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!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Family Letter: Indy Update 27 June 2010

So These Family Letters are where the Zoo of my life really comes out, Read on:

Dear All,

Well, our summer break has come to an end. We spent it far busier than intended but that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy it and amazingly enough, we didn’t accomplish all we would have liked to, either.

Brendan just finished orientation week of his residency program and this week he’ll jump right into a surgery rotation! In some ways the next three years will be quite similar to the 3rd and 4th years of med school. He’ll still rotate through different fields of medicine, however, now they ALL pertain to what he will be doing as a family practitioner. That said, the surgery month can be done via the clinical or the practical and that decision is left to the resident. Most family practice residents choose the clinical because they generally don’t perform a lot of surgeries although they could and can (well are certified). In clinic, he’ll be seeing patients pre and post surgery. OR he can select to participate in some of the surgeries (such as appendix or gall bladder removal). Because Brendan is interested in some global health work where he will potentially be the surgeon, the OBGYN, the pediatrician, the hospitalist, and most everything else in addition to the family practitioner, he is opting for a little more practical experience and a little less clinical so when the necessity to perform an appendix surgery arises he can take it on. Brendan gets started this week and enjoys the 4th of July weekend (also his birthday—the 4th) on call at the hospital! Happy 4th and Happy Birthday! He’s on call Saturday (which means he goes in at 8am) and post call on Sunday (which means he’ll be home around 12noon—for future reference call is always 24 hour call but they have to round on patients the following morning, so they aren’t home until after rounds are over) So he’ll miss church and spend the rest of the day sleeping. Fortunately he has Monday—the 5th—off! I don’t know how that worked out to get one of the first official 5 days of residency off, but I’m not complaining either!

The Elephant is busy, busy, busy, and fairly exhausting. When he gets bored (which is frequently) he pesters myself or The Giraffe, so I try and pay attention so I know when to start a new activity, otherwise, The Elephant ends up in time out a whole lot. So, in trying to think of new activities, we’ve starting finger painting and water color painting (which he LOVES!) it’ll entertain for a solid 30 minutes and sometimes longer! He’s very creative and it’s been very fun to see how deliberate he is with his color choice and brush strokes. He started teaching me, “You see, Mommy, if you do it like this it makes that! That’s how you do it. And then you go like this, see!” Very cute. The Elephant is getting really good at thoughtful prayers and tonight’s was the best! He always blesses the food and for us to be healthy and he always prays for Jesus Christ. At the dinner prayer tonight he again prayed for Jesus Christ but this time he had two very specific, random requests, “please bless Jesus Christ can give us candy and please help Santa Claus when its Christmas!” I tried so hard not to laugh out loud (and failed ofcourse)! I have NO IDEA where he picked up the Santa Claus thing because we didn’t really dress it up last year. He sat on Santa’s lap at the Ward Christmas party but that was mostly so I could get a picture of the Santa costume I’d made for the ward! We just didn’t make a big deal of it (we will this year though!) It was so funny! Brendan and I were rolling and The Elephant and The Giraffe were doing the awkward laugh kids do when they don’t get why it’s funny but they think they should! Classic!

Today, I finally came up with a fairly accurate way to describe what it’s like to live with The Giraffe. Are you ready for this? Living with The Giraffe is like living with a very vocal, slightly violent, Curious George. The adorable monkey that the Man in the Yellow Hat would have strangled a long time ago had I been him. The kid completely lacks forethought EXCEPT when he’s weighing the known consequence (which I have just issued) for poor behavior verses doing the behavior again. You can see him calculating in his little 26 month old mind whether or not it is worth it and slowly, slyly concluding “You bet it is!” as a devious smile creeps across his ridiculously adorable face. That’s the only reason Curious George is still alive, you know, because he’s so dang cute. Same with The Giraffe. I kicked him (not literally) out of the kitchen after he ate some flour, scattered the papers from the counter onto the floor, played tennis with wisk for the KitchenAid and dumped out an entire bag of flat leaf spinach. I couldn’t set him anywhere without something destructive happening. He was allowed to come back in to eat, until he spilt the olive oil w/ pepper (that we dip focaccia bread in) all over the table and smeared it everywhere with his hands before Brendan and I could stop him. Now, truth be told, this kid is hilarious and not every day is quite like this…they all come with slight variations of the same, though.

The Ocelot is 5 months old! And she is so SO cute! I’m attaching pictures so you can see I speak the truth! For those of you who remember The Elephant as a baby and the talker/babbler that he was—The Ocelot is the same! She has a sound that we have coined “the pterodactyl” Yeah, you can imagine it, huh. She’s figured out how to do it while breathing in as well as out (crazy, eh?) so the sounds NEVER STOPS! In a few years we are going to instigate a “No Talking at the Table” Rule ( because between the three of them mealtime is INSANE!). The Ocelot has more hair then some 2 year olds! It’s getting so long, I can clip hairbows in it! She’s a good sleeper and has beautiful smiles and a nice hardy, man laugh!

I think that’s the update! Me? I’m still teaching in primary and regularly attending my bookclub. Those are the only intelligent things I do each week, but fortunately they both happen weekly! I’m working on a few different sewing and jewelry projects some paid and some for fun. I’m busy and tired but happy and healthy most days. With residency looming, I have the sensation of waiting in the roller coaster as it climbs…the thing about roller coasters, though, is that I actually enjoy them once we’re going! I hate the buildup: the line, the wait, the pending chaos, the screaming, and the click-click of the climb, but I love to be thrown through the air, whipped around, whirled, and hurtled! It’s such a thrill! Especially since I know that I’m so securely strapped I can’t breathe very deeply. I’m not going anywhere, even though I’m being flung everywhere. In the end, I’m glad I rode.

We hope all is well with the rest of you. Best wishes! We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at the Belnap Reunion in a couple weeks! I like to think that I’ll send out another of this before then, but I’m making no promises. ;)

Love to you all!

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why Want, Mine, Now?

Why is it so difficult to give up the things we want?
Even/Especially when those things are clearly not quite right for us or even possible for us to use, possess, or benefit from?
Why do I cling so feverishly to the things I feel robbed of?
And I'm not necessarily talking of things that are bad, mostly things that occupy or distract me. Some of those things I submit are even good things but there is a time and a place for everything and I CONSTANTLY find myself trying to force the time and the place for things I want to have or do.
Why? Why is the wanting so difficult to let go?
Even when my rational mind can articulate all the explanations necessary. All the perfectly adequate and should-be-satisfying explanations, sometimes, cannot quench my thirst for the things that I want whether its more time to do crafts and read or to buy whatever the heck I want at the grocery store without having to completely readjust my menu to stay within my budget or forgo a type of meal because the ice cream is on sale and I'd rather have that right now. Silly. But it's what I want. BOTH of which are completely beyond my reach right now.
Why do I feel robbed of me-time? Apart from the obvious. I do have three children but WHY spend a significant portion of my time with them consumed with the thoughts of other things I'd like to be doing? Because I'm selfish. And "the wanting" is hard to let go. I'm FREQUENTLY reminding myself that parenting isn't about me, parenting is about my kids and that's why its so important! and so hard.
I'm still looking for the ever evasive and invisible line where one crosses from 'taking care of me so I can take care of them' to 'taking care of me instead of taking care of them.' The tips I stumble upon in my quest I will pass along and if I ever find the line and the balance, I'll let you know. Vice-Verse, I hope.
Why Want, Mine, Now? These are words adults associate with children. Unfortunately, we haven't learned to curtail or control them yet either. But we're big and thereby, entitled, right? Does it ever become a prerogative to own such words--young, old, white, black, blue, green, or orange?
Why not Content, Share, Patience? Because that's hard and innately selfless. Selfless=work=hard=most of us give up before we get there. Myself included, sometimes.
Let's try again.

the above image is from

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Family Letter: Indy Update 16 May 2010

Every few weeks I write up a family letter and email it out to my extended family and Brendan's parents and siblings and a few friends (if you aren't on that list and you want to be let me know BUT) I decided that I would start posting them on my blog as well. Here's my most recent:

Dear All,

We’re breathing easy (er) at our house! Brendan graduated last weekend!!! I’m officially married to a doctor! Well an M.D. and when people ask, he’s a medical resident. He won’t be a board-certified practicing physician until after his residency program (three more years). BUT medical school is over and we’re on our way to the rest of our lives! Which is funny, I keep thinking about what we’ll be like when we grow up. Does the feeling of ‘playing house’ ever go away? I realize this is my life but sometimes I still can’t believe it. Reminiscing over the last four + some years and thinking of all the things we’ve done in that short amount of time…crazy. 41/2 years ago Brendan was a janitor at the IHC hospital in Provo and I was in my freshman year of college at BYU, now he’s an M.D. (I’m still only a sophomore, but that’s beside the point). We’ve owned 2 homes and 4 cars. We’ve had 3 children. Family, callings, school, work, good wholesome recreation and extracurricular stuff. WOW. I feel tired. Brendan has done great, great work and I’m proud of him.

The boys and I spend every possible moment outside! The Ocelot isn’t a big fan of the wind, it has her face in a constant look of surprise! For Mother’s Day Brendan got me a bike (which according to The Giraffe is NOT a bike but a bicycle and he won’t stand for the use of the term ‘bike’) and a kid seat and cart. I look like a caravan! But that’s just true of my life right now. My triple stroller is called The BIG Caboose, it’s about the size of a stretch limo. We thoroughly enjoy the bike! All of us but The Ocelot (see previous wind comment) but she’s forcibly adjusting and the smooth ride (and probably the wind too) keep her quiet as long as we’re moving at a decent speed. Her hair doesn’t really need the styling because it’s always standing on end, anyway, but that just completely exaggerates the abuse the wind is giving her.

This weekend was the Father and Son campout! Brendan took both boys and reportedly had a wonderful time! He put the kids to bed around 9pm, they were the only kids in their tent and all the other kids collected around the tent to help The Elephant and The Giraffe stay awake for a while longer! :) Brendan stayed up late eating cobbler and playing capture the flag with the young men. I told him, before they left on Friday, to have fun playing capture the flag and he said, “Oh are they playing that?” to which I responded “Uh, aren’t they?” Perhaps I made a mistake, I thought, but that’s all I remember from my brothers’ stories about the Father and Son Campout, “Isn’t that what you do on a Father and Son campout?” Apparently our experiences were different. He did play though, and had a great time.

At this particular moment, I feel that three year olds are completely obnoxious. The Elephant doesn’t know what that means but he INSISTS that he IS NOT obnah, obnocks, obnockchess! He came with me to Primary today, he has a bit of a cough and I didn’t think they’d want him in nursery. So Brendan took The Ocelot to Gospel Princples and The Elephant came with me to teach the Valiant 9’s and for music/sharing time. He behaved wonderfully for my lesson (which was great because I had another class combined with mine, some 9 or 10 kids) but he spent most of music time with his hands shaped like binoculars and staring around the room, ALL around the room. Whatever he was looking for he found it behind us (I’m betting it was Lizzie, his favorite babysitter) and spent the rest of the meetings, not so wonderfully behaved. For whatever horrific reason poor behavior only compounds exponentially upon returning home. Plus a cranky brother, plus a shrieking banshee of a sister. Brendan got home from his meetings and I was standing in the middle of the kitchen recovering. Three year olds are obnoxious.

The Giraffe is requesting to jump on my bed to “da Fire Song” and “da Tractor Song” (Standing Outside the Fire by Garth Brooks and International Harverster by Craig Morgan) and I need to be available “Mommy, watch dis!”. He also just launched himself over the gate into my room. Duty Calls.

Love to you all!

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Feeling of Home

Lately I've been considering what I want my home to feel like upon entering.
I've walked into "homes" and immediately felt "Dont. Touch. Anything."
I've walked into homes and initially felt cold.
I've walked into homes and instantaneously knew I was out of my social class.
I've walked into homes and felt uncomfortable...borderline scared and/or borderline dirty.
I've walked into homes where people slept but they didn't live.
I've walked into homes that were ashamed of that fact that children also lived there.
in contrast
I've walked into homes and immediately knew I was welcome and allowed to sit.
I've walked into homes and felt flooded with warmth.
I've walked into homes where I was out of my social class but nobody cared.
I've walked into homes felt safe and clean (even if its messy).
I've walked into homes where life was happening and they were enjoying it.
I've walked into homes that foster play and learning amid the chaos.
I want my home to be one of these homes.
I want you to walk in my house and feel warmth, welcome, and safety.
I want you to feel as though you could kick your shoes into the corner and plop down on my couch.
I don't want you to worry about what your children do in my home.
I don't want you to worry about what your children touch in my home, its just stuff anyway.
I don't want you to be able to figure how much money my husband makes by my house itself or the decor inside.
I want you to walk in the kitchen and know you can help yourself to drink and food. If you can find it you can eat it at my house.
If you come over around dinner time, expect to be fed. I'm hungry, you're hungry, I'm already cooking, end of discussion.
I want you to feel you can say what you want and it'll stay within the walls.
I want laughter, lots and lots of laughter in my home.
I want you to find learning in my home.
I want peace in my home, but I don't necessarily feel that peace means silence (although there are days when that would be nice too).
I want you to feel like you could show up be welcome.
I want you to want to come to my home and I want you to feel comfort when you come.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Story by The Elephant

Yesterday The Elephant comes to me and tells me this story...enjoy!

"Once upon a time there...there were three birdies (which eventually became three bears, then three gooses). And their names were Fabio and Misfahssio. And one fell off and bumped his head. Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said, "No more birdies jumping on the bed!"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The UnNecessary "To Do" List

In a world of too many options, there is much to do, see, and experience. There is a large number of things that I would do if the opportunity were to drop into my lap (or the money, for that matter). They would be so fun! but they aren't things that I am going to actively seek or go out of my way to create the opportunity to accomplish. If they happen, they happen. So given unlimited time and/or money I would:

1)become a stunt car driver
2)write a book
3)go to culinary school
4)design a clothing line, accessories included (jewelry, hats, cloves, purses, and shoes!)
5)become a wedding planner
6)have fresh flowers follow me everywhere I go
7)swing on vines in a jungle somewhere
8)learn to speak French fluently
9)visit France, and all the other places whose histories I know so well but there modern realities I've only met in pictures, oh so many pictures.
10)take a voyage on a tall ship, dressed like a pirate and a victorian age upperclass woman's wardrobe in the back for when the weather is cooler
11)walk down the Red Carpet!
12)drive a convertible with a scarf over my hair and white lace gloves! (preferably a 66ish Thunderbird or Mustang!)
13)learn to Ballroom dance.
14)surf and scuba dive
15)do a historic reenactment preferably something Revolutionary Warish
15) make a flapper dress

I'm curious...what's on your Unnecessary To Do list?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


"It's not about living another man's life, it's about seeing your own differently."
-A Man on A Tractor, redone by Rodney Atkins

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Enter: The Ocelot

We have a beautiful new baby girl, she's now a couple weeks old but still not quite 6 lbs and just over 18 inches long.

Coming home from the hospital

Just plain adorable
She is a joy to our home! I've loved all the pink, purple, flowers, and hairbows!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Photo Update

Our first Snow Day of 2009!!

Marine Gulf Speciman Lab
The Tallahassee Jr. Museum (or whatever it's been renamed to)
Roller Skating!

Speciman Lab

The Jr. Museum (has a zoo and some historical stuff)

All the animals were right up by the fence! I've been going to this place for years and this is the first time I've had such an awesome view of so many of the animals! I was glad to have Brendan with me since he'd never been before!

Roller Skating: I didn't skate being pregnant and all but it was fun!

You'll have to believe me when I tell you that Brendan was a skater-punk in high school. Long hair with bleached tips, Jinco Jeans, big baggy t-shirts and everything. Here he is trying some moves, I wished we were at a skate park so we could see him do some of his old tricks!

It's been a wonderful time!