Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June

I don't have a clever title for this month.

There are a lot of things to say about June- mostly inspired by musicals- "they say when you marry in June, you're a bride all your life" and "June is bustin out all over".

Here's another thing to say about June: it's the name of the main character in my all time favorite (also new) TV show called "The Handmaid's Tale". It's the story of a distopian society that has taken to forcing "sinful" yet fertile women into birthing babies for what is essentially the "upper class". The story goes that the worlds food supply and quality nutrition depletes. Fertility rates plummet and those babies that are born often don't survive. It's a seemingly crazy story and yet, we as an audience can see so much of ourselves in it.

I'd like to write about the things that we've been up to but, today I have some more heavy thoughts. There has been a great deal of conflict in the US right now due to the POTUS, Donald Trump, and his "zero tolerance" immigration policies. People seeking asylum coming from South America have been detained and imprisoned. They've been separated from their children and some of them, I am told, will never be reunited. There have been a lot of nasty comments made on both sides of this situation/ argument (I'm not certain why there's even an argument- separating families is clearly wrong) and, I cannot abide by what I'm hearing about the treatment of these people. Comparisons are being made to the US closing borders to the Jews during the Holocaust and it doesn't feel like those comparisons are that far of a stretch.

I'm always nervous to write these kinds of thoughts down. What if I'm wrong? What if my information was misguided? What if I'm not taking a strong enough stance? Will I regret not having flown to Texas to lend a hand to the children in these detainment centers? Right now, I'm leaning toward that- toward dropping everything and going to be there and help in person.

I read that after a major crisis (school shootings, natural disasters, etc) there's often an influx of useless donations. Lots of "comforting" stuffed animals and clothes that "well meaning" people have cast off (shoes without matches and such)...come on people! What they need are toiletries, food, and love.

Scott and I have talked about solutions and of course that's easy to do- just talk about solving the world's problems. They're likely more complex than we can possibly understand. One thing Scott has suggested is that if we open our borders completely, it might force countries like Mexico to make some major changes in their economy to prevent their country from economic collapse. He makes a point. If the population were to dwindle to a point that the economy really began to feel it, adjustments would have to be made. Perhaps we are over simplifying. Scott's also read about how in Portugal they "decriminalized" all drugs and spent the money they were spending incarcerating drug criminals on education and drug rehab programs that focus on connection. Apparently the effects have been wildly positive. There's a Ted talk that explains how the opposite of addiction isn't sobriety...it's connection and provides a bunch of stats that support the idea that when individuals are connected to their community and family, they value themselves and avoid illicit drug use. Anyway, while we don't know how to solve the worlds problems, we are paying attention and we are trying to make a difference. More on that next post. :)

Friday, June 1, 2018

May the force be with you-

May was very eventful but the absolute highlight was taking Patrick to Disneyland for the very first time. We chose to do Disney in one day. Many people would argue that you can't truly do Disneyland in one day. I would agree with that. There are so many shows to see, shops to explore, and of course rides to enjoy. However, we really packed the day and had an amazing time. There are a few reasons we just decided to cram it into one day: 1- I was going to be in SoCal anyway because I had arranged a girls trip/ cruise that was set to head out of Long Beach on Sunday. I thought...why not grab Patrick and Scott and make Disney happen on Saturday. The other thought was that we kept telling Patrick that if he learned to pee and poo on the potty he would get to meet Mickey Mouse. While he didn't fully understand what that meant at first, having a deadline already scheduled was motivating for all of us to make that potty training happen! 2- lots of people will indeed do a week long pass to Disney but, after the cost of admission to the park(s), food, and hotel stay....that costs the same as a trip to Hawaii for the three of us since my parents own a place there. It's difficult to justify spending precious vacation time and money doing a week of Disney when Hawaii is so cost effective and much more relaxing.

One of the ways we maximized our time at Disney was by getting the "max" pass. It was just $10 extra/ ticket and allowed us to get fast passes directly onto our phones. We were eligible to get one fast pass/ hour. I will say, I was disappointed that the max pass only worked on a handful of rides. If I remember correctly they included Buzz Lightgear, Star Tours, Star Wars, Matterhorn, Mr. Toads Wild Ride, Its a Small World, Autopia, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain...so all the big rides but NOTHING in Fantasy Land...many of those rides got to 40 minute waits or longer and those were the only ones Patrick could ride. There was one roller coaster in Toon Town that Patrick was able to ride. 

While the rides are great, the character meet and greets were the highlight for us. Patrick got to meet Mickey Mouse, Darth Vader, Ray, some storm troopers, and we saw Tiana walk by a couple of times. He had the sweetest encounter with Mickey Mouse. We walked through Mickey's house and I didn't realize that we had gotten ourselves into the line to meet him. The sign posted outside said that the line was 30 minutes long and I wasn't sure I wanted to wait all that time but, we found our way into the line anyway. It worked out nicely because when we got to the true line and waiting portion, we were watching old Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts on a big screen in his "barn/ studio". It was adorable and Patrick was delighted. When we walked inside, Mickey looked black and white and sort of "vintage" Patrick was charmed. His grin was so sweet and so big. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Such a sweet moment. He was a bit star struck but simultaneously super eager to go give Mickey a hug. We have the sweetest picture of him hugging Mickey and it was just so fun. 

I was proud of myself at one point later in the day. I had ordered two too many fast passes for the Matterhorn ride. My dad and I were skipping out on that one so, I went to the very back of the line. By about 4:00, the line wrapped all the way around the mountain to the backside and the line was about an hour long. I figured...if I went to someone at the back of the line and offered them my passes, I could get $5-10 for them...success. I found some high schoolers and got $5/ ticket. Thus, I paid for 1.5 max passes because Patrick and I didn't even use them on many of the rides...he was too small for more than half of the rides that the max passes were working for. Did I feel guilty...maybe a tiny tiny bit however, they skipped the line and I got some money. Seemed fair.

We let Patrick lead the day in a lot of ways. I chased him around Tom Sawyer island- now called Pirate island or Treasure Island or something like that. I showed him the Tarzan tree. We rode lots of kiddie rides together. I took him to the potty more times than I could count. Funny thing about the potty...I must have been cursed at Disney because EVERY SINGLE sink I chose had an adjacent paper towel dispenser that was EMPTY!!! Every one! After the second one I thought...this is a fluke. Disney is so on top of this! There's no way I'm going to run into another paper towel thing that is out and IT. KEPT. HAPPENING. And, surprisingly, I wasn't annoyed. I just laughed. It's like Disneyland and I had a little inside joke going. Then, get this, when I was with my girlfriends on the Queen Mary on Sunday morning having brunch...the towel dispenser I chose when I washed my hands on the boat was dirty!!! Too funny.

Back to Disney-

We found ourselves exploring lots of parts of the park that I've never really seen (or at least remember seeing) because Patch is still so little and can't do lots of the big rides. One thing we all enjoyed was the Tiki Room. I was enthralled and the music was so great! I hear that the Tiki Room is getting replaced with something else eventually so, I was imagining the birds all being auctioned off at some charity event and becoming collectibles. If that were to be the case, what bird would I want? Probably Colette. I just like that name :)

We had such a delightful day. Pixar Fest was happening so, there was a really fun Pixar parade through Disneyland that I fully enjoyed since most of the Pixar stuff is generally in California Adventures and I was going to miss Sunday at that park. So, while Patrick and Scott rode Autopia, my mom and I watched the Pixar parade. So fun! They had characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, Bugs Life, and a few others. I loved seeing the inventive ways they created for the Pixar characters to move through the parade. De. Lightful.

 One of our last rides was "It's a Small World". We all got to ride that one together and Patrick sat with my parents. That is a ride that I typically don't rush to get onto so, it's been years since I've seen it and now they have all this Pixar stuff in there too. If you ask me, the Pixar parts felt a bit "reachy" and out of place but I understand why they would do that. I did love looking at all the details on the costumes and talking to Patrick about what the song meant was meaningful. In the days following our trip, he would sing the song in the car or ask us to sing it for him. 

We left the park around dinner time to grab some food in Downtown Disney. We ate at a New Orleans style restaurant and ordered way to much food- as usual. Patrick hadn't napped by this point and was kind of losing patience as Scott and my dad waited in line to order food. I didn't realize that he was heading into breakdown mode because my mom and I popped over into The Disney Dress Shop where they sell vintage inspired dresses made with licensed fabrics. (I didn't find anything that I loved-DARN IT) When we got back to the boys Scott asked if I would take Patch and occupy him over by the fountain. In hindsight, he probably just wanted out of the stroller but, I got after him for fussing and rushed him away from the crowds to calm him down and talk. We were across the way at this fountain and I was crouched down in front of him offering to take him out to eat when this kid walks up behind us just a few feet and projectile vomits! I don't think any got on us but the splashes of his vomit were close to us. Nasty. Well, anyway, Patrick was still occupied with his own tantrum but did calm down when I spoke to him down on his level and offered for him to sit with us at the table and eat dinner like a big boy. He did a great job after that and was quite pleasant the rest of the evening. Toward the end of dinner, he had to run to the bathroom which was just past the Lego store. Naturally Patch wanted to pay the Lego store a visit so, I told him that if he ate his dinner well, he could go there. We literally ran back to the table to finish eating (darting in and out of crowds of people...my trying to keep up with him) and yes, he did get to go to the Lego store. 

After that, my parents brought him back home for bed and Scott and I headed back into Disneyland to do a few more rides just the two of us. Around the time we got out of riding the Buzz Lightgear ride, the evening Pixar show was starting. There were sections of the path just in front of the castle blocked off and already filled up by viewers. It appeared there was no more room for additional people to try to watch the show. Scott and I were ushered through a path and Disney employees were trying to keep the crowds moving (they do, after all, have to worry a great deal about crowd control and making sure there are clear safe walking paths) so, we got clever and just kept walking in circles around the iconic statue of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney. Literally walking in circles while watching the show. It was awesome. I do love working the system. We rode the rockets in Tomorrow Land and had one last fast pass for Indiana Jones. One our way there, I heard live music playing and there was A SWING DANCE happening...yes....a swing dance at one of the performance areas near Mainstreet. So, naturally, Scott and I took a moment to dance and enjoy. It was definitely a highlight of the day for me.

Patrick said a few times throughout the day, "I'm so glad that I learned to poop and pee on the potty so that I could come to Disneyland". *heart eyes* That was the sweetest. I'm glad to buddy, I'm glad too.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring is here lalala spring is here!

My peonies have started popping out of the ground. The grass is green. The rose bushes are coming back to life. All the signs of spring are here...including the occasional snow storm (totally normal for spring in Utah). It's such a beautiful time of year and we are definitely enjoying it! There's lots of yard work and lots of distractions for outdoor adventures.

Here's a quick list of what we've been up to:

-Scott started his new job in logistics at Purple (the mattress company)
-I threw a baby "sprinkle" for a friend who's having her second baby
-We attended Scott's college friends wedding reception
-We filed our taxes
-Scott and I both performed at the Salty Dinner Theater Spring Ball
-Scott went turkey hunting with his brother and we spent most of the day with cousins in Idaho and then the evening with Grandma, Auntie Andrea, and cousin Kenna
-On Earth Day, we hiked up in Millcreek Canyon along Porter Fork....at least I think that's what it was called
-celebrated Scott's birthday with a bike ride to the park and some delicious Chick Fil A
-Took a trip to Moab and Green River with some friends

It's been a thrilling spring thus far. More details to follow :)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Music

Scott and I made a commitment to each other last fall when we finished our most recent shows that we would do a full 12 months without performing. We've both accepted the occasional one to two night performing opportunity in the recent past but nothing with multiple nights a week of rehearsal for weeks or months. While I've missed performing and have struggled with the temptation to audition for some favorite shows/ roles...I've held strong thus far.

In the interim, I've really found myself enjoying being the listener again. I'm listening to more of my Pandora radio stations. I'm seeking out new music. I'm more in tune with the music that others are sharing and I have to say...I'm really enjoying that. I've found myself craving new music like a drug and this new song is one I've heard before but keeps coming to mind over and over.

Anchor by Mindy Gledhill
When all the world is spinning 'round 
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
And my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down
I am nearly world renowned
As a restless soul who always skips town
But I look for you to come around
And anchor me back down
There are those who think that I'm strange
They would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn't have me any other way
When people pin me as a clown
You behave as though I'm wearing a crown
When I'm lost, I feel so very found
When you anchor me back down
There are those who think that I'm strange
They would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn't have me any other way
When all the world is spinning 'round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
And my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

It feels like this year long sabbatical from performing may afford me the opportunity to focus on some things I've wanted to do for a while- more recording at home, more music with Patch, building my "book", sending in an official application to TMG (a talent agency). All of these things take time...time that I have more of since I'm not doing any big shows.

Here is my commitment: by the end of April, I will put my reel together and I will record this song. 

This song really speaks to me. I'm a pretty free spirit. A friend of mine gave me the book "Star Girl" to read in high school and I kept thinking - this story is about me! This strange girl who doesn't give a d@#m what other people think but kind of does and just lives her awesome life. What/ who are the anchors in my life? My boys. Everything I do, I do for them. The most selfish thing I do is theater because it takes so much time away from them. It's been nice to have my anchors helping me and loving me through all my crazy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

On Motherhood and Life's Challenges

Patrick is now 3. I find myself needing to get him out of the house once a day. It doesn't matter where we go- the store, the library, or even the car wash all provide a reprieve from the cabin fever that has truly set in. As a 3 year old, Patch is flexing his metaphorical muscles as an independent human and his actual muscles as he is now capable of injuring me if things get out of hand.

A few weeks ago, on President's Day weekend, we spent time at Lava Hot Springs with Scott's family. Just days before we left, Scott made the scary decision to leave his job at Onset Financial after working for them for about 6 months. I was giving him some time to work on job applications and figure out what is next so, Patrick and I headed over to a new "bouncy place" to meet up with Mary and Caro before leaving for the weekend in Lava. We had a blast expelling some energy and I purchased a punch pass for 10 visits to the jump place- $5/kid and parents are free (whaaaaa? GREAT deal) Anyway, we had a lovely time. Patrick loves his friends Scarlett and Lucely (how he pronounces Lucy) and James and Olyvia.


We slid down the slide all together several times and had a splendid time of bouncing on the huge inflatable pillow at the center of the gym. Anyway, we were about ready to leave and walked over to put on our shoes and coats when Patrick insisted I give him his new Thomas the train toy that he had just gotten from Kathie. He demanded and I insisted that he ask me nicely. That sent him into a spiral that included him hitting me for the toy and writhing away when I tried to put on his shoes. The whole thing escalated to me walking out the door with him holding onto my leg as I dragged him across the floor. Knowing that I couldn't do that out in the parking lot, I carried him out of the place fireman style and could feel the other moms there cheering me on like "you got this girl!" "we've all been there!" It was rough. When we got out to the car, he kept insisting on getting that toy and I kept insisting that he ask me nicely which he didn't want to do. I buckled him in his seat, him fighting me the whole time, and he immediately unbuckled. I figured...we're in the parking lot, here is a teaching moment. I began to back out. He knows that not being buckled in a moving car is dangerous and that he can't unbuckle his seatbelt until mom takes out the keys. Well, he was very concerned when I started driving. So concerned that he began screaming at me to stop the car, hopped up to the front and grabbed my face scratching me along the cheek. He drew blood and I was losing my patience with this particular tantrum. I kept my cool really well until that happened. I yelled at him to sit down and calm down saying that this behavior was unacceptable. I would not be giving back the Thomas until he learned to ask me nicely and treat me nicely. I buckled him back in before we got on the main road and drowned out his tantrum until we got home using some music.

It was rough.

I needed a cleansing shower when we got home. I also needed to show my normally very sweet boy some serious love when we got home. We talked about what had happened and both apologized to each other. 

*****

I have a set of china tea cups that my grandmother collected and passed down to me. They hang in my kitchen on the wall and are a delightful reminder of my grandmother who was a nearly perfect woman. A few years ago as I was putting Christmas decorations away, I temporarily hung my advent calendar on one of the tea cup hooks. As I went to put the advent calendar away, I neglected to use two hands and the string caught on the saucer and it came tumbling to the ground and shattered into about 5 different pieces. I grabbed some super glue and managed to piece the thing together without a single chip missing. What luck I thought.

About two years later, Patrick was just an infant and I was grabbing his car seat, my diaper bag, my computer bag, and him to head out the door. I was in a rush to get to work on time and whipped his blanket up in the air along that same wall beneath the tea cups. Somehow, that blanket caught the SAME. SAUCER. in just the right way and again, it came crashing to the ground; this time breaking into even more pieces. I gathered up all the pieces I could find and glued them together again. 

There's now a small chip in the plate but, I hide it well behind the cup that hangs just in front. I think it looks pretty good for all that it's been through.

I feel a little bit like my saucer. I'm valuable, delicate, and beautiful. I have meaning for my family and friends. I'm so far from perfect as a mother (and wife, daughter, sister, and friend) but luckily, my son and everyone else seems to love me and keep me around anyway. I make mistakes and I apologize. I try to be open to corrections and critiques. Life has been challenging me a great deal over the last couple of years. I have some cracks and a tiny bit of me is missing because of my sweet baby that we lost in November. As life has challenged me and I've pieced myself back together I realize that perhaps I'm even more beautiful now. Now that I'm more than just valuable, delicate, and beautiful. I have stories to tell. Like my plate, if you walk by me, you won't likely be able to tell but upon closer inspection, you may see my cracks and chips and you'll know that I too have fallen and shattered and yet, I have managed to put the pieces together again....and again.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Poem

On quiet mornings
I rise early all alone
The house is silent
The only light, my phone

I walk down the stairs
I try my best to sneak
my boys are sleeping
can't let these floors squeak

I love these quiet mornings
I make myself some tea
I adventure off to China
And the kiddos that I teach 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Waiting Place

We read books to Patrick every night before bed. One that we read a lot is "Oh the Places You'll Go" and in it, the boy winds up in "the waiting place". The book describes many of the different kinds of waiting that happen here's some of my waiting story:

Today I'm in the waiting place. Waiting for my cycle to return so that we can start trying for another baby. Waiting to hear back after my interview at Chase Bank. Waiting to hear back after my interview at Zion's Bank. Waiting to figure out if I really can increase our Airbnb monthly earnings. Waiting waiting. I have a particularly bad cold right now that I'm waiting to go away. We were all sick over Christmas. Now we're sick again. I suppose that's part of having a toddler and going places with lots of children on a regular basis (Sea Quest Aquarium, Get Air Bounce place, Jungle Jims, McDonalds play place...all in the last 30 days).

Here's a bit of an update from after the miscarriage and through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shortly after I finished my blog post things started to happen. It took an hour for the contractions and bleeding to start and by about 7:30 PM I had passed the whole pregnancy- placenta and embryo. I didn't dig around too much to find the fetus or anything though, some people have done that. I did pick it up out of the toilet and held it/ looked at it. It was very painful, as promised, but not as painful as full term labor. It was definitely more painful than I expected though. My parents took Patrick for me so that I could have some time to myself and then when Scott got home we had time just the two of us. There was some waiting involved and Scott distracted me with watching some Game of Thrones. I also got a lovely edible arrangement from some dear friends who happened to know that I was pregnant. There was some tasty fruit- chocolate covered pineapple, bananas, and strawberries. The pineapple pieces were in the shape of doves. I was feeling a little angry at the universe so, I bit the heads off the doves. Bonnie and Steve had my parents pick up a flower arrangement for me. Leslie purchased me a beautiful stone that brings healing and fertility. Gosh, I'm surrounded by people that love me. I told a few too many people that I was pregnant but, at the end of the day, it was nice to have a support system when I broke the news that I wasn't pregnant anymore.

It's been a month and I just barely finished bleeding a couple of weeks ago.  I've had to go in weekly to do blood draws to make sure my HCG levels are dropping like they should. That's been super fun. I also got to do an ultrasound a week after the miscarriage which, because we had to change health insurance when I left Banner Bank and we were only covered for 1 month with Scott's employer, we were not even close to the deductible (imaging is not often fully covered by health insurance) so, that was basically $800 that month for insurance and $600 for the ultrasound imaging. Fan. Tastic.

Back to the good news, I'm not bleeding anymore. This means, my cycle can return any time. Yehaw. Or, I could potentially get pregnant again.

In spite of sickness, we've had a good start to the new year. There's been lots of fun things for our family and things are going well for Scott at work. He's booked two deals and literally all of his teammates that were hired at the same time as him are now gone. YIKES. We're contemplating him doing online university schooling to get a second degree. The thought is that we'll move out of our house, rent it out, and I'll keep working for VIPKID to cover expenses in the interim. The other part of that thought is that we'll move further east so that the time difference between me and the kids I teach is smaller and I could potentially work more hours. Living expenses in Chile could be pretty reasonable so, we're contemplating it. No serious plans yet.

I'm making decent progress on my new years goals:
1: make the bed every day
2: read one book a month (I've already read 3.5)
3: have more friends over/ entertain more
4: travel

Waiting is not easy but, that's part of life.