Big Time Goals + Florida

I love new year’s resolutions, but any chance I get to plan and make a list, I will take it.

Goals for 2017

  • Whole30 diet for January (so I stop gaining weight)
  • Stand up for myself, even if it means I am a bitch
  • Buy more furniture
  • Travel to Florida, Palm Springs, and Chicago
  • Go camping more than once
  • Redo the siding on the house– it’s a brick house, free the brick
  • Get to know my neighbors more
  • Golf
  • When my girls ask if I can sleep next to them, say yes
  • Replace the carpet in the sad carpet places in my house
  • Fence the backyard
  • Spend more time with female friends
  • Become a really good technical writer
  • Write a book
  • Publish something
  • Plant a walnut tree
  • Read 30 books
  • Grow my hair out long
  • Cook more fish
  • Get a raise
  • Finish that damned quilt
  • Go for more walks

We went to Florida already, and I am on day five of my Whole30 (and I am so sad inside for turning down that free donut this morning). I’ve read two books, and it’s only the 17th.

It’s going to be a great year.

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2015

We have a lot to say in order to catch up. This last year has been the most difficult, and one with the most change. Maybe that is why I abandoned the blog. There was just too much happening to say anything at all about it. I wrote journal entries of long runs to the park uphill with my girls in tow, and failed backyard camping trips where the neighbor’s outdoor lights were brighter than ten thousand suns. I wrote after the nights I spent crying instead of sleeping. I wrote about my fears, my intense feelings, and my true happiness. I am glad I did, because sometimes, when you are sad, it is nearly impossible to remember when you were happy. I wrote short stories of fiction that made manifest my angst and frustrations. But I didn’t write anything for anyone but myself. I will still try to cover the highlights.

Adam took a three and a half week trip to Italy with his fellow art students in May. He was laid off of work during his last semester. When he came home he worked concrete and did several sculpture projects for people. Some really great projects came out that summer. Then, when fall came, he tried his hand at complete self employment. He started a music school, too. It was exciting, terrible, and beyond telling.

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We went to New York City in August. Stayed in an AirBnB apartment. We went to the MoMA, The new Whitney, walked The Highline, saw the Klimt exhibition at the Neue Gallery. Oh also the Met. It was over one weekend, and it fulfilled all my dreams. Also it satisfied my very real jealousy I had for Adam’s Italy trip.

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The New Whitney

I decided to go back to school in the summer. I felt I was very close to my undergrad. Now that I had actually came into my own as a stand alone person. This means that I felt comfortable leaving my post as “wife who spends all her time focusing on the success of her spouse”. Adam had actually decided to become someone he loved. He chose to get his BFA in sculpture. He was working how he wanted. He was spending his free time exactly doing what fulfilled him. So I turned my attention to myself. I was going to step it up and become a writer. I closed up my pie business I had going on in Ogden. And I enrolled at Weber. That first semester was perfect. I actually loved my classes. I read a book a week for one of the classes and wrote pages upon pages of fiction for another class (where I was rewarded with positive feedback).

Then things got kind of hard.

The work slowed. Things got tight. The weather got cold. The business waned. And I got lost. December came, I finished fall semester, and we came to conclusion that this couldn’t continue. Adam sent his resume off to a fine art bronze foundry in Springville, which was a good two-hour drive from Ogden. They met and things looked like a good fit. They even suggested we wait until I finish school, which I had been telling everyone I only had spring semester left (but I knew I really had two more to go). But the work was almost at a standstill in the winter. We hardly had an income to stand on. I became stressed and not easy to talk to. So we thought about it for a couple of weeks, then decided to take the plunge. To leave our beautiful Ogden home, in a town we loved, and move to Provo, a town we always were a little weary of anyway. Looking for a rental was difficult. I tried to transfer to a closer college, but that didn’t work out. But we still felt good about it.

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Our last goodbye to Ogden

So we moved in on December 31st, and rang in the new year unpacking boxes and going to sleep early. Adam started work at the foundry and it is a great fit. I started my spring semester, still at Weber, taking the Frontrunner train two hours there and two hours home, and the girls got a place at a Provo daycare three days a week while I am at school.

We are still getting acclimated to Provo. Springville has a great Art Museum, and there are some great International fare in downtown Provo. The library is something special. And I have never seen more young women walking around in long skirts holding hands with young men in all my life.

 

Set Apart for the Young Ones

 

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I have more plans for the room. I want to hang quilts above the bed and crib; the quilt their grandma made Mae and the quilt I made for Nina. When Nina is potty trained, I am taking out the changing table and moving their toys in here. But there is always something. And they are always growing. They love their room. They sleep so well in it. It is the place they go when they are tired and upset, to calm down. They both crawl into Mae’s bed, under the covers and giggle and bounce around. That white couch has seen years of holding baby girls, nursing them, and singing them to sleep. This is a place to put band-aides on, brush wet hair after a bath, tuck in covers, change poopy bums, and where Mae practices dressing herself. It was really put together the other day, so I took some photos to always remember the special place that helped them from babies to toddlers.

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Mae turned 3 years old on Saturday, and that night we told her that she is all big now, so no more binkies. She has been using a binky at night since we banned them from days when she was 1. About nine months ago, she used her binkies to “buy” a boat for the bath. For four nights she cried so loud and horrible over and over and over again between small sleeping sessions until morning. Like she was in the utmost pain. I would lay in bed with her while she stroked my face, tears coming down her cheeks, begging me to answer the question “why?”. One the fifth night, I looked at the situation omnisciently, and decided she wasn’t ready, and gave her back her binkies. And she fell right to sleep and woke up happy.

So this time, I did a lot of prep. Telling her that only babies use binkies, and she was a big girl. Well, after a day where she was bombarded with positive attention about becoming a big girl, surrounded by all her most loved and favorite people, with a house full of new toys, I told her she was 3 now, and we don’t use binkies anymore. She cried, but only because she was learning to sleep without it. She woke crying, but it was ok. Last night, Adam held her like a baby until she fell asleep, since she is learning how to comfort without the binkie. It was such a surreal and beautiful moment to watch him hold her, wrapped in a blanket, singing all her favorite songs, until she slipped off into dreamland. Sometime after he laid her down, she cried again, only halfheartedly asking for her binkie back once. Then it got bad. She cried, “I can’t do this!” while wailing into a pillow. But it wasn’t like a plea for us to cave in, it was like she also wanted to give it up, it was just hard. So I made sure she had her elephant, flashlight, cup of water, and laid with her, rubbing her back, letting her know she can do it. We will just keep at it, until it doesn’t hurt anymore. And it will be ok. I hoped that moving on from the binkie that she would be with us in it, and that’s the way it is. It is difficult, but we will learn to grow up together. Hand in hand.

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Marathon Mae

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Adam and I are very serious about helping Mae discover an identity, something that she really loves. We felt that we had to do a lot of discovery in adulthood that could have been better cultivated in childhood, and we don’t want that for our daughters. Mae loves to paint and draw. So we paint and draw, to the ends of the earth. Well, for the past few months she has been doing these self-starting games about running. She asks me to count her off, one, two, three and on three, she takes off running to the other side of the house only to declare,  “I did it!” When we go outside, she begs, “Mom, run with me!” And we run back and forth in front of our house. We go for walks, and she spends most of the time running ahead of me, before getting distracted by a walnut or dog.

My sister-in-law, Stephanie, told me about how when she would run at the track, she would take her kids and some would try to run too, but just go play in the grass, but her daughter, H, would keep pace with her the whole time, and if Mae is really interested in running then that might be the trick. So I put on her tennies and pulled back her hair, and we walked over to the high school. She ran around the track twice, then ran bleachers, then ran the track again, then the other side bleachers. A few times she would stop and breathe hard, but when I would ask if she was tired she would reply, “More running!” It was raining lightly this whole time, and by the end was picking up a lot, so I got her to run out of the track and head home. My Nike app said we did 20 minute miles, and did about a mile and half in total. I got to say, I never had more fun exercising. I was chasing a two-year old around a track! It was fabulous. Mae was thrilled to be able to run as far, long, and fast as she wanted.

I looked into it, and she can join track when she is six years old, which is in four years. I think she will be very prepared for that moment. As long as it makes her happy.

A Man in an Ironed Shirt

I thought it would be quaint. A nod to the first generation who lived in my house. Mostly because modern women don’t wash all their family’s clothes then iron them all, before folding or hanging them away. It is a joke among most my friends about how many days we can go before even getting the wash into the dryer. So one day, as another joke, I brought all the clothes up in baskets, sat them on my kitchen floor, opened the hideaway door for my built in 1930’s ironing board, and ironed all their clothes. I cannot even begin to express in words how it made me feel. Maybe two words can do it: pure love. Not for ironing. That is silly. But for my family. As I ironed each piece I imagined my husband or daughters wearing this piece, feeling the freshly pressed material, and then going out into the world. The way each shirt or pair of pants transforms from wrinkly, fluffy, faded into airy, flat, and like-new was surprisingly amazing. It was like the surest way to feel like you are giving love.

I don’t always iron all the clothes anymore, and sometimes, the laundry does pile up. However, when the opportunity for extra care presents itself, I do it. When I was growing up, my brothers and I used to put our clothes out for school the night before, and my dad would iron them on a makeshift ironing board made of a towel on the kitchen counter. I loved waking up to ironed clothes laid on the banister. I can’t believe how many years my dad did that for us kids.

Lately my opinion of my husband has probably surpassed a healthy level of love and respect. It is like I have fallen in love, all over again. I cannot explain it. We didn’t fall out of love, or our love even wane, it has just grown unusually fast suddenly. He went to work today, they called him in early, and so upon missing him, I gathered up his wrinkly shirt and ironed it. Immediately feeling the instant gratification of expressing love. A man in an ironed shirt is a man who cares and is loved. When he leaves the home he represents all I do at home, and having a full belly, an ironed shirt, and a smile on his face is quite possibly the best way I can show him I love him.

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Making Art

Mae approaches art like a confident, established, and reputable artist. She walks right up to her paper and immediately begins making circles, long strokes, and scribbles, in this heat of gusto, she shakes from the intense concentration. Then, in a moment, she sits up straight and declares, “I did it!” She looks at her work, deciding it needs more, and begins it all over again.

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Adam, who is currently a senior in his BFA program, told me he wishes he could do art like her. She doesn’t worry about how this painting will effect her body of work, what it “means”, what it “says”, and if she could have used different material or process. She just jumps in with all four limbs, uninhibited. She is unafraid, and when she has an idea, it overcomes her. I think that is a way we should all try to get back to.