Sunday, June 4, 2017

Alooooooooha!

We just got back from a week long vacation to Hawaii and MAN did we need it. We had a rough start to 2017 but things are looking bright with smooth sailing for now. We spent one week on the island of Oahu on the North Shore and it was delightful. We packed so much beach time into those 7 days that I'm confident if we had stayed two weeks, we would not have been able to keep up that pace. My dad shared this with me recently:
I am that little turtle. I love the beach. I can't explain why I'm so drawn to it. I got to thinking though...some people are into long boarding and I've never had a real strong desire to try it. Some people are into trail running. Some people are into boxing. These are all things that people can be wildly passionate about and I have no "draw" to them. The beach, however, is everything.

Here are my top 10 reasons why I love the beach:
1: if you're having a snack and get messy, just jump in the water
2: there is something for everyone to do: babies love eating sand, young kids build castles, teens/ adults play in the waves and sun bathe, old people lay around on the beach or on a float of some kind
3: warmth
4: catching sand crabs is always a thrill
5: There are pretty shells to find so it's like going on a treasure hunt every time you're at the beach
6: getting ready to go to the beach is the easiest thing ever...no makeup, no styling of the hair....easy!
7: people watching: when you're sitting around staring at people at the beach it's no big deal and you can often hide behind your sunglasses. If you sat around at Disneyland doing that you'd be a creeper. At the beach, no problem.
8: I do nothing at the beach and still feel productive. I can sit and do nothing and feel good about myself. It's delightful.
9: The tides are always changing so, you'll never have the same experience twice
10: salt water and sand act as excellent natural exfoliators

I got lucky finding a man that enjoys the beach almost as much as I do and by the looks of things, Patch enjoys the beach too.

When we arrived on Tuesday afternoon, we hit the beach almost right away. We got to Turtle Bay, put on swimsuits and sunblock and BOOM, we went to the beach. We just hit Turtle Bay resort and Patch had fun in the sand. We went home to get ready for dinner at Seven Brother's at the Sugar Mill (formally Kahuku Grill) and all of us crashed at like 8:30 PM.

On Wednesday, we hit Scott's favorite beach Wiamea and made the trek to Waimanalo beach park (about an hour away toward the east side). The waves were insanely perfect for boogie boarding. They were breaking out a little ways from the shore but weren't overwhelmingly big. Scott and I had fun riding the waves and my awesome parents hung out with Patch on the beach. We left after 4:00 PM and headed for dinner at this BBQ place near the military base. Dinner was pleasant and Patch made friends playing in the sandbox they had on the patio.

Thursday was my beach day. We went to Sunset beach in the morning, just me and Scott and Patrick. My parents had to stay behind at the place for some remodeling that they're doing. Scott and I had a blast burring Patrick and ourselves/ each other in the sand. Patch loved jumping into the big holes in the sand over and over again. We drove to Haleiwa to arrange our scuba diving trip and on our way out, we stopped at Matsumoto's for shave ice. The line was a little long but it was something that Scott hadn't done and mentioned casually that he wanted to do. He usually doesn't get too pushy about his "agenda" on our trips so, when he does speak up, I try my best to make it happen for him. That evening, everyone seemed kind of pooped but I did not feel that I got my fill of beach time so, my loving father took me back to Sunset for the afternoon/ early evening. We got home and made spaghetti for dinner and went back to Sunset for the third time to watch...the sunset. Sunset sunset sunset sunset...bla bla bla ;)

Friday

Saturday morning we had our scuba dive trip at Shark's Cove. I have snorkeled that cove more times than I can count but diving it was fun. I keep longing for dives with overwhelming amounts of sea life or strikingly colorful choral (we had some in Bali) but, I've yet to see any dives that really knock my socks off. The Bali dive was by far my favorite...and unfortunately it was my first real dive so, I'll always compare everything to that. Anyway, shark's Cove was cool. There were lots of swim throughs and caves to explore. We saw two eels, two turtles, and one huge puffer fish. I've never seen a puffer fish before so, that was enjoyable. Saturday afternoon, Ted's bakery opened up again. They were closed for some remodeling so naturally, as soon as we could we stopped by there. We got food to bring home because after a morning with Yiayia at the Dole Plantation riding the train there, Patch was passed out in the car. That was all the beach time we had on Saturday because we got tickets to the Luau and show at the PCC (again...we just loved it so much last Feb!). We accidentally showed up 2 hours early. Scott was told it started at 4 but our tickets were actually for the 6:00 luau so, that gave us 2 hours in the park which Scott seemed pretty thrilled about. We were able to ride the canoe and see a couple of shows including the coconut show in...I believe it was the Fiji area.

Sunday

Monday we snorkeled at Electric Beach. Scott had such an amazing experience last time with Doug and Heather that he wanted to go. I missed it last time because I chose to spend the morning with Melissa while the Moore family went to see Pearl Harbor. I've been there done that so it made sense to hang with Mel. Well, when Pearl Harbor was closed due to high winds, the Moores hit up Waikiki and Scott went with Doug and Heather to snorkel. Anyway, we got to do that together on Monday and it was pretty incredible. There were just SO MANY FISH! It felt like I was looking at a less colorful version of the reef in Finding Nemo. There was this amazing cosmic moment when I was literally surrounded by hundreds of glistening fish and it was so magical. Patrick was being playful in the waves too and that was super fun. He would just hold onto my hands and let the waves come up and scoop him up through my legs and back. Literally riding the waves in and out. It was adorable. While the area on that side of the island and immediately surrounding the beach isn't too pretty to look at, Electric Beach has lots of trees surrounding it and is really quite lovely. We headed back to the North Shore for lunch at Teds Bakery...again. Patch fell asleep...again....so we brought the food back to the condo...again. Patch slept until close to 5:00 but I didn't feel that I got my fill of beach so, I insisted that we hit up one of my other favorites: Hukilau. It was memorial day so, the beach was full of locals. It was probably a ward activity. There were tons of kids and the waves were decent for boogie boarding. Patrick actually finally showed interest in getting in the water so, we poped on his life jacket and got him on a boogie board. The waves were REALLY gentle but he felt like he was riding them. Every time we turned him around to face the shore, he would grunt and point back out to the ocean. We asked him to use his words and he said "thabway".

Tuesday morning we hit up Wiamea again and stayed there most of the day. We were probably there until 1 or 2:00 which is unusual for us. We typically go to Wiamea for just the morning, trying to beat out the competition for a parkings spot, and leave by lunch time. We wanted to soak in every last minute and it was truly the best day. Patch was comfortable in the waves. We were playing the water and playing on the sand. It was perfect. That evening we headed to dinner at a sushi place in town that Melissa and Ted liked. Patch was being a little bit of a pooper so, I took him on a walk outside the restaurant while we waited for our food. I thought about how incredible it was that we were able to take a plane to hang out in Hawaii at a place my parents own (thank you Grandma and Grandpa). They spoiled us to lots of paid for meals and watched over Patch so that we could play in the waves together every once in a while. We're pretty lucky.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"The Most Joy"

You always hear parents say that their children bring them joy or that being a mother/father has been the best thing that's ever happened to them. I suppose it's logical to think that most of what we work hard for in life is both challenging and rewarding. You also hear things like "you'll understand when you're a parent" or "you can't possibly fathom how much your parents love you until you yourself are a parent". I've always questioned these statements too. I did imagine myself as a mother, many times, before I actually became one and it's not that far off from what I pictured. I imagined the good stuff and the bad stuff. I imagined myself losing my temper and yelling at disobedient children. I imagined myself on sleepless nights with a sick child. I continue to imagine what the future holds because my experience as a parent will ever evolve. It's interesting to think that I will never not be a mom now.

Here's the thing, when I imagined what it would be like to be a mother, I didn't understand the specifics of what that "joy" was that could match the hard stuff. I didn't realize how much the every day little joys truly do outweigh the every day hard stuff...and even the big hard stuff. I didn't realize how much my little boy's smile would impact me. I didn't realize that he would truly be such a joyful little creature. It's infectious. I didn't realize that in most of the tough moments when he's throwing a tantrum or being punished for making a wrong choice I would be able to take pause and find the humor or think about the instance in the "big picture". Most of the time, when he's crying in public, I find myself giving smiles and nods to the onlookers letting them know "I've got this. Don't feel bad for me or worry about us." It makes me want to raise a power fist in the air because I really do feel like Super Woman.

Patch is such a delightful child. He blesses me when I sneeze or cough. He says please and thank you most of the time without prompting at this point. He's a pretty good communicator and has learned to respond to questions about colors and quantities. Patrick loves trains and cars. LOVES. He can distinguish between a school bus and a city bus and has recently learned to spot helicopters. He calls the steeples on the chapels "rockets". We're working on that one ;) He's started to enjoy "snuggles" and insists on having blankets for snuggling. Yesterday, Scott took a quick nap on the floor and Patrick brought him one of his blankets and a handful of cars. Patch no longer uses a binkie and will go to sleep with cars as comfort objects so naturally, that's what Dada would want too. Adorable.

He's a pretty fussy eater and wants nothing but "noodles and cheese". He also enjoys apples and eats them like melon. If he sees anything green, he avoids it or says "I don like it"...unless it's in a smoothie :D He is like a runaway dog these days. If we let Patch out of the car to walk to the door, 90% of the time he will take off running.

Patrick LOVES dogs and other children. He'll hug perfect strangers. He's just so wonderful.

Sorry for the gushy "my kid is so awesome" post. I wonder if I'll continue writing down the details with subsequent children. Doubtful ;)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Everything is OK

In the last couple of months we've had quite a lot happen. Enough to leave close friends and some family questioning "are you ok?" or "how are you ok right now?". To put it simply...I have no idea. Optimism? Lots of support?

In early March, we lost my grandmother Katherine Warren. Here's all the details on that experience:

I went to California for the weekend at the end of February. I had a $200 travel voucher from a cancelled flight last April that I needed to use within a year and some of my old high school friends happened to be getting together for our drama teacher/ director's last opening night. That weekend was a treasure. It was quite stressful though because on the Thursday night/ early Friday morning, my grandmother fell and broke her hip. Thus began a rapid decline in her health and we lost her less than two weeks later. I was heart broken to not be with her that weekend, her first couple of days in the hospital. When I got back into town, I went to see Grandma in the rehab facility the hospital released her to. She was not fully aware of her situation or what had happened. She kept talking about how she wanted out and told me that my church was going to punish me for putting her in there. She asked me if I would do this to my mother. I think she thought we had done something awful to her. It was so sad. Everyone kept telling me that she was just coming down from the drugs and not to worry. I told myself that she would be ok.

On Wednesday I took another trip but this time for work. My company had a meeting in Spokane for 2 days and we all travelled to be there. It was such an incredible event. Lots of production value that I was not expecting to come from a sales meeting however, I was distracted. I had my phone on me at all times and was getting text messages throughout the day. Updates on Grandma, messages to my cousin's wives setting up meals to be prepared for my parents as my aunt and uncle had not yet arrived to relieve my parents, planning how to best advocate for Grandma's care.

I got back to town on Thursday night. On Friday I went to visit my parents and work from Provo. On Saturday, we visited again and had a nice meal as a family. I was able to go to the hospital and spend some alone time with Grandma. She was a little swollen and couldn't talk super well but, I brought her curling iron and did her hair. I always liked to spruce grandma up and make her feel good. Even when I was in middle school and high school, I often painted Grandma's nails and we took turns doing each other's hair. Grandma always did really lovely up-dos for me. She talked about how ladies never left the house without having their hair beautifully coifed. Anyway, on Saturday, I did her hair and found a mirror for her to tell me how she liked it. She seemed pleased and seemed to feel a bit better. That night, after dinner, I brought my mom's ukulele to Grandma's room and played "As Time Goes By". We both loved that song and several years ago, the second year I was in BYU's Big Band Night, that was my solo. Grandma Kathie and Scott's Grandpa Burke were both there. That night was so special. We had an incredible time dancing and laughing together. Then, I sung "Dream" for her. It was her song with Grandpa Don. I didn't have the ukulele tabs for that one so I sang it a cappella:

         

Dream, when you're feelin' blue
Dream, that's the thing to do

Just watch the smoke rings rise in the air
You'll find your share of memories there

So, dream when the day is through
Dream, and they might come true

Things never are as bad as they seem
So dream, dream, dream

Things never are as bad as they seem
So dream, dream, dream


I only got to the end of the first phrase before forgetting the words. She remembered and started to sing them for me. Ana and Brent were both there. Eyes filled with tears. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life. My precious grandmother singing with me. So old and weak. So tired from all the pulling and the tugging at the hospital. Drained from surgery, recovery, being moved from hospital to recovery center to hospital again. She sang with me. 
On Sunday night, after a family dinner, my cousin's wife Dani and I stayed with Grandma through the night. We wanted someone from the family there with her at all times so that we could report changes in her behavior that the nurses might miss. She didn't say much. The nurses came in to ensure that she took her medication and to give her a catheter. It was a difficult experience for her and she did not like being fussed with. She did not want to take her medication because she said that it tasted nasty. I told her we could get her something to wash it down or replace that flavor.  We told her we couldd get her anything she wanted and she said "chocolate". Dani happened to bring chocolates and that did the trick. Grandma loved chocolate. When grandma was getting her new catheter, to distract her, I asked her to squeeze my hand. She happened to notice that I was wearing bright red lipstick that day and complimented it. When the catheter became particularly painful and she was wailing out in pain, I distracted her with talk about her favorite movie Gone with the Wind and her favorite of Scarlett's dresses (the curtain one). She settled into sleep quite suddenly and so did we. Early the next morning, I headed home and to work. 

We were back in Provo again on Monday night as Grandma was put on hospice care later that day and we were told it wouldn't be long. The Warren boys all returned from Vegas that night and said their goodbyes. I said mine. It was so hard to leave that night. I knew it wouldn't be long. So many precious moments that night. Lots of tears and even a few laughs. The Warren boys put on the game show TV channel for Grandma because they knew how she liked it. She was sharp as a tack even to day she fell. It breaks my heart that I didn't get to have just one last visit with her. At Christmas I know we had a great visit and laughed and laughed. I can't remember what about but, she was a sassy lady and always made me laugh.

She passed the next day and we held her funeral the following Monday. Scott lost his job on Tuesday. We lost Scott's grandfather on Saturday the 25th, basically two weeks after my grandmother.

April feels like a fresh start. The first quarter of 2017 has been one for the books. The "Series of Unfortunate Events" ones though...not like a romance novel or something fluffy and light and happy. As my good friend Tony would say, it's been "full of suck". So, I'm hoping that April and the rest of this year will have less suck.

Spring, they say, is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. I can feel it. We really have accomplished so much so far this year. LOTS of house projects. Lots of new stuff to experience with little Patch Man. Lots of things to be grateful for.

I'm so grateful for the legacy of Katherine Warren. I'm proud to carry her name. Michelle Katherine Moore. Every time I sign it now, it feels different. Now that Katherine Warren is gone. Or, maybe she isn't truly gone. I know this, pieces of her live on in so many of us whose lives she touched. She was spunky, always up for cookies and treats, generous, a story teller, a true lady, honest, and just absolutely wonderful.

Love you Grandma. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Two Sides to the Story

I had the privilege of attending the first annual Silicon Slopes Tech Summit on Thursday and Friday. The whole concept of the event was centered around building up the work that is being done in the tech industry here in the state of Utah. It's remarkable how quickly Utah based tech businesses are creating something we can really be proud of. There were panel discussions and interesting presentations. CEOs of remarkable and internationally renowned companies spoke about how they got their start, what inspires them, etc. I kept hearing the same themes over and over. One theme in particular stands out to me: we want more women in tech! How do we get more women in tech?

I think this question falls along the lines of a more broad question: how do we get more women involved in corporate America? How do we close the wage gap? How do we shatter the glass ceiling?

My thoughts are these...in a jumbled and not well researched format:

It feels like part of the wage gap is because women are punished for being mothers. There are probably plenty of women in corporate America who don't care to climb the latter. There are probably plenty that want to climb the latter and don't care to have children. These are not the women I'm talking about. I'm talking about the women who want to have both. Who are told by successful companies who are expanding and hiring "we want you" and on the other side of that coin are told "if you're a mother, your children should always come first".

Having your children "come first" is a complicated topic. I'm not sure it's possible to address what that means for every women. However, I see it this way: women who have full time jobs are often seen as having made sacrifices of time and attention to their children. Putting them in daycare, working from home and giving them "too much" screen time or too little attention, hiring a nanny to "raise" them, etc. These sacrifices are difficult to navigate because it's hard to truly assess what is lost for each individual child, if anything, by not having a mom at home.

Let's also assume, for the sake of discussion, that women who are in the work force with children who are all of school age and in school full time are not facing the same struggles as mothers of younger children. While their struggles are certainly valid, the discussion I want to have is how mothers of young children are sacrificing time with their babies with unknown consequences if they choose to be in the work force.

These two sides of the coin are: you're a talented and driven woman who is wanted in the work force. You're a talented and driven woman who is wanted at home. Society seems to tell us that we have to choose. Society tells us that moms specifically should be home with their kids. Society asks the working mom "what do you do with _____ while you're at work?" I doubt anyone asks my husband what he does with our child while he's at work. It's assumed that I'm the one at home. I think this is what makes it difficult to recruit talent and hold onto talented women through child bearing and early child rearing years. It's a very real struggle to juggle both.

Or is it? One of two things could happen: society could change the way it talks to women about being with their young children OR corporate America can change they way they talk to women about being in the work force.

Now, to be fair, I have long held that we credit women with having these struggles but often overlook the dads. I'm sure there are many fathers who are pained to spend so much time away from home. They'd much rather be around their little ones full time. If money were no object, they would be. Nobody asks them how it is being away from the kids. Nobody asks them how they feel about the sacrifices they make to build a successful career. I don't want to ignore that but, again, this is not what I truly want to address.

What if large companies figured out a way to accommodate mothers of young children? To supply every woman's bathroom with a nursing/ pumping room equipped with a private refrigerator. To have on site daycare and preschool (where the families would be financially responsible for their child's/children's care/ early education). Better paid leave for both parents. Flexibility in the schedule that accommodates doctors appointments, pick up from school, etc. The good news is that many companies are starting to offer this kind of support. It's still ironic to me that when it comes to trends in perks offered by large companies so many have turned to on site fitness centers and fully stocked snack kitchens. Who the #e11 cares?! Help me be there for my kid.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Things Stressing Me out Today

realizing that the 75K in available coverage for Scott's accident may not be enough to cover the expenses through the life of the injury/ recovery process

Patch approaching the terrible 2s and not feeling ready to discipline him without being an "angry" mom or one that yells

2016 taxes

making goals at work

my messy house...our bed is now down in the dining room...crowded

errands I have yet to run- going to the DMV to get Scott's disability parking permit thingie

just to name a few.

I feel better though after some high quality retail therapy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Crash

On Thursday morning, January 5th, 2017, I got one of the most terrifying calls you can possibly get. A call came in from Scott and on the other line there was commotion and lots of frantic talking. The woman on the other end of the line realized I was there and said, "Michelle, your husband has been in an accident. He's been hit by a car. We're trying to keep him warm" and I start freaking out. I say "Is he ok?" and her response is "We're not sure." I freak out some more. She tries to comfort me saying "he's talking and he knows who he is and where he is" meanwhile I'm panicking. "He'll be ok" she tells me. "Calm down" she tells me. "Don't cry" she tells me. Lady, don't tell me how to feel. Tell me how my husband is doing. Tell me what has happened. Eventually I calm down and she tells me more details.
Meanwhile, I had taken my new car to be re-detailed. I'm sitting at my office without a way to get to my husband who is being rushed to the ER in an ambulance. I call Honda and let them know what's happened. I'm bounced around from the service to the sales and back to the service departments. Finally someone tells me that they can send the shuttle back to me. About an hour later, I get a call that they're bringing my car to me instead, mid detail. OK JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE. I DON'T CARE HOW I GET THERE JUST GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL. Anyway, they finally arrive, I grab my car and rush out to be with Scott. I got there around noon and he was not in his room. They'd taken him for a CT scan. I decide to walk down the hall and was captivated by some artwork that appeared to be made from recycled hospital materials (tube caps or something). A few minutes later I hear my husband's voice say something like "hey lady, I know you". We head back to his room and wait for more information.
My initial reaction, upon hearing what had happened was of course to find out if Scott was OK. Once we confirmed that I started questioning the severity of his condition. Did he need an ambulance ride? What hospital were they taking him to? Is it covered by our insurance? I'm in finance. Of course I'm thinking of the financial impact of this accident. I make some calls and get the logistics worked out and stop freaking out about how we're going to pay for this. Luckily, my health insurance had JUST kicked in for my new job. JUST BARELY. The important thing is that he's alive, I tell myself, and we'll figure the rest out as we go along.
All the while I'm wondering how I'm supposed to feel. Am I supposed to be the dutiful wife that drops everything and stays by his side every moment? Do I leave Patrick to be cared for by other people? Or is that the sort of behavior of someone who's situation is worse than mine? Do I take the next week off of work for family medical leave or do I make it work and help Scott learn what the new normal is for a while? How am I supposed to feel? Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing. Here's the honest truth. I'm sad. Scott's knee will literally never be the same. He may never regain his full range of motion. There could be complications down the line. He could develop premature arthritic conditions. He may never feel comfortable kneeling down on the floor to play with kiddos again. He will endure months of therapy and checkup visits.  We are trying to have another baby and this is slowing down that process, for sure. Scott will be out of work for 3 weeks and that's going to be rough on all of us. I'm overwhelmed at the thought of what is to come.

Friday, December 16, 2016

California Dreamin

Today we had our first real blizzard of the season. To think that last week at this time I was sitting in a restaurant overlooking the ocean in San Diego dining with my brother and sister in law. Today's weather made me long to be back in sunny SoCal. The roads really were quite dangerous and I had to drive all over Utah County...and I mean all over. My schedule was as follows:

9:00 headshot photo shoot in Springville
10-1: put Patch down for nap, work on conditions for loans, bake pie as peace offering for client whose deadline was pushed
1:40: Fotofly picture session with Patrick and Santa in Lehi at Thanksgiving point (the pics turned out SO FREAKING CUTE!)
3:00: meeting with client in Linden to drop of pie and drop the news about his delayed closing
4:00: appear in court in Murray city for my "moving violation"...a gentle reminder that I totaled my car last week
5:00: clear out my totaled car so that Geico could come and tow it away from the repair shop downtown
5:20: dinner with Scott's parents in Cottonwood Heights
8:00: Scott's concert downtown

I can't complain. It wasn't the kind of day where the number of tasks to accomplish were insurmountable but, it was indeed a fairly packed day.

Too bad I had to leave dinner early because Patch got sick. I don't know quite why but he did. I also did not appear in court today nor did I clear out my car. Good thing I can do the car tomorrow morning and I can appear in court any time next week.

Also good thing...the pie worked! After my visit with the client (that I had to bring Patch to) the wife said "you really didn't have to do that" to which I responded, "I know but I didn't want Billy Bob Joe* to be mad at me for the delay". She said that he's quick to anger but also quick to calm down. I said that I had noticed that. hehe. I also said that I realized I had to talk him off the ledge 2 times already and that I didn't want there to be a third time so, I thought I'd better come with a peace offering. We both laughed and headed away in the blizzard while Billy Bob Joe continued digging trenches to remove the large puddles/ small ponds of rain/ melting snow from around the warehouse.

During that 10-1 time frame Patch decided to skip his nap. *shocker* On a day where he really really needs it, he skips it. Typical. If you're a mom, you can relate to this. He was, however, being such a sweetie while we hung out at my parent's house. I made us some food and he played on Thomas the Train, a ride on toy my parents got him. They've nicknamed it Tommy and Patch calls it "Choo Choo". At one point, he found a book of ours that we left there. It's a book of "Baby's first 100 Words" or something like that. His favorite page is "Things that Go" where there are images of planes, trains, and large vehicles. We talk about the sound that each one makes and he just loves it. Today we spent a bit of time on the "activities" page where there are images of babies sitting and toddlers walking and playing etc. While we were reading the "Things that Go" page, he said "Poop". So I asked him if he was going poop or if he had poop in his diaper and he said "nope". I sniffed him anyway and sure enough, no poop. He quickly turned back to the "activities" page and pointed to the child that was walking. In the image, the child is wearing only a diaper and he pointed to it saying "poop". Pretty smart eh? It's the little things people. What can I say? I'm a proud mama.

Now I'm having a quiet Friday night at home blogging, tidying, doing laundry, you know...house wife-ing it up.

*name changed to protect the identity of the client