Wednesday, January 30, 2013

365 days of change.


I can't believe I've kept this tradition up for four years now.

While I was working on these "Out of the Darkness" by Michelle McLaughlin came on and I started crying.


2010.      2011.       2012.



unedited awesomeness.

Monday, January 28, 2013

paperwork and paracord.

this week we moved our mattress into the kid room. we've been living like we're on vacation. watching movies together late into the night and letting the laundry pile up.

i've absolutely loved it. every morning i awake with a feeling like we're all camping at the beach together.

i don't want to move the mattress back. i did finally do some laundry, though. sending my son to school wearing shorts in january is a sure sign that i'd better get to work.  believe me, that's not the only sign. everywhere i turn i see scary monsters.

while going through our file cabinet matthew found a lovely note i'd written him a few years ago and he sent it back to me with his love. i adore it so much. how humble is that?

i seriously framed it. want to read what it says?

My Matthew,

I find myself in a sea of paperwork today. Bills and applications. Official documents. The business of adulthood.

I am imagining a plane ride, many years ago in anticipation of a holiday for two. we were babies then, so Disneyland was an appropriate destination. We really had no cares or worries.

Now we have babies of our own and a mountain of responsibilities to climb each morning.

There is no one else I would want to do this with... And as tedious as life feels right now, I choose it completely, because I understand what we are building together.

As I ponder the eventual security that will come from living our plan, I am excited! I know there will be other plane rides, and I know that even before we reach our security, we'll have San Francisco weekends and Portland nights- little treats along that way.

I guess what it comes down to it this.

Having you makes growing up worth the trouble.

Being with you gives my life purpose.

Life is hard, but loving you is easy.

Yours for always,
Megan Marie

PS I want you.

it's true, we've had so many treats along the way.

we are more secure now than then, but in a lot of ways i feel as if i could have written that letter yesterday.

matthew is sitting in the corner of the room making "deadly weapons" out of paracord, and i am just over here in front of the computer in mushy love with him.

so happy.

hands on.

my wonderful parents gifted us a family pass to a few children's museums around these parts.

heaven.

2013 will be a year of exploration and learning. so excited to go again and again!

communication.

the only frequent words in her vocabulary are MAM (mom) or DIS (this), but i tell you what, she has no trouble getting her point across.
what kind of sick people put tantalizing oranges behind a clear, plastic barrier? 
so glad we had tangerines in the diaper bag!

Monday, January 21, 2013

thoughts from the weekend.

a couple of days ago matthew took the kids out all day so that i could deep clean. oh, it was so nice.

as i oiled our beloved couch i thought of the friends who donated it to our little family so many years ago. actually before we were even married. i composed a letter for them in my mind. "you'll never know what a blessing this couch has been to us. at our shabbiest times we always have had this one, happy luxury." i went on oiling, all-the-while singing praises for our beautiful sofa. i thought, i can't believe it hasn't been ripped in all these years.

then the next day finn took a pocket knife and gutted the poor thing.

it was like the time that one of the missionaries was bragging to us about his bike. this bike was his pride and joy. one evening he told us, "if my bike got stolen, i would go home."

and the next week his bike was stolen.

he didn't go home.

and even though i was super upset with finn at first, i caught myself in time. it's just a couch.

we put two twin mattresses on the stairs so that the whole way down is a bouncy slide. i think we might just leave it like that forever. it's so hard to get up those things with stuff in your arms, though, so there's a ton of junk waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

matt and i were relaxing on our bed when we looked over to see our baby girl come flying out of the stairwell, giggling all the way. we just laughed and laughed at the sight. she was so very pleased with herself.

last night we snuggled our liam in our bed and stayed up way too late reading books. (he'd hand-washed all of the days dishes). we told him how proud we are of him. how we know that it's hard being the oldest sometimes. we thanked him for his ability to forgive his siblings when they hurt him. we let him know that we couldn't lead this family well without him and that we know he was sent to our home for a reason.

after that conversation he was the kind of "proud" that a five-year-old should always get to be.

we drove to portland one bedtime this weekend. they weren't calming down so we got into the car and drove. matt took us to the temple, that lovely man. we walked the foggy grounds and touched the cold stone of the beautiful sanctuary. there is a pool that reflects the temple for the onlooker and we stood to see as a family.

i told the boys i would always remember that night. i would always remember that liam stuck his foot in the water to ripple the reflection and then was totally shocked when his shoe became wet. i would always remember that finn lost the privilege of wearing his superhero costume so he had to wear a coat for pants. i would always remember eveleen pretending to be out of breath when we all ran around, even though i was carrying her the whole time. i would always remember ossi.... that ossi said... he said something super funny.... dang i forgot already.

james.

i only call him james when i really, desperately need to reach him. usually to calm him down.

i've been calling him james a lot lately.

when he starts to get out-of-control-hyper i ask if he'll play a game with me. i hold him in my arms and say, "close your eyes." then i touch his chin or ear or toe or elbow ever so lightly. i ask him if he felt it. and he tells me where. he smiles and giggles but sits perfectly still waiting for the soft touch.

when he is angry and agressive and won't let me hold him i ask him questions. question after question about what he just said, leading him in a monologue of his inner thoughts. i find out a few things that help me help him, but most of our conversations end up being about captain america.

the hardest parts are not knowing what he'll be like one moment to the next, trying to predict what will set him off, and wondering what the future holds for him.


whatever is coming, we'll have to take it a day at a time. and some days, an hour at a time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

happy dance day.

tonight is the night.

dance night.

to keep myself from getting too nervous, i'm going to celebrate the joy of dancing all day.

step one, watch this video of my dad a bunch of times.


step two, stretch.

step three, dance the day away.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

who's the lucky guy?

the other day i wrote about my beautiful sister's young love but i left out the "who."

here's the lucky young man (patrick) with the family on his last day as a missionary...

here's a sweet one of the two of them skyping late into the night after he'd gone home to arizona and she'd gone off to school in idaho...

and here they are finally together...

oh, how i adore young, happy couples.

thought i'd share the love.

cold hands.

today i love...

today i love having a dance partner.

i love that i am part of a duo and that he always has my back. i love that when i feel that i can't wash another dish or change another diaper, i can think of how hard he is working for us and it motivates me to work hard, too.

i love that we sometimes get asked to do things that stretch us and humble us.

like being asked to choreograph a closing number in a huge dance festival this june. and being asked to teach it to hundreds of youth over the coming months. and starting all of this out by dancing a very challenging dance at a kick-off meeting to get all of the teenagers excited (which, incidentally, is happening tomorrow).

for the last month straight we've been dancing in our living room almost every evening.

we're still not that great but we are having the time of our life. and we're getting super buff.

i love that we can stand side by side in the mirror and flex our new dancing muscles.

wish us luck for tomorrow!

Friday, January 11, 2013

split ends.

lizzy is a memory. a childhood playmate.

i go searching in my mind and i see flashes of her. blanket forts in her fancy dining room. a framed picture of her in a beautiful, yellow ballet costume. porcelain keepsakes behind glass and her voice, "this is the one i got when i turned six. and this on my seventh birthday."  
i see her room. pink and perfect. a little girl's dream with so many fine toys.

once we melted a chocolate orange in our palms in front of her heater. once we were convinced we saw a monster in her basement. once she stapled herself in the stomach with a staple gun to be funny. we spied on her older brother from his closet. we laughed a lot.
we also fought a lot. nearly every day we stormed off vowing to never play again. then the next morning we'd start over.

lizzy's mom curled her bangs every morning. lizzy wore only the sweetest clothes. lizzy's mom would make me shower before i was allowed to sleep over.
lizzy told me she hated ballet but she was forced to go. i think lizzy was a caged, wild animal. passionate, adventurous, dangerous, and very stifled.

i ran wild most of the times. my parents were careful for my safety but put a great deal of trust in me, and very few social restrictions. i remember tar-black feet and scraggly hair. i remember that baths were mostly for fun and a little bit for being clean. i remember a house full of wild things. decorated in scribbles, traps, gadgets, toys, and scraps of nature.
one day i was playing at lizzy's. my hair was growing long then, and lizzy wanted hers to be long, too. she said, "i want it to grow out, but my mom keeps cutting it off. she says i need to trim it while it grows."

"i don't trim mine, but it grows" i said.

lizzy pulled me up the stairs, across the the stark kitchen to her mom. "mom, i don't want to trim my hair any more."

"you need to trim it if you want it to be healthy-looking" she stated.

"megan doesn't trim hers!" lizzy complained, gesturing to me.

"exactly." her mom turned away.
what did she mean? and i thought and thought about it. 

that was the first time i realized that there was a whole set of expectations that i wasn't living up to. that was, i think, the beginning of self-consciousness in me. 

i think that i decided that i never wanted anyone to say anything like that to or about my children, ever. i think i decided that my parents were wrong for letting me be so free, even if i was happy. ignorance was truly bliss.
i know a little of the now lizzy. she is a beautiful, soulful dancer, but i think she is lost. i think she fought her way out of her cage and having never quite learned how to harness the passion, the thirst for adventure, the danger inside her. oh, i love her.

so which mother am i?
what do i really want for these babies of mine?

my respect for my parents grows daily. i thought they were neglecting me when they let me quit ballet when i got bored, or let me wear whatever i wanted even when i looked ridiculous, but they were choosing to let me find myself. and i love that. i want that.

and also, i like things tidy and pretty and clean.

so Father, help me find balance.