Monday, February 27, 2012

Instant Gratification

My children were born into an era of extreme instant gratification. Any television show they can think of can be watched instantly on Netflix or the internet. They don't even have to sit through commercials! Gone are the days of waiting until 10:00 to watch David the Gnome. We can chose from 100 episodes of Dora at any time we want.

I remember wanting to hear a New Kids On The Block song and sitting by the radio waiting for it to come on. If my kids want to hear a song, I put it on youtube and they are happy as can be.

When I try to take a picture of Abigail she says, "Let me see it!" before the picture has even snapped. Remember waiting weeks to get film developed?

 Last week we took the kids to a drive thru for ice cream. We were waiting in line for our order, when Olivia complained, "Uughhh this is taking ONE HUNDRED AND NINE YEARS!"

I want my kids to learn the importance of delayed gratification, so I find myself telling them "in 5 more minutes" for no reason other than to make them wait. I'm not sure it makes any difference, or if there's even a point. I guess it's just the way the world is now. And it's only getting worse -or better I guess depending on who you ask.

There's probably a better way to say what I'm trying to say. It is just so crazy to me that when my kids ask to watch a show, I can put it on. There's no waiting. They expect food to magically appear in front of them the moment they ask. And they want to look at the pictures before the autofocus can even adjust to capture the image. So what do you do about it? How are my kids going to learn to develop patience? Or the satisfaction of perseverance? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Silliness that must not be forgotten.

For unknown reasons our house smells like a skunk. It has been driving me nuts. I expressed this to Olivia today and she said, "Well I know it can't be Daddy - I saw him putting on his deodorant this morning. Oh no! Maybe it's me! I don't put on deodorant...ever!!!"

And Abigail talks like a Kennedy. I don't know where this accent of hers came from but it makes me laugh daily. I will try to capture it on video. I keep trying to get her to say, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." But it's a bit wordy for her two year old brain.

And Nathan talks like a little cartoon baby. Seriously the sounds that come out of this child are.the.cutest.sounds.ever. He literally says, "goo-goo" and "gaaaahhh" and just melts your heart with his adorable babble. And did I mention he started rolling over? When he was 6 weeks old? He is a crazy little fellow and we love him.

There is more, but I've already forgotten. My brain cells are dying rapidly due to lack of sleep.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Love Story Part 4... The Marriage

So this wraps up my love story series. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


We were engaged on April 27th, 2005. We were then married August 5th of the same year. Talk about fast. I should probably apologize to you if you were my friend or family at that time. I was pretty much oblivious to everything except for the fact that I was going to be MARRIED. I didn't really care much about the details of the wedding. I wanted it to be a fun day, but I really didn't get hung up on things being a certain way. I was really focused more on the marriage than the wedding. If I could go back and do things differently I might have cared a little more. But really it was just lovely. We were able to have a reception in Arizona and in New Jersey thanks to my wonderful generous family. We had a wonderful honeymoon that seemed to last forever.
    I can honestly say I love Aaron more now than I did then. Which isn't hard, since really I barely knew him back then. It still feels right. One night during those brief weeks when we were just dating, and not even engaged yet, Aaron was hugging me. I fit perfectly into his arms, and he commented on it. "You just fit. You fit so perfectly it scares me." I asked him why it scared him. He said, "Because what if you don't want to fit anymore?" Well honey, seven years later, I still want to fit. In fact, every time he holds me like that, I think about that comment. About how much we've changed over the years, but I still fit just right in his arms.
    I don't think there was a moment when we truly "fell in love". More like a moment when we realized we fit. We work. And we wouldn't want to be with anyone else. It's not always rainbows and butterflies around here. But we are always working at it. We help each other. We better each other. We really bring out the best in one another. At least most of the time.
    It can be easy to focus on someone's faults. Especially after marrying them. You can start to be annoyed by every little random thing they do. Aaron and I call this grapefruit syndrome. Reference from here. Learning to look at each other's strengths and ignore their weaknesses, is one way our marriage has blessed me. Happiness in marriage is not about changing, or changing your spouse. It's learning to love and accept each other, as we are.
   I think the most important thing I've learned from my marriage is how to be truly selfless. I worry about Aaron and he worries about me. Aaron also has to remind me that he never says anything to hurt me. Although sometimes Aaron says something completely innocent and I, being a woman, will find a way to take whatever he said in the worst possible way. Lets take last night for example. Baby was screaming his head off. I asked Aaron if he had the pacifier. He said, "All you handed me was a baby in a towel." All Aaron was saying was, no, all he had was the baby and the towel. All I heard was, "No you useless excuse of a woman - you just handed me a poor freezing cold baby in a towel and no way to comfort him. I'm going to just sit here on the couch and do absolutely nothing while you freak out." Yeah, sometimes Aaron has to deal with that. Poor guy. But I'm always trying to be better. And I usually realize when I'm being ridiculous. It doesn't always mean I admit it right away, but most of the time I get there.
   I'm not sure what else to say. Almost seven years, three kids, a move across the country later, and I am so glad to say that I truly love my marriage. We protect our marriage. It is our number one priority. I can't tell you the peace and happiness that brings to me. We've been through a lot together, and always come out stronger and closer. I'm excited to see what eternity brings.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Love Story Part 3...The Proposal

The next four weeks were full of dinners, a baseball game, meeting friends, meeting family, a cabin trip, breakfasts, lunches, ice cream in the park, etc. We saw each other just about every day during those weeks. I was so content. I had moved to Arizona with hopes of finding myself. I likened myself unto the girl sung about in Dixie Chick's songs about needing wide open spaces. I didn't want to find love. I wanted to figure out who I was. But, I think I found that through my relationship with Aaron. I was able to talk to him and tell him everything. Things I didn't think I'd ever tell anyone. I kept waiting for him to run. And then one night he called. There was something about his voice, I knew a lot was on his mind. He asked to come over and "talk". We had been dating just over two weeks at this point.
   He showed up at my apartment looking pretty sullen. We walked around and eventually ended up at a little  playground. We made small talk for a while. I was trying to ignore the tension growing between us, as I figured he was about to break up with me. He finally looked at me and said, "Look Lauren, I've been praying a lot lately about us. I was reading my scriptures today, and went to the temple, and I got a really strong impression. I don't think you're supposed to be my girlfriend for much longer..."
        I choked back some tears. And started to say, "Okay - well that's fine..." When he interrupted me, took my hands and said, "Because I think you're supposed to be my wife."
      Pretty much felt like someone punched me in the stomach. Or slapped me in the face. It was a physical shock. "WHAT!" I exclaimed. And he repeated, "I think you're supposed to be my wife." And then I punched in him the arm. With all my might. The first of many arm punches Aaron would receive because of his phraseology.  "Seriously!? You thought that was the best way to phrase that?"
     "Well I figure you're going to think I'm nuts, and break up with me right now anyway, so I thought I'd have some fun with it." Was his response.
      "I'm not going to break up with you. I don't think you're crazy at all." Was my response. Which completely shocked him. I then proceeded to tell him how I already knew he was going to be my husband before he ever even kissed me. Then we both cracked up laughing.
     So he asked me to pray about it. Which I did. But I already knew the answer. Despite how crazy it seemed, and how crazy I would think anyone else was for doing what I was doing, I knew it was right. It's hard to explain if you've never experienced it before. But I just knew, deep in my soul, that marrying Aaron was the right thing to do. I also knew it wasn't going to be easy.
     We decided we'd probably wait until after the term was over to get officially engaged. At least that's what I thought. However, four weeks to the day, from that first fateful Wednesday when I called him first, Aaron officially asked me to marry him.
     He thought he was so tricky with having me plan our date. Which he was. Because I literally had no clue what was coming. Of course he suggested a few things along the way. So we ate Cheesecake Factory where Aaron was nervously worried about making sure his truck was locked, while I just thoroughly enjoyed every bite of my Chicken Madeira. We stopped by my apartment on our way to Saguaro Lake to look at the stars, like we did four weeks earlier. I had been dressed really nice, but wanted to get into something more comfy for the drive. Aaron insisted I stay in my cute clothes. Which ticked me off. My roommate also urged me to stay dressed up, which I just thought was weird. I ignored both of them and put on my sweatpants and t-shirt.
    As we drove out to the lake I told Aaron I wasn't sure we should get engaged so fast. Or maybe we should just break up. I really have no idea why I was saying these words. Aaron didn't even acknowledge what I just said. All he did was take his cell phone out of his pocket and call his friend Sean. This infuriated me, and sealed in my mind that wasn't a good idea after all. And I had no clue what he was talking about. I now know that Sean was at the lake setting up music, flower and fruit where Aaron and I had shared our first kiss. With me dropping this bomb of not wanting to get married anymore, Aaron had to tell Sean to maybe hold off. He was able to communicate all this with Sean, by talking about yard work. Or something. I was convinced at the time that Sean was helping Aaron's parents with something and Aaron had to tell him what to do. After 22 years of best friendship, I guess you can say a lot without really saying it. Anyway... back to the story at hand. Aaron pulled over. He asked me if I would say a prayer to know where these thoughts were coming from. I agreed. As soon as I finished my prayer I knew that these thoughts were not mine. That may also sound strange if you've never experienced it before. But I know that I was letting outside forces effect the decision that I honestly knew was right. I apologized to Aaron. I told him I still wanted to marry him. That I still knew it was right. And that I loved him. Pretty sure you could have heard his sigh of relief about 2,000 miles away.
     He carried a blanket awkwardly as we walked down to the pier. I didn't know what he was doing. Turned out he was carrying a box of long stemmed roses under that blanket. I probably saw the box and never even knew what it was. As we walked to the end of the pier, music started playing. I STILL didn't know what was going on. There were flowers everywhere. Potted plants. Flowers. Fruit... like watermelon and pineapple. (Yeah I didn't know what that was about... Sean's doing. It all makes sense now that I know Sean.)  Then Aaron started singing my favorite love song. Eric Clapton's, Wonderful Tonight. It felt a little strange to stand there being serenaded to, having no clue what was going on. Then he finished the song and gave me the roses. Then he got down on one knee. And then I knew. He told me he got me a ring to replace the one I lost there, four weeks ago. He told me the only thing he would ever change about me was my last name, if I'd let him. Then he said, "Lauren, will you marry me?" And I said, "Yeah!" And he said, "Yeah?" And I laughed and said, "Yes! Yeah. Yes." And then I couldn't open the ring box. It was dark. And tricky! But he put that ring on my finger and kissed me. And kissed me and kissed me. A few minutes later a fisherman went by. I yelled to him, "We just got engaged!" And I'm pretty sure one of us said, "She said yes! Everybody mambo!"
     And so that was it. On April 27th I was engaged to the love of my life after the happiest four weeks of my life. Which has lead to the happiest years of my life.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Love Story. Part 2 (The first not-date-date)

I realize writing this all in this much detail is probably way too much for anyone to read. I make no apologies. I'm writing this for me. And Aaron. Mostly for Aaron. So that I can call this his Valentine's Day present.
 
   And so Aaron fell in love with the back of my head. He would watch me run my fingers through my long dark hair and imagine that some day we'd make gorgeous little babies together. No. Actually that's not how it happened at all. But I like to pretend. Really I fell in love with his insightful comments. His witty retorts. His confidence. And something about his smile, and those dark brown eyes.
   Emotionally I was getting to a really good place at this time in my life. I was doing all the right things. Going to church, reading my scriptures, saying my prayers. I felt close to my Heavenly Father. I think that's why He let me know early I was going to marry Aaron. I had this crush on Aaron for weeks and pined for him to ask me out. I walked with him after class, stopping occasionally for a Jamba Juice, just trying to stretch the time with him. In my previous dating endeavors, I had grown to believe that if I acted too interested in a guy he suddenly lost interest in me. So, I was not going to be the one to ask Aaron out first. I thought constantly about how to act just interested in him enough, so that he would ask me out, but not seem clingy or desperate. But then came the moment. The moment where I looked back over my shoulder at him during class and our eyes met for a brief second. Something silently was said between us. And I felt something tell me I would marry him. Our conversations at this point never delved any deeper then what's your major, nor lasted longer than 10 minutes. But I knew I was going to marry him. From then on I stopped worrying about how to get Aaron to ask me out. I just knew it would all work out.
        And then one Wednesday after Spring Break it happened. We were walking our usual route when Aaron somewhat nervously told me that he had wanted to ask me to the Easter Pageant before Spring Break. But the day he was going to ask me I had taken off so fast after class he didn't have a chance to ask. I apologized for my quick departure and happily suggested we get together another time. I was incredibly nervous and gave him the wrong phone number. I told him my old house number. I hadn't used that number in years. As soon as I finished saying it I realized I had said the wrong number, and had to tell him I was an idiot and just said the wrong number. I then gave him the correct number, but Aaron thought I was messing with him and giving him a rejection hotline or something. I got his number as well, and was forced to use it sooner than I had planned.
      I got home from school that day and was absolutely giddy. I told my roommate the whole story. To which she replied, "Lauren you have to call him right now and ask him to go to the movies tonight!" To which I replied, "NO WAY!" Remember that whole acting too interested thing... I was certain if I called Aaron right then, just a couple hours after he gave me his number, he would think I was crazy. And desperate. And would never want to talk to me again. But Audrey and her boyfriend were only off this one night for the next two weeks. If we were going to go on a double date it had to be that night. She wouldn't leave me alone about it. Her and Stevenson blockaded my computer and TV until I finally gave in and agreed to call him. On one condition - it wasn't a date! I was not calling him and asking him on a date. I was just calling to ask him to hang out, as friends.
     So I called, and Aaron answered. I tried to sound casual. Told him my roommate and "some friends" were going to the movies tonight and asked him if he wanted to come. Aaron of course, assumed I was asking him on a date and came over to pick me up dressed all snazzy and smelling so good. And so he was completely confused when I tried to ask our home teachers to come with us as well (they declined, as they were previously instructed to do. I was just trying to avoid making this seem like a date). We got dinner first at a cute little restaurant next to the theater. But I didn't order any food. Because then it would have been like dinner and a movie, and that's a date. But if I just drank water and insisted I wasn't hungry, well then it wasn't a date. It made sense in my head.
    After our not-dinner-dinner, we walked over to the theater. The movie didn't start for another hour or so. Aaron and I decided to go for a little walk around the parking lot. On that walk a lot of the nerves started to settle. Conversation came easily. We just got to know each other, playing a question game. We asked each other every question under the sun that hour. Starting with silly things like what animal would you be, and ending with serious things like, what's one thing no one else knows about you. We almost didn't go into the movie, we were having so much fun talking. But in the end we decided Audrey and Stevenson might worry about us if we didn't show up for the movie.
     When the movie (Guess Who) was over Aaron drove me home in his beautiful red truck (I miss that truck). We stood there awkwardly in my parking lot trying not to let the night end. I made a lame comment about the amount of stars compared to the stars in New Jersey. Aaron told me that some day he would take me to Saguaro Lake, if I really wanted to see stars. "Someday? Why not right now?" I asked. There were a million reasons why not right now. For one it was already pretty late, and I had a job interview at 8:00 the next morning. For two, I probably shouldn't have gotten in the car with a guy I pretty much barely knew and let him drive me out to the middle of nowhere, with no one else knowing where I was. And that's not even close to a million reasons, but it's at least two good ones. We didn't let that stop us though. We made the 40 minute drive out to Saguaro Lake and continued our question game. We laughed and talked and for the first time since I got to Arizona I was comfortable.
      Saguaro Lake was beautiful. And he was right. There were a ton of stars. We walked down to the pier and Aaron gave me his sweatshirt. We silently watched the stars. I noticed he was cold, and I offered a hug to warm him up. I fit perfectly into his arms, with  my head on his chest. This person I had never touched before, and yet it felt familiar and perfect. We held each other for a while, and when I went to pull my arms back from around him my CTR ring somehow flew off my finger and fell to the bottom of the lake.
     It seemed significant that this ring would fall off here, never to be seen again. Somewhat foreshadowing of the ring that would come here, just four weeks later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Love Story. Part 1.

I was a frazzled crazy mess when I met Robin. I had blisters on my feet, I was so not used to the heat of the Arizona sun, I registered for a class on the wrong campus, and overall was feeling crappy and scared about my decision to be living in Arizona. But then I finally found the Institute Building. Institute is an optional religion class you can take through the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. There's a bunch of different classes you can chose from, ranging from Book of Mormon to Principles of Leadership to the Old Testament. I remember standing there staring at the schedule feeling completely overwhelmed. I had no clue there were so many options. And this girl I have never seen before looks over at me and says, "You should take Book Of Mormon 2 with Brother Ray. It starts right now." I had just come from my Bones, Stones and Human Evolution class (aka the worst class ever) and thought I wanted more of a break before having to rush to Institute. I told her so, and she replied, "Oh but I've heard Brother Ray is great! You should really take this class with me!" Said the girl I had never seen before. I hadn't made any friends in Arizona yet, and thought well this girl obviously seems friendly, and maybe she needs a friend too. So I signed up for Brother Ray's Book Of Mormon 2 class, at 11:30 every Monday and Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, Aaron was signing up for his Institute classes. He already had an Institute class on Tuesdays and Thursdays that he really liked. But he had other classes on Monday and Wednesday and wanted the free parking Institute offers, if you are registered for a class that day. And so, you guessed it, he registered for Brother Ray's Book of Mormon 2, for the free parking. 

I sat in the second to front row, next to Robin. Aaron sat behind me. Robin disappeared a few weeks into the semester...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Words Olivia doesn't quite get...

Olivia loves talking to her baby brother. She talks in a super high baby voice and says ridiculous things. She always calls him a "cuter".  As in a noun, as in, "Oooohhh you are such a little CUTER!"

However this morning was the best... "Oh you are so cute you're a little honeymoon! Yes you are a honeymoon!" Then looking at me, "Mom, honeymoon means cute right?"

Oh and last night, "You are so romantical baby brother... so romantical..." I should probably correct her, but it just cracks me up too much.

And then sometimes she just plain ol' makes up words. I am always telling her how clever and smart she is. The other day she responded, "Yeah my brain is SO thinkable! It's always thinking... it's so thinkable."

And then we were talking about how smart daddy is (got straight A's in all his classes last term!) and she responded, "Yeah, he's so smart I think he has TWO BRAINS!" Maybe she's on to something there...

Also, today Aaron took Abigail on a little date. We are trying really hard to make sure she doesn't get lost in the shuffle. She's such an easy going girl, and her brother and sister are both high demand, it's easy for Abigail to get a bit lost. Aaron came home and told me he asked Abigail about her favorite color (pink), favorite drink (juice) favorite food (honey) and then when he asked her what her favorite game was she loudly replied, "ZELDA LINK GAME!" I don't know how he's done it, but he successfully brainwashed my girls into thinking there is absolutely nothing better in the world than watching him play Zelda Link Game. They genuinely love it and beg him to play it all day long. It cracks me up. If  only I could teach them how fun Pinterest is!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week from heaven.

Aaron was off this week. It was heaven. We went bowling, out to lunch, relaxed around home, and for our big adventure spent a day down in Pittsburgh at the Children's Museum with my sister-in-law and her sweet kiddo's. It was a blast. Seriously, Pittsburgh Children's Museum is super fun. And I got to fulfill a childhood dream of seeing Mr. Roger's shoes and sweater, and puppets! It was super exciting. Aaron goes back to school tomorrow, and it is going to be ROUGH!





Friday, February 3, 2012

Wish the cameras were rolling

Seriously the funniest event of our lives just took place. That is if you laugh at poop. Which I do. So picture this.

Aaron and I are seated on the loveseat in our living room. Nathan's diaper is pretty soggy. I ask Olivia to get me a diaper. She requests to help. I consent, as she's getting better and better at this diaper changing thing, and by the next baby (YEARS AWAY) she will be a pro. So I lay Nathan across my lap, his little bum aimed at Aaron. Olivia gets the diaper completely off, just as Aaron hears a familiar grumble from Nathan's tummy. Aaron frantically grabs for the diaper, but it is too late. Pooh is shooting every where. Mostly all over Aaron. He managed to contain a lot of it to the diaper, but still... if you've ever had a breastfed newborn you know the volume can be quite ridiculous! So there we sat, covered in yellow soupy poop. We were just silent for a moment. Disbelief at what just happened. And then I busted a gut. I laughed so hard I was scaring my children. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. I could barely catch my breath. I couldn't even begin to clean it up, I was paralyzed by laughter. Aaron had to take control and start cleaning up, while I continued to laugh myself silly.

Everyone warned me about boys peeing while their diapers are being changed, and Nathan is 7 weeks tomorrow and he still hasn't done it. I guess he'd rather go big or go home...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Paychecks

In this land of motherhood it is easy to get depressed, and feel like you are doing a thankless job. How many times do you wash and dry and put away the same ol' clothes without anyone even noticing? Making the same bed day after day (okay I never make the bed), putting away the same toys. You catch my drift. You nurse around the clock for six weeks to a little super sucker who can barely manage a grunt, let alone a thank you.

I was talking to my mother-in-law about this. This feeling of never being done. Never feeling like I've accomplished anything at the end of the day. And she told me when her daughter got married in the temple, and she was in there, in the temple with 5 of  her 8 children (the other three aren't old enough yet), a temple worker said to her, "This is a paycheck". That resounded with me, and has been bouncing around inside my head for weeks now. A paycheck. As a mother! What a concept. So do I have to wait until my children are grown before I get a paycheck? As this thought bounced around I realized, no. No, I do not have to wait. I receive paychecks daily. Maybe even hourly.

A three year old seeing her pajamas left on the floor, hurriedly picks them and puts them where they belong without a word from you... Paycheck!

A two year old who sings a song back to you, that you've sung her a thousand times, filling in her own words where needed... Paycheck!

Two little girls who seem to fight endlessly, finally playing nicely together and saying "I love you" to one another... Paycheck!

Three year old holding the door open for an older gentleman at the YMCA... Paycheck!

Two year old telling you she loves you more than her binkies... Paycheck!

Watching two little girls oooh and aaaahh over their sleeping baby brother whom they absolutely adore... Paycheck!

A three year old teaching her little sister the songs she learned at church... Paycheck!

Listening to a newborn baby "talk" to you... Paycheck!

Watching newborn baby grow, chub up right before your eyes, knowing all his nurturing is coming from you.. paycheck!

A husband coming home from working so hard himself all day, taking a moment to appreciate how hard you've worked today too, and wraps his arms around you and hugs you and thanks you... PAYCHECK!

....and countless more.

So maybe this job isn't so thankless after all. Maybe I am accomplishing something every day. Maybe I just need to open my eyes a little more, and look for these paychecks that are given to me so freely. Even on days I don't deserve them at all. While it might be nice to be able to have a paycheck I could cash and go spend on whatever I want... I think I prefer these paychecks I'll never cash. These paychecks that I'll treasure forever. These paychecks of the heart.