I tried the single parent thing.

It was about like I predicted it would be.
Okay, not really.

Slice flew to Texarkana for five days, where he stayed and took lessons from a famous golf teacher. It was the longest we've been apart in two years. (I think.)

Liam missed him a lot. We texted and Skyped, and to my surprise, Liam liked the Skyping. See:

I was also wondering if Liam would punish Slice when he got home. Babies do that, you know? But no - he was SO HAPPY to have his dad back that he smiled for like two hours straight.

I never get that kind of treatment.
I guess mothers never do.



These Droid commercials creep. me. out. Anyone else?



And they all go marching down

One time I ate ants for breakfast.
No wait, let me explain.

Back when I was a college student living off cereal, scrambled eggs and frozen burritos, my roommate had this huge ceramic mug from DI that I loved. It held more than my bowls did, so anytime I could I used it for cereal. And ice cream.

One morning I poured myself a mug of LIFE and sat down on our couch to eat it - without turning on any lights, of course. I was halfway through before I looked down and realized there were little black dots floating all over in my milk. Closer look: ANTS. LOTS of them. GROSS.
Further investigation proved that the ants were in the cereal, not the mug, so I threw away the cereal and poured the mug-contents down the sink. I still have no idea how (or why?) the ants got there. They didn't touch anything else in the apartment cupboards.
From then on, I always turned the lights on to eat my breakfast.

Well, this summer our house is infested with bugs. Ants mostly, but I've killed my fair share of spiders, centipedes, crickets and beetles, too. Just this morning I came across something large and black scuttling across the tile hall into the bathroom. Poor Liam jumped when I screamed, then cried as I tried to pick it up with the dustpan to throw it outside.
(I didn't want to touch it.)
(Or kill it, because it would have crunched and grossed me out even more.)
(But I ended up chopping it in half with the dustpan, so it is now dead anyway.)

So I'm learning some important things, like:
don't go to bed without cleaning and wiping down all kitchen counters,
don't leave dishes anywhere with anything sweet in them,
ants can move very large pieces of food (like almonds) across carpet,
if something itches it is most likely an ant crawling on my skin,
and also, ants really like shrimp.

Did you know that?

Well, now you do.


Lucky I am

Things I Expected over the Last Ten Months but Never Actually Experienced.*

Morning Sickness. Sure, Japan wasn't the easiest on my stomach and when people ask me now what food I liked over there, I can't think of anything, but still. One small bout of the stomach flu is hardly something to complain about.

Pregnancy cravings. I swear I never had one. Sometimes I wanted a Jamba Juice or some salsa (mainly while we couldn't get any), quite often I wanted ice cream, but that's normal. I never HAD to have anything.

Early Delivery. So I got pretty scared when I started having frequent contractions early in my pregnancy. We now know that my contractions didn't/don't do anything to my cervix (HA!) so ... next time around I'm not going to worry about them and just live my life like normal. Liam came but two days before his "due date" - no problem here.

Water breaking during school, or some other public place. Made it through the school year, yay, and thank heavens I was home in bed.

Water not breaking until induced labor. I did not want to be two weeks overdue and induced.

Difficulty Nursing. Liam is a born nurser. Har har. Aside from the pain, the great pain, nursing has been quite a breeze for us. I hear horror stories like my cousin who starved her baby for couple months without realizing it. Well, Liam is definitely not starving because of me. Plus I just bought five new shirts that I can actually nurse in! Hooray!

Doing it Myself. This should never have been a fear of mine, because if you know Slice you know he'll likely be doing more than his share of the parenting, but nevertheless it was. Really I was worried Slice would be as busy this summer as he was last. He's not. (But that's a story for another day!)
Slice had almost an entire week off work from the day I had the baby. BEST THING EVER. While the baby and I slept, he washed dishes, did laundry and grocery shopped. Bless that man.

Sleepless nights. I was mentally preparing myself for these for months. Seriously. Now Liam is sleeping five hours at a stretch (not that anyone's counting BUT, three times he's slept longer than that) so I typically get up with him twice a night. And only for about half an hour at a time.

Relentless crying. I know this can still change, but he still only cries if he needs something. I just have to figure it out ... which sometimes takes longer than it should. Oops!
This quality alone makes me feel all right leaving him with my sisters for a bit, because I don't worry about endless crying. Find problem - fix it - crying stopped. Wonderful.

Postpartum Hormones. Don't know why but I was sort of expecting some depression, breakdowns, the like. And ....Nothing.
I've cried in church twice, during musical numbers. I also get feeling cooped up occasionally with only one car and Slice gone. But I don't think that's hormones.

*I said I was prepared. For the worst, apparently.

P.S. These pictures have nothing (and everything) to do with this post.
{contemplating ninja moves in his Japanese onesie}


Cautionary Tales

There's an article in the June 28 edition of TIME that has been the topic of much discussion between Slice and me, and other members of my family. (Published not long after I read this excellent blog post from an adoptive mother.) The terrible Russian orphan situation has impacted each of us; it is something we live with every single day.
Hint: it's not all the "sunshine and roses" that adoptive families hope for.

Foreign adoption seems to be garnering more media attention these days, thanks to Torry Hansen and the earthquake in Haiti, among other things. Fifteen years ago, most people had never even heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder. I'm hoping that's not the case anymore.

This article was timely for a number of reasons. The more time I spend with my darling Liam, the more it breaks my heart to think that my brothers did not have parents to care for them as babies. They didn't have mothers who rocked them to sleep, who watched and sang to and played with them. How many children spend the first years of their lives stuck in cribs, unable to bond with another human being? I can't even imagine.
I was too young when we got my brothers to understand what they were coming from. But they were old enough to be damaged by it.

The damage is not easily undone, we are continually learning. I have wondered whether families with mixed-race children due to adoption have an easier time coping than those with children who cannot form real relationships. (A moot point, I suppose; neither is "easy" by any stretch of the imagination!) The TIME article mentions that Russia is a major source of foreign adoption because the children are white - but if you can't adopt until the child is over a year old, the most crucial time is up. And you should probably think about future, possibly younger children, if you are thinking of adopting at all.
Choices choices.

Anyway, the whole thing has had me thinking about the story of Lehi and his family from the Book of Mormon. Lehi had two sons who were wicked no matter what they saw, who tried to help them, or how obvious things should have been. Laman and Lemuel would have killed Nephi eventually (and the rest of their family, I assume) had the Lord not warned him and told him to leave.

Nephi forgave his brothers over and over for the terrible things they did to him, but in the end he had to separate himself from them to preserve his own life and those of his family members. He could not make them choose right; they had their agency and it would not be taken from them. But the posterity of Laman and Lemuel were not held to the same accountability as the Nephites, because of the "wicked traditions of their fathers."

So it's possible that my brothers won't be as accountable as I will be. No one knows what they went through in 5+ years, or how it has affected them since. But I do think that, as this article points out, sometimes separation is necessary for the preservation of the whole. Of course different families have different ways of dealing with their issues ... and fortunately the options seem to be multiplying.

But good heavens, if prophets aren't spared the heartache of having wayward children ... maybe no one is.

Your thoughts?


The Change

I was never really anxious to be a mother.

(I think I can say that now.)

Yes, it was in the plans, and I knew the day would come and I certainly never dreaded it, but still ... I did not want it to come too soon.

I was never the girl who followed moms around at church activities, asking to hold their babies and offering to babysit anytime. I hated babysitting, actually. Little punks scared me. And not long after my seven younger siblings came twenty-five nieces and nephews, so there was never a dearth of children in my life.

Biological clock what? Baby-hungry who? Not me.
I looked around at the women I know who became young mothers, and I felt a little sorry for them. At times I even felt a little sorry for myself.

So it's safe to say that Slice was much more excited for this baby than I was. He told me at least once a day throughout my pregnancy that he just could. not. wait. to have this child. And I thought about the crying, the long nights, the pain and frustration and lack of free alone time and complete eternal life change ahead, and I just smiled at him. I knew how hard parenthood would be. I was prepared for it.

What I wasn't prepared for was the joy that would come as well. I couldn't believe or understand before - despite what everyone tried to tell me - that this little creature would make my life infinitely better, just by being in it. That he would bring me joy I couldn't imagine. That I would love him so much for who he is and not for anything he's done. The love is incredible, life-changing.

Maybe some people can feel this love without becoming a parent, but I sure couldn't. Those young mothers have a beautiful secret. I don't feel sorry for them anymore.

And when my baby cries, I don't feel like pulling my hair out or gnashing my teeth or crying too. I even wait for him to wake up sometimes, just because I miss him.

I have become one of those people.


Could someone tell me why

a queen-size "bed in a bag" at Target costs $50


a queen-size BEDSKIRT at Target costs $50