Friday, February 29, 2008

Enduring vs. rejoicing

My visiting teacher came today and the message she chose was about how we always hear the message "endure to the end" but we also need to remember to rejoice in life and that the gospel is a message of joy. As I sit here at the end of the day, I realize that Heavenly Father again has given me a little nudge to remind me of what I need to know when I need to know it. Today was an endurance day.
For some unknown reason Kadin has been fairly cranky the last little while. He has been impatient and demanding and all of the things people say about the terrible two's. This morning for instance, after breakfast, he wanted nothing to do with any of his toys, no shows, no nothing, except for playing in the bathtub. So I filled up the tub and let him splash around to his heart's content.
After that he was pretty content, mostly because we watched Monsters, Inc. ( I know, lousy parenting, but I was feeling pretty lousy at this point too). Since he was doing so well, I thought I would let him stay up past him regular nap time and maybe get a longer nap out of him, thus buying me the possibility of a nap for me. Bad idea. He went down alright, but he didn't sleep any longer and was even crankier when he got up. So I had to walk around with him for a while and try to keep him at least from screaming. Then Jeremy came home and we attempted dinner, unsuccessfully. By then it was back in the tub, which made him happy again and another movie until bed time. I was counting the minutes until 8 p.m. An endurance day for sure.
But as I sit here, I remember Heavenly Father's nudge and I see the small moments of rejoicing in the midst of the enduring. Kadin's smile as I pour cup after cup of water over his head, Jeremy's hug at the end of the day (my lifeline!), Kadin turning to me during "Finding Nemo" and telling me "whales, ocean, big". There are beautiful moments mixed into every day. Sometimes they are easy to spot and plentiful and other times they are few and far between and you have to really try to figure out what to call joyful. But they are there and I'm grateful for them.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taking the time

I painted my toenails! I know this may seem like such a small mundane thing to be celebrating, but for me right now it is huge! A little background to help convey my sense of excitement:
For some reason, I am not sure why, having painted toenails has always been a huge deal for me. Before Kadin was born, I cannot remember a time when I didn't have painted toenails. I used to change my toenail color nearly every week, sometimes more. Off the top of my head I can think of two examples to show how important having pretty toes was to me.
1. When I went into the hospital for my heart surgery, my doctor told me to take my toenail polish off so she could check for vasculitis (blood spots) under my toenails. I didn't want to do it so much that I would make sure my feet were under the covers whenever she came to check on me (she only asked one more time, if she had really made a big deal of it, I would have done it.)
2. After the doctor scheduled Kadin's birth, I made sure that my toenails looked pretty before the big day. I was nearly 9 months pregnant and I still manuevered around my belly to make sure my toes were cute.
After having my toenails painted everyday for who knows how long, for some reason, it all fell by the wayside. I went with my Mom I don't know how long ago to get pedicures and that was the last time I had painted toenails. It has been so long that I didn't have to take off the toenail polish tonight; it had grown out!
I was sitting here, after Kadin is in bed and Jeremy is off to lacrosse practice and looking down the bed at my bare toenails and thinking how much I missed having cute toenails. Then I thought "Why don't I?" Why don't I take the 5 minutes to paint my toenails and do something for me, something that I know will make me happy, even though it is such a small thing?
I need to remember that realization, remember that it is important to take the time to take care of me too. Even though painted toenails is such a small thing, and I probably won't think about it that much again after tonight, it is big for me right now!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

let there be (no) light

A while back, I was turning our bedroom window blinds closed and the turny-thingy (the thing that turns them open and shut) fell off in my hand. Jeremy looked at it and determined that one of the inside parts had snapped off and broken so our blinds were in a permanently open state. The curtains on our bedroom window are thin cream colored linen, so more for looks than for function. The last few weeks Jeremy and I have been having a hard time going to sleep and staying asleep because we have a street light outside right about the level of our window, so it stays pretty light in our room, even at night. So Kadin and I went to the store to go blind/curtain shopping. I was planning on just getting more blinds, but then I saw blackout curtains. How perfect would that be? Cut out all the light completely. So I got them, hung them, and was pretty pleased with myself when I saw how dark our room got in mid-afternoon with them closed. Pretty pleased, until this morning. I totally underestimated the gradual waking up that happens with the gradual addition of light from the sun until Jeremy's alarm blasted us both awake this morning. This rather rude awakening has be questioning the genius I was claiming to be yesterday afternoon. Good in idea; not so great in execution.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Click to play Kadin at home
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peace in the moment

This afternoon I got to experience true peace in every sense of it. Kadin had just woken up from his nap; it was a tough waking up with more crying and clinging than normal. I was walking around with Kadin curled up on my shoulder and pretty quickly, he fell back asleep. So I pulled blankets off our recliner/rocker and curled up with Kadin on my chest. I leaned back and just relaxed into the moment. The only sound in our house was our breathing; both a little wheezy and raspy. Our rhythms were off, but then he paused/hicupped for a second and when he got back into breathing we were in synch. it was the most amazing feeling to watch and hear our chests rise and fall together; to hear his rattly snot-filled intake of breath followed by a soft exhale of total satisfaction matched by my inhale, stopped in the middle by a slight hiccup reminding me to breathe deeper, and my exhale of complete release. It was completely quiet; completely calm; completely peaceful.
Usually on the days when Kadin has trouble sleeping in his bed and I spend nap time holding him; my mind is busy going in a million different directions: "how many loads of laundry can I get done today?" "Do I really need to run that errand today or can it be done later?" "I would like to get pictures of doing Kadin doing such-and-such for a scrapbook pages . . . . oh I'm so far behind on the pictures I already have" Outwardly the scene may look peaceful, but inside I am usually going a million miles in a million directions.
Today however, sitting with my nearly-2 year son, who very rarely sits still without CGI animated characters helping to hold his attention, I just sat in the moment. It felt like everything else was on pause and I honestly didn't have a single thought about something I "should" be doing or "could" be doing. I had thoughts about projects I would like to begin, but it wasn't like a "I really need to get going on that" feeling. It was more of a "that would be a good idea, when I get around to it" I didn't want for anything, I couldn't think of anything I would change, there was nothing more appealing to me than to spend this time in this way with this boy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

In the moment

Today was one of those roller coaster days; it had it's great "ups" and not-so-great "downs". We started today by going grocery shopping. It has become a 2-person job; Kadin refuses to sit in the cart and he is getting too big and too strong for me to hold him and pull/push the cart around the store. That went surprisingly well; only a few struggles. Kadin fell asleep in the car on the way home and I was anticipating using my "mommy magic", as Jeremy calls it, to get him upstairs and in bed without waking up, thus affording Jeremy and I a couple quiet hours (and maybe a nap of my own). I guess my mommy magic was running on empty today because Kadin woke up and refused to go back to sleep. He was so tired and so cranky that nothing was right for him. He screamed and screamed while both Jeremy and I tried to figure out what to do to appease him and save our sanity. Finally, since it was a beautiful day outside, I suggested we pack up a picnic lunch and go to the park near our house. I figured we all could do with some fresh air and a change of pace. Needless to say, this was a big down on our daily rollercoaster.
Kadin cried most of the way to the park, trying to get out of Jeremy's arms and run back home to get his blanket. Looking back, we probably looked like kidnappers to people driving by; trying to forcibly restrain a crying child who kept yelling "home" at the top of his lungs. We made it to the park and enjoyed the amazing healing properties of a pb&j sandwich. Our rollercoaster shot up as the three of us got to run and play and laugh together. I wish I had brought our camera, but in the midst of the temper tantrum it was the last thing on my mind.
After the park, we came home and watched "Finding Nemo" together. It has become Kadin's new obsession and he adores watching the boats and fishes. While Jeremy and Kadin were watching the movie, I went to go make some snickerdoodles (Jeremy's favorite), but as soon as Kadin heard the mixer going, he wanted to come over and be part of the action. The only problem was that he got upset if he wasn't close enough to the mixer, and then when I moved him closer he got upset that he couldn't see "Memo". And thus we plummeted down to another melt-down.
Right now we are about somewhere 1/2 way between up and down. Kadin has just gotten up from a much needed nap and is in much better spirits, but I am worn out from trying to keep up with him. Only three more hours until 8 p.m. . . . the magic hour!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No Daddy Love

For the last few weeks Jeremy has been coming home from work and has been greeted by a cranky toddler. I don't know what it is, but it seems that Kadin is all smiles and doing great, until Jeremy gets home. Nothing else changes and it's not like Jeremy is doing anything weird or remotely annoying to Kadin, unless saying hello and asking for a hug is annoying. Tonight was by far the worst though. Jeremy came home early from work because he had gone in early so he could spend more time with us tonight before going to lacrosse practice (my two/three months of single parenthood started tonight, Jeremy has lax practice most nights from now on). It was great to see him and Kadin was doing great, until he had a nasty diaper and Jeremy took him up for bath time. He screamed the whole time and I could hear Kadin doing the "mommy" whine as Jeremy was putting on his pajamas. Then Jeremy brought him downstairs and when he put Kadin down to let him come see me, Kadin turned and screamed for Jeremy to pick him up again. That would have been great, but Kadin still screamed when Jeremy was holding him. He had one of the biggest temper tantrums I have ever seen from him, complete with jumping up and down, top-of-the-lungs screaming and a plethora of tears, snot and slobber wiped all over everything within reach.
I feel bad because I don't want this to be the memory Jeremy has of Kadin's toddler years. He only gets to see him at night because thankfully Kadin has acquired the habit of sleeping in at least until 7, which is usually when Jeremy leaves, so Kadin is more often than not tired when Jeremy sees him. I feel like I get to have all these great moments with him and Jeremy gets to deal with the yuck. But then again we've been through the not-liking-daddy stage a while back and he grew out of it for a while so I guess all I can hope for is that he'll do it again!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back to real life

Me and my Valentine!

Elephant ears on the Seaside Boardwalk

I love the Oregon coast!!!

On Sunday Jeremy and I got back from our little escape to the beach and it was a happy-sad return. It was sad because it was great to have a couple days on a "grown-up" schedule (well, we still have to have the daily nap, but I did stay up past 10 p.m. every night. I know how lame am I that it is a big deal for me to do that!). Jeremy got to play X-box and I got to do some scrapbooking and we just got to recharge our batteries (or refill my spoon drawer to reference my last post). It has been a while since we have both had enough time/energy to do those personal time things, at least for bigger chunks of time, so that was great.

It was happy because I was so ready to see my funky monkey Kadin again. On Thursday when we dropped him off at Mom Sherwood's (thank you, thank you, thank you a million times over for taking him for us!), Jeremy and I did the little dance of freedom as we drove away, but by the end of the weekend, I would have given anything to get a sticky sweet kiss and a hug.

We left on Thursday morning and headed out to Seaside. It was kind of a fun adventure for both of us because most every time we have gone to the beach with our families we have gone to Lincoln City, so it was fun to try something new. Jeremy had found this little beach house for us to rent; it was small with just one real bedroom and bathroom, but it was great for us. Theoretically there was a ghost living there (according to the guest book they had there), but we had no encounters (little disappointed). Like I said before, we spent a lot of time just hanging out. I had good intentions to do some serious reading this weekend (like read something that requires more attention than split between keeping an eye on Kadin, blow-drying my hair and reading at the same time), but that didn't happen. I didn't get as much scrapbooking done as I wanted to do (I was hoping to get all the way through high-school). But I did get some serious sleeping, which I sorely needed, and Jeremy and I got time to just be with each other. During the week, life gets crazy with Kadin and work and me going to bed right after Kadin, we really don't get a ton of time to just be with each other so this was great! An awesome Valentine's day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Analogy for life

Not too long ago I found a mailing list for people with CSS, so every few days I get an e-mail with messages from people all over who have this disease and talk about how it affects their lives, things they have found to be helpful and just generally have a place to go where people really can relate to how we feel. When I first starting reading what other people said I was amazed, for the first time I didn't feel so alone. My friends and family have been amazing as we learn together about this disease, but because it is so rare and no one really knows what it will entail, there were times when I felt overwhelmed with all the problems that kept popping up and all the guessing and wondering. But then I found this mailing site and there were other people experiencing the same things I was going through!
Anyway, today I was reading it and there was a posting from someone with Lupus and she had written this analogy about life with a chronic disease and how it affects daily life. As I read it, I was saying "yes! This is totally it! This is how it feels!" I think her case is more extreme than mine, but the principle is the same. She calls it the spoon theory and you can read it at:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Not quite the right idea

So Kadin is more than thrilled about his new potty; he gets very excited whenever we go by the bathroom and he sees it. He tells everyone that comes over about it and would probaby haul it everywhere around the house if I would let him. But he hasn't really figured out what it is for. So far it has been a stepping stool, a place to stash his plastic monkeys and most amusingly, the pee-pee catcher (is there a technical or correct term for that part of a potty?) has become a hat. Jeremy was pretty mortified when I showed him that picture, but I assured him (and all of you) that it had never been used, other than the aforementioned uses, so it was perfectly clean.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New prophet

Tonight when I was washing dishes in the 5 minutes I have alone during bath time I turned on the TV and went to a show I had on the DVR. It was supposed to be a scrapbooking show, but instead it was the press conference in which they announced the new prophet and first presidency. To be honest, I didn't know how I would feel when President Monson officially became the prophet. President Hinckley had been the prophet for the majority of my life (or at least the years when I understood and appreciated who the prophet was) so it was hard for me to think of someone else in the position. As President Monson stood up to speak, I didn't get an overwhelming feeling or a burning testimony; I simply felt that it was right, the calm confident feeling. I still miss President Hinckley and his cute, warm "grandpa" quality, but I know that President Monson is the right prophet. I am interested to see the places he will lead the Church.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Title explanation

After I sent out the e-mail about my blog, I got a couple questions about the title (and very helpful hints on how to let people comment on this; thanks!). It's from the BOM, but the significance to me comes from a talk by S. Michael Wilcox called "The Fourth Watch". My mom sent it to me when Jeremy and I were in Idaho and I was in the throes of utter yuck and nastiness with being sick and frustrated and just about to throw up my hands and cry "uncle". This talk gave me a whole new perspective on life and every time I need a little boost or reminder that I can handle what I've been given, I listen to it again.
Basically the "tight like unto a dish" idea is that if you feel that God isn't answering your prayers or relieving your burdens, maybe it's because your ship is "tight like unto a dish" or you don't need to be relieved because He knows you can handle it. With everything that has happened in my life in the health department there have been times when I have definitely not felt "tight like unto a dish"; more like a sieve! But I know that I have been given these challenges because this is what will teach me and strech me in the ways that I need the most.
So there it is: tight like unto a dish (some days!)
I totally recommend finding that talk; it is so great in so many ways!

New Adventure

Diaper changing sucks! And not just because of the nasty stuff that it involves, but because lately 9 times out of 10 I end up getting kicked in the eye, the throat or some other part of my upper body. For some reason, Kadin has started getting really squirmy when I change his diapers. Most of the time I have to put my elbow or foot (if I'm changing him on the floor) on his chest to keep him down (sounds like great parenting, huh?). So we are embarking on the adventure of potty training. We bought the potty today, with great excitement on Kadin's part. He was thrilled when we opened it and proceeded to climb on and off it. He kept pointing to the big toilet and telling me "Mommy's" and then pointed to his own and said "Kadin's". I didn't want him to start thinking the potty is a toy so I told him we would use it before we got in the bath tonight. Unfortunately, this started a meltdown. Hopefully when potty time comes around tonight, he'll be just as excited! Cross your fingers!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My first Official Blog!!!!

I haven't even been blogging for a full minute and I've already looked at my title and said "That's lame!" I feel like there is an expectation for blogs to be profound or life changing or even mildly amusing and I have the feeling that mine will be none of those. Probably full of stories about my boring yet crazy life with an energetic almost 2 year old boy and my own internal struggle. Normally you would think that would be a metaphor for some deep emotional issues, a struggle with the profound truths of the universe . . . . nope. Not quite that intense. My own internal struggle is just that; my body is confused and at war with itself. Instead of trying to eradicate foreign bodies like germs or viruses, my immune system is trying to get rid of my lungs and sinuses. Fairly inconvinient since breathing is a fairly important part of life. But we're learning how to work with it and every day we figure out something that helps or hurts . . . .both of which are excellent things to know!
So this could very well end up as a whining spot for my crappy days and you could get caught up reading stories about my son that you have probably heard a million other times about a million other children, but what the heck?