30 December 2005

Working Mama

I got a job on Wednesday. Life has been so busy, this is the first time I actually have time to sit down and write about it. Rachel has been so emotionally volatile this last week. Finally on Wednesday I decided to call the doctor to see if I could take her in. She has had a cold for a week now and on Wednesday I thought maybe it had moved to her ears. Well the doctor said one eardrum was collapsed (like when you have to pop your ears) so there was a lot of pressure and the other was slightly pink--not red and inflamed like a full blown ear infection. Bottom line, she's in pain, but not enough pain to need antibiotics to get rid of it. So she's been cranky. She will burst into sobs at the drop of a hat. Needless to say, it has been a trying week.

So back to my job--I've sent my resume to a few work at home job postings on craigslist.com in the last fee weeks. Spencer is cutting his hours at work once he starts school so we were going to be in quite a touch spot. So I was looking to work 15-20 hours a week doing something at home to supplement our income. So this guy calls me Wednesday morning and offers me a job. 25 hours a week calling law firms to gather data for recruiters. It should be easy work--no selling, no pressure--so I'm not worried about that. What I am worried about it finding 5 hours each day to do this. I've come up with a plan though. I have to get up at 5:30 am, work till Rachel is up, nurse her, then back to work until 9 when Spencer goes to work. Then pick up the other 2 hours sometime during the day, preferably while Rachel is napping. I hope it will work. Luckily I prayed about taking this job and got a calm, peaceful feeling that this is right for our family and will work out.

I am so glad that I have knowledge that God can and does speak to us. I get so much confidence in my actions when I have the go-ahead from the Lord. It is so comforting.

So I'm a working woman again. Does that make me a work-at-home mom?

23 December 2005

The Book of Mormon and Real Life

I finished President Hinkley's challenge to read the Book of Mormon before December 31st tonight. Spencer and I did it together (we read 1 chapter on our own and one together) so it makes it that much sweeter to me. I love doing things with my husband because they strengthen the bond between us and reading the Book of Mormon together has cemented those bonds. I love the Book of Mormon. It brings such a spirit and power in your life. Reading it this time around I was struck how it truly is a parallel to our lives. Satan and his minions are prevalent then as they are today and have not changed their tactics. Their purpose it to turn us away from God and teach evil. Our purpose is to learn their tactics and overcome. The Book of Mormon teaches us how to do this.

The other night we were reading in 4th Nephi about the last 300 years of the Nephite civilization. I told Spencer that it was weird for me to read about the Nephites and so much wickedness. Up until that point I saw the world in a different way. To me the wickedness of the world has always been progressive. In other words, as time goes by the people of the world get more and more wicked. I realized this is not the case. It happens on a much smaller scale. Each civilization goes through this process.

Take for example the Jaredites. We know that they started out very righteous. When they landed on the promised land "they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them." (Ether 6:12) The brother of Jared had so much faith in Christ that he saw the Spirit of the Savior. The people were righteous for many years. Then Satan crept into the picture. People started to be wicked and fight. Satan stirred up the hearts of the people to want that which is wicked. Then prophets came on the scene and called the people to repentance. In Ether 7:26 we read that the people repented and the Lord spared them. So they began to prosper again. Of course this prosperity led to much strife and contention. This time people didn't listen to the prophets; instead they get progressively wicked. Eventually they get so wicked that they kill each other off. This fulfills the prophecy of destruction "except they should repent."

It baffles me that the Jaredites (and the Nephites for that matter) eventually were so wicked that they just killed everyone off. Everyone picked a side to be on and they fought to the death. How would you like to be one of those last 35 people who wake up one morning knowing that they will die that day because you are it? There just isn't anyone else to kill. Unfortunately this story of the Jaredites is not an isolated occurrence.

The Lord has told many groups of people that the same thing will happen. He tells us the same things. We know that eventually we will have a war like the Nephites and the Jaredites. Thankfully we know that this will be a fight of righteous against wicked and that there will be a winner this time. The righteous will prevail, but at a great sacrifice I'm sure. What is our goal if the war to end all wars is inevitable? Be on the right side. Learn from the stories in the Book of Mormon. It is no coincidence that the Lord has given us this book. It will help us, guide us, and give us a look into what the future will bring if we only pay attention to the signs given. It also teaches us to learn from past mistakes so they are not repeated again.

Last night I was especially moved by a verse I read. Moroni is writing some of the words of his father. He asks "Have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them?" Moroni 7:37-38 states:

37 Behold I say unto you,
Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it
is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things
have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is
38 For no man can be
saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name;
wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is
the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
I hope I never get to that point in my life where my faith has ceased. I hope that I can keep my faith strong so that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was not in vain. I love the Gospel. I am eternally grateful for Joseph Smith who sacrificed so much--even his life--so we could have these sacred words to learn from. They teach us so much--ultimately how to be more like our Savior. Let us all take heed and learn from these words so that history will not repeat itself.

21 December 2005

Excuse me, Officer. Can I have a ticket?

I got my first ever parking ticket today. Crap! How did it happen you ask? I'll tell you...It's all because of big waves. There's a high surf advisory at the beaches in San Diego this week; the surf is up to 18 feet in some places. So I took Rachel down to the beach to take a look at the waves. Apparently everyone else in San Diego county had the same idea too. We drove down the coast until we got to Swami's (the best spot in North County). It was packed! It was almost like an amusement park. There were tons of people walking on the sidewalks, cars lined the roads and news cameras everywhere. This had to be the biggest story of the week here. Of course there was no parking. (Swami's has the smallest parking lot of all the beaches here. I've never understood why the best surf spot has the least parking spots...) Anyway so I continued to drive down the coast and noticed that cars were parked on the side of the road. My first reaction was, "Look at all these people parking illegally!" Then I began to wonder if it really was illegal. There were no "No Parking" signs and I couldn't see any other indication that no one could park there. The cars fit so perfectly inside that white line. Dang, should've parked there. Oh, dang, there's another one. Oh here's a perfect spot for me. So I get out, get Rachel and her stroller out and start walking up the coast.

The waves were beautiful. They were outstanding! I love the calmness and rhythm of the ocean, but I love looking at the ocean put on a magnificent show. This was one of those days. The tide was high and the waves were breaking really far out so there was a lot of water to look at. Even Rachel was amazed. When we got out of the car she pointed at the water and went, "Wow!" I hope that she learns to love the ocean like I do. So anyway we started leisurely walking down the pathway stopping every few feet to glance at a set coming in. All of a sudden I hear this voice coming from behind. A motorcycle cop with a microphone was speaking. "You are all parked illegally! This is the bike lane! You will be ticketed and towed if you do not move your vehicles!" "Ah, crap!" I think to myself. Better get back to the car. I hope they don't start ticketing right away! I hurry back to the car not realizing how far we'd walked. It took us a little longer to get back to the car then I expected. When I finally saw our car, I also saw a cop. He had parked his motorcycle in the middle of the road. I hope that he hasn't written me a ticket, I thought. I'm almost here! Oh, please! Then he walks away back to his motorcycle and I see the dull yellow hue reflecting off my windshield. Blast! He got me! I was so mad at myself. I knew that I wasn't supposed to park there. I made eye contact with the cop, hoping he would have compassion on a poor mother of a dang cute kid, but he didn't. He just got on his bike off to write another sucker a ticket. I was even more mad when I got in the car and drove south only to find that the places where you could park were all empty. Just my luck...

15 December 2005

Going through the Bad

I never put much weight on birthdays. People with kids would tell me, "As soon as my son turned 3 he became a bull in a china closet" or "My daughter was such an angel until her 6th birthday." I thought, "yeah right, like a day makes such a difference." Well boy was I wrong! It seems like since Rachel turned 1 she has completely changed. She started getting really picky with what she eats. She will not eat things she devoured just a month ago but will inhale things she's never tried. She also started only taking one nap a day. Until then, it was hit or miss whether she would take an afternoon nap or not. Those things I can deal with though. It's just a matter of adjusting my menu and my schedule. Easy. The thing that I have the hardest time dealing with started last week--6 day after her 1st birthday.

I was at an apointment I had, talking to a woman in her office. Outside her office was toys and a large open play room. Well of course Rachel didn't want to be in the office, she wanted to be out playing. This was not an option because I couldn't watch her. So I sat her on my lap and tried to occupy her with a toy. She did not want to sit on my lap, so she started screaming and crying trying to get me to put her down. The crying lasted about 10 minutes and when I didn't concede, she finally did. Shortly after, I was done with my appointment and let her play for a few minutes before we left. I drove home thinking, "She just threw a fit in that woman's office! Hopefully this is just an isolated incident. Hopefully she was just tired and hungry." Unfortunately, not the case.

Every day so far, if she doesn't like something out come the emotions. She does this sobbing, hysterical cry that is almost comical to watch. Today was the absolute worst though! She does not want to play with any of her toys anymore and expects me to constantly entertain her. I usually let her try to figure out something to do on her own for a while and then I'll play with her. Today I thought, "I'll teach her how to use crayons and color." So I got out the crayons and the coloring book. She looked at all those pretty colors, picked up a crayon and put it in her mouth. "No!" I said sternly. She looked at me with surprise in her eyes, turned down her lower lip and started bawling. Now this is not the first time she has heard the word "no". She knows what it means and sometimes chooses to obey and sometimes chooses not to obey. I am so tired of EVERYTHING going in her mouth and wanted to teach her what the proper use of crayons is. She kept attempting to sneak a bite out of the crayon and every time I would give her that "look" and say, "no". Every time she would break down and sob. After a few stern "no's" she started getting my drift and would bring the crayon to her mouth, look at me, and then hand the crayon to me. I could tell she was doing this with deep, deep reluctance. "Dang, she's looking at me again! Better give her the crayon." I colored alone for a little while, Rachel never grasping the idea that writing utensils actually write and then put the supplies away.

Finally after a couple more attempts at trying to entertain her and her constantly breaking down, I just put her to bed. She took a good nap and thankfully was pretty happy for the rest of the day once she woke up. Can anyone help? Is this something that will be going on for a while or is it just a passing phase? She is so moody and volatile. Is it because she is just tired and trying to adjust to one nap?

I just want my happy baby back and to go back to the good.

13 December 2005

Attached at the Hip

Spencer left his cell phone home accidentally today when he went to work. Luckily he has his own phone once he gets to work so he's still easily accessible. He's pretty good at surviving with out his phone, but I find it very difficult to be anywhere with out my cell phone. If I leave the house to go somewhere that phone has to be in the back pocket of my jeans or in my purse. I not sure why I have this obsession--it's not like people call me on a regular basis or need to get a hold of me.

My cell phone is a source of security and connection to me. I know that if something happened to me or Rachel while I'm out of the house, help is just a phone call away. I know that if I need a phone number or directions to a friend's house or a business I can just dial Verizon 411 Connect and the nice people on the other end will help me. I know that in the rare case that someone wants to get a hold of me at any hour of the day, they can.

I am in serious awe at what in the world we did without cell phones 10 years ago. How did we live?!? My cell phone is my connection to the world and I don't think I could live without it. Am I the only one that feels this way?

11 December 2005

O Christmas Tree

It really feels like Christmas in my home now. We got our Christmas tree last night. It's a beautiful noble fir with perfectly spaced branches. I decorated it with red bows and red and silver ornaments. It sits peacefully in the corner of our living room exuding a soft white glow from the string of lights. I even wrapped some presents today to place under the tree. The thing is the tree is not even as tall as me and I'm only 5' 2" so it doesn't have to climb to great heights. Though this tree is small, I think it's the tallest tree we've had.

The first year I begged Spencer to get a tree. All we could afford was a 2 1/2 foot tall one from Home Depot. It was only big enough to hold 9 ornaments and that was pushing it! I bought some beautiful ribbon to adorn it as well and it seemed a bit crowded. But we had a tree!

The second Christmas we spent together I was determined to get a bigger tree. I think we got another one from Home Depot--this one had to be like 3 1/2 feet tall, at least! I was dreaming big and got creative. I saw a tree at a department store decorated with Crayola crayons and I decided that's what I want to do with my tree. I bought some crayons and went to work. I made some pretty cute ornaments if I say so myself. To complement the ornmaents I found the perfect striped ribbon at Michaels and made some bows. I was dang proud of that tree! Others didn't quite understand how proud I was of my work. My Grandpa and his wife came over one night to deliver a gift. When she saw the tree she commented, "Oh I remember when I was young and too poor to buy ornaments. I had to hand decorate my tree then." Ouch! (Here's a picture and you can make your own judgements. I forgot until looking at this picture that I also made a cunstruction paper chain. Maybe that's what made it look cheap.)

The last couple years our trees have gotten progressively larger, but they are still small. This year we had to put the stand on boxes and barricade it from our walking child. If she could reach, I just know she would grab that tree by it's trunk, push it and watch it tip right over laughing the whole time!

Tall or short tree, I'm just glad we have one. It makes the season of Christmas seem more real for me. Yay Christmas!

07 December 2005

Agree to Disagree

I go walking 3 times a week with a girl in my apartment complex. We are both members the the Church, are in similar life situations and always have an abundance of things to talk about. The thing is, we don't always agree. In fact, much of the time we don't agree...but so far that hasn't been a hinderance to our 8 o'clock appointment at her front door on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

There has been much talk about banning the use of Christmas in the news lately. Everyone is afraid to offend everyone else. It's considered offensive if you wish someone a "Merry Christmas" for fear that they don't celebrate the holiday. You are not allowed to say hardly anything controversial in case the person who you are talking to might get their feelings hurt. If you do, you are the one labled insenstive. It drives me nuts! I want to be able to have an opinion and feel comfortable expressing it. I confess, I have been lured into this trap and found myself unable to condradict someone in conversation, but walking with my friend has reawakened my desire and need to share my opinion.

On our walks we talk about everything from raising our daughters to how to spend our money to our husbands and anything else going on in our lives. She is headstrong and definitely has her opinions but our conversations have never become heated. We respect each other's posistion on the topic and in a friendly way move on to the next topic. Isn't this the way conversations are supposed to be? Isn't this what we are given as humans--to think for ourselves? We are built to have ideas and stances on things and most of all NOT keep our mouths shut. I'm not saying we should just say whatever we want and not be sensitive at all, but that we should be able to voice what we believe without fear of the backlash.

I say, "Merry Christmas!" and if you don't like it, well we can just agree to disagree and we will all be happy.

01 December 2005

My Adventure

Last year at this hour, on this day I was in the hospital. I was not sick or injured, but was in labor. Tonight, or rather tomorrow, at 12:42 am my daughter will be 1 year old. Time has gone by quickly, but I'm not sad. I'm so happy that she is growing and healthy. I love this stage that she is in now. She has come so far! It was so amazing to see her first lift her head off the ground. Spencer and I were so proud of her! Then she learned to roll over, sit up and crawl. Now she's walking, saying a few words and understanding some of the things that I say to her. Over this last year I watched in awe as this little blob of a human that I helped to create became more of person every day. It’s an amazing experience.

Life has not been the same since this little person has entered my world. I have had to change so many things. I have had to put myself before her. I have had to give of myself. I have had to give up many things. I have also had to love more than I thought possible. I cannot imagine life without my little girl. She has brought such delight, such laughter and such wonder in my life.

We have been through sickness, health, crying, laughter, pain and so much more. It has definitely been an adventure. True, I cannot believe she is 1 already, but I so am looking forward to the adventures that we will have in the future.