. I loved watching her kids grow up. I also started reading Kim and Alisa's blogs. They are good friends in my town - I see them at least once a week, but reading their blogs has been so wonderful. I have learned so much. I get to see sides of them that time, children, & life keep us from sharing with each other. So, after these wonderful examples of blogs, I decided that I wanted to create one.

Originally, my goals were to use my blog as our family scrapbook. There are a lot of day to day things that can get recorded in a blog that would not find their way to a scrapbook. Actually, very little has found it's way to our family scrapbook so I really needed to find something that would work for me! I loved the fact that all of our extended family could be included and feel a part of our lives. I loved that I would have an outlet to express some creativity. I still have plans to add a bit of color to my blog, maybe even some music.

Enter the divorce. Since the divorce, my reasons for blogging have changed a bit. My original reasons are still valid, but have become secondary to my main reason now. I feel this overwhelming need to be heard. In my hand written journal I can express my heart, pour out my feelings, but no one ever reads it but me. My blog has become my voice. One of the things that I really miss about marriage is having one person that I could tell anything and everything too. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of people to talk too, but no one person that I can tell everything too. Most of my friends here have never met my family so while they could listen politely, they can't add much to the conversation. Same with my family. They don't know my friends here. In a marriage, you have a person who knows almost everyone you know. You can talk to them about everything and they can add to that conversation. I have found that since the separation, I miss talking. I miss being heard. I have felt like my voice has been stifled.

So, blogging has become a way for me to be heard, to leave my ripple in the great pond of life, to record my family, to share my heart, to leave my footprint for my great grandchildren, to leave my testimony for others. Welcome & happy reading!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eleven Years Ago Today - (long)

Today my boy turns 11. Time is flying by yet my mother's heart holds so many memories, so many moments, that it feels impossible to have had them all happen in 11 short years. But let me start at the beginning...

It took us 5 months to get pregnant. I was starting to feel nagging concerns that maybe something was wrong. When it happened, I remember looking at the stick and feeling like I had just jumped off a cliff. I was excited and scared at the same time. I wasn't going to tell Tim right off. We had just moved into a condo (our 3rd move in 6 months of marriage) and my teenage sister was living with us. I wanted to figure out some cute way to tell him and maybe get used to the idea myself a bit first. But then that night I was laying down on my bed in the soft glow of lamp light reading some chapter for school when he came home from work. He came in, sat beside me & kissed me, and it just came out. "I am pregnant." I will never forget his reaction. "Really? Really?" and he touched my stomach so gently. I have only seen Tim cry once - that night. His eyes filled with tears and one trickled down his cheek. "Really." I said with a smile as tears filled my eyes. Much of my fear washed away with his tear. We were so happy. How could we love someone so tiny, so unknown to us, so much? I don't know but we did.

I went to the clinic a day or two later to confirm everything. I estimated that I was only a couple of weeks along but learned that you count back to your last period so I was just over 5 weeks pregnant! What a jump! It definitely made it more real. About two weeks later it started to feel very real. I forgot to include morning sickness in my schedule when I signed up for classes that semester. At the time I had to get up at 5:30 to get ready for the day, leave by 6:30 or quarter to 7:00 (depending on the roads) and drive sister to high school and then hustle to my 7:30 class - Utah State History. I was in classes until 11:30 when I then drove to my job at the bank and worked from noon until closing 6:00ish, drove home, made something quick for dinner & studied. Enter morning sickness. I would be fine until just as we were suppose to leave. Sara spent quite a few mornings watching the morning shows with her coat & back pack on while I was considering the intricacies of pregnancy in the bathroom. We ended up with a routine - get ready, throw up, quickly drop her off, drive to school, and then throw up between each class. Tim would stand outside the girl's bathroom door at school and have words of encouragement & a big hug ready when I finally emerged. I was very blessed to have a very understanding teacher in my 7:30 class, Dr. Sadler, and I was grateful for my C that semester.

Eventually, the morning sickness ebbed around the end of the fourth month (finally!) I wasn't showing much and I actually applied for a new job at a medically clinic and was hired. I debated in the interview if I should say anything and in the end decided I wanted to be upfront. I told the would be supervisor that I was 5 months pregnant and asked if that would be a problem. Her eyes teared up and she said "Absolutely not." Turns out that she lost a baby to SIDS after years of trying. Soon after she went through a very nasty divorce. Her mother's heart was thrilled for me. When I started the job no one knew I was pregnant - I still wasn't showing. After 3 weeks of training, our clinic opened and I was definitely pregnant in the picture that was taken at the grand opening. In fact, I looked like I was about to deliver!

I spent the summer working, attending a maternity water aerobics class (loved it!) and taking my last class for my degree. I continued to get big - I think others were dismayed. Around 7 months I went back to the bank to see everyone and one of the girls asked if I was having triplets! Just a word of wisdom- do not comment on a pregnant woman's size. Her hormones and self confidence are are already suffering and she should not be held accountable anything that she says or does. (I pasted on a smile and cried all the way home.)

The doctor that I saw owned an ultrasound machine so I got an ultrasound at every appointment. I thought that was standard for everyone and didn't realize until much later that it wasn't. I have a video of Ryan from the very first. With all those ultrasounds it was impossible to not know what gender was coming to our home! We were very excited.

So, eleven years ago today. I woke up VERY tired. Tim had already left for school and I spent over 2 hours getting dressed. I just didn't feel well. I didn't have any energy. I showered and then layed on the couch for 20 mins. to regain my energy. I got dressed in spurts. Finally, I made it out the door to meet Tim at the financial advisor's office to roll over our 401K's from past jobs. On the drive, I realized I was having contractions. I have no idea what the advisor said because I would squeeze Tim's hand through each contraction and he was timing them - 5 mins. In the parking lot we discussed our options. I didn't want to go to the hospital. I still had 2.5 weeks to go. They would just laugh at me and send me home. I had been to my OB the day before and while I was fully effaced, I was only diated to a 2. We had a ways to go. Anyway, I argued, I worked at a medical clinic with 10 doctors. I would be fine. So we parted ways & I went to work. My face must have been expressive because it didn't take long before my supervisor got the LPN who strongly suggested I go to the hospital. I called Tim & he met me at home to quickly pack a bag. I was so sure that it wasn't going to happen I made him leave it in the car when we got to the hospital. They made me walk 45 mins and then re-checked me. I got to practice my lamaze breathing during that walk! When they re-checked me, I was dialated to an 8. We were having a baby. The nurse could even see Ry's head and said he had red hair about an inch long. The nurse was worried that I wouldn't make it until 8:00p.m. when my doctor came on duty. They started talking about breaking my water. For all the talk of a quick labor, it didn't go that way. I pushed for almost an hour. Ry was turned wrong and I couldn't get him out. They started talking about ceaserean. Finally, the doctor got him turned and out he came at 10:07 p.m. weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. We were estatic. Our joy was quickly replaced with fear. He wasn't breathing like he needed too. They let me hold him for literally 3 seconds when they whisked him off to NICU. Family & friends had left for a variety of reasons and I waited alone for news. Those next 3 hours were very hard. I prayed some of my most earnest prayers during those hours. Finally, Tim came back. They had "vacuumed" his lungs and he was breathing well now. However, they discovered that his blood sugar was dangerously low. He was staying in NICU. Tim told me he had given him a blessing and apologized - he had chosen from the two names we had discussed and blessed him Ryan Hunter Mills. I knew that was his name when I first saw him so I was fine with it.

Finally, at 3a.m. I was wheeled to NICU to meet my dear boy. How do I express that moment? It was like putting a face to someone I had always known. He was perfect. Those moments are some of the tenderest of my life.

My new mother's heart knew he needed breast milk. As his blood sugar continued to drop through the rest of the night and then next day, I knew. I pumped non-stop and finally had 2 cc of liquid gold. We gave it to him in the morning of Sun. Oct. 19 and finally his blood sugar turned around. It went up & continued climbing. They let me stay with him in the NICU bonding room on Sunday night so that I wouldn't have to go home without my baby and they released him on Monday afternoon with a blood sugar in the 40s - still low but it had been as low as 17. I remeber leaving the hospital feeling awed that they were trusting me with this baby. I was a mother. I kept saying it over in my mind and watched him all the time, trying to make it all seem real.

I love being a mother. I love being his mother. He has made me laugh more than any other. I love the adventures - him following me around the house in his walker, candy up the nose, playing in the rain & mud, bike riding around Lake Hefner, building snowmen in the yard, hiking up Silver Falls, playing in the ocean, light saber fights, lotion letters after a bath, snuggling in the rocker with tons of books, reading chapter books together, building legos, playing games, washing dishes together & talking, building tree houses outside & tent forts inside, car discussions, dancing in the living room to loud music, hot chocolate on the couch with a good book, watching all my Jane Austin movies together, singing primary songs together when I tuck him in bed & talking about the best & worse part of the day. I love it when he doesn't have a worse part of the day.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to homeschool him until 4th grade. I love reading books with him, learning history together, making things together, discovering science together. I will never forget reading "Summer of the Monkeys" and "Where the Red Fern Grows" together - laughing until our cheeks hurt and crying silently together & holding hands as we drove to McAlester listening to the final chapters of "Red Fern." We have had amazing conversations that I treasure. I am constantly awed at his understanding & maturity of things that never entered my head at his age. Being his mom makes so many things worth it.

So Ry Pie- Happy Birthday! I love your guts. You were dearly wanted before your birth and you are my greatest treasure. I love the young man you are growing up to be. I love your smile, your resourcefulness, your positive attitude, your testimony of the gospel, your understanding of deep things. I love you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Race for the Cure

I can do hard things. I went to bed at 2:00a.m., woke up at 6:00, left the house at 6:20, finally found a parking spot at 7:20, spent almost an hour getting through the crush of 17,000 people, and had a great time walking the 5k. I did run the last block & a half. It was very encouraging - so many survivors, so many with notes on their shirts about who they were honoring. I thought about my friend Cindy Prentice who died a couple of months ago after an 11 yr. battle with breast cancer. I thought about Mitch - a boy Ryan's age who died a year ago from Lukemia. I thought about the qualities of survivors. I thought about life. It was amazing to see so many people, to hear the music throughout the race. Life is so full, so many twists & turns, so many blessings. I went by myself and in a way I am glad. I did think but more than that, I just experienced. I listened to the life around me, the weather was perfect and I just enjoyed it. This is my life and it is an amazing gift. I am so glad that I did it.
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