Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Time for The End

Dear Reader,

I've been thinking about this for some time now.
I've decided that of all the things going on in my busy life it is time to let some things go.
Blogging is one of them.
I enjoy writing but I write much more consistently in my own journal and scripture journals than I do on here. It's also become one more thing for me to think about and have nagging at the back of my mind of something I should do. Although, after I the thought occurs to me that I should post something on my blog, it is quickly followed by a debate in my head as to whether or not to keep the blog and why I should feel obligated to do something that is so very completely optional.
I may, perhaps, someday start another blog. I certainly have lots of ideas that would be fun but I have no desire to make blogging a strong priority in my life and especially not at this time. I'm wearing myself thin and I'm not giving the things that truly need my attention and obligatory feelings their due time, efforts, energies, and thoughts.
I've enjoyed the writing, I hope you have enjoyed the reading. Perhaps someday in the ever increasing world of cyperspace we shall cross paths again.
If you know me and would like to recieve my family letters via the emails that I send them out in originally, I would be more than happy to add your email to my list! Let me know either in the comments below or by contacting me through other means (home phone, facebook, however it is that we know and see each other).
Goodbye! This isn't really The End just the end of a brief stint of distraction, both postive and negative in my life.
I wish you all the best.

A picture to leave you with:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ice and Bald Tires

My brother bought it, a '94 Nissan Altima, when I was a junior in high school. It was the first time we had a kid car, and it wasn't even that. It was Bri's car, I just got to drive him to work in it. Then seminary, then school, and back to pick him up again. Gray-blue, inside and out. It smelled like musky aftershave--someone's desperate attempts to cover up the cigarette smell while the burns on the front passenger seat were left to fend for themselves. It was a stick and had a little bit o' pick-up. It had pep. Kinda like a retired race horse, they never really loose their sprint. It was fast, especially for a sedan. I loved driving that car. Bri left on his mission and his car became the official, unofficial kid car. We took a few liberties. Although I'm pleased to report that it survived his mission and Bri wrecked it sometime after he got home...he wasn't at fault.

One wintry day, post seminary, sitting in the church parking lot I waited for everyone else to clear out. A couple hundred yards of snow and ice covered blacktop lay stretched out before me. Unaffected. Unscathed. Hushed and taunting. Some temptations are irresistible. I knew the potential of that white top and my bowling ball bald tires. When my brothers had piled in, I brought that engined to life and felt the anticipation of a couple hundred horses braying beneath my bare hands. I gripped the wheel and the stick, smiling, as a turned to my brothers, one in the front and one in the back, "Buckle up boys," I said, "we're going for a ride."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Family Letter, minus the one I forgot to post Last time...

Dear All,

Happy Halloween! I thoroughly enjoy this holiday! I can safely say that I am the most disappointed individual in my household that Halloween is on the Sabbath this year! Our playgroup had a Halloween party this week, we attended the Trunk or Treat last night, and I still want to at least stick a bowl of candy on the front step with a sign “Happy Halloween, Take One” and bring it in when its gone. Brendan thinks that’s a bad idea because it tempts kids to squelch their integrity. Sigh. Next year.

We’ll we’ve had a busy couple weeks since I last wrote. We went camping again, over my birthday weekend, with Bri and Amanda and little Luke! It was lovely weather (during the day! It got down to the 30s at night! Everyone was wearing multiple layers and several blankets each, and hats to sleep in! the kids slept well but I kept waking up to make sure everyone was covered) Dry and Sunny! The fall leaves were beautiful (Shades State Park is a nice one, fyi for you locals) and the biker gang (most of them older than my parents), camping across the way, played some of the best music (in my mind its “oldies” but I’m willing to bet that’s not so for them) on a little battery powered boom box and graciously turned it off at a very pleasant 10:30ish! Saturday, I was awakened around 6:30 by a sweet little Luke voice from the other tent calling, “Whitwee? Whitwee?” It was so cute! We spent the day lazying around the campsite (minus cooking breakfast and the cleanup). Amanda and I wondered aloud what life would have been like if the bulk of our concern for the day was meal making and clean-up…

Last weekend was adventurous (and this weekend, actually, it was like he was trying to finish the job!). My parents offered to watch our kids so Brendan and I could attend the temple! We wanted to go to the early morning session and then do sealings with some friends after the session. So I drove down with the kids on Friday morning. We planned to spend the day with the cousins (Brendan's brother and his family) who live next door to my parents while my mom was at work. We played for the morning and had lunch. Michelle ran a quick errand (seriously, maybe 20 minutes) and I watched her girls so she could run the errand solo. Minutes after she rode off EVERYTHING happened! JE (Michelle's baby) crawled right out of her diaper and The Ocelot (tired and cranky) was having a full on fit and screaming was coming from the backyard where The Elephant, E (Michelle's other daughter), and The Giraffe were playing. I headed out to the injured-sounding screaming to see The Elephant staggering around the backyard until he tripped and lay on the ground sobbing. He’d whacked his chin on the slide and took a little (little) chunk out! The whole process was a little scarier than it turned out to actually be. I didn’t see him fall and so I didn’t know how hard he hit. He was acting like he might have a concussion and he started to go into shock (probably because he’s never hurt himself so bad)! After a brief evaluation he clearly just had a hole in his chin (and no concussion) that required 4 hours in the ER waiting room and 1, yes, ONE stitch. I realize we weren’t an actual, life threatening emergency and by the time we got there he wasn’t really bleeding out much anymore, but really 4 hours for 1 stitch. I found myself frustrated that it happened away from home (and out of our service) if we were at home I could have called Brendan (who was working at his family practice clinic that afternoon) said, The Elephant needs a stitch or two, I’m bringin’ him to you. Walked in. Walked out… Sigh/Shrug. Fortunately, The Elephant was a complete champ through the whole thing, stitch and all! I endured, he enjoyed endless shows of Spongebob (a show he’s never actually seen before, but was a good alternative to Jerry Springer) and a popsicle given to him by an elderly nurse who stood by during the stitch and stared with her mouth wide open. “That was amazing,” she said when the PA finished the stitch, “I’m going to go get you a popsicle!” I was surprised by her reaction. I thought The Elephant was being very good but he’s pretty good about doctors offices, dentists, xrays, etc. Then I learned from Brendan that they usually have to strap the kids to the bed in order to do things like stitches! Brendan removed the stitch here at home on Thursday and the hole is healing quite nicely BUT today from the primary room I heard him screaming in the hallway, so I again followed the injured-sounding scream to its source. It was a nose bleed and he already had a blood soaked paper towel in the hands of poor Sis. Melton (who fortunately has lots of boys and has seen lots of nose bleeds) I gathered that he was racing a car around the nursery. The car was stopped and The Elephant collided, face-first into the berber wall. His little nose is all scratched up as are his lips (and swollen). Poor kid.

This week was spent mostly sewing Halloween costumes, baking, and frosting Halloween sugar cookies! Every year, I make their costumes and we make sugar cookies and every year during the process I think about how much of a chore it is and I wonder why I do it…until it’s finished and I look back and think, “That was so much fun!” Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy the process in the moment as much as I enjoy looking back on it. But I get such a thrill looking back, that I keep doing it! And the costumes turned out so awesome! The Elephant was a mummy (the people’s choice favorite), The Giraffe was a fireman, and The Ocelot was a cupcake (this turned out SO CUTE! I wish you could see it a little better in the picture) and once I’d finished all those, I realized I had enough black felt to make myself a poodle skirt! So I did! And It was so fun! Brought back lots of memories of 5th grade! The Giraffe didn’t quite get the whole trick or treat part. I had to keep redirecting him as his wandering mind just took him wherever he fancied and not ever in the right direction or after the goal of candy…

The Giraffe wouldn't look at the camera for this one, so we could show off his make up, but then neither would The Elephant

The Giraffe helped me get all the leaks out of the garden this week. Those leaks will grow through anything (including a 9 week drought and frost)! We picked them all and brought them in to wash, chop, and freeze. On the way in The Giraffe asked me if he could have one. I selected one I wouldn’t miss having in soup in the future and he promptly drapped it around his neck like a stethoscope and said, “Mom, I’m a doctor!” and he wore it the rest of the afternoon telling The Elephant and our neighbor friend, JP, that he was a doctor and needed to listen to their hearts! It was so cute.

The Ocelot has learned to wave and clap! She still isn’t crawling and I find that a mixed blessing. She, also unlike the other two, has no words at this point. At 9 months The Elephant was saying, “Ball” and The Giraffe was saying, “Cracker” and “Ball” She’s been a baby for us for a very long time and we’ve enjoyed it! She wakes up most days with hair that is crazy but I’ve attached a picture of an especially crazy ‘do’ from today! Happy Halloween love The Ocelot! :)

Brendan starts into a Cardiology rotation tomorrow, which I’m under the impression is kinda a holiday rotation…guess we’ll find out! We’re excited to see some of you in the next couple for my brother, Kyle, and his fiancee, Anna’s, wedding! Congrats guys! We’re flying out first to Utah to meet up with family for my brother Todd’s endowment and then headed to LA. We’d love to see any of you out in SLC or Provo! (Jenny and Kyle and the gparents you’re all already on the list!) Let me know! The boys’ won’t be coming (read too expensive to fly them out) but The Ocelot will be with us!

We love you all and hope all the best for you!


Whit, Brendan, The Elephant, The Giraffe, and The Ocelot

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Thought to Think On

"Our culture divides people into two classes: civilized men, a title bestowed on the persons who do the classifying; and others, who have only the human form, who may perish or go to the dogs for all the "civilized men" care.

"Oh, this "noble" culture of ours! It speaks so piously of human dignity and human rights and then disregards this dignity and these rights of countless millions and treads them underfoot, only because they live overseas or because their skins are of different color or because they cannot help themselves. This culture does not know how hollow and miserable and full of glib talk it is, how common it looks to those who follow it across the seas and see what it has done there, and this culture has no right to speak of personal dignity and human rights…

"I will not enumerate all the crimes that have been committed under the pretext of justice. People robbed native inhabitants of their land, made slaves of them, let loose the scum of mankind upon them. Think of the atrocities that were perpetrated upon people made subservient to us, how systematically we have ruined them with our alcoholic "gifts", and everything else we have done…We decimate them, and then, by the stroke of a pen, we take their land so they have nothing left at all…

"If all this oppression and all this sin and shame are perpetrated under the eye of the German God, or the American God, or the British God, and if our states do not feel obliged first to lay aside their claim to be "Christian" — then the name of Jesus is blasphemed and made a mockery. And the Christianity of our states is blasphemed and made a mockery before those poor people. The name of Jesus has become a curse, and our Christianity — yours and mine — has become a falsehood and a disgrace, if the crimes are not atoned for in the very place where they were instigated. For every person who committed an atrocity in Jesus' name, someone must step in to help in Jesus' name; for every person who robbed, someone must bring a replacement; for everyone who cursed, someone must bless.

"And now, when you speak about missions, let this be your message: We must make atonement for all the terrible crimes we read of in the newspapers. We must make atonement for the still worse ones, which we do not read about in the papers, crimes that are shrouded in the silence of the jungle night…"

-Albert Schweitzer, a preacher/physician/musician/philospher who worked in Africa (Gabon, specifically) and organized Albert Schweitzer Hospital there (see here for source quote).

A Family Letter: Indy Update 12 Sept 2010

Dear All,

September has been a beautiful month and we are all glad it is here (and getting well into it, now that I look at the date…). August was a month not worthy of memory. With regards to Brendan’s life (read: work, which was the on-site Family Medicine Service at St Francis for the month of August) and the way that directly affects mine…bad, very bad. I calculated one week, we saw him for 9 waking hours over the 7 day period. The other weeks were similar. We had an Enrichment quarterly last week (I know that’s not the correct name anymore but its shorter). It was a “get to know you” night (we had a lot of students move in this year) and I was explaining to a new sister that Brendan just graduated medical school and she said “Oh, good, you’re done!” and I just burst out laughing. No, not quite done, but getting there.

For September, Brendan is staffing the wards with the Internal Medicine team. After his first week (which was a WONDERFUL change from previous schedule, they even gave him Labor Day off!) he came home and told me how much he was enjoying it and wondered if maybe he should have picked Internal Medicine instead. This, of course, started me trembling! “What? Are you wanting to change? Reapply, rematch, and start again?!” Fortunately, he wasn’t THAT serious. He just really enjoys the active participation about inpatient care. Something he’ll get little to none of in clinic. But, we’ll stick with the plan in Family Medicine.

Labor Day weekend was a fun one! Brendan had all three days off and we celebrated by having Bri, Amanda, and the little boy down Friday night. Brendan and Brian stayed up a good portion of the night playing risk and then they gave Amanda and I the day off on Saturday! It was wonderful! We headed out a around 9:30am and spent the day wandering around Indianapolis. I showed Amanda some of my favorite places (some of which I’d never been to without kids!) Mass Ave is a section of town that wishes it were more like Bloomington (a reference point for those who’ve been there). It has a collection of small shops, restaurants, etc we hit up Starbucks for hot chocolate (it was cool enough to want it even!) and whatever else we wanted out of the dessert selections (thank you, thank you, Jan, for the gift card! It’s been so fun!) and wandered in and out of the shops and spent around forty-five minutes in an old, small firehouse turned museum for the Indy Fire Dept (very fun little museum) we looked it over in about 15 minutes and spent the next thirty playing checkers! They had an old set out on a barrel and two rickety old chairs and we had nothing required of our time! Amanda beat me but it was a good game! After Mass Ave (which without kids, doesn’t take all that long!) we went to the Scottish Rite Cathedral here in Indy, it’s a beautiful building and the tours are excellent! Lots of history on the building itself and the Freemasons. Unfortunately it was closed, somebody was getting married. We found a mall on the northeast side (a Fashion Mall, there was a sign, its apparently different from the regular malls??) it was WELL out of our price range but fun to look around in and we made friends with an older woman, in Saks, who was showing us designer purses (one was made of sting ray skin! And $3000) We topped off the day by stuffing ourselves brim full at Red Robin! Every day that ends with Red Robin is a good day! Thanks husbands! Let’s do it again sometime!

We’ve been out to the apple orchard for both apples and raspberries! This past week there wasn’t much by the way of raspberries. We were told that due to the complete lack of rain over the last 6 weeks (until yesterday anyway, more on that later) the berries weren’t thriving, so we wandered through and ate what we could find before we headed over to pick apples! We’ve had several apples each day since and I think I’m going to have to actually make something out of the rest of them…

This weekend we went camping! It didn’t go quite as we would have planned but it was enjoyable and we’ll do a few things different next time! Hopefully the weather will cooperate a little better next time, as well. It was supposed to rain on Saturday but the rain started somewhere around 4am (the kids slept right through it!) and didn’t really let up so after spending about an hour and half all stuck in our tent everyone had had enough and we packed it all up and went home sopping wet, but we were home before 9am and got everything cleaned up and put away and still time to enjoy the Saturday! While we were heading to bed, on Friday night, The Elephant was standing in the tent doorway and Brendan was sitting next to him helping him get his shoes off. The Elephant was talking (imagine that) and, I’m not sure what he was saying, because I got hung up on the “What the heck?” part. “Did you just say, ‘what the heck,’ ” “Yeah, I was like ‘What the heck’ …” I honestly have no idea what he was talking about because I couldn’t stop laughing! Something, evidently, had surprised him about the layout inside the tent but I’ve never heard him use the phrase “what the heck” before and it makes me laugh every time I think about it. His brow was furrowed and he had one hand up in a questioning manner and his little three year old self said, “What the heck?” It was so funny.

A funny story about The Giraffe: this week he was playing with one of those big clips that also has a magnet and goes on the fridge. It’s pretty heavy duty and about the size of two of my fingers. It’s got a pretty good grip, but The Giraffe loves to play with it and I decided there are worst things…Mostly he just clips it to the end of his shirt or his shorts…something non-fragile. Well, I was making dinner and I heard him crying, but it sounded a little bit muffled so I set out to look for him. He wasn’t far off and it wasn’t muffled either it was nasal. Poor little Giraffe was standing bent over as though he’d been standing over a pond and a fish jumped up and bit him, but what he’d done was clip that clip to his nose! And it was hurting! And when he would try and pull at it would just pinch harder on the tip of his nose. So he just stood there, crying, his hands out shaking and a clip, as big as his hand, hanging off his nose! I couldn’t help him without laughing. His poor nose hand indents on it and we had to get some juice to help make everything better! Kids are hilarious!

The Ocelot is starting to babble, up until now she has just pterodactyl screeched. She still screeches but its intermittent with babbling, now, and therefore much more tolerable. She can finally sit up, but she hates it because she can’t go anywhere! She’s learned to roll as a mode of transportation and she feels stuck when she’s sitting up! I think she is slowly getting used to it. She is easily my most clingy child. The boys didn’t really care if other people were holding them. The Ocelot, does. And she wants me to hold her ALL THE TIME, I really need her to crawl. She also has no build up to unhappy, so there’s no warning, its just an on/off switch and she also only has a silent/LOUD switch. But she’s pretty adorable and has a ready laugh to that screech.

We hope that this finds you all well and happy. We’ll continue to update regularly irregularly, kinda like Grandma’s semi-annual update! Love to you all

Whit, Brendan, The Elephant, The Giraffe, and The Ocelot

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

I found that listing my favorite things helps me to be more positive (ha! imagine that). Listing the things I'm grateful for provides the same result and oft times the lists are comparable. As I was pondering my favorite things I decided to post some. That way I could provide a little more insight (as the thought process moves a little more when putting thoughts into writing) and I would, uh, have something to refer back times of need.

I like lists. Lists make me happy. Odd? Perhaps, but something about the organization, the knowledge that I no longer have to remember what is listed, and the ability to cross-stuff off the list is so liberating to me. Assuming I don't forget the location of the list. A solution I found for lost lists? Yes. A spiral bound notebook about the size of my hand and 1 inch thick. ALL of my lists are in there. 'To Do' lists, 'To Buy' lists, 'WANT' lists, Project lists, all of the above.

Musicals. Musicals make me so very happy. I love the random outbursts of song, the dancing, the cliches in the plots, all of it. Love, love, love, love, LOVE them. My senior year in highschool, just after I'd moved from Broken Arrow, OK to Bloomington, IN Sophia and I became friends. Sophia shares my love for musicals and together we created a once a week musical club night (of which we were the only two members) it was awesome!

Red Robin. This place testifies to me that Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to be happy. No, not really, but yeah, almost. Only at Red Robin can you get a burger that could swallow your face, bottomless potato fries (REAL fries not the sissy stuff you get at fast food places or Steak n Shake (I have a loathing disdain for Steak n Shake fries, they are a disgrace. What kind fried potato is anorexic? A Steak n Shake fry.) Back to Paradise, Red Robin, just the name of this place melts away all the seething disgust brought on by the no-more-to-be-named-disgrace-of-a-fry. Aw, Red Robin, and the Banzai Burger. Those two are like chocolate and peanut butter, they should be married. I LOVE to go to Red Robin and DELIBERATELY stuff my face so I have to roll out to my car. Mostly I really don't like to eat to much the icky, sicky, stuffed feeling is just not worth it. Except at Red Robin.

Cascade dishwasher soap. That stuff makes my dishes so beautiful. For a while we were having trouble with calcium buildup and I tried all sorts of things and Cascade With Bleach made everything beautiful and I was no longer embarrassed to have people over and drink out of my cups or eat off my plates. Even though I KNEW I'd washed them, you sure did wonder. Love to you people at Cascade!

My piano. Last August the kids and I went out to Utah to my cousins wedding. Brendan had only been home from Kenya about a month and was able to get any time away from his rotations. He stayed home but on one of his days off he headed to Bloomington where a music store was going out of business. ALL of their retail was clearanced out and I came home to a new piano in my living room that Brendan paid dirt for! It was such a wonderful surprise! I don't play it as often as I would like, there are a great many things going on in my life (and at this particular moment, it's really too late to be playing the piano) I love filling my home with my music a couples nights a week and I love listening to The Elephant and The Giraffe play on the keys singing made up songs at the top of their lungs! Life is so beautiful.

Sleep. I really love my sleep. Its one of the things I miss the most from my pre-children days. The feeling of rest and relaxation, the quiet darkness, the way your body tingles as the labors of the day close... and your eyes shut... and you just... breathe...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A little Inspiration

I am a movie-quoter.
Pretty sure its something genetic in my family.
If you don't believe check out my Dad and then take a look at my three year old (who can quote parts of Toy Story and Cars that I don't even remember existing, and I know those movies pretty darn well, or so I thought).
I LOVE quoting movies and I LOVE throwing out a movie line in a big group and searching the surrounding faces for any signs of recognition (and it bitterly disappoints me when no one recognizes it).
Brendan and I sat down to a movie this weekend, Invictus. Seen it? Good movie. It made me think of Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea (a book EVERYONE should read, and I mean EVERYONE it would help make the world a better place. Read it. Again.) Invictus, not really a quotable movie. Some really good lines and quotes from Nelson Mandela himself. Definitely some mantras by which to live. I was touched by the movie. It left me knowing I could be better at serving my fellow man (and yes, that refers to both genders, I'm not PC, it's overrated and a little ridiculous) and at understanding them. Our similarities, our differences, our likes, pleasures, passions, motivations, circumstances, cultures, beliefs, philosophies, traditions, trials, and habits.
I can do that.
Oddly enough, the line that inspired me most of all was in a different direction than the movie takes the audience. I was struck by how The Holy Ghost can speak to us through most everything and how people can sit for the same lesson and come away having learned different things while still grasping the overall message.
Amidst the World Cup game, the Springboks verses the All Blacks I was impressed by the determination and resolve, and the defense. It reminded me of some of the rugby games my three younger brothers played in high school. Rugby is a sport of knowledge of the game and sheer will. I like rugby. During a time out called by the Springboks, the team captain is giving a little bit of a pep talk. He said to his men, "Hold on. Don't let go. Help will come. Help will come." Now the circumstance in which the above line was said is obviously different than the general application for which I am going to use it BUT the very idea of it struck me so profoundly. A group working together, they know and care for each other. They come running when the help is needed, and the participants know "Help will come."
There are so many moments in my life right now where all I can accomplish is mere survival. There are also many moments where I feel like I can take on the world and my attempts often leave me, holding on. Not letting go, no progression, no regression, not really even idleness, just constant strain. "Hold on...Help will come." Sometimes the wait is long. Sometimes the wait is painful. Sometimes the wait is mere patience, or impatience.
Help will come.
Help does come! and it's glorious!