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Adulthood is not for pansies.

16 July 2014
Somehow, when I was very young, I became obsessed with the idea of eternal youth.  (Personally, I blame Peter Pan.  That jerk was supposed to teach me how to fly back at Disneyland in 1990 and he never did.  Rude.)

I doubt I was the only child who feared growing up, but I sure felt like it.  While all of my friends were obsessed with the thought of boyfriends, high school, driving... I was busy playing with my ponies.  Each birthday brought me to tears.  On my tenth birthday, I was near hysterical at being a "double digit."  Birthdays should be fun and happy, but for me they were always a reminder of how I was aging; I was running out of time to be a kid.  Soon adulthood would be upon me, and then what?

Here I sit at 27 years old.  I am, by all appearances, a real live grown up.  My heart breaks for the little girl I used to be, because no matter how hard she fights, no matter how hard she prays for a vampire to bite her so she can stay young forever (yeah, true story), it's not gonna happen.  Time marches inevitably on.  Sorry, little Krisling.  Stop obsessing and enjoy the time you have left.

But let me tell you a little secret.  Even though I look like an adult, and sometimes I can even sound like an adult, I am not an adult.  Inside, I am still a confused, befuddled 14 year old who just wants to be left alone to read.  Most of my days are a battle with myself to make me get out and do something when really I just want to sit at home and hide.

Sparrow helps.  He helps a lot.  He distracts me and keeps me from thinking about all the scary adult things.  I used to have panic attacks in grocery stores, but now when I take him with me, I focus on him and no more panic attacks.  Whew.  

I remember when I first met him in the hospital.  He was 3 days old.  The pediatrician came in and started talking about the tests they were doing and lots of medical stuff and I immediately tuned him out.  Then I thought "um, I'm a parent now.  I should probably be paying attention to this."

Yeah, a lot of my life is like that.  I am so lucky to have Hawk in my life.  Hawk is a REAL adult.  Hawk knows how to listen and how to have an attention span even when things are boring.  Usually I let Hawk listen and fill me in on the important stuff later.  Sometimes this backfires, but it usually works out.  It's a decent enough system.

Because here's another secret:  I get too worked up over things I can't control.  This week has seen us slammed with a series of tiny injustices.  One after another after another.  I decided to try and handle it, because Hawk is already so busy with work and keeping us alive.  So I started taking care of it on Monday, and by Tuesday I could think of nothing else except getting this fixed.  Guess what?  The other party has absolutely zero interest in getting this fixed.  No matter what I do, I am going to lose this battle.  And it makes me fight harder, and it pisses me off, and it's all I can think about.  And I can't turn it off, and it goes around and around and I can't make it stop.

This is why I don't get involved in politics.  This is why I don't do online debates, why I don't often post about Serious Business on my blog.  I can't turn it off.  Once I engage and get into a topic, I want to fix everything about it. And when I can't fix it, and fix it quickly, my soul feels crushed.

Right now I feel like my soul is one of these:

A tiny little crushed garbage cube. 

I can't make the injustices go away.  And I can't just flip this part of my personality off.  So instead I try to hide from the world and ignore the bad things.  Problems in the Middle East?  Bummer, let's get cake.  Election year is coming up? Sweet, I'm moving to Antarctica till November.  Apocalypse is nigh? I hope I die in the first five seconds so I don't have to deal with it. 

It seems that my obsessive fear of adulthood has grown with me.  I can no longer fear adulthood like I once did, so instead I fear all the grown up problems around me.  

Oh little Krisling, you knew adulthood would suck.  You tried to warn me.  You were so right, little Krisling.  Adulthood is the worst. 

I want my mommy.  

Family Portraits (of DOOM.)

11 July 2014
For Christmas, I bought myself a gift certificate for Fotofly OnTheSpot, a new "photography experience" Fotofly is doing where they bring the studio to you.  (Well, kinda.)  I originally thought I would use the gift certificate to get portraits done in our new house, but ... my house isn't done yet.  I have too much I want to do, and I was tired of sitting on this coupon.  So I made Hawk and Sparrow go with me to get pictures done.

I wasn't sure where we should go.  I kind of wanted a train tracks, urban-y vibe.  The girl who I talked to didn't have any good ideas for places like that.  Me neither.  But then she sent me a list of suggestions, and at the top of her list was the Salt Lake City Public Library.  Um, yeah, I didn't even read the other suggestions - it was perfect.  We are such huge book nerds in this family, and Hawk especially LOVES the City Library.  It does have some sweet architecture goin' on.  So, that's where we got shot.

I love how they turned out.  I will definitely use Fotofly OnTheSpot again, someday.  Someday when I can afford it and also my house is done, for reals.  Because I really need to get a professional Crazy Cat Lady portrait.  It just has to happen.


Book Nerds Unite! 

Sparrow had a hard time with this one - he was scared to be up so high, and he wanted to kiss me too.

Good thing he's so cute. 

I love this picture. The City Library is so awesome. 

We chose this book title because of the three kittens at home. 

This one and the next one are now my two most favorite pictures EVER. 

 But seriously - isn't this the coolest picture you've ever seen?  It's like the book is all magical and glowing!  I can't even handle it.  

Absorbed in a book.  He's definitely my child. 

Hawk and I holding on for dear life while Sparrow runs circles around us.  Yep, sounds like another Tuesday. 

I'm a female. I'm a Mormon. I'm fine.

23 June 2014
It's hard to live in Utah and not be sucked into the Kate Kelly / Ordain Women debate.  I have friends on both sides of the issue, and it seems to me that no matter what decision is reached at the disciplinary council, there are going to be some very angry and very upset people.  There are no winners here, my blog-friends.

From my limited viewpoint, it seems like both sides could have handled everything much better.  Kelly's disciplinary council should have been held before she moved out of the state, period.  But Kelly should have listened to the counsel of her leaders.  It's okay to question and to ask the big questions, but from my point of view, Ordain Women has gotten out of hand.

All I know is, I'm sure glad I'm not Kelly's ecclesiastical leaders.  Can you imagine being the one who has to make the decision?  I can't.  Shudder.

I can only speak for my own experience as a Latter-Day Saint female, but I don't want the priesthood.  I just don't.  I do believe that men and women are seen as different but equal in the Church.  I have never felt marginalized by the doctrine of the Church.  Although after I first got married, I did have one bishop who made me feel a little inconsequential, but in that case, I think he was seeing me as a very young person and treating me that way.  Which, young I was.  I was 20-21.  I was young and dumb.  He treated Hawk the same way he treated me, so I don't think it had anything to do with gender.

When I was growing up, I never really wanted to be a girl.  I was a tomboy to the max.  The only thing that I ever thought was unfair about being a girl in the church (well, besides having to wear a dress) was the fact that I wasn't allowed to go on a mission until I turned 21.  Since the missionary age has been lowered, I'm willing to bet my 13 year old self wouldn't find anything wrong with being an LDS female.  My 27 year old self certainly doesn't.

When I was 19, I underwent a disciplinary council.  It was one of the most exhausting, heart-wrenching, and spiritual experiences of my life.  I was scared, but I have never felt so loved in all of my life.  I didn't know the bishopric holding the council very well, but they treated me with so much respect and love that I came away from the experience a stronger, happier person.  I've just really never felt so protected and watched out for.  I knew then and I know now that they wanted the best for me.  They held the council to get me back on track to where I needed to be, not to browbeat me into obedience or intimidate me with their man-powers.

At my council, I was given a list of 4-5 things to work on.  Stuff like "meet with the bishop every month to discuss progress," "study the scriptures on repentance," etc.  One of the men involved at the council said to me: "this is not a requirement, but I have a suggestion for you. I'd like you to seek out and read a book on womanhood.  The Spirit will help you to find the right book for you.  Read it, and I hope it will help you understand more about your gender and what it means to be a woman."

That right there was some of wisest council I have ever been given, ever.  At the time I was like "...uh, what?"  And it was frustrating to go to Deseret Book and look at their "womanhood books" and not have the sense that I had found what I was looking for.  But one day I happened across A Quiet Heart by Patricia Holland.  I decided to buy it, and it changed my life.  For the first time I had a better idea of what being female meant, and why it was just as good as being a male.  It changed my life, that book.  I was happy in my own skin, in my own gender, for the first time in 19 years.

So when Kate Kelly says that women are not equal in the eyes of the Church, I disagree.  Everything I have seen, everything I have studied, says that women and men are equal but different.  Kate Kelly does not speak for me.

It's hard to watch so many people fighting and hurting over this issue.  I don't care if people ask questions.  But at the same time, I don't think I could ever presume to tell a bunch of people what to believe and it boggles my mind that Ms. Kelly seems to think she is speaking for every woman in the church.  Again, she's not speaking for me, that is for sure.

I don't have the answers.  I don't know what will happen.  I just hope that those who are making the decisions will have the Spirit with them, and whatever decision is reached will be the right one.  I also hope that no matter what the decision is, everyone will be able to see the wisdom in it.  Ultimately, I hope that we can all remember that we are children of the Most High, no matter what our personal stance is on the issue of women in the church.  And I hope that we can treat each other with love, kindness, and respect.  

A memorial, a hike, and a wedding.

10 June 2014
I'm finally starting to figure out my (not so new anymore) camera. I've had it for 6 months now, so it's about time! I've decided to post some random pictures from the last few weeks.   So much has happened!

We had our first Memorial Day where there was someone's grave to visit (my grandfather; Dan Reeder is sorely missed.)  His gravestone was placed very recently, so the whole family got together to visit the grave.  While we were there, one of the 18-22 year old boys (I'm not sure who, or how old they really were!) started singing "How Great Thou Art."  Then we all started singing it.  The Reeder family is extremely musically gifted, so it was a beautiful rendition.  And a fitting tribute to my grandfather, who was one of the first to sing that hymn in the Tabernacle after it was added to the hymnbook.

Sparrow investigating a grave.
My grandfather's grave.  I miss him so much. 

In happier news, Sparrow graduated from kindergarten!  He will be in mainstream first grade next year.  We call it mainstream - most people just think of it as "normal" school.  Sparrow has been in a diagnostic kindergarten which only has children with disabilities.  His classroom had nonverbal children, children with Downs Syndrome, children with low-functioning autism, children with high-functioning autism.  Sparrow was very likely the highest functioning autistic child in the classroom.  Most people do not realize he is autistic, because he can seem 100% normal when you first meet him.  But often he has emotional meltdowns and that's where the autism comes in.  He functions more on the emotional level of a 3 year old, while he's on the intellectual level of an 8 or 9 year old.  It's crazy.  But we're excited to have him be mainstreamed, and in a school which is close to our house!  The diagnostic kindergarten was about 30 minutes away by car - the school bus took even longer.

Sparrow's graduation.
We went on a fun hike last week!  We visited Sundance resort and tried hiking to Stewart Falls.  We hiked halfway there and then discovered that the trail was closed because of snow.  But at least we had a beautiful 4 hours outside!  It was seriously absolutely gorgeous, and Sparrow hiked like a little ninja.  

Sparrow-Ninja on a log. 

Hawk was also a hiking ninja.  

We also had an addition to the family!  My brother Peregrine was married on June 6 to a beautiful young woman from Layton, Utah, who we will call Robin (going with the bird theme and all.)  I absolutely adore her - she is freakishly gorgeous, for one thing (wavy red hair, man, and beautiful creamy skin with freckles.  I'm so jealous.)  She is also a huge fan of all the nerdy things I am a huge fan of, so I can tell we will get along very well.  She's going to make my brother watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so that right there tells me that she is, in fact, the perfect woman.  

Anyway, Peregrine and Robin invited Sparrow to be their ring bearer.  He thought he was going to be a ring bear, and wondered aloud when I was going to get him his bear costume. He also practiced his roar for growling at the bride and groom.  He was slightly disappointed when I corrected him, but Robin and I came up with the idea to have him carry a teddy bear with the rings tied to it.  It worked out perfectly.  AND!  Sparrow was an absolute ANGEL the entire time - during the ceremony he stood stock-still, handed over the rings without complaining, arguing, or doing other Sparrow-like things, then during the dinner he was well behaved, and he played and danced during the reception (with only two meltdowns, but we forgave him those because he'd been amazing the rest of the day, particularly while it was very important.)  Whew!  I can't wait to see the real wedding photos, but I snapped some with my iPhone and with my camera for funsies.  

Trying on his wedding outfit.
During the ceremony, being the perfect ring "bear"er.

Sparrow adores his Nana with all his tiny heart.  

Dancing with Nana during the reception. 

Uncle Peregrine carved his and his wife's first name initials into this tree, but they just so happen to be  Peregrine and Sparrow's first initials too.  Booyah.  
This is for you, Peregrine.  And for Robin too.
I figured I should probably add a picture of me on my blog somewhere.  So here it is, a selfie snapped while Hawk drove us to some random location.  Bam. 
And I just posted this one because it amuses me.  I hope it amuses you too.  And if it does, you're welcome.  

The Next Few Months, I Think.

26 April 2014
So I obviously need to blog more. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and alas, these days I am outletting more on Facebook than I am in my blog. Which means that my writing has become choppy and short of attention span.

So for the next few months, I hope to combat that with daily writing. Not necessarily to be posted here, but I need to do SOMETHING with my words. I need to practice wordcraft again, rather than letting my brain spew out whatever it feels like. As I have grown older, my prose has become almost as ADHD as I am. That's just sad to admit. Some of the things I wrote when I was 18-19-20 are amazing (especially when you consider who it is coming from - a relatively privileged, white girlchild.) Now I eschew beauty for wit. I want to use both.

Right now I am done with school until September. I have an Independent Study course to work on, but I have a year in which to complete that. I have an expensive camera I need to figure out how to use well or else sell and recoup my losses. I have much weight to lose. (Sadly, this post's goals have fallen by the wayside.) So those are the goals for the next few months.

  • Write daily
  • Finish IS class
  • Learn Photoshop
  • Lose weight

I'm introspective tonight. I'm thinking about how I wanted to go to medical school, but didn't. I'm thinking about how much I regret that, and how furious I still am for the person that made me think I wasn't intelligent enough to become a doctor. Maybe that was not that person's intent, but they consistently made me doubt my career hopes over the course of 8 months until I finally let myself think that maybe I wasn't smart enough. And now I don't think I can go to medical school. I'm too old, I'm WAY too tired. I would kill myself without the sleep I am required by law to get every night. Seriously, it's a law. If I don't get my sleep, I go on a murderous rampage.

I thought about going into nursing, but it's the sleep issue again. I couldn't handle the 12 hour workdays. I am lame.

So then I start thinking about how I should have stuck with writing, and maybe I could have been published if I had ever edited the 3 novels I've written. But I get a novel out and then I'm DONE. I don't want to edit it. I don't want to look at it anymore. I want it to be gone forever. Really, I just need to work on all of me.

Sometimes, I want to quit me.

I am happy with my life where I am. It is so opposite of what I had imagined for myself, which was a cabin in the woods, where I owned a horse and a dog and a small veterinary clinic, and in addition to saving animals, I also wrote books on the side. My life now is best described as "random." I like it. But I need to learn to merge the old, writerly, ambitious Kris into the older, wiser, more ADHD Kris.

So I guess that is my real goal. For the next few months. I think.

When I Have Grown a Foot or Two.

07 April 2014

For my photography class, I had to submit a picture that told a story. I thought this one was pretty good. Toby's current choices for where he wants to go on a mission are "Brussels, Belgium! and Luxembourg. And Paris, France."

Divergent: The Movie

18 March 2014
So, it's no secret that one of my top five favorite books of all time is Divergent by Veronica Roth. I read it in 2010 when it first came out in one intense all-nighter and then immediately read it three more times. After sleeping. But only a little sleeping.

I have been very nervous about Divergent the movie. Specifically, I do not agree with the casting of Theo James as Four. I think the man is a fine actor, but as Four he is ten years too old. Also I don't think he's attractive. That's my opinion and you don't have to agree with it. Mostly my complaint is his age. He is 28 and Four is meant to be 18. Bleh. I'm also not a huge fan of Summit Entertainment in general.

So as the movie has loomed near, I have been more nervous than excited. I wanted to see the movie, but I was also dreading it.

I am happy to report that I was wrong. (Except about the part where Theo James is too old.)

The movie was fantastic. I won 2 tickets to a prescreening (thanks, Salt Lake Comic Con!) and took my 17 year old sister to see the movie with me. The first five minutes of the film made me scared. But then I got sucked in. And it was an intense ride that did not let go.

I do have some complaints.

  • First, the boys cast as Caleb, Peter, Will and Al all look extremely similar. It was SO HARD to tell them apart - especially Al and Will.
  • The ending with Jeanine and the serum did not make any sense whatsoever. If you think too hard about it, it's ruined.
  • They moved an issue with Caleb from Allegiant to this movie. If you've read the books, that sentence will make sense. If not, GO READ THE BOOKS.
  • I loved that, in the books, Four is the responsible one with regard to...physical...ness. He's the one that sets limits with the make-out session. In the movie, Tris is the responsible one. Taking that bit of awesomeness away from Four hurt my heart a little bit.
  • -Elle Goulding's screeching "wooohhhhaaahhhhaahhhh"'s were so annoying. I am over her and her music.

Now for the good!

THE ACTING WAS PHENOMENAL. Seriously, top notch all over the place. I was so pleased by the acting. Wow, wow. I had heard that Shailene Woodley was a terrible actress and I am so happy to report that she is AMAZING here. Shows so much emotion - in one very painful scene near the end, her expression just about made me cry. Heartbreaking. Beautiful. SO MUCH GOOD ACTING IN ONE PLACE.

Most of us who want our favorite books turned into movies want 20 hour long films with every detail included. This film, at 2.5 hours, was the perfect length. Yes, there were parts left out. Yes, things were glossed over.

But friends, they tried. I want that emphasized because if you know what to look for, you will be so happy. So listen up: there are nods all over to the parts they had to cut out for length. In the beginning of the movie, they show symbols from each of the Factions. Like a scientist looking into a microscope for Erudite, an Abnegation taking the hand of a Factionless. Oh, it was so good.

It's all blurring together for me now, but I know there other parts. I am so proud of the director for making little overtures everywhere. People who are book fans will love it; people who aren't book fans won't notice.

I loved that they showed scenes from Amity and from the Factionless. I thought they'd gloss over the Factionless stuff like crazy, but it was very real and very present.

Did I mention how great Shailene Woodley was? And I know there are many fangirls complaining she's too pretty. Of course she's too pretty - but she's not THAT pretty. She's not movie star gorgeous. She has a chest like a real person. Her eyes are oddly spaced. She's real. I loved that.

Kate Winslet was amazing. The Choosing Ceremony was awesome. The costumes were SO COOL and I really really want a Dauntless outfit. The training scenes, though short, were epic. Every scene in this movie meant something and had something behind it. I've never felt a book-to-movie have this same sort of depth.

The soundtrack was so well done, with the exception of anything involving Elle Goulding.

So. For this Erudite Initiate, the movie was fantastic. I will be seeing it again (and again. And possibly again.) It brought out the best of everything I love about the books. I hope it leads more people to the books. As I was leaving, a heard a viewer say to some kind of reporter person that "purists will be disappointed." You better believe I broke in with "I'm a HUGE purist and I was NOT disappointed at ALL."

And it was so fun hearing my son's name on the big screen. I've never heard a "Tobias" in a movie theater. Now I have. Booyah.