Tuesday, April 16, 2013
There are so many senseless, horrible, devastating things that happen in the world. Tragedies are a dime a dozen these days. Sometimes they are private and mourned deeply by a few, sometimes they are broadcast on every channel and watched obsessively by grief stricken masses.
Today, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing at least two--one an eight year old child--and wounding over 100 more.
Today, a young father died of complications from a relatively routine surgery, leaving his wife and five young children.
Today, Kate let me put pigtails in her hair for the first time. When Jay got home, we walked to the park in what felt like gale-force winds and gently pushed a nervous Kate in the swing. Later, I carried her up to bed, sang her a lullaby, and blew her kisses. She copied the motion and smiled so big her pacifier almost fell out of her mouth.
Life seems so surreal sometimes. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, a nice house, a steady income, a loving family, supportive friends, a happy life. Things are so good right now that I have sporadic moments of consuming anxiety where horrible scenarios flash through my mind involving car crashes, cancer, injury, loss.
I just have to steel myself, take a deep breath, and hold onto this moment. This moment--right now--when I have so much. And I kiss my husband and squeeze my soft baby until she squirms. And I cry when I hear about bombings and blood clots and babies who die before they're born because I know that it could just as well have been me in those situations, that it just as well might be me in the future, because you never really think it will be you or your family, but the fact of the matter is that it is someone and someone's family, and we're all just a bunch of someones and we all take our turn at this giant roulette wheel.
And there is a God up there, but sometimes I think He sits there shaking His head along with the rest of us at the crazy things that happen in this world. I don't think God starts the ball rolling on any of these tragedies, but ours is a God of "in spite ofs" and "neverthelesses" and we have His promise that He's there with us in the stony pit of our grief and in the sunlit valley of our peace. He's there for the good and the bad, the whole roller coaster.
He wept today with those experiencing heart-wrenching loss. He smiled with me today as my little family braved the wind and as I blew kisses to a sleepy baby.
I don't know how that's possible, to celebrate and to mourn with equal sincerity at the same time, but God manages it, and I wonder if, sitting in my peaceful home and looking out at the heartbreak of others through the window of my computer screen, I experienced the smallest part of that today.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Kate's Aunt Wees was called to serve in the California San Bernardino mission. She left for the MTC on February 6th.
On February 4th, she drove down to Vegas to spend the afternoon with us.
Kate was so excited. Aunt Wees is basically one of her favorite people ever.
In case you couldn't tell.
We miss Aunt Wees, but we're so proud of her. Kate will be walking and talking before we see her next, but I have a feeling these 18 months are going to fly by.
Kate was so proud of herself when she figured out her finger fit perfectly in her little nostrils. She was on a nose-picking kick for a few weeks.
Funny story about these pictures--Lisa had wanted copies of them ASAP, and I was so proud of myself because I ordered them and picked them up just a couple days after I got her letter requesting them. We were headed to the cabin the next day, so I dropped them off with my dad so that they could get them to Lisa as quickly as possible (you know, since they actually mail things and I don't). So you can imagine my horror when I came back on Sunday to find the stack of pictures on the counter. I just assumed that missionary daughter's happiness trumps all. Silly, silly me. I forgot about the parental obsession exception:
Missionary daughter + only granddaughter = fodder for the shrine.
Mom said, "Oh. I thought you brought the pictures for us." And I said, "Well, tell me which one you want and I'll print it off for you." And she said, "Um, I want all of them. For the shrine. It's Lisa AND Kate." As if that explained it all.
We love you, Wees!
Friday, March 8, 2013
Waiting at the bottom of the stairs with Grandma. None of us kids are allowed to go upstairs to the tree until we're all gathered together, at which point, in the old days, Dad would stand at the top of the stairs with a video camera and torture us with things like, "Looks like Santa's been here, guys. Too bad you have to wait till Mom's out of the shower before you come up." And then we'd finally process up the stairs in single file from youngest to oldest and excitedly turn the corner and see the piles of presents radiating from the base of the tree.
Santa usually leaves a present or two unwrapped for each person (You can see Aunt Weese's mission luggage in the foreground). Kate loved this caterpillar toy from Grandma and Grandpa.
Happy as a kid on Christmas morning.
Kate was just as into tasting the presents as she was into playing with them.
Wrapping paper and bows + the present inside = double the fun.
While opening this present from Grandma Fae, Kate was so excited. She had this open-mouthed look of wonder as she peered into the box. She loves her new books!
I didn't take any specific pictures of them, but I made a few of Kate's presents this year. I like the idea of homemade gifts, and while I'm far from creative or crafty, I wanted to give my child some things I had invested some of my time and some of myself into. I made her some fabric balls and a ring-stacking toy.
Kate got this puzzle from Santa. She loves tasting the animals and pulling them out of the puzzle. Eventually she'll get the hang of putting them back in their places.
She was so precious in her pajamas.
It was so fun to spend Christmas with Kate! She is such a sweet, happy little thing. It is so weird to think back to last year when I was very pregnant and to think ahead to next year when Kate will be running around and talking.
Happy first Christmas, Kate. Here's to many more.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Valentine's Day was pretty low-key for us this year. We celebrated on the 13th and had a delicious dinner. In years past we've made elaborate meals, but this year we kept things pretty simple: grilled salmon, grilled asparagus, Costco rolls, and a spinach strawberry salad. Served on our beautiful china with a tablecloth, candles, and the star lilies Jay got me, it was a gorgeous spread.
And what was our little ragamuffin Valentine doing?
Making messes, of course!
Every time she sees me get down on the floor with the camera, she scoots toward me as fast as she can.
Which generally means I don't get a lot of pictures before she's climbing up my legs.
I don't mind, though.
Past Valentine's Days: 2009, 2010, 2011 (Last year I was so pregnant we didn't do much for V-day...)
Friday, March 1, 2013
After what felt like hours but was probably only 20 minutes, they handed over my baby, a striped hat on her head. I laid her on my chest, her warm skin against mine. I looked her over, saw her swollen little face and her long arms and legs. She looked huge to me--a fully formed little human that had been folded up inside of me. I couldn't believe I'd been sharing my body with such a large visitor.
Amy helped me with nursing my baby for the first time, and then all the nurses left and it was just me and Jay and our baby. We were exhausted (Jay was sick with a cold and feeling quite ill) and sat there in shock that our family was now three and that they left us unsupervised. We held her fragile form with awkward tenderness and looked at each other in amazement.
Other than my fever, the birth went better than I could have hoped: I went into labor on my own and was able to progress without the aid of pitocin until the end. I always knew I wanted an epidural, but I also wanted to experience some of the pain, and I was able to do that. I got an effective epidural that allowed me to rest but still allowed me to be an active participant in what my body was doing. I had a supportive midwife and a fantastic partner in Jay. The pushing was minimal and the birth was peaceful and complication-free. I am so grateful.
The next few days were a high--a "babymoon" of sorts. I was ridiculously proud of myself. I know it sounds silly, but I don't know how else to describe that feeling--it was a warm, all-encompassing sense of accomplishment that dulled the pains of my healing body.
On February 24th, 2012, in a beautiful and bloody sequence of events, Kathryn Fae made me a mother.