Sunday, January 30, 2011

seattle so far.

i'm going home tomorrow, boo hoo.

i've had a great weekend full of delicious food, going to a movie, taking a glorious nap, sitting through THREE FULL HOURS of church without interruption {aside from a couple of rather hilarious texts from ben with a full report on how things were going at home--which did happen to involve an unfortunate karate chop from caleb in ben's family jewels}, a fun dinner with new friends, and now i'm going to curl up in bed and watch felicity on dvd.  enter blissful sigh here.

i've skyped with ben and the kids everyday since i've been gone, which has been nice to be able to see those faces i love and miss so much without having to be responsible for the shenanigans going on behind the camera.

we had planned on going out today to take "official seattle pictures" but my nap got in the way, which is just fine by me.  

so here's what i have, and it's not much.  but it's enough.

getting manicures and pedicures as soon as i flew in.

the fella who helped me was sure patient as i twisted and giggled and high-pitch squealed because me feet are so darn ticklish.  okay, truth?  he thought i was insane.  

dinner out with the lovebirds.  
patrick absolutely adores having his picture taken, as you can see.

the two lindsay/lynsey's.

LJL, thank you so much for being so gracious, for introducing me to the softest sheets on the planet and the best hairdryer in the world, for semi-redeeming my faith in cats, for being such a fabulous chef, for sharing your trend-setting taste in music, for giving up your weekend to spend time with me, and for being such an amazing friend.
i love you!

oh, seattle.

do you think you could offer ben a job in a couple of years??

i know people say that i'd get sick of the rain and gloom after a while, but....

i'd sure like a chance to prove them wrong.

see you tomorrow, arizona.

Friday, January 28, 2011

better late than never.


tonight i am sitting on that very same roommate's' couch, eating my favorite icecream, watching friday night lights with freshly painted toes.  in seattle.  where it's cold-ish, and rainy and overcast.  

and i love it.

it's going to be a good weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

our weekend with the felts.

over new year's weekend we were so glad to enjoy the company of ben's twin sister carrie & her family.

this family means so much to us, and i don't even think they know why.  so for a minute, i'll write about them.

carrie and troy were our neighbors during a really difficult time in our lives, right in the heart of caleb's pretty scary health problems.  troy was the first one to run over to help ben give caleb a blessing during his big seizure, leaving his own two kids with a neighbor because carrie wasn't home at the time.  they were such a physical and emotional help and support to us, being our shopping and gym buddies, our xbox team and our comic relief.

before we moved to north carolina, our apartment contract was running out and we were either going to have to renew, or pay a lot more money to live there month-to-month.  without hesitation, troy and carrie generously offered their newly-finished basement for us to live in for a month and a half.  they let us cram all of our belongings in their garage, never saying one word about it.

you know how you really get to know someone when you live with them?  usually things get a little strained, or awkward, or tense.  well carrie & troy might feel differently, but we had a fantastic time with them.  we played call of duty 2 almost every night after the kids went to bed, went on daily walks, and just enjoyed their company every day.

and now, whenever we get together with them, it's the same.  they are a couple of our best friends and i love how when we're together we can laugh and tell stupid jokes one minute, and then have a deep, spiritual conversation the next.

we adore their children too.  bailey has always had such a sweet personality, and leah follows her around like a little puppy.  but bailey doesn't seem to mind and in fact, became leah's caretaker most of the time she was visiting.

carter is 9 months older than caleb, but we joke that the two of them are the prequel to the movie "twins" because of their size difference.  they get along great together and caleb still asks every day when we can go to utah to visit him.

we were so glad they made the trip out here, and were also extremely grateful that for once, we didn't have plumbing issues while we had company.  a 2011 miracle. 

here are some pictures of their visit.  come back soon, fart fam.  we love you!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

a visit from grandma.

this week & weekend we were so happy to have ben's mom come and visit us. 
we have missed spending time with her and were so happy we got the chance!

there are many things i admire about ginny; her good heart, her kindness, her generosity, her courage and willingness to do what is right even when it's not easy.  she has been so good to me, and i'm grateful to have her in my life.

caleb just adores his grandma.  she spent time reading to him, going with ben to take him to school yesterday, playing with him, and listening to his endless and excited chatter.

leah took a minute to warm up, but now is a huge fan of her grandma's, and even ran to her at one point for comfort over me.  some moms would find it an insult, but i was happy to see how comfortable she was with her.

here are a couple of pictures we took just at the end of her visit, there are more to come but this is all i have uploaded right now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a scraggly-haired dance with dad.

these pictures make me happy.

and they also solidify my stance in ben vs. lynsey when it comes 
to miss leah needing a haircut.

but mostly, they just make me happy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

things you may not like about me.

 {for those who have previously accused me of only taking "good pictures"....this one's for you.}

so here's a fun secret to share:

i am terrified to have 3 kids.

almost everyone i have talked to that has 3+ children says that 3 is pretty much as tough as it gets.  then, the more you add, the merrier.  you've already lost your mind by that point, so why not?  have another.    i was not ready to get pregnant with this child and though i'm not resentful about it, i just don't feel prepared.  but can you ever really prepare yourself?  because who knows how the dynamics will change, for better or worse?  at heart i'm a preparer though, so this whole idea has thrown me for a loop.  

another secret to share:

i was also terrified to have 2.

but, for different reasons.  i was scared of giving birth to another caleb baby, a screaming and discontent and tireless child.  one i adored with every fiber of my being, but still.  the thought of having another one just like him terrified me.  kept me up at night, and causing-problems-with-my psyche-terrifying.

secret #3, as if you haven't had to read enough:

i really, really don't like being pregnant.

i know this is probably an awful thing to say.  i have several dear and close friends who i have watched had to have the inability to become pregnant as their trial.  so when i announce this, even to myself, i immediately feel selfish and ungrateful.  

i also have a family member and several close friends who have awful pregnancies.  like, stuck with IV's in their arms, on chemo medicine, daily home nurses needed, unable to take care of themselves or other children-type sick.  so again, me complaining and feeling all sorry for myself that i get 24/7 nausea and complete and utter exhaustion makes me feel like a wussy.

but i try to let myself be okay with realizing that even just this type of pregnancy is a hurdle, even if in comparison it's not like others i know have had to suffer through.  feeling like i'm functioning at about 50% all of the time, counting down the minutes to caleb's quiet time/leah's nap time so that i can rest for a little bit, and trying to put on a good face for others when i really just want to go and throw up or curl up in the fetal position gets old after several months.

don't get me wrong, i recognize that this baby is a blessing, and will ultimately be incredible for our family.  

i've just felt lately like i have been treading water, and not gracefully or with class.  it's been more of a haphazard splashing around doggy paddle.  not pretty.

also not pretty?  the way that i've looked lately.  for once considering myself someone who has a hard time going places without make-up on, well.....that ship has sailed.  i have walked through grocery stores, department stores, in crowds of people completely bare skinned.  i'd like to say it felt liberating, due to working on how i feel about my image no matter what, but really....when it happened these times it was mainly because it was just easier.

which leads me to my last secret:

i think that at the heart of me, i like things easy.  super easy.

i mean, i get that most people prefer things easy over difficult, don't they?  who absolutely loves scaling emotional or physical walls?  if you know someone, i have an awesome therapist to refer them to.  just kidding.

but i think i can take things to an extreme.  i talk myself out of the tiniest things when i'm feeling well.  add pregnancy onto my initial issues and i seriously feel like i might as well be a turtle who constantly hides in her shell.  i have our little daily life down to a schedule.  it's quiet, simple, and probably boring to most.  i don't like to push myself. 

for example:  school.

i made a a commitment to myself that i would sign up for school this semester.  of course, that was pre-pregnancy, so when i surprisingly became pregnant i let myself off of the hook and used it as my excuse.  not good.  

the next example:  housework.

it never looks awful here, but it never looks finished.  something that continually drives me insane, but i choose the easy route and just think about dusting/putting the laundry completely away/finishing the dishes instead of getting up and doing it.  i think it's a form of self torture so that nothing ever really feels done.

final example:  exercising.

it seems like i can't remember the days that i was exercising during nap/quiet times, or once the kids were in bed.  the last time i got on the treadmill and pushed myself, i had to lay on the bed for 30 minutes just to recuperate from it.  sad, sad.  i have gone mildly walking twice with andrea, but to be honest, i'm pretty much tapped out for the rest of the day afterward.


this is my self-deprecating blog post amid the somewhat inspirational ones.  i'm working on fully accepting myself through this phase, without selling myself short and allowing my negative thoughts to outweigh the positive ones.  

i'm still pushing myself through it, and delicately walking the balance between the desire to change and the desire to accept. 

and am planning on coming out on the other side of this somewhat unscathed.

a big ol' p.s.  after re-reading what i wrote, do you know the thought that keeps popping into my head?  
is that maybe...aside from other things that this pregnancy & baby is going to do for our family....that it's also God's way of saying to me, 

"i'm now going to put your words and thoughts to the test.  you can do things differently this time."

so my friends, we're going to see if i can do just that.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

putting myself to the test, and my resolve for 2011.

most of the time i write here about my kids, and overflowing weeds in the backyard, and husbands who construct toilets in the desert.

but i also write personally, about struggles i face and am continuing to work on.  i have been working on my inside for over a year now, and it really has become a reflection of who i am changing into and how i am seeing myself on the outside. 

i re-posted my struggle about my self-image and feeling beautiful, and i did it because for a week or so before that i had just been beating myself up internally for all of those things i cannot see externally.  funny enough though, it wasn't all about my looks and weight.  i found myself being self-critical about many areas that i feel i'm lacking.

but i got to a day where i was so completely hard on myself that i thought i might crack, and decided to STOP. IT.

so, i wrote a list of affirmations, countering all of the negative thoughts swimming around.  i didn't need to get creative with the positive part though, i only needed to come up with one thing to tell myself.  for me it is easy.  when i'm feeling down, i just feel ugly.  i feel like i have nothing to offer, that i'm mediocre at best.

last week, after coming up with this list of affirmations, i started thinking about the group therapy i've been attending for 6 months or so.  some weeks it's my one time away from my kids, where i go and do something just for me.  i no longer feel guilty or selfish or like i'm a hot mess for needing it & looking forward to it so badly, because i have seen and felt the effects of going to this group.  for me it has been a completely spiritual and eye-opening experience.  

you have to be ready for it, though.  wanting and desiring the change, willing to see the absolute worst aspects of yourself and loving yourself through them.  and the women who are in this group, i just love them.  most of the time i feel like i am going in and they are each holding up a mirror as they speak to me.  i can see me in them.  in  their flaws and their beauty.  their suffering and their desire to overcome.

anyway, i decided to challenge myself a little last week.  most thursdays for therapy i get all ready and dressed up, so that for the hour and a half i'm there i just feel like me, and that i'm presenting the prettiest version of myself.  because i feel better when my hair is curled, and make-up is on and i'm wearing cute heels.   

but as i looked at the list of affirmations i had written to myself, and thought about going to group, i realized that everything i had written was a complete hypocrisy as to what i present in that room.  i go in there all snazzed up, seeking for the desire to feel better, but not letting others see who i really am.  what i really look like.

i decided.  for this therapy group, i would go in with no make-up on, my hair in its original fuzzy, cowardly-lioness-ness, in just jeans and a sweatshirt.  to challenge the feelings inside that i am ugly without those outer layers plastered on me.

then as an extra bonus....i made myself read my affirmations out loud to the group.  this was actually harder for me than showing up all bare-faced and crazy-haired.  i have realized that it is the hardest thing for me to say the words out loud, to other people.

i am beautiful.

i can type the words, i can think them in my head, i can write it down, but saying them out loud?  to others?  holy moly.

i don't know why it's so hard, it just is.  i felt so embarrassed, my face got hot, i found myself wondering if other people thought i was cocky and full of myself.  which is ridiculous, because if anyone would get it, where i was at during this moment, this group of women would.

here is the list i compiled of things that i was allowing to make myself feel ugly, and the affirmation:

i am beautiful even without mascara on.

i am beautiful even if i am the shortest girl in the room.

i am beautiful even if i have 20 extra pounds to lose.

i am beautiful whether anyone ever tells me i am or not.

i am beautiful even if i don't know how to sew.

i am beautiful even if i don't make all home-made meals.

i am beautiful even if i get occasional pimples.

i am beautiful whether or not i have friends.

i am beautiful whether the laundry is put away, or my dishes are done.

i am beautiful even if my hair isn't curled.

i am beautiful even if i don't know how to garden.

i am beautiful whether or not i ever earn my degree.

i am beautiful no matter what choices my children make.

i am beautiful no matter what has happened in my past.

i am beautiful, just because i was created.  just because i exist.  just because i am.

well, i did it.  and yes my face was bright red, and it was extremely hard for me.  but i did it.  and it really didn't matter to me whether it mattered to others.  {does that sentence make sense?}  some people don't struggle with not wearing make-up the way i do.  some people don't care about saying out loud that they're beautiful.  some don't beat themselves up because they don't know how to sew.  and three cheers to them!  someday i hope it will not be such a big deal for me, and i think by pushing myself to do exercises like this, i'm just getting closer to it.

it's funny, this little path of self-discovery that i feel i'm on.  i'm so extremely grateful for it, and the truth is sometimes i'm a teeny bit scared of it.  because i feel like once i get will be challenged, and tested.  i will have to put my money where my mouth is.  it doesn't mean it will be all smooth sailing and rainbows from there on out.  

this is just groundwork i'm laying.  

but you know what?  maybe i'm wrong.  maybe i've been hard enough on myself for 30 years that no matter what comes, and what challenges me, that once i get it, i don't ever let go.  that's the hope anyway, that's why i keep pushing and trying.

not only do i see a difference, but i feel it.  i really do.  

i've thought a lot about my goals for 2011.  there are little things that i'm going to do.  but i think the overall theme for me this year will be:


of others...of my future.  but mostly, just of myself.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

there's a fetus about to greet us.

well, it's not "about" to greet us....

but yes, the big strader family news is that on or around july 28th we will become a family of 5.

surprised?  shocked?  elated?

well, so are we!

i've been pretty sick, but finally coming out of the darkness of that blasted first trimester.  the doctor's visit a few weeks ago made it officially official, where we saw a little bean with a fluttering heartbeat.

so there's our big news to ring in 2011.

happy new year to everyone!