Temple Sealing

In the last seven years since I started this blog I have had a lot of great and important days.  I started about four months after Mimi was born and since then I had these amazing wonderful best days ever:
Jude's Birth
Silas' Birth
Wedding to Hush
LouLou's Birth (moment's pause for me to be so glad that I blogged the best days of my life so I can relive them again and again).
And a ton of other really rad fairly excellent things have happened.

But, in the words of the narrator guy from The Princess Bride, "This one left them all behind."
Two weeks from today Hush and I get sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.  Betty Lou will also be sealed to us.

In two weeks I will have everything that I'd lost in my first eternal family restored to me, plus bonuses, vast improvements and major upgrades.
Everything has come full circle, I am living my happy ending.
Second Place Christmas Card, not sent because we thought it might be too obscure of a reference?
Also, look at all my lovely freaks!

I have literally been waiting for this day since, well since before Silas was even born so over five years ago.  I'd actually given up hope that it could happen.  Even now, with two weeks left to go, I'm tentative talking about it, worried that some typical Nor-type disaster will strike and my hopes and dreams will be dashed anew.
To understand why this is such an important day for our family I need to explain the covenant we are making.  When couples are married in the temple, they are "Sealed" which means that their bonds as man and wife and parent to child will continue after the grave.  This is important in our faith because of the LDS church's emphasis on family and genealogy: they are literally trying to link the web of the human family.  When couples are sealed I believe that they are eternally married which means they will be the same family in the afterlife, or that their family can and will go on forever.  In the temples in the Sealing Rooms there are two mirrors facing one another, thus reflecting the two people eternally.
Sealing Room at Salt Lake Temple

Oddly, I relate the whole concept to the one laid out by Plato, though obviously I believe the truth and specifics are more accurate in the Mormon doctrine.  In Aristophane's Speech from Plato's Symposium he essentially described humans as being two sexes combined: four hands, four feet, two heads.  Man and woman as one -- united in purpose, sharing one body, connected in all ways.  The Symposium explains that Zeus made people that way and then cut them in half, scattered them, and left them to find one another.  I see Eternal Marriage in the same way.  When we are Sealed we become as one in purpose and body.  Though this is obviously not LDS doctrine, that's what Temple Marriage and being sealed to my children feels like to me.  It's like Mother's Intuition on steroids.  It  FEELS like part of their soul is also in my body.
(That is the end of the similarities in my own interpretations of an Eternal Marriage and Plato.  The absolute best and most touching description of the speech was in Hedwig and the Angry Inch "Origin of Love").
The LDS website has an excellent chart of what Temple/Celestial Marriage promises are made and blessings promised:

Celestial Marriage

Covenants We Make with God
Blessings Promised
A temple officiator who has the sealing power of the priesthood invokes covenants intended to be efficacious for time and for all eternity. Celestial marriage involves a ceremony performed in a holy temple (see D&C 131:1–3132:18–19).
Couples who promise to abide the law of celestial marriage:
  • Covenant in pure love to remain faithful to each other and to God through all eternity.
  • Covenant to confine their intimate affections and sexual relations to each other.
  • Commit to live in ways that contribute to happy and successful family life.
  • Covenant “to ‘be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’ (Gen. 1:28). A primary purpose of temple marriage in this life is to grow and mature in sharing God’s creative work in raising a family in righteousness. Parents enter into a partnership with God by participating in the procreation of mortal bodies, which house the spirit children of God” (in Ludlow,Encyclopedia of Mormonism,2:859).
  1. 1. 
    Husbands and wives will receive eternal life in the world to come, the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 88:4;Moses 6:59).
  2. 2. 
    They shall become gods with all power and “shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” (D&C 132:19).
  3. 3. 
    They shall obtain exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial glory (seeD&C 131:1–4).
  4. 4. 
    They will come to know God the Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 132:48–50).

I have been Sealed in the LDS Temple before to my first spouse.  I remember sitting next to him in Sacrament Meeting when people were bearing their testimonies and feeling that weird butterflies feeling that one feels before they are about to perform.  Moments later and without speaking he stood up to speak.  That is what temple sealing feels like to me: like I can feel the resonating spirituality in the members of my eternal family.  A tuning fork is a good example.  I become specifically attuned to my children and spouse.  It's my superpower.
And then it went away.

When my ex-husband was making choices that were problematic that invisible tuning fork pulled at me.  I had no idea what was going on but I remember those feelings and how much they hurt. I didn't learn the truth about what had actually been happening until after our divorce was finalized.  We were among the 6% of divorces of LDS Temple Marriages.  People who get married in the temple have a very low divorce rate.

One more note on Temple Marriage blessings.  Part of it includes blessing your offspring in this life AND THE NEXT.  That's why it has particular importance to me.  It promises me right then and there that I can have babies for all of eternity!  That's my idea of heaven.

What my heaven looks like: tons of babies wrapped in Hello Kitty!

Sealing Blessings are predicated on worthiness.  If you maintain your temple recommend and do the things you promised in the temple you are in a good spot.  If you don't you "have no promise."  This is a good explanation of Temple Covenants, specifically the article at the bottom by Bruce Hafen.

When children are born to a couple Sealed in the temple, the children are "born in the covenant" which means they have all of the blessings associated.  As long as their parents maintain their worthiness the Sealing blessings are in effect (whether or not their parents are Sealed to one another).  I've never heard of a child being unsealed from their parents, but some couples do get unsealed.  The unsealing process is tragic and unusual.  In all of my time in the church I've only known maybe two people who were unsealed from their spouse.  It's not something people commonly talk about and most members know little about the process because it doesn't apply to them.  Sealings are only broken by the Presidency of the Church: Thomas Monson, Henry B. Eyring, and Dieter Uchtdorf.  You have to apply and obtain a letter (signed in ink by all three) in order to be unsealed.  I waited until Hush and I had our Sealing planned and I was 8 months pregnant with his baby to even apply and I was still shocked it was granted.  I hope none of you ever experience that process.

But now we are finally here.  This is actually happening.  I get my tuning fork back and I get that feeling and promise of my soul being joined forever with Hush's and Lou's, to add upon that of Mimi's, Jude's and Si's.

I know I've said it a hundred times and will say it a hundred more, I am so grateful for Hush.  He's everything a man should be and words could never express how much I adore him.  He prefers to avoid the limelight and exposure, so much so that I practically have to wrestle him to look at the camera and he says that he "looks too nice" on my blog and also I'm not allowed to quote him.  But just know he's perfect and when you see him on the mean streets of Salt Lake City high five him for being the Prince Charming of my life.

I've been toying with ending this blog then, on the day when I have fulfilled my spiritual goals of getting married in the temple and having a family.  I feel like it's the end, but in my troubles I've become wiser than that.  The end of this journey to regain my temple marriage is only the beginning.

The bride sighed blissfully on her wedding day, “Mom, I’m at the end of all my troubles!” “Yes,” replied her mother, “but at which end?” 


Christmas 2014

(Mimi 7, Jude 6, Si nearly 5, Lou 3 months.)
Christmas reindeer
Unbridled joy at the weird RC dinosaur that doesn't obey.
Mr Lego (I finally caved and allowed stupid Legos into my house. Well, not exactly into my house -- they live in the art/music room on their own table. I hate Legos.)
Isolated lego room.
The elusive chatster electronic doll Mimi had been vying for. 
My sweet baby's Christmas cuddles
Woke up to this winter wonderland. 
It had not snowed (no sticking snow at least) all winter and then at 3am on Christmas morning Old Man Winter just dumped six inches of snow on us.  
I'm fairly sure some kid was praying for this and now believes there is both a Santa AND a God who listens.
Honestly, I LOVE living in the snow.  I'm shocked to realize it is my favorite season.
Baby Lou and I all dressed up for a Christmas outing to visit Hush's lovely sisters.
Impossible to put on jacket, totally worth it.
Kim snuggling baby BOB.
And these are my Christmas people. I feel so blessed to have my own growing family with whom to celebrate this holiday season. And soon, forever!  We are getting sealed January 17!

Eve 2014

We spent Christmas with just our own little family this year. There was huge winter storm forecast and we didn't want to travel.  What resulted was one of sweetest most memorable Christmases we've had.
Hush and Mimi sang Christmas songs. This Christmas was dominated by the Chipmonks Christmas Album and the Twelve Days of Christmas by the muppets.  My favorite is the one where Theodore sings "And I still want a prostitute!" or something like that.
This is my Christmas baby girl in all her finery. Dress from Becca, thanks Becca!
Also, whose child is this? She looks more like the will-be offspring of Cam and Alex.
Being away from my family's Christmas Eve nativity pageant meant that the only way LouLou could play the role she was born to play was by teleconferencing in.  She was the Facetime baby Jesus.  That's her in the manger.
And here's Lou in our own pageant, a pageant that needed some backup provided by:
Strapping Joseph, towel Mary, Fur coat Wiseman with Power Ranger backup. Shepherd TMNT with their unicorn flock and Baby Jesus dressed as Wonder Woman (his name shall be Wonderful! Counselor!)
Hush read the Christ story, ("Where should I sit? I want to look iconic")
After the pageant we acted out the Twelve Days of Christmas and then played Christmas Carol song charades.  Favorites included Hush's "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer" and Mimi's "Away in a Manger." It took them like 10 minutes of me doing the Mexican Hat Dance for them to guess "Feliz Navidad."
Hush's family tradition included a fancy staked enchilada meal, oddly topped with a cooked egg. It was fabulous not making the meal for Christmas Eve. The man can cook!
Before the kids went to sleep he read "The Night before Christmas" as we snuggled by the fire.

Then we waited for Santa to transform our living room into toy paradise. I snapped this pic of the most epic Christmas present ever right after Santa left. Hush and I test drove the bounce house and then settled down for our "long" winter's nap.


Christmas Prep

We are doing Christmas slightly differently this year: we're doing nothing. We have this new house and a new baby and we just need to settle and enjoy our own little family. While we miss our families, we are happily taking it easy and not letting stress into our holiday. 
The most conflict I feel about this is centered on Jesus. Baby Jesus, that is.  Loulou is going to miss her most coveted role as the baby Jesus in my family's nativity pageant.  When I discovered my pregnancy the first thought I had was "yay! A baby!" The second was "I have Jesus this year!"
This is how LouLou feels about missing the show.
But we have enough children to have our own pageant and we will facetime in Lou for the Jesus part. Maybe someone can put their phone in the manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

But we are still doing all the traditional holiday activities, including Gingerbread houses.
(thank you, school, for doing this so I don't have to have the big mess at my house!)
Visiting Temple Square
Hanging out with rad friends.  My sister wives and I took a million kids to a Christmas laser show at the Clark Planetarium and it was pretty epic.  Then the 17 of us hit IHOP because they stupidly allow children to eat free.  That's Rebekah and Fae, Christine and R's friend and ours Natalie not pictured. 
We've thankfully been spending a lot of time with the magical Jessica. Jess is the face behind all of the family pictures we have, including the ones of Loulou's birth. They have a special bond.
And Hush and I are finally back to our old post-kid-bedtime lifestyle -- goofing off and being weird. I hate my face in this pic but he says that it's our relationship in a microcosm.  I'm having fun and he is shocked at his reluctant participation.
And the Sunday before Christmas is always one of the best Sacrament meetings because it's all music and Christ: my favorite parts of church.
Christmas colors annoy me bc they clash with my hair.
And so I just wear all the colors. I've decided all reds and pinks match. Also, look at my new rug! 
But mostly, life is all about these two and their little love affair.  BL is 3 months, Hush is ageless. We are nearly ready for baby's first Christmas!


What am I doing in my 30's?

In the age of social media it is impossible to avoid evaluating your life against the reports of others.  While it's easy to feel jealous of or discouraged by all the different lifestyles represented in my facebook feed and Instagram, I find the diversity of daily life amongst my peers fascinating. Some of my friends travel every week to exotic places, I haven't left the country in five years.  Some of them have outlandish hobbies like roller derby and running marathons, I use my free time seeking silent alone time.  Some of my friends can hear their own thoughts all day long, I can't remember what my inner voice sounds like.  
Nearly every day when we look at the vacations and accomplishments of the online personas we consider our own lives.  Rather than feeling jealous, I feel validated in the path my life has taken.  I'm having excellent thirties too. 

1. In my 30's I have amassed the basic required baby accoutrements and can buy the silly extraneous things like fabulous bows.  I know what to spend money on and what is useless.
2. In my thirties I know how long a mattress lasts.
3. Because of my labors at 27, 28, and 29 I now have three proficient helpers that I've trained. I have a posse that I'm proud of and who I get to teach things that they can be proud of.  Mimi reads the directions while Jude carefully stirs the chocolate pudding for our haipua pie.  Because I have experience I know their ability levels -- Silas can't be trusted with large bowls of liquids, Jude can.
4. In my thirties I have learned to seek out friends who are happy in their own lives.  I've learned not to spend time and energy on girlfriends who take more than they give.  I've found my people with similar interests, educations and happiness levels so there is little to no competition and life comparison between us.
5. In my thirties I've found the balance between my children and my spouse. Parents upstairs, kids downstairs. Us against them.
6. In my thirties I have abandoned any attempts to eat like an adult. I live on candy and veggies, just like I always have. It's just who I am. Also I only buy pink and cheetah.

7. In my thirties I am planning for my future.  This is my fourth baby and, God willing, I ain't done yet. When I'm in my sixties my brood will hopefully have doubled, then shortly thereafter multiply by family. My life will be full of the family of my own making. That, to me, is wealth.

8. In my thirties I am volunteering in my kid's classroom and marveling at what they're teaching children these days. Algorithms?!  I get to see what type of learners my kids are and think about how to cultivate their talents.  This keeps me mentally stimulated.

9. In my thirties I've learned about juicing. It's weird and usually yucky. But pulverizing that produce is so satisfying.

10. My thirties have brought me to an area of unusual diversity in Utah. The above photo shows an assembly and I count at least six different races of children.  The values I developed in high school are realized here. Our elementary school focuses on the things that are important to me: music, dance and arts. I will never tire of watching my children imitate volcanos and dance to weird drum beats. P$, this school is free.

11. In my thirties I can feed people by the dozen.  I'm good at preparing menus and making all the food.  If your kids are over I'll feed them.  It won't be fancy sustainable or anti-biotic free, but it will generally cover the food groups and be edible to children.
12. In my thirties I have learned to not only tolerate but welcome large groups of children into my care.  We had a ten person play date last week and it was great. I got a ton of work done and it didn't stress me out the way it might have in my twenties. I've practiced at managing people, I'm good at it.

13. In my thirties I've cultivated the humor in my children.  In our family it's better to be funny than pretty much anything else. It's the highest compliment you can get. Here Jude is giving crazy eyes while pretending to drink a Redbull and wearing Mimi's cheetah vest just for laughs. 
14. In my thirties I have permanent stuff. Like paint colors. I'm paralyzed by the fact that because we own this house I have to set it up assuming I'm going to live in it forever. I had one wall success with the masculine pink, but now I'm stuck and I don't know what color to paint my room.
15. And yes, in my thirties I still have pink hair. Hush asked me the other day when I will change to my lady hair -- like the hairstyle all of our mothers adopt permanently at some point. My children have no memory of my normal hair, it's been pink for four years now. Hush obviously hasn't ever seen it au natural.  Pink IS my natural color. I don't think I can grow out of it. I don't care about "pulling it off" at any age.  It's just what is: not a statement, not a rebellion.  It's just  what I like when I look in the mirror.  It starts out super bright and then fades intentionally to my preferred pale pink. It's irrelevant.
My thirties are everything people said they would be: that time in ones life when you know who you are, are fairly secure in your career, and are generally confident in your decisions. Thirties are good.  I don't think I'm going to need a midlife crisis next decade.