When Lappy Quit Lapping

My computer isn’t working.
Naturally, I decorated the kids’ room. What else can I do but something productive? *sigh*

After living in our home for about 4 years (!!!??? Why is time doing this to me?! I’m a FAIRLY GOOD person), I finally decorated the kids’ room. I did it with no planning and with stuff I had lying around. This is important. This is important, but I’m not QUITE sure why. I’m slightly concerned, actually.
I might have a touch o’ th’ hoarders.

Befores:

Under the name tag on Lacy’s wall I found the words, “I hate Trent” penciled in.
I just put that name tag RIGHT back on and covered in my own variety of wall paper. So the hate is double covered. I would have erased it, but I’m out of those Magic Erasers I love so much.
Afters of the same walls:

I have a few things to add to the wall with the shelf that aren’t finished yet… but I just happened to have a stack of old children’s record on hand, as well as a shelf and bright yellow spray paint. Seriously. I have THREE cans of spray paint, and one of them is bright yellow. Luck?
(And remember boys and girls, if you’re going to spray paint, wear your rubbers! Gloves, that is… I spoiled a perfectly nice nail painting job.)
I’m going to add a frame and sock monkey behind these blocks, but for now…

Here’s a side by side before and after:

I painted Jesus’ frame and covered the old records in flat black paint and made a chalkboard wall. The kids are in heaven.
I nailed a cup to the wall to hold chalk, and it didn’t hold very well… Lacy took matters into her own hands and duck taped it. She knows what’s up.

(I’m not sure what Trent drew… but it looks like… a sperm?)
And Alice eats chalk, this we now know.

The entry way to their room is now a place for them to hang their church bags… I used a branch I found in my yard and added some nails and some jute twine. I took some toys in the kids’ bins and relocated them (to the dump… shhhh). I nailed their bins to the wall to make school cubbies and took an extra chalkboard record to write the rules on.
Rules:
1) One nice thing for one mean thing (for each time they’re mean to each other they have to do an act of service for the other. LOTS of beds being made these days)
2) Be honest
3) Be brave
4) LOVE

Lastly, I took some gold duck tape, ripped some squares and made gold diamonds on the wall.
It’s totally professional…

enough for kids.

I feel like we can all breathe easier in their room… and not just because we can actually WALK in it now. The kids love it, and I love that I finally did it. Next we’re saving up for new bedding for the kids. They need it badly.
I want some solid bright colors… Trenton asked for red and Lacy wants purple.
And Alice just wants chalk.

I somehow feel like I need to write a disclaimer:
Although I used duck tape to make gold diamonds on the wall, hang old record covers AND old record on the wall, make a big paper flower, and hold up our chalk cup… Duck Tape is not sponsoring me.
I’m just a sort of fanatic.

Is the red on my neck showing? Yes?
Good.

The Spirit is Willing, but I Have to Pee

Once upon a time, I got an email informing me that I qualified for a free ancestry.com account.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? This is The Age of Entitlement, am I right? Sadly right…

I logged in and immediately typed in a name of a relative I’ve been searching for more information on. I didn’t expect any sound results because I’ve been scouring the Internet for YEARS on this person.

I’m here to tell you that within a few seconds, I found this person’s father, mother and ALL of his siblings. ALL. And I found spouses of the siblings and those spouses parents! and children!
Five hours later I’m forcing myself away from the black hole that binds me.

Why does it bind me? BECAUSE I’m truly obsessed with people. Just when I start to lose steam, I find a picture:

Everyone, meet Manuel.
(Hi, Manuel…)

I see that picture, and I need more. I have to have more. Manual needs to be sealed to all 7 of his children. And la! What’s THIS?! I find a deputy! Shot to death while chasin’ down HORSE THIEVES!
And HIS ONLY CHILD!
Who has, herself, 8 children. And some did get married…

I’m downloading a picture of a flag (a Germanish flag) as my daughter brings me carrots and ranch. Good, no need to get up…
The baby sleeps, my son shoots me with a plastic arrow.
(Sorry, Mom.)
I find a census… the relative I looked years for is RIGHT THERE in beautiful calligraphy.
He was a FARMER. Isn’t that amazing? I wonder what he farmed. ORANGES?!?! He lived in California, after all. That’s what they farm there, right?
The baby wakes up.
I take screen shots with my phone. Email pictures to myself. Copy, crop, cut, collage.
BAM! Proof that he had 5 children.
One became a laborer… the one attached to us. At 17! What a good son…
The baby needs a bottle.

Five hours later.
I finally have to go to the bathroom, and there’s an end of it. But my heart breaks knowing there’s a web of dead people waiting for me to uncover their names and take them to the Temple to be sealed to their families.
for ETERNITY.

I can’t help but feel they’re hovering over me going, “Seriously? THE BATHROOM AT A TIME LIKE THIS?! MY SOUL IS AT STAKE!”

I’ll be back tomorrow. I need to practice moderation here.
Is there a support group for people who seem to have no self-control when it comes to the souls of dead relatives?
I.
can’t.
stop…

Could YOU?!

Andrew Kriss, true lawman, your soul is safe with us.

And the soul of your daughter and her husband and their kids and their kids’ spouses and their inlaws and the goats and cows and kittens and puppies and rainbows.

Okay, seriously.  I have to pee…

Mocking Bird and a Creek

When I was a little girl, I was known for quoting movies, reiterating plot lines from Bonanza and Sleeping Beauty. My Granny swears to this day that my Maleficent was a dead ringer for the real thing.
“Touch it, I say!”

I became suspicious that The Baby had inherited this talent early on, when she began to be riveted on everything everyone around her was doing. She began “snapping” her silent little fingers, blowing baby raspberries in response to big people raspberries… and soon she began singing lines from “Frozen.”
Her first spoken sentence was -in very fact -SUNG, “Leh i’ goooooo!”

Now her favorite game (aside from a pretty painful version of “peek-a-boo” in the which she grips her Mom by the hair and forces her head into hiding) is the call and echo game.
“Hi, Dad!”
“Hi, Da!”
“I’m sorry…”
“I dorreee…”
“I LOVE you!”
“I YUH YOO!”

And the beat goes on.

Last week, we said family prayers and I stayed kneeling on the ground to say my own personal prayers. I wasn’t long into it before I felt tiny fingers on the back side of my pants… lifting them away from my body.
“You poop?!” a tiny voice inquired from directly behind me.
She was just checking… the same way Mom checks her.
Last Saturday, we went out as a family to The Steps outside of town.

The steps are a place in a canyon where the rocks have been whittled away by some mysterious band of someones.
Maybe the Spaniards?
So that they might water their livestock at the creek below.
Sheep, maybe?

Our neighbor growing up owns the land now, and he’s added a few more man-made steps and a sturdy hand railing to make the hike down easier.

My sister arranged for us all to meet out there and soak in the creek water, catch tad poles, and get completely covered in sand.
Trenton and Lacy were ALL ABOUT the water, the crawdads, and the tadpoles.

Alice was mildly interested in the water, but the sand? She was infatuated. She dug her hands and feet into it, peeling off her most beloved pink crocs (she’s obsessed with shoes) to sink her little painted toes (“prebbies!” aka “pretties”) into the soft beach-like sand.


But somehow I only manage to get a water picture. Good job, Mom.

After a good long dunk in the water and a few walks along the creek side, my sister took a break in the shade. Alice watched her spread her pretty swimming cover-up on the sand and lie down. Then she toddled over and did exactly as Julianne had done.
She plunked her little wet bum next to Ju and lied down flat.
“Dis bed?” she asked, honestly wanting to know why we bother lying down when there’s SAND to be had.

The kids all loved it.

The tadpoles did not.

And we all went back to Grandma’s for hot dogs and s’mores which means we all slept soundly from either exhaustion or full bellies.
Or happiness.

A Blog About a Cat

I hate my cat.

Can I just put that out there? I’m not naturally a hateful person (or a cat person…) but this cat has incurred my spite, ignited my dark side, and pretty much just peeved me off. To be fully upfront about the role I’ve played in welcoming this cat into our house, I have to take full ownership. I saw the kittens on facebook, and I fell in love and did something very FEMALE.
Or maybe very 5 year-old FEMALE.

I set my computer aside, put my jacket on and went straightway to get a kitten. I indulged.
And now I must repent.
And believe me -I AM REPENTING -sackcloth, ashes, the whole nine yards.

First, I thought the cat was male (it still looks like a male). And then she got pregnant.
Fool me once.
Next, my seemingly well-behaved cat showed her true colors when I started seeing MICE. MICE IN MY HOUSE.

Fool me twice, shame on ME.

Now I’m going to take you back -flashback style.
A few years ago, we brought home two kittens as Christmas gifts “for the kids.” They were mostly for Danny and I because our MOUSE problem was outrageous. I had HAUNTA nightmares. In my deep cleaning, I would find evidence of mice, YEA even MICE THEMSELVES. I hit my breaking point when I was vacuuming out our hall closet and found a mouse carcass.
I phoned a friend and secured two kittens from her pregnant cat. I claimed those little mouse murderers before they were even fully developed. Having them around the house was a balm to my soul. Truly. Is there any greater cure for what ails you than kitten on your porch? Spats and Fluffy were a dream come true. The mice disappeared from every corner of my house… I rejoiced. REJOICED.
But then Spats died of pneumonia.
We buried him and felt sad, and I didn’t waste anytime in finding another kitten to fill the void. I wasn’t about to let The Great Mouse Massacre come to any kind of halt.

I mean what I say when I say they were chewing through clothes, dryer hoses, dish cloths! I found mouse feces WEEKLY on my kitchen counter tops. I bleached furiously, constantly. And still. Feces.

I could hear them chewing wood at night, scurrying under my bed.
It was torture, and it drove me to something of an inmousanity.  As opposed to inhumanity because they’re really two very different things.

I picked up our new cat, Crissy, and we loved her fully and wholly for the short three months we had her. Upon her sudden and unexplained disappearance, we realized Fluffy was pregnant. She produced four of the most beautiful kittens in the world. Once again, our porch was littered with kittens.

If you’re swooning, you’re with friends.

We lost one kitten in the cow trough behind our house, and Lacy went to school the next day and wrote about it in her Writer’s Workshop Notebook, “The orange kitty got in the cow troth and we think she is gone forever. and she is.”

We gave two of the kittens away to the UPS man and kept the last for ourselves for maybe a week. We came home from church to find it dead.
I started sensing a pattern… kittens come TO our house but NEVER GET OUT.

But we still had Fluffy. Faithful, gentle, wonderful -so long as you didn’t come near her or touch her -Fluffy.
And no mice.

I picked up this new kitten, and Fluffy eventually came around to her. Our new kitten became a teenager, and Fluffy took it personal and vanished (Our house is something like a Feline Bermuda Triangle).
And the teenager became so fat, so pregnant. She birthed SIX healthy kittens.

Which brings us to today.

That CAT. IS HORRIBLE.
We have 50% of the kittens left. She starved two to death (and ATE one. ATE! HER OWN BABY!). One disappeared in the barn because she moved those poor kittens constantly.
All we found was a furry orange paw…

But that’s all just background. ALL BACKGROUND to what I’m getting at.

Having discovered our “male” cat was pregnant, we began calling her Mama, and the name has stuck but it is not at all fitting (see “ate her own dead baby” above).
A few weeks ago, I took Mama and her 5 remaining kittens to the vet. She had mastitis because she refused to nurse her kittens.
I felt for her, having battled mastitis myself, and I ached watching her gingerly walk the porch.

I set her appointment up at 8:30 am. I got up early, dressed and got ready for the day. I then got the children up, loaded up the cat and her babies into the car which my husband had started and cooled down before we put them in.
I crawled through my passenger side door to the driver’s side (which door has been broken for far longer than I want to discuss thankyouverymuch).

With three sleepy children in carseats and 6 felines in the back seat, I followed my husband into town where he AND the vet work. As we merged onto the highway, I spied with my little eye a barn cat darting back and forth in the back of the car.
Not gingerly.
Her pain had been temporarily backseated to her terror.

Back, forth, back forth, backforthbackforth… and that’s when she pooped. TERROR POOPED.

Let it here be known that my children have the weakest gag reflexes in the history of children. I immediately rolled their windows down and begged from the depths of my soul that they NOT PUKE.
It crossed my mind that the cat might jump out of their open windows. I didn’t have time to figure out if that scared me or tempted me. Jury’s still out…

I pulled off the nearest exit, barreled out the passenger’s side door, called my husband and asked him to please turn around and help me either clean up or keep the kids from puking or just cheer me on.
I used what few baby wipes I’d brought with me to scoop the mess up, deposited it in a diaper (what else?) and let the car air out. At this point, we were officially going to be late for the cat’s appointment which would make me late for work and so I’d need to call the sitter and inform her as well.

I drove cautiously into town, glancing down at the CAT at my son’s feet. Cursing her, pitying her.
As I pulled into the vet’s parking lot, my baby began screaming in pain. I turned to see what fresh hell had hit and found her puking.
She’s never PUKED before. She’s spit up and gagged and threw up small amounts of food when she chokes (gag reflex WEAK). But this? This was seriously something from the depths bottom DEEP of her little self.

I screeched into a parking spot, rolled the windows and began LOUDLY begging my gagging older two children TO PLEASE NOT PUKE. They opened their doors and TOOK FLIGHT. My husband quickly popped the back hatch of the car and volunteered to handle the cats. He was halfway to the waiting room before I could protest.

I was left.
with puke.
and no wipes.

That.
damn.
cat.

I managed pretty well with what I had on hand (luckily I keep a small kit in the car full of disposable gloves, bags, and baking soda -although no wipes, apparently). I found an old extra outfit for the baby, wiped her down with the clothes she had on, and then bused her into the office where I gave her a makeshift bath in a sink.

I came home with antibiotics for Mama, eye creme for the sick kittens, and a belly ache from ALL OF THE FLUIDS AND FECES.
I called into work.
I cancelled the sitter.
I diffused my stomach ache blend for the rest of the day.

And I’m standing here to tell you that MICE ARE IN MY HOUSE. AGAIN.

I hate my cat.
I’m babying these babies in the hope that they’ll turn out nothing like their mother and somehow foster an insatiable thirst for hunting small game.
Like the mice that invaded my dresser a few months ago because although Mama is bad news for her own flesh and blood, she’s apparently a cake walk for mice. They’re having a regular reunion at our house.
Can I just say? We caught FOUR in the course of THREE days.

If nothing else, NOTHING ELSE, I only hope they’ll just not eat their dead babies. Is that too much to ask?

Humble Pie

A few months ago, I read a Christian book about God’s love for women. Instead of being fraught with antidotes that trigger intense amounts of guilt for not being ENOUGH, it’s full of encouragement for individuality.
It honors the athletes, the musicians, the creative, the analytical… it gave me some insight and inspiration.
It reminded me that I’m a daughter of God, that He loves me and each numbered hair upon my head, and that I can grow and develop as the woman He made me to be, regardless of my neighbors, Pinterest, and magazine covers.

An invaluable truth I cling to in my life right now is simply that GOD LIVES, and He knows so much more than I do.
Not unlike Gru’s minions do I wander, getting in fights over insipid crap that doesn’t matter, feeling like I have a lot of know-how when all I really, truly have is a great deal of capability only magnified when God is at the helm.
When I leave that helm, I’ll only wind up in a serene and beautifully brief paradise where the living is temporarily easy and eventually leads to me turning into a wild purple monster that holds little resemblance to the minion I once was.

God knows my name.
He knows my needs.

God hears my prayers when I’m lying in bed in the dark of night.
He knows who I need.
He knows WHAT I need.
He knows when I need.
And I think I do, but I don’t. I may have SOME IDEA but never the full picture.

All my life, I’ve FOUGHT to be capable and in control. I’ve fought to handle my life.
I’ve worked to save myself -to earn every ounce of love and appreciation. I’ve been judgmental of others who didn’t somehow live up to my standards.
Oh, how my stomach churns to write about that…

I acknowledged God. Sure I did. I gave Him a nightly nod of recognition and then drifted off to sleep to thoughts of how I would manage the next day.

This past year, God has brought me to circumstances which have humbled me outright. He has taken me by the hand and heart and asked, “Are you ready for Me now?”
I didn’t need God…
I had Google.

I didn’t need God…

I didn’t want to bother Him with my smallness, my cluelessness, my habits and challenges. After all, He has a great, wide world to tend to. Surely, Alicia can handle her own bumps and bruises.

But you guys. I CAN’T.
I mean, I literally can. I literally can go forth and try to manage MY ENTIRE LIFE from the tops of the cupboards to the bottoms of the floorboards and everybody in between, but at the end of the day all I had was gold star stickers and sore feet.
What was missing?
Peace, grace, serenity, soulful rest.

As the last year has wound it’s challenging little noose around me, I’ve found myself at another rock bottom, looking up to God and desperately croaking out in the middle of the night, “Help. Please, God. Please, dear GOD. HELP.”
I find myself looking up and saying, “God, I can’t do this. I can’t try and fix my reaction to this or that. I can’t manage their reaction to my this or that. I can’t fix other people. I can’t manage or rescue them either. They are yours. I am yours. But I. I AM FULLY BROKEN.”
Instead of trying to put on a show for God that I was sure was going to earn me His shining Celestial approval, I began speaking in a tongue completely foreign to me… HONESTY.
I told Him every soul-rending truth about my days. I poured out my broken on a platter and served it to Him with a soaking, snotty wet tissue garnish, “sorry…”

I started calling people I knew were safe. I called and told them I was broken. I was so afraid they’d think less of me, tell me to put my big girl panties on and consult Google, for crying out loud. But they didn’t! They didn’t. You know what DID happen? A sort of, “Me too” kind of moment.

I’ve been writing -OH! How I’ve been writing. I’m finding the more I write, the more I see and feel like myself. The less I write, the less I like myself.

I’m finding that I need help. Humble Pie has been my dish of late, and it tastes remarkably like FOOD OTHER PEOPLE ARE GIVING ME because I can’t muster it up for myself. Bags of fresh fruit delivered to my table, pizza boxes full of warm, fragrant pepperoni to tempt and fill my children…
At one point, God sent me -literally -fish and a loaf of bread through the arms of one of his dear daughters.

I’ve had my house cleaned, my children taken and cared for.
I’ve broken down in tears that I CAN’T DO THIS ALL MYSELF. I hate bothering people, but I’m learning -I’m talking to you, God -that it’s okay, and that people actually don’t feel bothered. That people are good, and that people love giving.
That I am people.
And that someday, when I’m managed to get it through my THICK SKULL that it’s okay to be helped, I’ll be the one helping.

And in that day, I’ll be able to fully help and serve without judging those I serve -wondering why they can’t Google themselves out of it.
Because I’ve been there. I am there.

And I’m so sorry -so full for sorrow -for judging those who were crying out from their own beds in the middle of the night, “God, HELP.”

Because in almost 98% of those around us -even the ones in bright houses with good jobs -there is help needed.

Yesterday, I went to the city with all three of my children and a tank full of gas. As I went over my food budget (again) and wrangled the children OFF the motorized carts and picked up thrown slushies (Alice…) I couldn’t help but feel incredibly and thoroughly blessed.
Despite being sick with a bad gall bladder (surgery pending) and nearly giving up on myself and the world at least 6 times during that trip, I had food in my car.
I had three healthy kids.
I have God.
My mind continually turned to the fruit in my fridge, the empty pizza boxes at home -the gifts that had come the morning after a bleak and dark night from whence I felt as if my soul might bleed to death.

I testify here and now that He knows the hairs on my head, He knows my tears, my prayers, my truth, my life.
He knows MORE than I do.
I can surrender my life to His and in so doing ACTUALLY FIND THE LIFE WAITING FOR ME -the one He’s had in store all along.

Humble pie is hell to eat, but how blessed am I that it comes from hands lovingly moving in place of the Savior’s.

My tears today are for those who serve endlessly with love and without judgment to those who don’t deserve it but desperately need it. Today I’ll take my three healthy children and dunk them in a creek with my family and look heavenward and say my millionth prayer of gratitude.

In order to give me true life, God has taken some things from me. And this exchange has been the most rewarding of my life. I can give nothing back right now except WORDS.
And these are my words:

GOD IS ALIVE.

And THANK YOU. THANK YOU to whoever has been serving me as the Savior would have you. I pray for you each day.

Memorial Day v. Doughnuts

“Mom, where’s the doughnuts?”
“Trent, we aren’t here for the doughnuts. We are here to show our great-grandpas how grateful we are that they were soldiers in wars. See the flags?”
“Why did they go to that war?”
“To fight and be brave for our country. Does that make sense?”
“Um, confusing… but kind of makes sense.”
“Well, we aren’t here for doughnuts. It’s not about doughnuts. It’s about being grateful and remembering. It’s about SOLDIERS.”
“But where are the DOUGHNUTS? Grandma said…”

At least I have a few more years to educate him before he flees the coop.
In the meantime, we’ll remember our grandpas, living and gone, who served.
We kicked off our morning by weeding the graves of our grandfather soldiers, and we’ll end our day with a visit to Grandpa Click…

Great-grandpa Hansen, we love you.

Great-grandpa Spurlock, you’re not forgotten:

We wish we could get to Grandpa Deets grave as well. We love, respect, and LOVE you all.
More than doughnuts.
Despite what Trent says.

Discoveries

Yesterday was a day filled to the brim with new discoveries.
We spent part of our day out and about in a city and part of our day outside our home and the rest of our day inside: eating and spending time together.

I’ll let the pictures take it from here:





Because staplers generally turn up in weedy garden beds, right? (In the interest of bragging: now a WEEDED garden bed)


My facebook update dedicated to this one glorious loaf of bread:
And it came to pass in those days there went out a visiting teacher bearing bread of the finest make and she did bring it unto the poor and gluten-free trodden, and there arose up a cry of joy from the hungry. Said they, “this gluten free bread doth not sucketh!” And in that day of feasting, there was much joy and rejoicing. For unto us was born this day a beautiful ray of hope through the bountiful arms of one glorious visiting teacher and the fruits of her Pinterest board.
RECIPE!!!


And finally the BIGGEST discovery of the day:

I picked Prince up not too long ago from a local family. We each swore Prince was male and delighted in his very rare quality of being a male calico because they are SO rare.
But, as it turns out, Price is not a rare male calico but a very pregnant FEmale calico.
Though it still appears Price is male, so I’m not really sure what the heck is going on at all and am beyond tempted to name the pretty kitty “Hermaphrodite” after the Greek God of the almost-same name.

I hope your day turns turns over as many secrets as mine did yesterday.
It really makes life worth living, you know?

Salt Lake!

A few days after writing my last post, I hopped in a car with my friend, Jewel, and talked her ear off for 8 (? 7? 9?) hours straight. We drove through sunshine and snow, flat land and mountains, and finally arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah!

I want to tell you about it and share some of my pictures, BUT FIRST.
Before I forget: Trenton has taken to calling cat litter “cat glitter” and I couldn’t be happier.
“Ugh! Stupid CAT GLITTER all over my shoes…”
Let it here be recorded that if anyone -ANYone -tries to correct this, I will become aggressive. Don’t take my happiness, man.

Secondly: because of life and How It Is right now, we had to do our big grocery shopping trip last night… at 9 pm… with three children. 13 hours prior to what will go down in Deets Family History as one of our most monumentally chaotic family outings, Lacy gave Trenton a pencil. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time…
But 13 hours later at 9 pm and again -14 hours later at 10 pm -Lacy decided she wanted the pencil back.
And the scene in the backseat went exactly like this:
(please understand that this ALL HAPPENED EXACTLY AS I’M RECORDING IT.)
Lacy: (in full-on, streaming-down-her-face tears) I WANT THE PENCIL! I ONLY SAID BORROW! I SAID IT QUIIIIIIETLY BUT THE PENCIL IS MINE!
Mom: Lace, we will talk about this in the morning after you’ve had some sleep. If you want to be upset and cry, that’s okay. But we aren’t going to talk about it until tomorrow. We can talk about anything else…
Lacy: BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PENCIL! IT IS MINE! I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!
Trenton: (pencil smugly in hand) Lace, quit complaining.
Alice: Lee Me! Guy Me! Wah bee sigh me! Heh me…

She always gets stuck at “help me.”
The irony is not lost on me.

It’s trips like that -the 25 minute jaunt to Wal-Mart with 3 very tired children under my wing -that make me doubt my tolerance of travel. But I was able to cruise with Jewel for hours upon hours with no bumps. Lots of laughs, lots of jokes, lots of music, lots of free-roaming livestock… but no stress. Even in the darkest of dust storms and snowy roads, I felt remarkably okay.
I think traveling with children has somehow callused me.

As the photo above accounts: We drove through sunshine and snow to get to Temple Square and then we drove through wind and dust to get back home.
And I’d do it again in a heart beat.

Once in Salt Lake, I stayed with my best friend from infancy, grade school, high school, college, and PROBABLY the pre-existence… Tia.
Tia is really the highlight of Utah in every way. Not everyone knows this, but I do. She’s like Utah’s best kept secret.
I hate leaving her home always and have -in very fact -made definite plans to return with Danny next month. I didn’t know I was so big on Utah until recently… Tia’s bewitched me, or something.
With Tia, everything is calm and simple and beautiful and wonderful. It’s a wonderful gift she inherently has. Trips to visit her are never fraught with obligation or schedules or stress, but laughter and easiness and good, solid sleep.
She texted me a few days before I came asking if we should go thrift shopping… meaning she texted me and asked me -without my telling her -if I’d like to do the ONLY thing I really wanted to do (other than attending the Women’s Conference and hitting up a temple session) up in Utah.
D.I.

After spending a morning alone walking around Temple Square, doing a session, snapping pictures, and traipsing all over Brigham Young’s house, I went thrift shopping with Tia.


While walking through DI, I remarked on the mass amounts of pastel blouses and khaki… everything.
“You know that outfit at Dillards you passed up thirty years ago?” Tia’s husband replied, motioning toward the merchandise, “Now’s your chance…”
And at SUCH reasonable prices!

After a solid round of Cafe Rio and a good night’s rest, Tia’s electricity was turned off for maintenance.
So we went outside and stuff.

And then my brother picked me up and took me out
to hike! I’ve always wanted to hike, but I have kids and live in flat land. I was thrilled to go on a very mild hike (you have to go easy on beginners) up Ensign Peak.
It didn’t take me but a few feet to start feeling like I wanted to puke, but I kept going. Except when I quit and then we’d set and rest.
Set and rest awhile.
But I persevered because that’s what cow folk DO… and eventually made it to the peak

After taking in the sights and climbing down -incidentally, the peak was significantly shorter in descending mode -we ate at a vegan restaurant and, overall, felt very healthy about the whole experience.

Steve sent me home with a lovely gift of decorative, speckled Robin’s eggs… which my niece was very interested in when she saw them.
“Easha, are deese REAL?” her eyes gleamed and sparkled with wonder.
“No,” I shrugged.
“Are day CHOCOLATE?” her eyes gleamed and sparkled with hope.
“No, sorry. They’re just for being pretty.”
“Oh,” her shoulders fell, all hope and wonder vanished…

That very evening, I went with Tia to the Conference Center for the First EVER General Women’s Meeting. Tia had some tickets, and a gaggle of us gathered together and enjoyed a landmark experience.
The seats were second row seats! It was unbelievable to take in the Conference Center from the front… to hear the choir’s powerful sound bounce off the back wall, to watch the women file in: mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends!
There was perfume and pumps and Chevron print EV-ER-EE-WHERE.
But most of all, there was us.

Jewel and Ju Ginger.
That’s what I’m going to call them now…
Heather -a fellow music major from college who has managed to look younger and lovelier with age (how the heck? amazing!)
and Mean Tia.
Meaning… me and Tia.

FLASHBACK TO 1993
Big Brother: Who is going to be there, Alicia?
Me: Me n’ Tia.
Big Brother: I didn’t know Tia was mean. Meeeeen Tia… hardy har har
Me: I WANT MY PENCIL!
(I don’t know where Lacy get it…)

Conference was so moving, so brilliant, so filled with lessons that I’ve since spent hours recording my thoughts and impressions. I will say that I didn’t make it but three single NOTES into the opening song before I was just weeping outright.
The sheer volume. The power behind the sound of ALL the women. It was something I will never -ever, in this life or beyond -forget.
To feel the reality of being in the presence of so many sisters… and to be there with my own sister and Tia who has been a sister to in every way save the blood way! It was an experience for the books.

The entire trip has taken me several sit-down “process” sessions because I learned and gained SO much. It was truly a gift of a trip.

And to complete this post, I’ll gift you with a little bit of Tia.
Here’s what happens when we try to take a selfie and put Tia in charge of snapping the picture because
1) she has the longest arms
2) we trust her.

She still has the longest arms, but the trust? Miiiight have been broken in the best possible way. I invite you now to look at Ju -so wonderfully unchanging through it all.
And then compare her to Tia.
And then laugh out loud like I do every. dang. time.
Time lapse: approximately 10 seconds. maybe. prolly 9.

The Longest Short Walk Home Ever

“Let’s go for a walk,” I said to my freshly awoken daughter.
“Okay,” her boots slipped on over the jeans she slept in.
The door opened quietly, closed quietly… one long finger held over my lips… “shhhhhhh…”

The morning was OURS. The singing birds, the cloudless sky.

“Reach your hands over your head, stretch! Take a big breath in and FILL your body with all this fresh air!”
Our shadows danced next to each other. She giggled. I breathed in ALL in.
It was magic.
Until.

*Screen slam*
He’s barefoot, rubbing his eyes.
“What are you guys doing?”
Going for a walk with one child is enriching and refreshing. Going with two?
But at this point, do I have an option? I could send him back inside where he’ll cry and wake the baby up and be scarred for the rest of his life and only dredge March 25th, 2014 up twenty years from now when his therapist puts down his pencil and asks, “Now. Don’t you think it’s time we addressed your Middle Child issues?”

I resign.
“Get your boots on, buddy!”
“Don’t leave me.”
“I won’t, but I DO have to go to work… so… hurry.”
“But you’ll leave me.”
“WE WON’T.”
“But I don’t -”
“Buddy. Choose. I only have a few minutes, so I DO have to start walking. If you’re going to come, hurry and get your boots on.”
“Don’t leave -”
“I won’t leave.”
“But I don’t have time for socks.”
“Okay, that’s fine. I’m going to start walking, and you can make your own choice. You’re welcome to come if you want. Or stay with Daddy.”
“I don’t want to stay with Daddy!”

I realize socks matter. I do. But he never seems to care about socks until there’s really no time for socks. I imagine our house burning down and Trenton tugging on my robe, “Um, I need socks…”
The kid isn’t exactly known for consistently wearing undergarments of ANY kind, unless he’s wearing them on his head.

“Your choice, buddy,” I say and start walking.
The screen opens, slams.
The screen opens again after a few seconds, slams. The boy comes running down the driveway in his boots.
“I will ride my BIKE!”
“This morning, we are walking,” I say, unwilling to start the argument of “if he gets a bike, why can’t I get a bike?” and “my legs are tired of pedaling” and “my bike is stuck” and “GET OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!”
“But I want to ride.”
“You don’t have to walk this morning, you can stay and help Daddy make breakfast.”
Tears. Shoulders slumping.
Tick tock, tick tock.
“I don’t want to STAY.”
“Awesome, then let’s go!”
“I want to ride!”
“We are walking. You can make a choice.”

Trenton hates it when I say that.
Within 49 seconds, he’s stopped crying and is full on running, gleefully.

We reach the stop sign (a quarter of a mile -maybe -from our house). I start making my way around, Lacy takes a different way. I try calling out to her. Trenton falls into the gravel and screams.

The magic oxygen I inhaled on my lawn has been completely usurped in my efforts to simply endure.

But then she slows down.
Hands in pockets, sighing.
“Come on, Lacy!” I cheerfully coax her, “Let’s get some oxygen in our lungs! Breathe in and fill them up like a balloon! Swing your arms! Let them feel the oxygen too!”
She deliberately stiffens them next to her side.
“Let your arms swing,” I show my daughter by example how good it feels to let loose.
“Mom, no.”
“Trent, don’t run. You’ll fall again.”
“Can I take a short cut through the short cut?” Trenton asks -wanting to know if he can plow through two of our neighbor’s personal driveways on his way back to our own.
“No,” I said, “We just have to make it home. I have work. Lacy! Come on!”
“Can I just swing ONE arm and use the other to hold my pants up?”

And in one swift questions, she summed up my entire life.
One arm swinging, the other holding my dignity together.

Later in the evening, I try to do yoga.

Better to have tried and pulled your hair twice than to have remained on facebook.
Right?

Trigger Pull…. *BAM*

I believe so many things about myself that just aren’t true. Not even a little bit true.

You’re a failure.
You’ll never be enough.
You’re unattractive.
You’re too much… too loud, too vocal, too animated, too MUCH.

Only recently did this gigantic “ah, HA” world open up to me where my character traits I believed were flaws were actually GIFTS.

GIFTS.

I talk too much? No. I don’t. I just really, really don’t.
Try: I talk openly and freely. I’m expressive and talkative and colorful. It’s the way I was made and created, and for over 20 years, I’ve been solidly SQUASHING it because it seemed so demmed unattractive.

I’m playing a new game now -new field, new realm, new ball game.

As I’m cleansing my my life of my false beliefs, I’m finding I have to avoid certain places and situations that trigger them. Of course, I learned this by finding myself plopped IN those situations and thoroughly hating every fiber of my being.

I’m a very hands on learner.
Just ask my battle-worn sewing machine.

So here’s the deal: I can’t do cardio workouts right now. Every time Jillian Michaels pops up on my screen, I’m suddenly unattractive and riddled with shame.
I used to RUN toward that, thinking I needed to rid myself of my unattractive-ness!
When really? REALLY. I just needed to rid myself of Jillian Michaels for right now -until I’ve accepted myself fully as I am, until I’ve learned that I AM attractive and can embrace what I see in the mirror at any given time of day: first thing in the morning, freshly out of the shower, and right before bed when the day’s cookie count has accumulated in my bloated abdomen.

Shame for me is found in so many places.
I see Jillian Michaels… the trigger is pulled, and BAM: a false belief runs the gamut of my mind.
You’re too soft.
You don’t have it together.

I see a clean house run by someone who cleans their house religiously.
You’re not enough.
You’ve failed.

I see someone going through hard things who is all steel and granite.
You’re weak, you’re so SO weak.
You’re less than.

The blank unholy truth of it all is that I have this crazy belief that the way other people live somehow has something to do with ME.
And it doesn’t. It doesn’t AT ALL.

They can clean their house, and I can NOT and we can live and love each other without me believing that I am somehow the world’s worst and fullest failure of a creation that ever poisoned the carpet she dared to rent.
(PS: most of that is the kids’ fault… okay?)

I can own my beautiful MUCHNESS: my loudness, my animation, my crazy love for anything free and wild… this weird existence between country western and liberal gypsy (go ahead, ask me how long it’s been since I shaved my legs).

And I will say this: I do stuff really well. For everything I DON’T do well, I DO DO other stuff well (like make 11 year old boys laugh by saying “DO DO”).

There are wonderful people who have taken this journey before, who will read my words and think, ‘duh, Alicia.’ and that’s okay. Right now I’m in a cleansing place of learning to accept myself in spite of how others live, in spite of the mountain of “shoulds” I’ve built in my 28 years, in spite of my default setting that tells me life is somehow all about me.

In truth, life is a gigantic, majestic, embracing work of art full of variation and life and color. And I am a piece.
A good piece.
A MUCH piece.
A necessary piece.

And for that, I will stop apologizing for who I inherently am. I will apologize for things I do that are offensive and awful, but
“sorry I talk too much” is no longer on the menu, along with “sorry my house is a mess.”

Cleaning. It’s just not something I GET. I have to work REALLY hard at understanding the mechanics of organization and cleaning. Right now, during my cleanse, I just can’t do that.
Yesterday, I asked my kids to run and clean their room while I picked up the living room. Minutes later, my daughter came out of her room… where she had been CLEANING, remember … with THIS

My daughters have inherited my MUCHness, and now is the time to start loving that part of me so I can fully love and instill self-love and full self-acceptance in them.
Because the scene of my two favorite females emerging from a work environment wearing hard evidence that they’d actually been PLAYING was awesome and hilarious and (let’s face it) admirable.

I found this image through Glennon… Momastery Glennon… and it fits today.

I'm often asked about my parenting "strategies" and I usually just say -"forgive yourself for being yourself." But I saw this picture today and it reminded me that another parenting strategy of mine is to gently swerve out of the way sometimes so beautiful things can grow.

 

About it, she says:

I’m often asked about my parenting “strategies” and I usually just say -”forgive yourself for being yourself.” But I saw this picture today and it reminded me that another parenting strategy of mine is to gently swerve out of the way sometimes so beautiful things can grow.

And I issue that same invitation to myself… to get out of my own way and let myself swerve out of the white lines I’ve painted in my restricted and colorless Mountain of Shoulds.