Friday, May 28, 2010

Thinking

I believe the fact that I just considered jabbing my eyeballs out with a dull pencil rather than continue watching a newlywed couple's PDA is directly related to the amount of frustration and disappointment I'm currently trying to keep bottled up.

Adam didn't get the job.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Snow? Seriously?

 

I was planning on posting about snow today anyway, but when I woke up to this sight early this morning--on May 24th for crying out loud!--I just had to take a picture! I feel like we should be singing Christmas carols. Except, I want summer to be here SO BADLY that the only wintry words I can muster are: BAH HUMBUG!

---------------------------

Recently, it's become a Sunday tradition of ours to take a family drive up the canyon. Most of the time we get to see deer, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks and even the occasional raccoon or fox. Most of the time the sun is out, the birds are chirping, and we get to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Most of the time it's a nice, relaxing ride.

Needless to say, that wasn't the case this time:




Adam spent almost two hours digging us out. He was soaking wet, freezing cold, and covered in mud from head to toe, but he still managed to have a blast. This type of thing is RIGHT UP HIS ALLEY. Mine? Not so much.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Not your typical fairytale


About a year ago, Shylee came running into the living room in such a frenzy that I barely caught a glimpse of her plastic high heels, fur-lined purple gloves, and pink tutu. In her hand she held a Disney Princess cell phone and after she frantically dialed "her friends" number, this is what I heard:  

"Cinderella! I need your help! Snow White is DEAD!"

Then, the other day I was walking past her bedroom and happened to overhear a conversation between her princess barbie dolls. It went something like this:

"I'm going to a tea party and I'm wearing a beautiful dress with beautiful shoes and a very beautiful crown."

Pretty standard four-year-old-fairytale, I thought to myself. Until I heard:

"And Ariel isn't coming to the party because she's dead.
And Flounder died, too. And they died and died and died.
And now they're dead. Because they died."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The waiting game

Hopeful, confident, calm...
Scared, doubtful, anxious...
Hopeful, confident, calm...
Scared, doubtful, anxious...

This has been my ever-changing mindframe over the past two days; the two days since Adam's job interview. He was told that their final decision would be made by the 28th, so we could be playing the waiting game for a while still.

I hate the waiting game, can't we play Hungry Hungry Hippos instead?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How To

HOW TO ANNOY ME:
-Go ahead and continue driving in the passing lane, although you have no intention of passing anyone. Ever.
-You know that SCR-EEE-EEE-EEEE-MING thing you do every time I leave the room? Enough said.
-Use the word "AIN'T" one more time.
-Kiss me while I'm on the toilet. I love you too honey, but there MUST be boundaries.
-Buy my child a toy that sings. One that plays music? Fine. One that makes noise? Great. But one that actually sings? Have you no soul?


HOW TO WOO ME:
-Just nod your head and smile when I blame the crumbs you found in bed on the Cookie Monster.
-Openly admit that you watch America's Next Top Model...and enjoy it. Welcome to the dark side.
-Talk to yourself about BURIED TREASURES when you think nobody is listening.
-Blame your farts on "the elephants".
-Blame your farts on "the really big spiders hiding in the wall".
-Tell me you have a big massage therapy final coming up, then ask if you can study by giving me a foot massage.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's about time!





Spring has finally decided to grace Utah with it's presence...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Introducing: Ryan Daniel

We pulled into the hospital parking lot, and I had to physically stop myself from jumping out of the car while it was still moving. My heart was pounding with excitement at the thought of holding my brand new nephew, Ryan. As Adam shut the car off, he turned to me and asked "This isn't going to make you baby hungry, is it?"

"Of course not." I lied.

We walked down the familiar, quiet hallway that leads to the labor and delivery rooms and I smiled as my mind flooded with memories of our experience here just nine short months ago. My heart pumped a little faster as we approached the very room in which I delivered Morgan. I recalled all the details: the drum-drum-drumming sound of the fetal heart rate monitor, the morning sun peeking thought the slits of the closed blinds, the chaos that followed when my nurse discovered I was fully dilated, the way Adam-in his Family Guy pajama pants-tried, but couldn't successfully hide his tears, the moment I took a deep breath and pushed, the incredible high I felt in those very last moments before Morgan arrived.

The more I thought about, the more I realized that I hadn't actually lied to Adam in the parking lot. I wasn't BABY hungry, I was LABOR hungry! (No, I'm not being medicated for this condition, this obvious "kink in my thinking"...although, it has been suggested by some.) Labor, for me, was an absolutely awesome experience. Painful, sure. But the beauty and euphoria of it far outweighed any discomfort I felt. The feeling that comes with bringing a life into this world is a feeling that's absolutely impossible to parallel. It's something that only exists in those tender moments when a mother--exhausted and trembling yet, never more at peace-- holds her newborn baby to her bare chest.

Now, that's not to say that other GREAT feelings don't exist. Everyone has their own favorite, depending on the experiences they've had. For instance, I'll never feel the wonder that my sister did when, after months of waiting and worrying, she hugged Halle's sobbing birthmother, then went to the hospital nursery where she was able to hold and kiss her daughter for the first time. I'm sure that was HER feeling beyond compare. For some people it's skydiving, for others it's running a marathon. MINE just happened to be childbirth.

As I held Ryan in my arms, falling in love with his dark hair and perfect little features, I honestly didn't feel even the slightest hunger for another baby of my own...yet. But as I saw the proud, worn-out smile on Megan's face as she sat there in bed, I couldn't help but feel just a little envious. Because I remember that feeling. I remember my miracle.

And someday...I'd love to experience it again.

------------------------------

The precious babe:


Ryan Daniel

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In other news...

My sister-in-law, Megan, is in labor--dilated to 8cm--as I sit here typing this. (Is it weird that I'm jealous? I loved labor.) I'll be driving to the hospital later this evening to meet my new nephew. More on this later.  

Here's to next Tuesday!



We've been needing a miracle.

Don't get me wrong, our little family has been so blessed. Probably more than we deserve. But times are hard. Money is tight, Adam's work has been unsteady and bills are piling up. I feel like we've barely been treading water for the last year or so. No matter how hard we try, we rarely make any progress. And when we do, it seems like a huge wave comes along, smacks us right in the face and sets us back just a little further. Adam and I are both so tired. Lately I've felt like something has to give or we're going to end up sinking.

This morning we were thrown a life raft.

"Mr. Livingston, we'd like you to come in for a job interview next week." said the voice on the other end of the phone.

"I feel like I need to tell you up front that I haven't received the proper training yet." Adam said. (Something that has completely knocked him out of the running before.)

"That's not an issue. We're more than willing to work something out with you. Please stop by on Tuesday."

It's definitely not a sure thing, but it's a start.

It's an interview for a job that not only pays better--a definite plus, but one that also comes with much better benefits (health insurance!). A job that promises more reliability than his current one. A job that could potentially make it possible for me to work part-time instead of full-time...someday. A small step towards me becoming a stay at home mom.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but it's hard. I feel like there's such potential here. Adam finally has his foot in a door that's been closed and locked tight...until now. I can't help but be hopeful. It's absolutely exhausting, barely keeping my head above water. I'm not asking for a ride on a pleasure cruise, but it'd be nice to at least hop into a canoe.

I was never a good swimmer to begin with.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 2010 Newsletter: 9 months

Dear Morgan,

This past month has been a blast! The month of terror, also known as month eight, is nothing more than a distant memory now. It's possible that these past few weeks of your life have been my favorite so far. You're becoming such a little person and it's just incredible to watch. You're eating new things every day, you're waving good-bye, you're starting to form words, you're hugging and cuddling and kissing, you're singing and dancing, and--the biggest milestone yet-- you're crawling!


Your crawl is easily one of the most hilarious things I've ever witnessed. For the first week or so you crawled on one knee, dragging the other leg lifelessly behind you. Then, rather than using your knee, you began crawling on one foot, pushing your body forward as if you were riding a skateboard. Now, you crawl using both feet, with your bum in the air like a stink bug. Often, you'll crawl aimlessly around the house with some random object sticking out of your mouth, saying "Rawrrr, rawrrr, rawrrr". Your dad calls it your zombie crawl, but I prefer to think of it as your bear crawl. My adorable little bear cub.


Once you began crawling, I knew that pulling yourself up and cruising around the furniture would soon follow. Along with you getting into things you shouldn't, trying to eat everything you happen to find in the carpet, and me no longer being able to turn my back for two seconds. What I didn't expect was for these things to happen within minutes of you learning to crawl. Shortly after crawling for the very first time, you made a beeline for the coffee table and pulled yourself up into a standing position with ease. As far as you're concerned, anything you find on that table is fair game. One night, as I was balancing my checkbook and paying bills, I saw your little fingertips reach over the side of the table and before I knew it you had pulled yourself up, grabbed the credit card bill, stuck it in your mouth and ripped it in half... envelope, check and everything. I have to give you some credit, though. Within two days you were able to break both your dad and I of the terrible habit we had of leaving all our junk on the coffee table.

 

You're learning the meaning of the word "no". Or, more accurately, you're learning to ignore me when I say it. One of your favorite things to do is play with the DVD player. I can't count the number of times I've pulled you away from it and told you "no", only to have you immediately crawl back to it, laughing. You now associate the DVD player with the word "no" and will often crawl to it happily saying "Na, na, na". The best part is when I walk out of the room and you wait until I get back--until you're sure I can see you-- before you start crawling towards the entertainment center. Because it's not enough to just be naughty, you want me to SEE you being naughty. It's more fun that way.

  

Another thing you've recently taken a shine to is streaking. You've always enjoyed being naked; taking baths has been a favorite activity of yours since you were born, and you often burst out in giggles when your diaper is being changed. But you recently discovered something that tops it all: CRAWLING AROUND IN THE NUDE. Since you haven't peed on the floor yet, I regularly allow you to play naked for a few minutes after your bath. I may regret this when you're 16 and still want to run around completely exposed, but for now this mama bear doesn't mind if her cub likes to go au naturel.


Some other highlights this month: the sunburn you got during a picnic with your babysitter, the blisters you got from the sunburn, the scabs you got after you blistered, the judgemental looks I got because of the scabs on your face, the way you insist on kissing me on the lips, the way you got scared and bawled when Grandpa Tom was on all fours bucking like a bronco with Shylee on his back, the first time you giggled after you tooted because you finally realize it's funny, your love for your Baby Einstein Neighborhood Animals DVD, and your cousin Ashton's birthday party where you fell in love with a green balloon.

You played with that green balloon in the car, you held it until bed time, you immediately looked for it when you woke up the next morning, you hit it, you squished it, you crawled around the house with it's string in your mouth, you even held it while you nursed. All of that was fun, but your favorite thing to do was smash your face against it and just look through it. I think you liked the way it gave everything a green tint and made your entire world look so different. Over the next few days you spent hours staring through it, then squealing and excitedly kissing it, then pulling it back up to your face to look at something else.


You are my green balloon, Morgan. From the day you were born, I've seen things differently. You've given me a second chance at life. The chance to experience things with an innocence I'd forgotten, because now I'm experiencing them with you for the first time. Every color is brighter because you're seeing it. Every song is more jubilant because you're hearing it.

And, whether or not we have balloons- with you, every day is a TOTAL party.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A day for Mothers

(Because I may not have the chance to tomorrow, I thought I'd post this today...)

To my amazing mom, to whom I literally owe my life; the woman who has held my hand and struggled with me through each of life's trials; the woman who continually offers a word of advice and a shoulder to cry on; the woman who taught me to appreciate the beauty of architecture and to enjoy those few weeks of autumn when the leaves change color and the world looks as though it's been set afire; the woman from whom I inherited the obsessive need to straighten crooked picture frames on a wall; the woman who unconditionally loves and accepts me, and tells the best "chicken with lips" story I've ever heard;

To my step-mom, Candy, who is a constant example of selflessness and kindness; a woman who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt; a strong woman who has graciously and courageously fought cancer; a woman who regularly uses words that don't exist; the woman who taught me that not all step-mothers are evil and has shown me that a mother's love reaches beyond biology;

To my sweet Grandma Calhoon, my mom's mom; the only grandmother I've had the chance to know personally; the woman who never once got upset that my cousin and I were wearing her bra and orange lipstick again; the woman who is, admittedly, responsible for passing the worrying gene on to me; a woman who has more spoons than anyone else I've ever met; the woman who taught me to like beets; the woman who regularly shows up on my doorstep with fresh vegetables from her garden; the woman who is everything a grandma should be, and more;

To my beautiful sister, Teresa, who is responsible for giving me my only niece; a woman who is indescribably grateful to be a mom; someone who enjoys lame jokes just as much as I do; the only person I know who has weirder fingers than mine; one of my very best friends and the greatest kitchen dancing partner ever;

To my mother-in-law, Debbie, to whom I owe a huge "thank you" for raising such a wonderful man; who accepted me with open arms after only a little encouragement from the rest of the family; who spoils my daughters like there's no tomorrow;

To my sisters-in-law, Megan, Randi and Hillary, who are the mothers of my nephews; who Adam envies and I pity for the job they have of raising (combined) 6 boys; who I can always count on for parenting advice or a good laugh;

And to ALL the other mothers out there...HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!




"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before." ~Rajneesh

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A life of value

I'm currently re-reading a book by Jodi Picoult called 'Handle With Care'. I think the book is intended to stir up emotions and pull at your heartstrings which, I assure you, it does successfully. (Which is, perhaps, why I'm reading it for the third time.) It is the story of a little girl born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Her parents file a wrongful birth lawsuit, claiming that the defect should have been detected before birth and spared them the heartache and overwhelming expense of raising a child with such severe handicaps. A wrongful birth lawsuit implies that, if the parents had known during the pregnancy that their child would be born with significant impairments, they would have chosen to terminate the pregnancy.

There is the logical part of me that acknowledges the expense that comes with any handicap. Doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, medical equipment... the list goes on. These things are all very expensive, and not always covered by insurance. And, generally speaking, the more severe the handicap is, the more expensive it is. There are children born with severe impairments who will never be able to live on their own; who will be dependent on their parents as long as they are alive. What happens to those children when their parents die? Who will take care of them? How will they cover medical costs?

The logical part of me understands how a wrongful birth lawsuit could be viewed more as a medical malpractice suit (the doctors should have picked up on something), filed in order to get money for the child's healthcare; to ensure they will have a means of being cared for even after their caretakers are gone. I understand how the suit could be filed for money, not out of greed or with the honest wish that the child was never born, but out of desperation. When other options have been exhausted, a lawsuit of this type can be a way to pay for medical costs. The logical part of me gets that.

But the emotional, more sensitive part of me hears the words "wrongful birth" and cringes. How could any birth, any life, be considered wrongful?

The book mentions how, over the years, wrongful birth lawsuits have been filed, and WON, by parents of children born with diseases like spina bifida, downsyndrome and even... cystic fibrosis. I looked it up, I did the research, and these cases do exist. I was dumbfounded. Even if these cases were filed by the parents for monetary reasons with only the best of intentions, in order for these cases to be won, SOMEONE- the judge, or perhaps the jury- had to believe that these children were better off having never been born. To me, it's ridiculous to think that the life of someone with CF, my life, may be considered by some to be a life that's not worth living; that it may be too limited or perhaps too expensive to be considered worthwhile.

So, I've been thinking over the past few days: what constitutes a life of value?

I can't answer that question for everyone, but I'm fairly certain I've found an answer for myself. My life is definitely worth living. My life has been truly blessed. My life is full of love and laughter and beauty. I've been taught to love and trust and care. I've learned to have faith and believe in prayer. I've been hurt and I've cried. I've laughed and danced and played. I've fallen in love. I've created another life. I've lost people close to me. I've had schoolwork, jobs and friendships. I've felt the sand under my toes by the oceanside and heard the wind rustling through the aspens high in the mountains. I've roasted marshmallows over a campfire and fallen asleep under the stars. I've picked wild flowers and seen rainbows and smelled the rain. I've looked into the eyes of my baby girl and seen myself. I've loved and been loved by an incredible extended family. This life I live is so incredibly FULL. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more.

I'm so thankful that my parents, even after having a child born with cystic fibrosis, knowing they both carried the gene and knowing the odds of having more children born with it, chose to continue having children. I'm so grateful they believed--and taught me--that limitations and trials don't make a life insignificant. I'm also grateful to God for allowing me to experience all the things I've been able to, and for His constant blessings.

I suppose I have a hard time stomaching the idea that any birth could be a "wrongful birth", because I cannot imagine my own life being any more fulfilling.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Not sure what the rest of Utah did to deserve snow in May



My excuse is that I didn't pay tithing for six years...