Monday, July 30, 2012

because love is not easy, but it's worth it

3 years ago today, at the right time and in the right place, Daniel and I were married in the Oakland temple. I'm not sure if I ever pictured what married life would be, it was just something I knew Daniel and I would do, grow old together. So without a clear expectation of what married life would be like, I cannot tell you if it has been everything I thought it would be. What I can tell you is that we have laughed till it hurts, fought till we cried, experienced happiness highs and frustrating lows, and through it all are continuing to redefine what love means for us.

I did not grow up within a home where a healthy and successful marriage existed. My parents divorced when I was 11, and although their tumultuous marriage was all I had ever known, I knew that was not the kind of marriage I wanted. Honestly, I did not ever think about marriage as a kid, my life was to adopt a child when I was 27 (that was seriously my plan when I was 9 or so). As I grew older into my teen years there was so much angst and tumoil within myself that thinking about my future in certain terms was not something I often did. Did I ever think I wouldn't get married? No. Did I ever imagine myself married? No. I just dated because it was fun (or in other cases because I did not want to tell the poor boy, 'no'). By the time I was at the ripe old age of 19 I was pretty much done with dating. I had a conversation with my friend Katy as we drove 12 hours from California to Utah, basically stating that I did not want to date anymore. The result of that decision? I started dating Daniel a few weeks later (funny how those things work out).

When I first met Daniel at church my friends who had taken ASL classes could communicate better with him than I could. I knew my abc's, colors and basic animals (can you imagine what thrilling conversations we had?). To this day I cannot remember how we communicated effectively the first few months (i'm sure if you asked Daniel he could tell you some funny stories about me trying to sign). I suppose we had to be truly smitten with eachother to date for so long without a strong common language between us. The rest is basic dating stuff, doing everything together, spending ridiculous amounts of time doing nothing together, but still loving every moment of it. When we had be dating for quite sometime (maybe a year) I started to wonder how I would know if Daniel was the one I was supposed to marry. I read an LDS book where a general authority talked about knowing he was going to marry his wife, and never asking God if it was right until after he had made the decision. Then there a moment one night after we went on a date when we were sitting on the couch talking, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes and in that moment I could see his face, old and wrinkled from age, and I knew that was the face I was going to see in 50 years every night before I went to bed and every morning when I woke up. I knew that we were meant to grow old together. Then we got married and everything changed.

No, I'm kidding! Well mostly kidding, things did change but in a good way. Our love and our relationship became more real, more gown-up I would say. I think all of that is to be expected and signs of a healthy relationship. I say it is to be expected but I, myself did not expect it (so any engaged couples out there, heads up!). During these 3 years I have been constantly try to figure out what is love, what does it mean to me and what does it mean for us. A while ago I started keeping a mental list of the little things in our marriage that I thought defined love.

Love is...
... letting me have the last ice cream sandwich, even though it is really yours.
... coming with me to hang out with my friends. even though you get really, really bored.
... driving to 3 different stores at 2 am (after working till 12 am and having to be back at work at 8:30am) to buy you nyquil.
... washing dishes after a long day at work, because I am sick of dishes everyday for the past 2 weeks.
... letting you sleep in while I get up with Leo (this one goes both ways)
... giving you massages almost everyday, even though you don't give them to me, because you suck at giving massages.

There are many more examples, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. The common theme thoughtout each of these is selflessness (you know, opposite of selfishness, i'm pretty sure it is a real word). And while neither of us are perfect (even though I like to think i'm a little closer to perfection than he is, I am so very, very wrong), we are perfect for eachother (or at least we are in the continual process of trying to be). So happy anniversary sweetie! It has been a crazy ride but i'm glad i'm on it with you, because this love is not easy, but it's worth it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

because i am thankful for tender mercies

Have you ever had a moment in your life where everything was going wrong? I had one of those moments today, and it all came to head when I was on the phone with my mom and was crying so hard I could barely talk. How did I get there? Allow me to explain....

Our (only) car needed to go to the mechanic, again. It had some mysterious affliction that two previous mechanics could not figure out, and I did not know if it would cost $50 or $500 (or more) to fix. On top of that the first mechanic we called was booked solid today, tomorrow is a state holiday, so wednesday is the earliest they could fit us in. That was not an option for us, so they referred us to another mechanic (that is the fourth one we contacted, if you are keeping count) and they had the same story as the other mechanic, but after I explained our situation I think they felt bad for me and said they would try to fit us in. This still meant we needed a rental car for today, tomorrow (because while the mechanics are off work, Daniel is not), and wednesday too. And did I mention how I am not working, so we have a reduced income right now? Cue me calling me my mom and having a complete meltdown.

So what happened? I eventually calmed down and things worked out (thanks mom!) and our car was fixed today and it was a relatively simple fix (please don't let that jinx anything) and we won't need the rental car for 2 more days. My husband would use the outcome of all this to point out that I should not worry about these things so much, I would then proceed to tell him that for me to do that would be like telling a giraffe not to have a long neck (that is just the way I am, you have to deal with it!).

The lesson I have learned over the past 4 days (that is how long this current car fiasco has been going on) is that God knows me, that He is watching over me, and that He gives me little tender mercies so that I can remember these things. Like on friday when I spent an hour on the phone with 4 different people, and eventually ended with the conclusion that the repairs and parts to fix the car would be covered under a warranty, and would therefore cost us nothing. Although that situation did not happen, I did not find out that it would not be the case until after I took my performance test (the second part of my interpreter certification test). I was able to fully focus on my test, and then shortly afterwards freaked out about the car. Or how I thought I would miss my friends birthday celebration because we had no car to drive to provo, but we were able to get a ride there and spend a relaxing evening with friends (thanks Aaron and Katrina, happy 25th birthday Dee!). Or how today we were able to get our car to the shop and a friend (thank you Jenefer!) was available to pick us up and drive us to the rental car place (who waived some fees because our car was in the shop). Or how I was still anxious about finding out about our car but then had a skype date with my friend Julie and her darling girl Eloise, and afterwards I felt so much better and happier. Or how when the mechanic called with great news and that we can pick up our car tomorrow morning. Or how my mom is awesome and I cannot live without her. The list goes on and on. I have a testimony from these past 4 days of the goodness of God and how much He cares for me; not by taking away my trials, but giving me ways to endure them. And because of all that, I am so thankful for tender mercies.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

because i miss going to the movies

The last time my husband and I went out to see a movie in a movie theatre was nearly 3 years ago, and I miss going. The movie theatre popcorn (so unhealthy but so buttery and delicious), the excitement and anticipation of a new movie, the dark theatre where you can steal a kiss (or two) and feel like you are in high school again, the list goes on. It may seem like I am romanticizing the whole experience (and I probably am), but it has been so long that now I dream about going to the movies. And why do we not go to the movies anymore? Because movie theatres in Utah do not have open captioning (or at least at any sort of convenient time or place, meaning not 30 miles away or during a weekday afternoon, for example).

For those who have no idea what that means, I shall explain, but first I will get this out of the way. My husband is Deaf. No, he was not born that way (he was born hearing and became deaf as a result of an illness at 22 months). His whole family is hearing (as is mine), and none of our children will be deaf (if they are it will be unrelated to my husband). I did not know ASL before I met him, we met at church and I took a crash course in sign language, and have been going ever since.

Now that we have the top 5 most asked questions out of the way, let me just say that movie theatres here in Utah do indeed caption their movies, but they do not often offer OC (open captioning). Most places offer RVC (rear view caption), which is a little screen attatched to a stick (not the best description ever) that fits into the cup holder and you watch the movie through that screen and it adds the captions. Daniel refuses to watch a movie with RVC (I don't blame him, they make you sit awkward and cuddling is not and option). OC is when the captions are put directly onto the screen, just like at home on the TV. In california there was a theatre that offered OC that we would go to often, here in Utah they offer OC but the times and places and movies are so limited it makes it near impossible.

All if this means that whenever I want to see a new movie, I try to forget about it till it comes out on DVD and we can watch it at home. It means no movie dates, no dollar movies, and no drive in movies either. 5 years ago (when I first started dating my husband) I was never aware about things like this (and anything else relating to the deaf communtiy for that matter). But in 5 years together I have learned a lot of things, and I am grateful for all of our experiences and our life together, but I do have to say, I miss going to the movies.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

because making potato salad makes me appreciate my mom even more

Today is my mom's birthday, happy birthday mom!!!!

Last friday I made (for the second time in my life) my grandmother's potato salad for a 4th of July party on saturday. To say this potato salad is my favorite would not be an accurate description, it is the only potato salad I like (I am not a potato salad snob, I promise!). This dish was at nearly every family summer gathering when I was growing up, and nothing can compare to it, but it is a bit of a time consuming thing to make. It involves scrubbing and boiling potatoes, then peeling them while still very hot, finely dicing vegetables adding just the right amount of vinegar, layering vegis and hot potatoes, etc. So as I was making the recipe (feeling rather crummy and tired as it was 10 pm) I kept thinking about how many times my mom has made this, how many hours she spent peeling screaming hot potatoes so I could eat my favorite potato salad, and it made me love her even more.

I will give a little background about my relationship with my mom, and you will see just how far we have come.

To write a personal history at this point in my life would be quite lengthy (think novel rather than short story), even thought I am only 24 I have been through a lot, but I will provide the reader's digest version for the moment (this is after all about my mom). My parents divorced when I was 11, and the rocky relationship started then. I lived with my mom, and did not want to have anything to do with my dad, or my mom at certain points. In high school I dealt with eating disorders and depression which landed my in various psychiatric faciltities and hours of therapy, all of this I did not think I needed, and blamed my mom for inflicting it all on me. There was a point in my life where I hated my mom more than anyone else in the world. Then one day I had an epiphany, I had been wrong all along and my mother was an amazing women.

Since that momentous day, I have been continually apologizing to my mother (for anything and everything I put her through in my crazy teen years), telling her over and over how much I love and admire her (I feel silly saying it so often and in so many ways, but she deserves it), and finding new ways all the time to find a new appreciation for things she has done and still does for me. I cannot count how many times I have been in a situation with my husband or my son and thought, "Oh my goodness, I need to call my mom and apologize for ____ (fill in the blank with whatever lesson I learned)". I am continually learning new ways to love my mom, and sometimes it is in funny situations, because something like making potato salad makes me appreciate my mom even more.

because i love watching him learn new things

Since summer started (when school got out on June 1, not the technical start on June 20, because summer is already in full swing by then) I have had the opportunity to become a stay-at-home mom. I haven't enjoyed every minute of it (wanting to find a job to help with income has been stressful, and staying inside the majority of the day hiding from the heat is no picnic either) but I have been enjoying my time with my little man. In June when Leo became 13 months it seemed like his mind opened up to the world around him. He started signing words (we had been waiting for that moment for 7 months!) and he can sign over 10 words now (daddy, eat, stinky, please) and can understand others (like sit down and kiss). In addition to added language and understanding words he has learned how to control his body (sorta). He can now put big plastic coins in a piggy bank slot (before he would try and try and couldn't do it so he would get mad and give up) and he can walk backwards and stomp his feet. And I have been teaching him how to dance (shake his head, move his arms and stomp his feet), it is the cutest thing ever!

My friend Katrina (hi Katrina if you're reading this!) works at an on campus pre-school at her college, i'm not sure if child development is her major (it is either that or photography, or something else) and although she doesn't have any children (yet) she has lots of experience with kids. She always talks about how amazing it is to see kids learn and experience things for the first time (she gets really excited when she talks about it). When we first had this discussion Leo was younger and although he was learning things (how to crawl, how to feed himself, etc) there was not a huge excitement factor (oh gosh, I sound like a bad mom now, I was really excited for those things, but now the things he does are even more exciting). Everyday Leo learns something new and am so happy that I get to stay at home to watch him discover these new things (however stressful it may make things). I am thankful that God gives me people in my life like Katrina who teach me new things and help me appreciate and look at my little man in a new way, because I love watching him learn new things.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

because i passed my test, but i still feel like a failure

I am back my dear blog! Did you think I forgot about you? NEVER! (Well given my track record with keeping a blog, I really do not blame you if you panicked and thought that you had been abandoned) I've been busy (sort of, I can't particularly think of why I was busy at the moment, but I assure you I had a good reason!) so this post is about what happened on monday (better late than never).

So this past monday I took the written test to become an interpreter, again (see post 'because failing a test does not make me a failure'). I was less nervous only because I knew what to expect this time and I had studied the things I didn't know on the previous test. The verdict? I passed. A passing score is 80, and I got and 80. I should be excited right? I passed the test, that is all I needed to do so I could take the next test to become and interpreter. Am I excited? Not really. Relieved and disappointed would probably be the two words that would describe my feelings right now. Relieved because I did pass, I don't have to pay more money to take the same test, and I can now move on to the next part. Disappointed because I got an 80, I barely passed. I just took this test the week before, how did I barely pass??? I should have gotten a higher score (because this is the kind of crap I put myself through) and that is what is keeping myself from enjoying this moment and be excited.

Shortly after I failed my first test a woman who had been helping me with the process called to give me some support and advice. One of the first things she told me was that some people have to retake the test multiple times (think 8 times, or more) until they pass. Then she assured me that I would not be one of those people. This should make me feel better about my score, right? Some people would have killed for an 80 on their second test, but sadly, that is no consolation to me. After I passed the test and I was scheduling the next part of the test, the proctor said to me, "now is the time you get to celebrate, go home and enjoy the moment". When he said that I tried to be happy, I really did, but there was that little perfectionist inside of me robbing me of that joy.

So here I sit, trying to be happy but there is that little part of me that keeps obsessing about my score, an 80. I'm trying, I really am because I passed my test (yay), but I still feel like a failure.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

because something did change, sorta

So over the weekend (friday, saturday, sunday) I challenged myself to stop and think and do something else before getting on the computer and checking facebook or pinterest for the millionth time. I made a list of 10 things (like reading the Book of Mormon or a church magazine, washing dishes, hang up and put away clothes, etc.) and the goal was to pick one of them and do it before I touched the computer.

How did I do? Well... I did really good, and really bad, and somewhere in the middle. Taking on this challenge over the weekend made it both easier and harder. For me saturday is one of my busiest days of the week, because my husband is home and that means the car is home. So saturday becomes 'run all your errands' day, and in that respect I did not have a whole lot of time to think about getting on facebook or pinterest. Sunday is a day usually reserved for going to church, I say usually because as luck would have it, Leo had a fever on saturday and sunday, which means mom and baby stayed home. Staying home meant the computer was just staring as me the whole time, mocking and taunting me to come over and take a little peek and the wonderful world wide web. I tried to stay away, I really did.

This whole process made me realize a few things though. For one, I went on the internet less when I had to "earn" it. Friday morning I wanted to check facebook, so I pulled out my Ensign and read (I did kill two birds with one stone because I had visiting teaching to do so I read that message while I was at it). Later that morning I wanted to go on the computer again, so I picked up and threw away pieces of junk mail and trash (we have lots of empty water and soda bottles that Leo insists on playing with, then 20 minutes later forgets about, how rude right?) and then proceeded to check pinterest. Then In the afternoon something changed, as I looked at the computer again wanting to just open it up and take a peek I was reminded of this challenge, and suddenly I was too lazy to do anything on my list so I gave up and left the laptop where it was. I will admit that come friday night and I needed an idea for dinner I went straight for pinterest, and justified not "earning" it with the fact that I needed a recipe for dinner, I was not going on for fun (though my eyes couldn't help but glimpse all the cool things people had pinned). This happened a few more times on saturday night and sunday too.

So my 3 day challenge is done, what now? Well, I want to do it again. I'm not sure why I have this weird desire to keep proving things to myself (like this keeping the blog updated) but this is something that I want to prove to myself that I can do, and that I can do it right (meaning not be a big fat cheater like I did before). It also probably has something to do with the fact that when I "earn" my internet time, I don't feel as guilty about being on facebook or pinterest, and I tend to be on it less. These are all positives in my book. So now I am onto the next leg of this challenege, 3 days was a sprint, 10 days will be my middle distance event. Working my way up to a long course 1500? We'll see, but for now 10 days (starting today, and yes I did "earn" my blog time right now!) is my goal, because something did change, sorts. But now I want an even bigger change.

Monday, July 2, 2012

because i am a domestic goddess

My house may be messy, I may have dirty dishes in the sink, and I may have not mopped my kitchen floor in.. well, in a while; but I am a domestic goddess! Last night I made yogurt, from scratch! I am so proud of myself, I feel a little silly, nevertheless I made yogurt, and it wasn't even that hard. I found the recipe/idea on Pinterest (of course) and it was easy as pie to make (well, i've never really made a pie from scratch before, but everyone says it, so i'll take their word for it). <-- This is the website where I found the recipe that I followed, and it is all done in the slow cooker, which is awesome, because I love my slow cooker (I haven't always had such an affectionate relationship with slow cookers, my mom could share a story or two). There is something so satisfying about taking ingredients and transforming them into something else, I feel down right rustic pioneer-y (minus the use of a slow cooker and pasteurized milk and store-bought yogurt). I was so excited to see my yogurt this morning (you have to let it sit for 8 hours for the magical transformation) that I couldn't sleep! I woke up at 7:30 (before both my boys) and could not go back to sleep, I had to see what happened! It is nothing short of awesomeness, not only do I not have to buy yogurt at the store (Leo is not a fan of drinking milk, but he will eat yogurt, so that is a daily staple), but I will not be buying sour cream either (after straining out liquid with paper towels, a colander, a bowl and something to weight it down overnight in the fridge, voila, sour cream!). And I can use it for making ranch dressing too! Seriously my mind has been thinking all day about what I can do with my lovely yogurt (short of saving the world, it can do anything, i'm sure of it). That is why I am so darn proud of myself, I made yogurt from scratch because I am a domestic goddess!