Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Baby's Quilt

I have a special relationship with my parents at this point in my life. I live within driving distance to their house, and occasionally in the last couple of years I have driven up there for some short visits. Just me and my babies. It's a rare opportunity to be one-on-one with your parents without your spouse, and it's especially rare in a family of 11. It also never happens that you are alone at their house, in their environment, almost like you are a kid again. It's a markedly different experience, and one I cherish and want to remember for years to come.

Comfort is the thing that comes to mind when I think of these experiences. Even the drive up there is a comfortable routine. My girls are quite good travelers at this age (and the right time of day), so all I need is a good book tape for me to listen to and some snacks to share and there will be little complaints. This time I listened to the book Cheap (where I found the first section, the history of cheap goods, especially fascinating).

Relaxation is the next thing that comes to mind. The end of this pregnancy has been quite taxing on me, and I've been debating back and forth with myself if I should go up to visit my parents. Ultimately I decided it would probably be more relaxing for me than bad for my health, and I was right. My parents take care of me and my children, and I have no obligations. I feel no judgment from them and don't stress about tiding up here or picking up there, which is definitely a major advantage to being on their playing field and not mine.

Unconditional love is the over-arching theme from their visits. I was trying to pin down exactly what it was that I cherished so much about going home. What made it so comfortable and relaxing? Was it the feel of the couches? The familiar-ness of the town? The cooking? Something about being a part of my parents' lives in their own environment screams love to me. I finally realized it's a mirror of what we will feel when we are back in our Heavenly Parents' presence: unconditional love. There won't be any time to stress about if we swept the floor before he came because it is His floor. We will be there on His terms, with nothing to distract us. We will be stripped down to the basics. His love is so powerful, not dependent on anything we have done or what we feel about ourselves, and we will feel his love just because we are His. The love of a parent for a child. What a blessing that we get a taste of that while on this earth.

Baby brother this quilt is a symbol of that love I feel for you. And a symbol of that same love your grandmother has for me. The very same love your Heavenly Parents feel for all of us, in its complete fullness.

It was a little bit of a headache a few times (which can all be attributed to your mother's poor sewing skills), but Grandma always comes in and saves the day. I followed this tutorial, and took some ideas from here as well.

Come soon, baby brother. We are all getting sick of you being stuck inside.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Maiden Voyage

This post will seem utterly ridiculous to those of you who have always been members of the 21st century, but....

We got a dishwasher!!!!!!

We have been dishwasher-less since we have been married (make that nearly 4.5 years). No, I am not one of those noble types that wants to wash each dish by hand, or a very clean type who washes a dish every time I use them. My dishes come in piles. They cover up countertops. They sit for extended periods of time. Despite my best efforts to change this about myself (okay maybe not best efforts), I am still weak in this area. And since we moved upstairs, my kitchen is three times bigger (make that three times more places to pile up dishes). It was really getting out of hand. And with a newborn coming, I know I will not have the countless hours to scrub and inspect each dish. Or the emotional stamina. Luckily, it only took one week of kitchen duty to persuade Ben to my side.

Being as there has NEVER been a dishwasher in our 1930's kitchen, Ben had to rip out a whole section of cabinet (and therefore rebuild part of it, very soon).

 We decided to GO BIG or go home with quite the fancy model. We definitely don't always decide to do this, but I think in this particular case it was the right decision.

We waited with bated breath for the first load to finish. I threw in day old, crusted potato soup bowls and chocolate milk cups. I didn't even lift a scrub brush. "We can always do them over again, this is just to test it out," I told myself. Finally, it dinged. I wanted to cry as I opened the dishwasher. Through the steam I saw...
Beautiful, glistening dishes!

Ben and I inspected each one. "Could this be real?"
"Think of all the hours and physical exertion it would have taken to scrub that off! This is insane!"
I felt like a farmer who had seen a tractor for the first time. Honestly, I have never been so grateful for technology.

The time I have now. Although hand washing dishes allowed me to deeply understand the role of work in the home, I hope to use this extra time to finally get to things I have put off for a very very long time. Like cleaning the microwave. Or wiping down the fridge. Or sorting through cupboards. The possibilities (and the number of things I have neglected) are endless! May this be the beginning of a new life for me, and the closing of a chapter of a very dirty house.

I can't leave this post without giving a shout-out to this guy. He made everything possible. He redid all the wiring and the plumbing and tore everything out and will rebuild it all. But more than anything, I realized today, he did it because he loves me. I've been less than cordial to this good-hearted man in my emotional, crazy, pregnancy state today. Yet he kept on, shouldered his load and mine and installed a dishwasher. For me. It hard sometimes, this man-woman relationship, because we speak in two separate formats. I could write for hours about him, yet he speaks with his hands

I want to remember the feelings of this night. I want to be able to look back on this day, not to laugh and say "Can you believe I didn't have a dishwasher?" but to say, "Yes, I've kept that gratitude in my heart." Gratitude for technology, gratitude for work, and gratitude for the love of a husband. May I never take them for granted. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Major Score

We've been hitting up yard sales for the past couple of Saturday mornings. Finally, I hit the jackpot. We got our baby brother TOTALLY outfitted for $15 (that's .25 a clothing item). 

And this is not somebody's throw away clothes. Nice, name brand, gently used baby clothes. Even at Walmart or D.I. this would have cost me a fortune. I thanked the Lord all the way home.

This girl is SO EXCITED for her baby brother to come. She insists on keeping his clothes in her drawers and is always asking why he can't come right now.

This girl points to my belly and says "baby" but doesn't know she's about to be demoted from all the cuddling time she gets. She also doesn't know she's supposed to have more hair.

We bought Cheyenne her costume a few weeks ago and it has now become a wardrobe staple. I found these two quietly reading books the other day. They so rarely "play well" together I had to take a picture.

Daddy reading Cheyenne the Book of Mormon before bed.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Cheyenne with friend Gina

We got a new car seat in preparation for our new baby brother. 
It was so nice to have my parents come for a short visit. 
We love our fireplace.