5/2/15

Oh, Just Your Spring Hair?

I am having a hair identity crisis.  I know it's irrelevant but it is driving me crazy.  Kylie freaking Jenner has been wearing wigs that match my hair.


 Buzzfeed is posting list after list of "Festival Hair" which is pastel colored hair just like mine.  I am absolutely pro people having colored hair, Team Unicorn is expanding and that makes me very happy. HOWEVER, I am angry that pastel hair is a trend.  Because trends go out.  Is pastel hair the Rachel of this decade?



Jennifer Aniston has stated that she hated the now-iconic “Rachel” haircut. | 25 Fascinating Facts You Might Not Know About "Friends"

Are people going to be saying "remember when everybody had weird colored hair?"  Like those horrible skunk stripes people did for a while?  What about those of us whose natural color IS pink?  


It's just not fair.  I have invested five years into this hair it aint no passing fancy.  Now my normal is going to be passe in probably six months.  I love all the colors, it reminds me of the Capital from Hunger Games.  Those are my people!  But damn you stupid Buzzfeed for calling it "Festival Hair." And damn you for all of these articles:
If Famous Paintings had Festival Hair
Pastel Rainbow Hair
All About Pastel Goth
Tay Swift Pastel Hair
15 Celebrities with Colored Hair  with the worst possible tag line: All the SPRING hair inspiration you need.  Spring?!?  No.  Not just the Spring of 2015.  Life.  My children have no memory of me with anything but pink hair (with occasional bouts of teal and purple).
075
2010.

I do not need this kind of publicity around my hair color.  Just let us dye our hair and don't make it a thing.  Don't Rachel us.

So what do I do?  Do I have to jump ship?  Go back to natural, whatever that may be?
In frustration and while I wait on a solution to present itself I will wear dreadlocks.

4/26/15

Privatizing

I'm taking this show off the road.  You're welcome to come along, but I'll need your email if you want to keep reading.
My reasons for privatizing this blog are thusly:
1. I intend to primarily post about my husband and children as a record of our lives.  Since we've been married, bought a house and have stabilized our lives to a great degree I don't feel like publicizing.
Blue apron kids

2.  The kids are getting old enough to roam outside of my eyesight and I don't feel safe advertising them publically.  We live next to a school and I don't want to make them that easy to find.
This is the main reason.  I am obsessed with kidnapping stories and terrified of human trafficking. Safety is an illusion but the least I can do at this time is reduce my phobias by making them less accessible.
 
Betty Lou 7 months

3.  I haven't been able to speak as candidly as I'd like and privatizing allows for that. I want to write more scathing things. 
She's got the baby blues.

4. You are all quitters and it bugs me that I'm one of the last bloggers standing. This is unrelated to privatizing but I wanted to chastise you nonetheless.
5.  I want to post about adventures without my shit of an ex-husband and his squirrely friends spying on them.
Rad freak snow storm in April. 44 inches in 48 hours, apparently, though it looked more like 6.

6. Hush has indicated that he would prefer my blog to be private and I concede that sometimes he knows best.
Silas failing to put on footie pajamas.

7. I want to relieve the pressure of writing for strangers. Mostly I write for my records and I want to be more braggy about my kids without worrying that I'm that parent who thinks their kids are better than everybody else's kids.  
Playing monopoly on the porch.

8. I want my kids to start reading so I want to share things that they will enjoy having recorded.
A colorful feast for the eyes.

9. I want to post about parties and events without worrying that somebody feels bad for not being included. Everybody who knows me knows that I am all-inclusive, with the exception of adulterers, but I'm tired of those social media posts that make people feel left out. So maybe privatizing will reduce that? This idea deserves a post of its own.
10. I'm tired of giving away handouts. I'll share with you but the price is my knowing who is reading. No more looky-loos and no telly-who's. 

So if you want to continue to follow along you're going to have to let me know either by commenting your email address on here or on facebook.  If you read the blog now you are welcome and invited. 

Faith Earthquakes

Hush and I were asked to give talks last week in church.  Here's mine.  I'm putting it on here for my records and to share with my family, but if you gain something from it then coolio. 
And because it's important, here were my outfit choices:



 And this is what we ended up lookin' like.



I have 4 kids, one husband, two parents, five colors in my hair, seven siblings, 9 pairs of boots and 1 faith.  As you know if you’re here, faith is not easy to come by.  Rosemary Wixom spoke of faith in her talk “Returning to Faith” on Sunday morning of Conference, which I wager is the session most widely heard, especially if you came from my family of nascence.   My younger brother tells a story of entering the mission home in the fall and on the Saturday of Conference weekend he was mystified by all the people getting suited up in their church clothes.  He couldn’t figure it out, were they going to take sacrament to people or something?  His companion told him they were going to the Saturday Conference session, and he scoffed in disbelief.  There’s no church on Saturdays!  Whoops.  We always spent Conference Saturday visiting our grandmother and evidently the “talk radio” my dad played in the car and we were unable to hear because the seven of us were bickering in the back seats was actually LDS Conference. 
I was, however, raised in the LDS faith.  I was taught about Christ and about the Plan of Happiness, then called the plan of Salvation, we were fully active and I had a fairly reasonable testimony.  My religious upbringing was not unlike that of the woman Sister Wixom discussed on Sunday morning:
She shared a story that involved a woman who was raised in the gospel, married in the temple, and loved to learn and discover truths.  While searching for truths her questions became harder, and so did the answers.  Sometimes there were no answers – or no answers that brought peace.  Eventually, as she sought to find answers, more and more questions arose, and she began to question some of the very foundations of her faith.
This story is very familiar.  Every adult who chooses to continue in the faith of their father’s goes through a process of owning that faith, and our faith evolves.  Perhaps it’s because I am currently living in the nexus of the LDS faith and therefore hear more about the faith challenges of the community, but it seems to me that many pieces of LDS history are becoming more accessible and therefore more problematic for some members.  Most of these elements are familiar – polygamy in the early church, the translation of the BoM, the history of the Pearl of Great Price. Even more recent issues such as the Book of Mormon musical coming to town, all the discussion around gay marriage, the new sizing of garments – all of these things can be stumbling blocks to even the most faithful members of the church.
I was in the SF bay area last week visiting my family.  One night around midnight the quiet house suddenly jarred.  For those of you who have been in an earthquake you are probably familiar with the rapid fire analysis your brain does when an earthquake starts.  First you think, did something hit the house or was that an earthquake?  A second more of shaking confirms earthquake.  Then you gauge the size – is it big enough to cause problems like the 1989 quake?  Or just a little bump?  Do I need to grab all four of my children and go outside?  Earthquakes are extremely disarming because you don’t know how serious it is and you have to make very quick assessments.  The earthquake last week was a few seconds long and only a 3.6, which is fairly minor.  Light fixtures swing but that’s about it.  The only injury was sustained by my sister who ran to my children.  She stepped on a Lego. 
When we are plodding along in our spiritual journeys we often run into what I like to think of as Faith Earthquakes.  These are the little shocks, the jarring bits of conflict that for some reason cause us to stumble.  Maybe something from the pulpit rubs you the wrong way.  Perhaps a member behaves in a way that is frustrating.  Maybe it’s a lesson about families and you’re sitting there being all single.  These are our Faith Earthquakes.  Now I know that the children are ready for Earthquakes because this week they participated in the Great Shake- Out earthquake drill (and earthquakes hardly ever happen in Utah).  They are prepared for any kind of shake-ups because they are taught in primary that Christ brings peace and comfort.
3rd Nephi 14 provides the counsel we need in these situations, and I want the primary children to think of a song that talks about the exact same thing: A wise man built his house upon a rock and the rain came down and the floods came up and the house on the rock stood firm.
I believe the rock in this story is Christ and the basic tenants of worshipping him: reading the scriptures and saying prayers.  Those are the foundations of my belief and personal experience has taught me that Christ, prayer and reading scriptures can help me through difficult times.
When we run into Faith Earthquakes we can take a step back and think ourselves through them:  is this an earthquake that has the power to shake my faith?  Is the earth moving under my feet, is the sky tumbling down?   Do I need to grab my children and flee?
Most of the time the answer is no, this is minor and cannot shake me away from my faith.  But in all of our lives at different times the big ones inevitably come.  And we need a plan.
A few years ago my faith was seriously shaken in a most unexpected way. 
I was again visiting my parents and staying at their home when a few police officers knocked at our door.  When I saw them I was not alarmed, I have an older brother who used to get in trouble from time to time and I expected it to be something related to him.  He’d caused my parents a lot of grief.  When they came in they told me that there had been a car accident and that my brother Nate was dead.  I’d seen Nate about a half hour before and I told them they’d made a mistake, he was just here.  But there was no mistake and the officer told me to find my parents and siblings and let them know.  I then walked up the longest staircase I’ve ever walked to tell my dad that his eldest son was dead.
When I woke him I told him that there was terrible news, the worst possible news about Nate and that the police were downstairs.  And then I prayed. 
My brother was a lot of things – clever, charming and super cool.  He was a pro skateboarder and snowboarder.  He was not married and had no children.  Nobody else was killed in the accident and there were no drugs nor alcohol involved.  Three years ago yesterday he was basically just plucked from this earth. 
image
Now we are taught a lot of things about death and life after death and I thought I believed and understood them.  But at this time my faith fell flat.  I didn’t know where my brother was.  He had been baptized but stopped attending church in his twenties.  He wasn’t living a righteous lifestyle – he was righteous but not righteous.  My religion tells me that he is in some version of an afterlife, but frankly my faith had not followed that leap.
The months following his death were a dark time for me.  How could my brother and I be headed to the same place if he had made so many bad choices? How could life continue with one of the eight of us just gone?  What had Nate’s 37 years meant?  I wondered if Shakespeare was right and I could not get that part of MacBeth out of my head: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.  Out out, brief candle!  Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.  It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”  Nate’s life had not followed the traditional plan that we are taught.  Did he fail the test?  What happens when your family member fails? 
It was a pretty major faith earthquake for me.  It felt weird having his funeral in the church building where we were raised amongst the Young Men’s teachers who had worried about him.  I wondered if he had ever felt comfortable there, being a black sheep.  I wondered how much the religion divided our family.  I doubted.
But there was still light.  There were my children and my family, and we were in it together.   There were good friends.  There was the sun in the morning and the moon at night.  There were so many blessings in my life and the day still dawned whether or not I knew for sure where my brother was.  My brother’s death was a major faith shaker, but it wasn’t enough to shake me from Hope. 
My children still needed someone to take them to primary so that they could learn about Christ and hope.  Elder Uchdorf counsels us to doubt our doubts.  And so, with a heart laden with questions and doubts, we continued to go to church. 
Sister Wixom shared a story from the writings of Mother Teresa.  In a 1953 letter, Mother Teresa wrote: “Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself—for there is such terrible darkness within me. It has been like this more or less from the time I started ‘the work.’ Ask Our Lord to give me courage.”
Archbishop PĂ©rier responded: “God guides you, dear Mother; you are not so much in the dark as you think. The path to be followed may not always be clear at once. Pray for light; do not decide too quickly, listen to what others have to say, consider their reasons. You will always find something to help you. … Guided by faith, by prayer, and by reason with a right intention, you have enough.”5
I like to think of faith as a pyramid.  There are pieces of religion and truth that I do not yet know or understand about my faith, there are holes in my pyramid.  Goethe wrote, “It is the nature of grace to fill the places that have been empty.”  That’s why I’m here – to find a way to fill those holes and make my pyramid impervious to Faith Earthquakes.   I believe that Christ fills in those holes – that He is the bridge over the troubled parts and that I can be strong in Him.
So I don’t have perfect faith, but Christ said in 2nd Corinthians “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  We are all far from perfect, but the scriptures are full of imperfect people.  Jacob was a cheater.  Peter had a temper.  David had an affair.  Noah got drunk.  Jonah ran from God.  Paul was a murderer. Martha was a worrier.  Thomas was a doubter.  Moses stuttered.  Zaccheus was short.  Abraham was old.  And Lazarus was dead.  That is the type of ward I want to belong to: spiritual giants, followers of Christ despite their weaknesses, flawed people who come to church seeking to be made whole.  The Church I want to belong to isn’t a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken and humbled. 
Christ surely has enough grace for the rest of us who come upon Faith Earthquakes.  I belong here, learning about Christ and worshipping Him, and so do you.
In the meantime, between now and when we know everything and are totally perfect, we have to find what President Monson calls “Joy in the Journey” which is similar to the Japanese concept Wabi-sabi.   Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.  I think this world view beautifully applies to faith: our faiths are works in progress, continuously changing – for the better if we nourish them, for the worse if we dwell on the things we do not know.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.”9  The standing strong is the part that impresses me most.  Wabi Sabi essentially means to find beauty in the “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.”   
If Mother Teresa could live her religion without all the answers and without a feeling of clarity in all things, maybe we can too.  And maybe we can find the beauty in our weaknesses and imperfections because those weaknesses are where we need the light of Christ most.    “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
I bear testimony that I need Christ to fill in all of my cracks and to carry me through my earthquakes.





4/16/15

That's What Saturdays are For

Saturdays are my second favorite day of the week (my first being Mondays because that is weekend for SAH mothers.)  Here are our last few months of Saturdays, the end of a non-existent winter and beginning of an unusually glorious Utah spring.
Saturdays are for Pogo contests.  Hush was the champion but Mimi has been practicing and she is coming up on him fast.
Saturdays are for exploring.  We are trying to find good adventures in the basin because the mountains are still covered in snow.  This hike looked more like a good place to dump a body.  But fun nonetheless.  It's somewhere over near Taylorsville by Hush's previous residence. He used to run there. With mace.
Saturdays are for team cooking with Blue Apron. I believe in Blue Apron, it is the most fabulous cooking thing that's happened to me in years. You need it for your birthday or Mother's Day. 
Saturdays are for balancing red vines on your face and then having an epic stale red vine battle.  What do you do when your kids sneak out of bed after they've been tucked in?  We rain red vines down upon them.  Back to bed or face the red vine barrage! 
Saturdays are for recovering after a long drive to LA to visit Aunties Alina and Val. BL 6 months, Alina evidently ageless and with perfect eyebrows. My eyebrows are "sisters, not twins, and they should be treated as such." ❤️broad city
Saturdays are also for abandoning all four of your kids at Valina's,
grabbing a pair of glasses from Val's organized sunglasses drawer,
and piling in Nathan's dad's car with Kim and Sarah Beth to make a panicked drive to Colin and Lisa's wedding in the San Diego temple.  It was a race against the wedding start time and the XL cokes we drank on the way down.  The cokes won.
Saturdays are for reconnecting with some of LA's finest at their reception.
Kim, me, Nathan, Shiloh, Colin, Lisa the most gorgeous bride, Stevo, Erin looking like the babest pinup girl, and dapper Adam.  A proud collection of freaks and geeks whom I adore.
Saturdays are for watching my five people bonding in the yard. Hush is building a retaining wall and restructuring some things in the wall. There's a master plan.
Saturdays are for hammocks.  When I first checked out this house I was so excited to see three perfectly aligned  hammock trees that would keep Hush happy forever.  He's talking about double decker hammocks. 
Another Saturday Blue Apron meal. So, so delicious.
Saturdays are for free dance classes at Highland High. In an ingenious publicity push for their dance program the dancers put on a three hour free class a few days before their performance. The kids in the free class get to perform for 30 seconds in their show, which means all the parents have to come pay to see their whole entire endless dance show. Hats off, ya sneaky teenagers. Genius plan.
Saturdays are for snugglin my baby in my bed. Every baby I've raised I continue to relive our lost snuggles when I cuddle my current baby. This is why I'm addicted to having babies, I think. I'm trying to regain the infants I've lost as they've grown.
Saturdays are for learning to sit up!

Saturdays are for girl trips to the salon. 

This is how we're spending our transition to spring Saturdays. Pretty soon we will start traveling and hiking and playing soccer and going on outside adventures. But for now we are just relishing the free form days of family and, finally, roots.

3/20/15

First Quarter Iphone Picture Download

I've halted posting for a month because I was waiting to hear back from TED.  I applied to give a talk and I didn't make it.
So now I have some catching up to do! Thus, some disorganized posts. 

We've been here three + months and I'm still having a love affair with our new house.  I always think it's interesting to go back through my records and find house pictures to see how I decorated wherever I've been living.  And I like to be reminded of things I may take for granted as normal in the future.

This is the view from our front window and it has become a major part of my daily life.  When we used to visit Hawaii as a big family my dad would make us march down every.single.night to the beach to watch the sun set.  Rough life, right?  But enough times of being bossed into watching the sunset became annoying.  We called him the Sunset Nazi.  And now I hear myself nearly every day demanding that the kids come look at nature's fireworks.  Thankfully they don't yet resent it and have started alerting me to spectacular sunsets.  Thus I've become a person who takes pictures of sunsets.  That pink line at the bottom is the Great Salt Lake.




January was the month when I was expecting a whole lot of people to come to our house so it had to be ready.  January 18 was the deadline -- our sealing party.  LouLou helped shop.  That's her first cart ride.


Finished product of our room.  My besties came over and helped me paint it that dark gray and Anna consulted and encouraged styling.  She's a beautification wizard.

For the first time in my life we have a TV in our room.  It doesn't get much use, yet.


Final product, currently.  My #1 favorite thing is the curtains that Amy made for me.  Sometimes you need to beg your meticulous and capable friends who can sew to do your real crafts for you.  I know my sewing limits.  She did a great job.
T



Another house pic with my fancy light and hot pink wall.
Husband of mine caught on his way to work.  Let it be known that Hush agreed to let me live in my dream house/dream neighborhood at his expense: he has to drive an hour to and from work every day and I feel guilty and grateful.  He's the patron saint of sacrificing for love and family. Bless him. Amen.


Just a sunset, the norm. Everyday out our front window we get to watch spectacular shows.


Hush and his cousin twin. Three cousins born in the same year, and all three of them had babies this year! That's Becca and Blade the chunk of cuteness.
At Uncle Mark's modeling the deer horns of some variety or another.
LouLou doing the scoot back move that always lands her under the furniture.
Remember how after you have a baby you give up on ever wearing your normal clothes again? That's what this picture is modeling. Taken by Rebekah or Christine, my dearest.
Christine at Rebekah's house where the lemonade has fancy straws.
Oh! This picture is worth a thousand words. A few Fridays ago Hush came home and told me he had rented me a hotel room for the night. BY MYSELF. I was so excited I couldn't sleep. Is there any dream more dreamy than an entire night alone when you have four little kids and a baby who wakes up all the time?
The stars aligned and all three of us were available to spend the day together. One of the best days ever!
Mimi, Lou and Silas under the bench at church. 8, 5, 5 months.
Mimi's 8th birthday party. Family dinner with our Utah family: Kara and fam, Rebekah and Christine's fams. (Poor grammar that sentence.)
Mimi's an ace at opening presents and being excited, she has the Nate gene. He was the best present opener ever.  Also, note the guy holding the cake, Mimi, so that in the future when you're a teenager and screaming "You're not my real dad" you'll remember that Hush has been your real dad every day since you were six.
Rebekah has the magic touch with Baby Lou.
Maddi and Silas in their finery.
Fancy coat. Man I really love this baby. I love babies. Babies are great. I want a million of them.
Ahhh sweet Jude. He always picks me for his Valentine.

The homemade Valentines this year. Jude made each person in his class.
And here's the kid crew on Valentine's Day.