Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today you are eight

Today would have been my son's eighth birthday. There is never a day that goes by that I don't think of him. He is as real to me as Cooper. He is as loved as Cooper. He is, and will forever be, my son.

Love to you, baby. All the love in the world.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Geekboy

My husband's birthday is today. I can't imagine my life without him. Ours was a whirlwind romance. We got married less than six months after our first email on an online dating site. It would have been sooner but we waited for my brother to get home from his mission. (We married two days later - which was convenient for the family, even though it made a busy weekend with a wedding Friday, a reception Saturday and a mission homecoming Sunday.)

When I married him, I thought ours was the deepest most eternal love that I could imagine. Twelve years later I realize how incredibly naive I was. We have gone through so much together, and never have I felt that he wasn't completely in my corner. He is the one who encouraged me to go to graduate school. He is the one who prodded me to apply to teach at the university. He sacrificed his own comfort to let me commute to another state for a job I wanted. He held my hand while I spoke through my tears at our son's funeral. He held my hand while I labored to bring Cooper into the world. He could have an easier life with a wife who didn't suffer from fibro and depression, but he counts it an honor to be my protector and best friend. I am the most blessed woman in the world to be his wife.

When I was little I remember looking up at the stars and seeing what I thought was the immensity of space arrayed before my eyes. And then I saw the Milky Way and realized that the iridescent band of light was millions and millions more stars that couldn't be distinguished from each other. I realized how much bigger space was than I had previously understood. And then I saw photos of galaxies taken by space telescopes, and realized that what I had been seeing wasn't just stars, but entire other galaxies, with their millions and millions of stars. Beyond our ability to see, beyond our ability to understand, the universe keeps expanding, and right now I feel like that is our love. It's so much bigger than it was 12 years ago, but I realize I am just at the start of something that will just keep getting bigger and bigger as we continue our life together. I feel like I am staring into the immensities of space when I am looking at him, and unlike the real world, it all revolves around us.

I love you.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Decoy Bride - Movie 1 of 50

The Decoy Bride

Merida makes fun of the Tenth Doctor - standard rom-com with a heavy Scottish accent.

Fun and adorable.

My rating - 3 1/2 stars
GeekBoy's rating 3 1/2 stars

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goals for 2013

1. Read five non-fiction books on a particular topic.
2. Learn how to play the ukulele.
3. Get one piece of piano music performance ready.

1. Temple once a month (this is a sign how bad my temple attendance is, and there's no excuse since I can literally see Moroni from my front steps.)
2. Visiting teaching done by the 15th of every month.
3. Study a general conference talk each week.

1. Watch 50 movies with GeekBoy that neither of us have seen.
2. Plan a game night at our house. And then actually have the game night.
3. This one is none of your business. ;)

1. Read a book a day to Cooper that he has never heard before.
2. Enroll Cooper in at least one sports class besides his gymnastics. He loves baseball and soccer on TV.
3. Vegetables once a day! He's great about fruit, he actually prefers it to candy most times, but I'm bad about getting veggies into him.

Fun Stuff
1. Plant a fairy garden
2. Knit something I would actually wear
3. Crochet something geektastic.

Running a Home
1. Do the dishes every day!
2. Kick the storage closet's butt.
3. Get all the art rehung that we took down when we moved rooms around. And the new art we have acquired since.

Mental and Emotional Wellness
1. Read some fiction every day.
2. Stretch for 15 minutes every day.
3. Have a sing along at the top of your lungs session at least once a week.

Make the World a Better Place
1. Respond to all circumstances from a place of love.
2. Write a letter or card each week. Not email!
3. Do whatever Leslie's weekly challenge is.

Now, I should print these out and put them somewhere prominent so I don't forget them.

Also, I am a little tired just looking at this list.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How did I do on my 2012 goals?

So my goals for 2012 were the following:

1. Buy new mattress for our bed. Ours is ten years old and slumpy. Done! Yay for better sleeps!
2. Finish the basement. Nope, because three turned out to be a disaster.
3. Fence the backyard. Yep! And put in a patio and egress windows and they broke a pipe and basement floods and blaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. Also, firepit! Yay!
4. GeekBoy and I take a real vacation, sans Cooper. Yep! It was lovely to have a few days off, just the two of us.
5. GeekBoy and I take a real vacation with Cooper. Nope. Our calendar was all kids of weird this year.
6. Plant a tree that is at least as tall as I am. Nope. I feel really bad about this one.
7. Laugh more than I did last year. Yes!
8. Make an item of clothing - not an accessory - and wear it. Fail!
9. Read thirty books for fun. Above and beyond. I started reviewing at FantasyLiterature.com again too.
10. Try thirty new recipes. Fail.
11. Find a new poet to adore. Mary Oliver. She's amazing, and I'll probably end up spending all my Christmas money on her books. Also, W.H. Auden's For The Time Being is amazing. I have preordered the authoritative edition that is due out in May.
12. Do something completely spontaneous and unexpected. Quit my dream job, became a stay at home mom, a homeschooler, a Whovian, a nerdfighter, and even more of a Whedonite.

Maybe I should post my list of goals somewhere other than just on my blog so I can see them more than once in a year.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Normal

At the beginning of this year I was a college professor. Now I am a homeschooling mother.

At the beginning of this year I wore heels and jewelry and makeup every day. Now, I live in pajama pants and nerd t-shirts.

At the beginning of this year I was in pain every day. I still am, but not as much. And I've learned a lot about managing my disease.

About two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had been symptomatic for over a decade - it started being debilitating in the last few years. And as difficult as dealing with the pain has been, its assault on my mind has been much harder to deal with. They call it "fibro fog" and when that part shows up, my ability to think clearly and logically - such an inherent part of my personality, to think and speak precisely and elegantly - is undermined. I can't follow conversations. I hear other people, but can't process what they are saying. My vocabulary gets locked away and I can't find the words to express the thoughts that are fighting to get out. That's more frustrating to me than the pain.

But this is the new normal. There are days when I stay in my pajamas, because I literally have to choose between putting on jeans and reading stories to my child. I have reduced my outside commitments drastically because I have had to define my priorities, and my husband and my child are always going to come before anything else.

If I was in charge of the world, nothing would start before 1:00pm. It takes me three or four hours to get to the point where I feel like I have the energy to face the world. Rather, I think it would be more correct to say that it takes me three or four hours to accumulate enough energy to face the world. I wake up with an empty fuel tank, and a pretty good idea of how big my fuel tank is going to be for the day. That's a particularly frustrating point for people outside my family to grasp - my ability to deal with the outside world varies widely from day to day. I may be able to go out to the movies one day and seem fine, and the next day I'm going to stay in my pajamas and have someone bring me food. It makes planning ahead difficult. I never know when I am going to have a good day. I really want to take Cooper to Disneyland next year, but how do you plan something like that when your own health is variable? And then you feel guilt for not being able to do all the fun mom things, and that rebounds into making your symptoms worse.

I also have the fun additional quirks of having depression and being severely introverted. Depression makes the pain worse and the pain makes the depression worse, so that's fun. And then with being introverted, having to interact with people is exhausting. So, I might be able to go sit through Les Mis fine (I did and bawled like a baby) but going to a party for the same amount of time, where I'm expected to interact with people, especially people I don't know well, would end with me spending the next day in debilitating pain.

And that's the new normal for me, and for our family. We do the things we can when I can. GeekBoy picks up my slack when I can't do things, and never complains. We may not have the perfectly decorated home, and sometimes the dishes don't get washed for longer than I like to think about, but it works for us.

So I update facebook more than my blog, because posting a sentence or two, or just uploading a picture, is so much easier for me than writing out a thoughtful post. And we have grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner rather than pork loin or gnocchi. But my son reads now, and he didn't do that three months ago. And he skip counts by two for fun, and can do math in his head, and he builds elaborate marble mazes, and loves story hour at the library (my Thursday priority) and gymnastics (my Friday priority) and knows the first three Articles of Faith by memory and the first six apostles and he is kind and generous and thoughtful and sharing and that means I'm doing right by him even if he doesn't speak multiple languages or play a musical instrument. And he knows he is loved. Every minute of the day.

And my husband knows that I love him. And we laugh together, and I go to the movies with him when I can, and watch tv in bed with him when that's all I'm capable of doing, and he is the most amazing person for never letting me feel like he resents me for the additional burdens my health places on him and on our family. He is wonderful. He is my rock, and my guardian, and my best friend.

This is my new normal. It's a good normal. And I'm perfectly happy with it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What week is this?

I think we had a good week here at our little school. Geekboy's company has been experimenting with consolidated schedules and for the last month he wasn't getting home until 6:30 or 7:00 at night. That was super difficult on both Cooper and I, and by the last week of that we were both just dragging through the days. But this week, he moved to a different schedule where he's home by 5:20 and still has time to come home and see us during lunch. This has been a much better schedule for everybody (except maybe Geekboy, who is getting up at 6:00am now) and I'm really grateful that I have a husband who is willing to get up early to make his wife's life easier.

So, what have we been up to this week?
We've been doing our standard handwriting, math and reading combination in the morning. Larry the Lobster (a handpuppet my mother sent us is required to supervise these lessons, according to Cooper.) This week we started doing children's fairy tales. Cooper's favorite has definitely been "The Gingerbread Man." 

For science we've been studying the change in the seasons, and what happens when it turns autumn. He gathered a bunch of fallen leaves and has brought them into the house for his collection. We read Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell, and learned about the cycle of nature on a farm. He recognized the drawing of a chickadee in the book.

We went to story time at the library this week for the first time. I finally remembered it and got there on time! Cooper was very reluctant to go at the beginning, but by the end, he decided it was fun and he wants to go again next week. We have a wonderful children's library here. They are doing some remodeling, so I'm not sure what they are adding. Cooper has also discovered the big bean bag style chairs up in the teens' section on the third floor, so we have to go visit up there every time we come so he can lounge in one of the chairs for a few minutes. We checked out his first Bill Peet book, How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head. It might be the start of a new addiction for him. I remember my little brother loved Bill Peet books. It cracks me up that Cooper checks out books by the color of the spine rather than any other thing. This week was yellow books.

We tried geocaching. We didn't find the cache, but had a great time being outside and learning about shadows and burrowing animals. I need to get a better gps system than the one I have on my phone.

We've been watching playoff baseball in the evening. Cooper is fascinated by the scorekeeping icons on the screen, and likes announcing which bases have players on them. Teaching your child isn't all about academics.

Cooper's favorite thing this week was using poker chips as toys. He sorted them. He played "which cup has the red one in it." With transparent cups. He fed them to his farm animals. He built roads for his cars with them. We had a target throwing contest. Which reminds me I need to get some of the chips out from under the bookshelf, because sometimes my aim is really bad.

He had gymnastics this morning. He loves his gymnastics class and Miss Tracy so much! He may not be the best athlete, but he is definitely enthusiastic.

We watched the (Scandinavian?) movie Max's Magical Adventure, or Frogs and Toads. Netflix has it listed both ways. It's dubbed, and is about two little kids who go on an adventure in the countryside looking for frog eggs. Cooper was mesmerized. He laughed and smiled, and was fascinated by all the different animals the kids saw. He was singing one of the songs from the movie later. It's definitely a kids movie, but much less annoying than most.

Finally, his favorite app on the iPad this week has been Where's My Water? It's a logic game in which you have to get water to the alligator's shower around a variety of obstacles. It amazes me how fast he can do some of the levels. 

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