But I Won’t Say That

Alice loves to talk.
Scratch that… Alice loves to COMMUNICATE. She wants to interact, to look you in the eyes and have you communicate with her. She loves playing the parrot game (also known as the echo game). It’s adorable, and she can turn anyone -even strangers in the grocery store -into proficient parrots.

She says “uh, oh” when she drops something or sees something on the ground she wants. Each version of “uh, oh” sounds different, and you can tell which one she’s using if you’re her mom.
She asks for Dad-dee. She loves her Maaammaaa. She asks very plainly for her bah-doh (bottle). And her favorite toy is hands-down, her bay-bee. If you hand her something she wants, she will frequently say “thank you.”
We understand Alice. Alice understands us.

But Alice.
refuses FLATLY.
to say.

Oh, she CAN. I’ve heard her. It’s cute and short and if you’re not focusing on her, you might miss it because she never says it when you ask for it. Oh, NO! (her newest phrase, by the way)

She only says it when SHE believes it’s a good idea.

The other night we had a full blown melt down because I wouldn’t give her a cookie.
“Say pleeeeease,” I coaxed.
She screamed.
“Say… pleeeeeease!” I continued.
Head thrash, screaming, arms thrashed, head went to floor. She forced herself into my arms only to be disgusted with her own mother and push AWAY from me.
“Say please!”
Full-body contact with the floor. She has had it. She begins to crawl away, stopping only to look back at me and (you guessed it) pout n’ scream.

I finally captured another bout of The Please Fit a few days ago. You have to understand how HARD it is for a baby to realize that her getting what she wants is contingent on doing what someone ELSE wants you do to.
This girl is HER OWN BOSS, and she’ll stand her ground at any cost be it cookies, gummy bears, or pudding.

Look at those eyes!
So sad! They don’t understand this world where you have to say PLEASE! Isn’t this a world where you just HAVE what you want?
This shift in reality isn’t going over well, and something tells me this stubborn girl will be a go-getter.
Ain’t nobody gonna tell her she can’t have what she’s after.

Besides, any girl wearing a pink tutu with a denim jacket should be fully accommodated.

Don’t Stop

Do you ever have days where you seem to never ever stop, and your brain seems to never ever stop?

Today is one of those days.

Sorry, I left the computer to get the cookies out of the oven (1 C. Peanut Butter, 1 C. Sugar, 1 egg. 350 degrees, nine minutes: by all accounts, amaze balls) and I forgot my train of thought.
Oh! That’s right.
Silly me. I was going to write down my train of thought for posterity’s sake.
Then I lost my train of thought about my train of thought which, in and of itself, sounds like a brainwreck.

Here’s my present brainwreck, filed neatly away for future generations to scoff at… “so cute how she thought she was busy…”

[I typed out an ENTIRE brainwreck here that detailed my thoughts on buying a milk cow, why I don’t sniff wet paper towels I find on my carpet, and how going gluten free is about as much fun as watching Caillou while I’m PMSing. And then an evil force -probably related to the cold I had last week -came and erased it ALL, and now my piano lesson is here after which I have a piano lesson after which I have a flute lesson after which I have dinner after which I have meetings after which I’m going to die. That’s all.]

But at least I have my Hulk tatt.

Hospital Daze

About a year and a half ago, I sat in the hospital while my husband had surgery.  I was so out of place, so uncomfortable.  I didn’t know how to get the cafeteria, how much the food was, IF it was even good… I felt nervous and lost and I wanted my Mommy.

Today I found myself walking the hospital halls like a regular VET.  I know where to get food, what tastes good, and how to find the gift shop from most any location.  Between having my husband’s surgery, having a BABY there and then enduring some hellish sort of Family Version of Hospital Renaissance, my hospital know how has become something like sanitized street savvy.

I can’t decide if it’s cool… or awful.

It’s both, really.  It’s both.

It’s cool to stroll the halls at midnight in your jammies and socks like you own the joint (because you ARE paying for what feels like an entire wing of hospital staff and gear).

It’s awful to try and work the hot cocoa machine and end up filling up two entire cups of White Chocolate Caramel Cappuccino only to pour them out because you don’t drink coffee, and when you finally get the hot chocolate you want spill it all over the cups which then have to be thrown out.

It’s cool to talk shop with the Physical Therapists like you KNOW a thing or two because you’ve been through the same routines so many times.

It’s awful to deal with elevators that close their doors so fast you invariably have your arm CHOPPED which sends your fruit salad FLYING everywhere.

It’s cool to take care of your Mom.

(Why does that sound so middle school?  Why does anything with “your mom” in it sound so middle school?)


All in all, I made it home and my kids were happy to see me for almost 5 whole seconds.


Watching my mom endure excruciating pain was awful (speaking of awful, as we were), and it reminded me to take better care of my bones which are predisposed to arthritis… and I don’t know if I’d told you this, but my joints hurt all the time.

(again, I feel stupid saying that and there’s a 12 year old boy somewhere out there laughing because I said “your mom” and “joints.”)

Seriously, they ache.  It hurts to bend, to run, to walk, to twist, to squat (it hurts to even THINK about that).  For a long time, I decided not to think about it because I knew if I didn’t… it would just go away.  Right?  That’s how stuff works, right?

Yeah, right.

And then I ignored it.  And then I went to a Dr. because my hip was out so badly it made living impossible.  He told me that I could most likely successfully gain a diagnosis for arthritis from a physician, but he could almost bet money on the fact that I was simply eating something my body didn’t like.

And that, boys and girls, is how I came to finally accept my fate (it seriously took me a month to finally start dabbling in this) (and that month included sitting in a room full of people who had just had surgery to replace joints) (joints, har har)… and I’m here to share it with you.


I’m going gluten-free.


I’m scared, and I’m also accepting donations because gluten-free stuff is esspensive.  But not as esspensive as hospital bills which I know all too much about.

After Mom comes home, I’m hoping to Dear John the hospital on behalf of our Hansen Family.

Dear Flag Medical Center,
It’s not you.  It’s Me.  I really need some space.  I know it isn’t ethical, but I’ll pay you off.
PS: Never change.  Every girl needs someone like you: ever available and stocked with gluten free cookies.

It Isn’t Earned

I used to operate under the belief that love had to be earned.

That means I spent a great deal of time doing things for others (to try and manipulate their perception of me) and feeling always like I wasn’t good enough.

I wasn’t a good enough mom. I wasn’t a good enough housekeeper. I wasn’t a good enough seamstress. I wasn’t a good enough conversationalist (less is more, Alicia). I wasn’t a good enough friend or neighbor or leader or house guest or visiting teacher or or or or…

So I would do stuff for others to earn their love. What’s more (and this is the part that really breaks my heart) I would do things for myself to earn my own love. And MORE (read: MORE heart-breaking) I applied this same principle to my Father in Heaven.

In order to have Him love me, I had to read more, pray more… to have a relationship with Him I must and would be better! more! stronger! wiser! worthy!

That’s all over now. It all ended in a sort of gigantic heap of a train wreck in my soul, sirens wailing and all. I think it was even raining…

But now I see clearly (because the rain is gone?) (sorry, couldn’t resist)… and now I can rest.
Love is the most powerful driving force on earth. It can bring heroes to the front line, give mothers strength to lift cars, and pull families so close together their hearts beat in rhythm and time.
Love isn’t about couples or sex or some sappy sentiment plastered on the side of a cardboard-shaped heart box full of chocolates. Love is about seeing someone intimately and knowing who they are.

I love my children. They don’t earn it… my love for them simply IS, no matter what, when, how, where, or why. They can be stinking rotten and I still love them. They can be angelic and sweet, and I love them.

I have a relationship with them ALWAYS.

A few weeks ago, I sat in church and listened to a teacher pose the question, “How do we strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father?”
I sat back and listened to the answers.
“Read our scriptures more.”
“Pray more often.”

And I KNOW they didn’t mean it like this, but my Old Self began crying out from within, “earn, earn, earn… work harder and more and when you feel shame because you’ll never EVER reach that goal… self-medicate with chocolate or Downton or even a nap because you’ll never be enough, Alicia, no matter how hard you work at it. You simply exist to BE LESS.”

So I raised my hand and told God and everyone about the file in my computer. The one labeled “Valentines.”
Because the more I learn about LOVE, the more I come to appreciate Valentine’s Day.
And although I still spend time in my scriptures and on my knees, I don’t do it to try and manage any kind of relationship with anyone… I do it because I need it.
Instead, I take my phone out with me into the world and look for God’s hand in MY life. I look for Him reaching out to ME.
The pendulum has swung the other way for the time being, and I’m sure someday I’ll find that happy medium of reaching out and seeing Him reach back, but right now I’m cleansing The Earning Pool.

I’m looking for His hand in my life EVEN THOUGH I haven’t earned it.

And when I see it, I snap a picture, label it, and put it in my file. I’d like to share my file with you today, if that’s all right with you. These are my Valentines (sometimes called Tender Mercies by other Mormons, ha!).
Today I’ll be on the lookout for more Valentines from my Father in Heaven as I spend time with Mom in the hospital. She officially has TWO new knees (whereas she used to only have the one).
Enjoy my pictures, and maybe snap a few yourself. And I won’t complain ONE little bit if you send them my way. I already have a file full of other people’s Valentines, and I love looking through them. (You should add yours to the mix, just sayin’)

And then there’s the Valentines I make just for fun… it’s a hobby of mine. Is that crazy? Maybe. But I can’t stop the crazy.

Fat Quote

I have a favorite fat quote.

What’s more, I believe everyone should have a favorite fat quote.

As a little girl, I remember sitting at the breakfast table with my family. I was always seated to my Dad’s left, and my Dad is an avid reader. His reading tends more toward the “on the go” variety rather than the “sit and soak” sort. For example, my Dad reads newspapers and boxes and things like that… but I’ve never seen him sit down with a book of poetry. On this particular morning, he was looking at the side of the Corn Flakes breakfast cereal. On the side of the box was a black and white picture of a bright-eyed young woman.
“Isn’t she pretty?” my Dad asked.
“Yeah,” I said, because I never disagreed with Dad… Dad was always so very right, I was SURE of it.
The Sweetheart of the Corn was reprinted on the side for Old Time’s Sake.

“Look at that,” he said, “Look at her… see how she’s a little plump? She looks good. That’s how they used to have their models -with more on ’em. It looks good.”

It looks good? It was such a foreign thing for me to hear, and Dad probably didn’t even think twice about saying it. But I remembered that conversation forever. What a message to be sent to a growing girl’s ears… firstly, that beauty was not defined by thinness (which at that point I was starting to believe it was) and second that eating corn products makes a woman lovely.
I’m sure Dad DID mean to ingrain the “corn makes ladies lovely” into my brain because, aside from loving and serving us corn and grits (and Corn Flakes, apparently) pretty frequently, he had us planting, weeding, and harvesting hearty-sized fields of waving corn.

After that conversation, my mind was broadened a little… that maybe there was more to beauty than size… that maybe beauty had more to do with WHO I am and less of WHAT I am or what I had to offer.
Dad raised me to be hearty -his very own personal Sweetheart of the Corn (I had to say it, Dad… and I’m laughing so hard I’m crying).

I also found this quote by J.K. Rowling last year and immediately fell in love. After I had my third baby, my outlook on my body and beauty REALLY changed.
My body is amazing… it’s done some miraculous stunts (including but not limited to herding cattle, creating babies, and 1/8th of a P90X yoga video -cheers to whoever has made it any farther).

That’s why this morning I fed it well. I adapted a healthy recipe and made it country (read: added actual sugar and oil) and served it to my family. Despite the sugar and oil, it was hearty and healthy and so darn filling that no one even finished ONE waffle without some amount of groaning.
Carrot Cake Waffles!

I took this recipe and quadrupled it, in case you’re wondering where I found it.

Alice and Trenton made sure I had Music to Cook By (mp3 will be made available soon) (jesting).

After breakfast, I sat down and read my favorite “fat” quote.
I hope you like it as much as I do.

“Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.

I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’

‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’

What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.”

― J.K. Rowling

Oh, Daughters

Last week, the kids watched a movie with me. It detailed the life of a child who lived in an abusive home with a drug addicted parent who made him stay in his room all of the time. There was never any food on hand.

Lacy told me soon after watching it that she felt equally as victimized.

Since she has a beautiful room, a bathroom, a full wardrobe PLUS a wardrobe of dress up clothes, three meals a day, quality family time, several pets (shall I go on?) I sort of threw up my hands.

You guys, according to my oldest, I am the meanest and worst mom EVER. Except when I’m the BEST and GREATEST mom ever. There’s no half-way ground with this girl. There’s just not.
I’m either a blithering failure or a raging success.

This morning, I was -according to my daughter -a blithering failure. I’m going to tell you why because in 20 years, she’s going to read this and then call me an apologize. (Or visit my grave with flowers, since I sometimes believe I’m headed directly to the cemetery. Okay, I’m joking.)

I made oatmeal with blueberries.
And curled. her. hair.

There were wails and tears and coughing… there were excuses and pleadings to her father. The bus was missed.

“I want to go to school HUNGRY!”
“I LOVE the cafeteria food!”
“This tastes so WEIRD!”

And while I believe that Anne Shirley and I really ARE kindred spirits, I also believe that Lacy and Fancy Nancy are the very same being.
Even as I combed through her long, ratted hair she wailed out, victim-style.
I’ve been telling her that her hair is a little too long to be managed and that it needs to be cut, but she hates the whole idea.
This morning her tears (of which there have been MANY over her long locks) reminded me and I said again, “We need to cut your hair if you’re not going to brush it every night.”
She mustered up a frail, tear-ridden, “A trim!”

It’s all she’ll put up with. She loves her crazy ratted hair, and I kind of love that she loves it.
Eventually she’ll realize she loves me too. You know… in 20 years when she’s making her own breakfast and curling her own hair.
And not sleeping next to Barbies (and headbands and books).

(Meet ROCK BARBIE on the left who sings with Lacy all of the time, but most especially right before bed. Lacy sings herself to sleep almost every night, and I never want to forget the sweet sound of singing I hear nightly through the wall.)
And making my grocery lists in neon green gel pens… milk, embelopes, crayons (or something like it)

After going through all of that this morning, my son popped out of bed and came sleepy-eyed into the kitchen.
“Can I have some oatmeal wiff blueberries?” he asked.
The heavens parted. So willing, so sweet… I made him a big bowl and he POLISHED it off.

Boys are sometimes just SO easy. Maybe it’s because they don’t have tons of hair?
Alice is so happy, so loving, and always ready to giggle. Until you touch her hair. She’s my very own batch of “Round 2.”

And thanks to her, I’ve got a sore nose from where she threw her cute little head back into it. And yes, I cried. A one year old beat me up last night.

Beaten in my own home, and somehow I’m still the bad guy. Cry-key.

Demon of Unspecified Origin

This cold has a demon in it.

A teasing demon.

It loves to lead you on, let you think you’ve got it licked and then *BAM* you’re flat on your back under a mountain of toilet paper (because the tissues ran out DAYS ago) coming to the awful realization that if Chewbacca and Rudloph procreated, the offspring would look exactly like you: hag-haired and raw-nosed.


My son sat across from me at lunch (for which he insisted on Top Ramen sprinkled with freeze-dried blueberries, and who am I to deny nutrition? and creativity?) and said as he pulled a long hair from his noodles, “Too much hair, Mom. You need to cut it.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I shrugged.
“Not maybe,” he replied without missing a beat.

And that comes just days after his older sister brought me a brush and said, “Here. It’s like… a tangled mess.”

Handle that business, Mom, instead of letting it handle you.

The good news is, I woke up feeling better. But I don’t trust it. I know this cold too well by now.

As I said, there’s a DEMON in it. And I’m pretty sure that demon works for Halls’ Cough Drop company. Or Star Wars. Or Santa.


I have anxiety issues.

I’m pretty sure I came into the world worried about whether or not someone was going to support my neck or drop me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been haunted with worry.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been watching a lot of murder/mysteries while I attempt to rest up. It occurred to me last night that MAYBE putting myself through such stressful emotions such as

Don’t go in there alone, what in the blazes are you thinking?! You’re a skinny woman and he’s a serial killer!
There’s a dead body behind that door… don’t open it!
There’s someone behind you. Don’t you know? TURN AROUND YOU IDJITT!

probably isn’t the best thing for my sick body. Stress is a killer. It kills every good thing.

I tell my kids when they’re sick that there’s a battle going on inside of them… a battle between good and bad guys. The bad guys are what make us sick. The good guys try and kill the bad guys, but if we’re up and wiggling around the good guys can’t balance. They fall over, and the bad guys win.
(It’s to be assumed that the bad guys have impeccable balance. They do yoga.)

My good guys are definitely being knocked over by the stress of murder mysteries. It doesn’t help that this cold seems to have an agenda of hate against me.
I’m a good person, so it obviously doesn’t know me very well. Even after a week of misery, it still hasn’t gotten the point (maybe because I’ve been a bear all week?).

I went to bed last night after hearing about a threat being made to the schools… a vague threat with no specific school mentioned, no day… nothing really concrete. It was mostly a gigantic Scare Alicia Until She Wets Herself kind of a thing. As I laid in bed with school shootings dancing in my head, my anxiety took off. The scenarios became worse, my chest tightened, my thoughts took control of ME (instead of the other proper way ’round), and FEAR took hold.

Home school.
Move far away into the middle of nowhere. Build a one room cabin. Live off the land. Barter and trade for our wants. Don’t waste money on bras.
Bolt the doors. Bar the windows.
Murder! Mystery! Guns! Oh my!

I hate fear. Fear is so very powerful and controlling. It keeps you from success, from adventure, from LIVING. Living in fear means helicopter parenting and gallons of hand sanitizer. It means living in the false belief system that everything ought to be perfect: no broken bones, no hurt, no flat tires, no pain, no emergencies.

But the bloody truth (sometimes literally bloody) is that those things are inevitable and PRETTTTY MUCH the point of life. Bad things happen, so get insurance instead of hand sanitizer.

Disclaimer: I’m not selling insurance. I’m just sayin’.

The bad can make us stronger and better. In combating my anxiety, I’ve found the bad to be a gigantic catalyst for strength. Since this article was published, it’s given me a lot of fuel, a lot of inspiration, and an unexpected urge to get ANTI-FRAGILE tattooed on my biceps.
(And by biceps I *might* mean my fat-arm jiggle. And by “tattoo” I mean “draw with favorite pen.” And by “unexpected urge” I mean “slight, fleeting inclination.”)

Antifragile 3

Just days after we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr… just one little month after we celebrated the birth of Christ (and Joseph Smith), may we stand to remember the insurmountable good that comes from taking fear and LIVING ANYWAY.

What are you afraid of?
Write it down. Say it out loud. Phone a friend.
Then hit your knees, give that fear to God and burn it.
And then -my ever-conquering friend of courage -get up and live.

You have so much to offer -so much that is squelched by fear of the unknown. Fear is your darkest, meanest enemy.

For just as we celebrated the life of Christ last month -Him who DIED that we might LIVE -and renewed our resolves to LIVE BETTER at the beginning of this month, so shall we celebrate LOVE next month.
LOVE yourself enough to LIVE on top of your fears.

Don’t try to live without fear -that’s very nearly impossible -but live in such a way that fear becomes a catalyst for strength rather than a crippling disease.

Love yourself enough.
You deserve it.

(after-thought: maybe what I really need is a tattoo of a Hydra?  Then I can teach my grandkids a valuable lesson when they’re bathing me in the Old Folk’s Home.  “Grandma, what is THAT?!  When did you get a tattoo?!”  “It’s a hydra, children.  It’s the very embodiment of anti-fragilism, a movement started in 2014 by The Art of Manliness.com… hand Grandma the rag and let’s us talk about it.”)

Mucus Days

I spent yesterday huddled up in bed, crocheting, blowing snot (the truth is sometimes messy and gross), and watching movies. Occasionally I would venture out into the wild blue living room.

On one of these occasions, I was trying to, um, clear my throat of mucus. Do you know what that sounds like? Trenton called out from across the room, “Right, Mom! Gag it up! You can do it!”

My little hero.

…who leaves his coloring books in stacks of tires. That’s normal, right? For boys, I mean.

There’s a few of you out there (Hi, Mom) that love movie recommendations, and I’m here to let you know that yesterday I watched a million.
You know about Pride and Prejudice. I’m assuming you know about it. There’s a bunch of different versions out there and bunch of different spin-offs (I’m looking at you “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”)… and I’ve never really bought into much.
The LDS version of Pride and Prejudice was pretty witty, and I’m not just saying that because at one point F. Scott Fitzgerald is quoted. I’m saying that because it’s true. The acting is pretty awful, but I love the movie. Unabashedly.
Apart from that, I’m a hater. I was pretty hesitant to check this one out, but because I’m on a crazy murder/mystery kick (not a sure-fire cure for insomnia, just FYI) I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. The Mr. Darcy in this version of a Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favorite ever (Sorry, Colin).

The series (there’s three hour-long episodes) (not be be confused with three-hour long, follow?) is “Death Comes to Pemberely.”

Basically it’s where husbands and wives meet… as in my husband got sucked into it as well and he’s not ashamed because it’s not about love.  It’s about death and mystery and justice.   I didn’t beg him to watch, he didn’t owe me any favors.  He just hunkered down next to me with a bowl of popcorn and started saying things like, “That freakin’ Wickham is a jerk wad.”

Which we all knew.  But anyway.  There is one sex scene (stupid make up sex) that can be fast-forwarded through.

You can watch it by going HERE.  No Netflix needed.

Incidentally, you can also use that site to watch Downton, Call the Midwife, and Sherlock.  Merry Christmas.  (And DO watch the Call the Midwife Christmas episode.)

Seriously, if you haven’t watched “Call the Midwife”… DO.  Each episode moves me.  There’s no sex in it (but there are babies being born, so maybe don’t let your kids watch with you.  So many questions you won’t want to answer because you’ll be to wrapped up in a good story).

If you do have Netflix, check out “A Foreign Field.”  The A is important because “Foreign Field” is a different movie entirely.

This one made me cry in a happy sentimental way which didn’t help the mucus situation.  But it made me laugh, and it’s one of those movies that makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something when you’re done watching it… as if your soul has had a hearty work out of sorts.

Lastly, if you have Amazon Prime (which we do because we used their free trial and forgot to cancel it -sneaky buggers.  Classic rookie mistake)… check out “Good Eats.”  It’s cheesy but educational.  The kids will love it, and again: you’ll feel as if you’ve accomplished something amazing (brain work out).

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got just enough time to start another murder mystery and hot pad (with new yarn!) before my piana lessons get here.

Just remember: if ever you find yourself laden with mucus, I’m your girl for movie recommendations.  Or just watch all of the Anne of Green Gables movies.  Sure fire winners, those.

Ring Out, Wild Bells

I just want to first make it clear that I once spent TWO HOURS writing a post detailing the second half of October and it got deleted. I was devastated. Two hours I’ll never get back! Apparently, I was so devastated I quit blogging for a few months.

I fully enjoy writing, and if I don’t do it everyday I go a little crazy which is why my husband commissioned this piece of jewelry for me for Christmas:

And please do yourself a favor by “liking” the page of the woman who made my lovely bling. Clella Belle Beads is downright darling.

So confession: I’ve still been writing, I just haven’t been sharing. Isn’t that weird? I tell you everything. My Glass House has suddenly been boarded up, I guess. I’m still struggling to write in this space, but I still pay my monthly fee to keep it up. I’m hoping this is a phase, one that will pass and one in which I’ll bounce back from like a frickin’ Hydra. Where there was once one head, awful circumstances chopped it off and I grew two back… or something like that.

I love my calling right now. I love to sit at the organ every Sunday and hide behind an array of bright, glowing buttons. The hymns are one way my Father in Heaven speaks directly to me. Playing them, reading them, hearing them, being so closely involved with them every week has proved to be one of my greatest blessings in life.

A few weeks, ago we sang “Ring Out, Wild Bells.” Have you ever head it? It’s no pep rally.
“The year is dying in the night. Ring out, wild bells and let it die.”

As I played this song, I just wanted to cry (who doesn’t, right? Thanks, Tennyson).
But honestly, this year has been very hard in a lot of ways -some obvious, some not. I’m happy to see it go. I want to wash my hands of it, and the last thing I want to do is document much of it here. I’m fine documenting what I’ve learned from it, but as far as the WHAT of this year… let it die.

I’m happy to post some pictures of the good -always more than happy to post pictures of the good. There’s good everywhere, you know? Even in a house full of sick people (that’s us), there’s still tons of good.
For example *ahem* the fish are alive! This is good news, people. Lacy had a beautiful pink fish for 5 whole years until Trenton decided to put his hands in the tank… like 15 times in one hour. The next morning, the hardy little fish (seriously don’t know how it survived so long!) was at long last dade.
We buried it, per Lacy’s request. Trenton took the money he’s earning daily by shoveling dog poop (it builds character, right?) and bought her a new one. He also bought himself a very small shark-fish, and the next morning? Dade.
We traded them in for alive fish, and today BOTH fish are alive. That’s good.

I not only survived nine weeks of my husband working out of town for training, but I THRIVED. I owned those weeks. That’s good.

We stayed in our budget for Christmas! That’s good.
We didn’t send out half of our Christmas cards. That’s not wholly good, but not wholly bad. Yahoo for fence sitting?
Santa knew what Lacy wanted, “even though I didn’t know about it, know that what it was, but I did want it, but I didn’t know…” (what she was trying to say through her half-awake state was simply that all she asked Santa for was piano books, but he brought her a loom as well). That’s good.

Santa ordered a guitar for Trenton online only to have it arrive and be SO SMALL (but still so pricey!) and then was able to sneak in a Wal-Mart special two days before Christmas. That’s good.

Alice got everything she didn’t know she wanted, either. That’s good.

Love that little overwhelmed, angry face.
Too much joy! Too much wrapping! Too much, too much, too much!

Alice did something marvelous and turned ONE. It was by far the simplest little one year old party I’ve ever done, but she couldn’t care less. She tore into her hostess cupcake with true determination, and I love her for it. That’s good.

Lacy did something marvelous and turned SEVEN.

Trenton did something marvelous and learned how to take selfies.

All good! All good things.

As for ringing in the new, we ended up in the ER with Alice who drank some clear, liquid sunscreen (the poor dear), and we’ve all been taking turns being sickly.

Today is definitely my turn. I’m curled up in bed under a thick blanket, teeming with aches and mucus.
But I’ve got my crochet hook, and that’s good.