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New LDS Music Store + Giveaway!

19 December 2012
Hey guys, have you heard about YourLDSMusicStore.com? It's basically awesome and here's why:

They have a free MP3 available to download every week. I don't know about you, but I'm all about the free stuff. Especially free music! Sparrow is such a music freak - he devours songs like they're cookies. Then he sings it all week long, and then I want to claw my ears out. Luckily, I can download a new song each week so that I don't go too crazy. Oh wait - too late.

They have all sorts of stuff available for LDS Music lovers. CDs, songbooks, downloads, sheet music, newsletters featuring new/upcoming and established artists... There's tons of stuff on there. I was eyeing the EFY CDs earlier today. I love those EFY CDs and still remember lots of the songs from my long-gone youth days. I'd love to get a couple of the CDs I remember and play them for Sparrow.

They also have lots of stuff by William Joseph. I got to meet him back in March and I am still starstruck and awed by him. His piano playing skillz are intense. If you haven't heard his stuff, you can preview his "Beyond" CD here William Joseph also has a hymns CD out, but I love his Beyond album because it translates to any audience.

I'm also really into sheet music, especially since I am working on becoming decent at the piano again, and I love that Your LDS Music Store has sheet music available. Sometimes it's tricky to find what you are looking for, but Your LDS Music Store has a really good search engine - you can search by artist, song title, all the normal ways, but also by song genre. I think that's a really great idea.

To celebrate YourLDSMusicStore.com, I am having a giveaway! Comment on this post and you will be entered to win Elder Teddy!

Isn't he ridiculously adorable? I wish I could win him. Elder Teddy has his own website, music, and even a about his travels and experiences. Your child can be his new companion. Awwww.

So to recap:

  • Your LDS Music Store is awesome.
  • Comment on this post to win an Elder Teddy
  • If you want a second entry, link to this post on Facebook and come back here and tell me you did.
  • Giveaway will end on Saturday, Dec 22 at 10 p.m. MST
  • Yay music!

This post is sponsored by YourLDSMusicStore.com. They are providing an Elder Teddy for me to give away. Because they are awesome, that's why.

On Anxiety and Perfectionism

16 December 2012
I've written before about my struggles with Social Anxiety Disorder and Depression. It is not awesome. It is not the trial I particularly want to deal with in this life. But it is what it is, and I have to learn how to function even on the days I don't want to do anything but die.

I've been on medication for almost 5 years now, and I've been on medication that actually works for 3 years. Given a choice, I would not have to take any medications at all. No medicines for me! But when faced with the question of being medicated and a good mother, wife, and being alive or being un-medicated and not functional and/or dead, I pick medicated.

But here's the problem: It's never going to get any better. I've had Social Anxiety for 26 years and it's not getting better. Not with therapy, not with ignoring it. The medicine does help somewhat. But. I can't keep taking higher and higher doses and hoping my problem will go away. I can't keep avoiding things that are hard for me - calling people, going to the store, going to school - because if I keep this up, I'm never going to be able to leave the house. It's too hard.

When I think about it, I want to go eat all the pills in my medicine cabinet and hide under the covers in a dark, locked bedroom. Life scares me. I'm going to school in less than a month and I am abso-freakin' terrified. Logically, I know nothing is going to happen. What's the worst someone's going to do? Scowl at me? Call me a fat bitch in the Costco parking lot (happened a few weeks ago)? Throw a snowball at my head? But in my head I can't escape the "what if they think I'm an idiot. Maybe I am an idiot. I'm an idiot. I can't believe I said that. Why can't I just shut up? Everyone is looking at me. They all think I'm fat and ugly. I am fat and ugly. Why am I even alive? I can't do anything right. I can't do this. Why am I here? I want to go home. I want to die. I don't want to do this anymore. I want to die I want to die I want to die dying is so much easier than living and doing this all the time I can't handle this people are everywhere why are there so many people I bet they all hate me I wish I wasn't too scared to die I wish I could just drop dead right here."

You get the picture.

Anyway, I realize I will probably need to be on medication for the rest of my life. I actually can handle life much better when I'm drugged. It's still hell, but it's manageable hell. I just can't keep relying on the medicine, taking more and more, and waiting for myself to get better. I have to work and I have to do things that scare me. I've told Hawk this. And I think going to school is a good first step. Maybe in a year I will work on calling people. I hate phones so much.

The other thing I have realized about myself is that I am a perfectionist. This is not something I would have ever thought of before, but I read an article that described me perfectly.

Perfectionism:

  • Mistakes bring feelings of self-hatred. You don’t want to do anything because you are afraid of failure.
  • You feel tremendous pressure to earn others’ approval. You must be the best or “perfect” in your tasks.
  • Your need to do things perfectly leads to procrastination until you have time to do it “perfectly,” and you feel driven by fear or duty instead of love.

If I can't do something perfectly, I don't bother doing it. I can't play the piano perfectly, so I don't want to do it at all. I can't clean my entire house to be spotless in a day, so what's the point? I can't be the best mother ever, so why try being a good mom at all? It's too much bother if I can't do it right.

This is crap. I realize this is crap. But this is the way my brain thinks. And it has to stop. I know that I will never be perfect. But I have to stop giving up when I can't do something 100%. I stopped playing the violin back in March because I had played for 6 months and I wasn't a virtuoso yet. I mean, come on. I need to fix my expectations of myself and of my family. We are not perfect and we never will be. It's still okay to try and it's still okay to make efforts and it's okay to fail.

I wish I had realized this about myself years ago. It would have explained so much. I hate math and I now wonder if the reason I hated it and did so badly at it was because when I first started having a hard time with it, I decided that I would never be good so why bother trying? It's enough to make me wonder if I should take a math class sometime. (Ew.) I used to love to write and I came up with some amazing poems, essays and even a novel that was quite good. But I wasn't perfect or publishable on the first draft, so I haven't revised or tried to write poetry in years.

Absolutely ridiculous. But these are the days of my life. This is what I am working through right now. I am going back to school and I am going to fail at least a little bit. And I need to be okay with that - I need to try my very, absolute hardest and be okay with the effort. The growth is in the effort, not in the result.

I think that's going to be my motto for 2013.

Twas the Night Before Christmas as told by a 4 year old

08 December 2012
Three days ago I was shopping for some pajamas in K-Mart when Sparrow said "Mom, I'm going to do the Night Before Christmas." "Uh-huh," I said distractedly.

Then he started reciting it.

The entire thing.

I almost fainted in the socks aisle. I have never read this poem to him. Hawk has read it a few times but never THAT much.

Sparrow's memory is insane and continues to terrify + amaze me. Remember, he's only 4 and he is on the autism spectrum, so this stuff he can do, well it's kind of a big deal.

Tell me this doesn't impress the pants off you. Whew! This is totally unrehearsed, unpracticed and un-anythinged. I did have a copy of the poem next to me to see if he was doing it right, but it didn't have any pictures or anything so Sparrow didn't 'read' it or see it at all. (I say this in the interest of full disclosure, as you can hear the page rustling a few times.)

We Believe in Santa

02 December 2012
Sparrow's at a fun age for Santa. We're trying not to make a huge deal out of it, and we're doing a daily devotional to try and keep Christ in the center of Christmas, but it's been fun. We had our pictures taken at Fotofly Santa on Friday and they turned out really cute!

Oh, and we survived November. It was not a fun month. But now it's December, yay!

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2012-0767-11That's Hawk in the Santa suit, by the way.

2012-0767-8 This is my favorite. Classic Sparrow.

2012-0767-1 He's getting so grown up!

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Hawk wants "something awesome" for Christmas. This is what I have to work with every year, people. It drives me nuts. Sparrow wants a Wreck-It Ralph toy and a My Little Pony RC car. He's getting an Imaginext Castle because that's all he plays with at his school and that's what I bought before he changed his mind to the other stuff.

Me? I want a hedgehog. No, I REALLY want a hedgehog. My whole life I've wanted a hedgehog and some recent cute pictures of hedgies circling the Internets have brought the desire back full-force. I'm also in the market for school supplies, clothes, and gift cards so we can afford our upcoming Disneyland trip!

P.S. Perhaps you were one of the 42 people who viewed my post "On Faith and Learning Lessons" last week and are now wondering where the post went. I got a ton of hits in a very short time on that post. But after posting it, I felt uncomfortable about sharing it on the Internet. Maybe after some time has passed I will post it again, but for now it's too sacred an experience for me to publish randomly. I'm happy to share via email if you're curious mostly because I hate it when bloggers post stuff and then take it down, but yeah. It's not going back on the blog for at least 6 months.

Snapshots from November

08 November 2012
It's November, and you know what that means...

National Novel Writing Month!

I've participated in NaNoWriMo in 2004, 2010, 2011, and now 2012. Because I'm OCD, I completed my novel all 3 years. This may be the first year I don't finish. I'm very behind on my word count because I hate my novel. I've never started hating a piece of writing so early on before - it usually takes at least 2 weeks before I want to shoot myself and/or my computer. I should just start over, but it's November 8! I would be so behind! I know, first world problems.

IMG_1064 My birthday breakfast - Diet Coke and cake batter pancakes with Rainbow Chip frosting. Yeah, I only ate half before I went into a sugar coma. But it was a delicious sugar coma.

I turned 26 on November 6. Everyone was more concerned with some "President of the United States" thing than ME, which was highly insulting. However, I am nothing if not magnanimous, so I forgive you all. You can send checks or cash to me to make up for it. Being 26 looks good on me, if I do say so myself.

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I have high hopes for this year too, as I prepare to attend college for the first time since (holy cow) 2005. I just got my backpack, notebook and pens and I cannot wait till January. I am singlehandedly tying up all of BYU's classes by registering for 18 of them, realizing I should take a lighter load for this semester, and deleting. And adding again. And dropping again. This takes up a lot of time, which is one reason I'm so behind on my novel.

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Sparrow has started attending Early Intervention preschool through our school district. He has only gone for 7 days total so far, so we haven't seen any improvement (but we also weren't expecting any, at least till February.) Apparently, he is hitting, kicking and scratching when he is at school. He does not do that at home, so we're not sure how to help it. I feel so bad for his teacher. She is a brave, brave woman.

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He's so smart in some ways, but at the same time he is so ... dumb. He is obsessed with counting right now and recognizes numbers up to 100, and can insert numbers into a sequence. But he can't draw a line, circle, or color even close to inside lines. He doesn't understand consequences AT ALL which is awful and frustrating as a parent and as a person. He is very innocent when it comes to interacting with other children, which is painful to watch sometimes as kids his age are purposely secluding him or making fun of him and he doesn't understand why. But he's also very manipulative when it comes to interacting with adults. I have a plan to develop patience in my 26th year BUT IT HASN'T WORKED YET UGH.

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Anyway, Sparrow adores school, even though he's in trouble all the time. He loves it and it's the highlight of his day. He has started riding the bus too - we live near to the school, but the bus is free and it will give me a little extra time when I start school in January. He loves the bus too. He attends school for 2 hours Monday-Thursday and it's been an adjustment for me because I actually have to get up and get dressed (painful.) I have been going to the gym at Hawk's work every day and that has also been painful, although beneficial. I'm not seeing any results yet which is not helping with my patience goal, but maybe someday. Soon. Or I'm going to throw that scale at someone's head I swear it.

And that is our November so far. Coming up in November are my little brother and sister's birthdays (ages 6 and 8! They are getting so old!), my little sister's baptism, Thanksgiving, getting caught up on my word count, obtaining PATIENCE FOR THE LOVE OF CANADA, and generally surviving with everyone's sanity intact. It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it. I volunteer Hawk for the job.

IMG_1177 This is one of my all time favorite scriptures. I thought this picture turned out neat, so I'm sticking it here. You're welcome.

The Little Gray Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

29 October 2012
I really like homemade costumes. I think storebought ones are fine, but homemade have character. Also, it's my excuse to buy each of us a new warm sweatshirt/sweatpants combo for the upcoming frigidly cold winter of death.

But, I also like planning costumes around the 3 of us. 3 is an odd number - you can find great costumes for couples, and great costumes for families of 4, but it's hard to get a good three-some costume (that does not sound good but that's the word I am using.) Even most popular movies have 4 main characters (or have characters that won't work with 2 boys and a girl.)

Sparrow has no idea how Halloween works, so I limited him to a few costume options. We could go as 101 Dalmations, since he's really into that movie. Or we could go as England, Scotland and Wales and be the United Kingdom (Hawk really liked that idea.) Or we could be characters from The Little Gray Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the BIG HUNGRY BEAR, which is a children's book by Dan Wood, first published in 1984. (Two years before my birth, thank-you-very-much.) I have fond memories of my grandma reading me that book over and over again, and I bought it for Sparrow in board book form when he was barely 6 months old. It's the only board book to survive his infancy.

Without further adieu, I give you:

The BIG HUNGRY BEAR:

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The Red Ripe Strawberry:

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And the Little Gray Mouse:

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I did our costumes all by myself and I am so proud of how they turned out. Hawk's was easy - Walmart had everything including the bear hat, and I had a brown t-shirt that had holes in it which I used to make his tail. My costume is red sweatpants and a red hoodie, and I used a black fabric marker to make "seeds" all over it (it may or may not wash out, but I don't really care because our sweats are pajamas.) I made the "stem" out of 2 sheets of green felt and a toilet paper roll safety pinned to the hoodie. It's a little long for a "stem" and it feels weird but oh well.

And of course for Sparrow's, I used 2 sheets of gray and pink felt and sewed the ears onto a jacket hoodie obtained at Walmart for $3 (and another $3 for the matching pants.) I could NOT get the ears to stand up on their own, even after reinforcing the ears with 3 more layers of felt. I finally had to sew them in a curve a couple of times. I have no idea what the term is for that and by the time I did it I was totally guessing and praying it would work, but it did. The ears stand up really well on their own (but only when the hoodie is on his head.) For the tail I used a fat quarter of pink fabric, rolled it up, and sewed it flat and safety pinned it to his behind.

And, let me tell you a little trick. We don't buy face paint or costume makeup because I am cheap. I DO sometimes have acrylic paint lying around for random crafts. So I mixed some acrylic black paint with Dawn dishsoap and painted it on Sparrow's face. It makes it SUPER SUPER easy to wash off and it doesn't stain clothing or skin or anything. So if you need face paint but don't want to buy it, try my dishsoap trick. People have probably been doing it for years, but I just barely figured it out.

I don't like a lot about the way Halloween is celebrated, but I do love the chance to let Sparrow play dress up and not get weird looks when we leave the house. Sparrow is super into imagination play and dress up JUST BARELY so this is a new and exciting stage for us. I think I am going to buy him primarily dress up costumes (after Halloween clearance!) for Christmas, because he just enjoys them so much.

His favorite part of being a mouse? Bamboo the cat likes to chase Sparrow's mouse tail. So the cat is chasing the mouse. It's the circle of life.

IMG_0807 Why yes, I did hand-carve that pumpkin. I'm rocking the crafty-ness this Halloween!

Sesame Street Aliens costume

27 October 2012
Way back in 2006, when I was young (19!) and engaged but not married and had a great group of friends, my roommate (now known as one of my closest friends, Dove, whose daughter is going to marry Sparrow in 20ish years) made us these amazing costumes.

Temples 001

Yes, she made them by hand. They were FANTASTIC. We were the "yup yup" aliens from Sesame Street and we were epic. The looks of awe we got, I tell you. It was the best costume EVER.

The only problem is, the fabric we used to make the aliens shed. A LOT. By the end of the night, we were blind from fur fuzz in our eyes. The pain was worth it though.

Temples 003 Ah, the brave Kris: cruelly slain by fabric fuzz.

The mouths are made of black mesh which we could see out of, but people couldn't see through. Then the mouth itself has a wire coat hanger strung through it so we could move the mouths and say "yup yup you, yup yup me, yup yup baby yup yup family!" I wish I knew what happened to the costumes but I suspect they were disposed of since the fur was so ... furry.

Temples 009(1)SuperHawk trying to kiss his Fiancee (me!) through the alien face. Did not work.

Thanks Dove. You always make the best Halloween costumes, but 2006 was the best Halloween ever thanks to you.

The Casual Vacancy: A Casual Review

18 October 2012
The Casual VacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well. That was painful.

I expected more of arguably the most famous female author of all time. I wasn't looking for Harry Potter: The Grown Up Years, or anything even remotely close. I went in, suspending my expectations as well as can be reasonably expected.


And then I fell 35,000 feet back to earth.


What was Rowling THINKING?! First, too many characters, which, as they are all "real life" characters, they're all pretty much exactly the same. I still can't tell the difference between Shirley and Samantha, and I got Terri confused 90% of the time because her only descriptions are "that elderly woman" and "her claw-like hand." There were many claw-like hands in this novel, by the way.

On the one (claw like) hand, I was drawn into the people's stories, but then there is no resolution here. Nobody figures out that they're being a turd face. No marriages are fixed, no divorces applied for. Some kids die and people are sad, but most are indifferent. The end.

The only character I cared for was Sukhvinder, and the only reason for that is that she is a cutter (I am a former cutter.) I can say JK Rowling got one thing absolutely right - she's the first person who has ever written about cutting that wasn't making stuff up as she went along. She did a great job there, and actually I was about to quit reading when I happened upon the cutting scene which is what made me keep going and finish the book.

The language is beyond bad. I have been more educated by this book than I was in 4 years of high school. Crap.

I guess if there had been any sort of resolution or conclusion at all, this maybe, possibly almost would have been worth reading. But there was nothing redeeming about it. It was just sad, depressing, and pointless.

I give it two stars - 1 star for the descriptive writing of England because JK is a master at that. And 2 for the cutting scenes because they were well done. Other than that, run away. This book sucks. I am infinitely let down by Ms. Rowling now. I hope she if she's decided to not write YA books, she'll just quit writing period. She's not awesome enough for adult novels, and besides, stick to what you know and do really, really well!

View all my reviews

Random thoughts of a Sunday

14 October 2012
I still regret not serving a mission, but I am slowly "getting over it." I understand why the church changed the ages for missionaries but it still hurts. I am focusing on the fact that perhaps my greatest mission will be motherhood. Perhaps someday I will be able to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Maybe my biggest missionary "conversion" will be my own self. I would have liked the experience of serving, but I chose to get married instead, and I don't regret that for an instant. Hawk is so supportive and has been wonderful as I moped about this week. I love him immensely and am grateful to have him in my life.

I was going to get my ecclesiastical endorsement from my stake president today (a form that says I behave myself so I can attend BYU without causing them troubles.) But I guess the amount of new missionaries has messed up BYU's enrollment plans for next semester, because I went to print the form off and applications are not being accepted "until further notice." Bummer.

Sparrow had a screening for early intervention preschool through our school district on Friday. It was eye-opening. On the one hand, he is SO smart. He knew things I didn't even know he knew. I certainly didn't teach him. He did great at spatial reasoning (I suck at that), repeating ideas from a story, pointing out bigger/littler/which is faster, etc. He could repeat sentences (of course he could - we spent 3.5 years trying to get him to STOP repeating word for word what we said to him!), he impressed the teacher with his counting skills (he can count to 101 and can recognize pretty much any number - today he pointed out number 174 and I almost fainted.)

At the same time, it was saddening to see what he could not do. He could not focus, sit still, or follow instructions the first time. It's hard to tell whether he couldn't really follow directions or if he was being manipulative and not doing what he was supposed to just because he didn't want to. I think it was probably a little of both - he knows good and well what he should do, but he decides he doesn't want to and doesn't cooperate. That was hard to see. I sat quietly and didn't look at him during the process because I didn't want to interfere. That was the hardest.

So, we have an IEP set-up meeting on October 25. Hopefully we can go about getting him the help he needs.

There are many things I regret about my early 20s. I sometimes wonder if I will be allowed, after I die, to look at that time and see what would have happened if I made different choices. I doubt it, because these are the choices I have made. Still, it would be cool.

My 26th birthday is coming up next month (on Election Day. Those presidential candidates are totally going to ruin my day.) I am working on setting some small goals for both my 26th year and for before I turn 30. Lately I have felt stagnant and useless. I think having stuff to work toward would help. As a child, I never pictured myself in my late 20s or 30s or older. I thought I'd die or disappear before I turned 21. So being "this old" is hard for me. I'm going to start working on goals so that I have things to look forward to. And so I can set a good example for Sparrow.

Some of my goals include: start learning violin, get to a healthy weight healthily (with Hawk's help), start school or take an independent study course, and before I turn 30, buy a house. Also, survive Sparrow. That's probably my biggest goal right there.

My Review of Trichomania

13 October 2012

Originally submitted at LUSH USA

Delightfully coconutty, this is the shampoo for those of you with dry, over-processed and flyaway hair that need help putting it back in its place. Not only does the creamed coconut smell delicious, it moisturizes your hair and weighs it down just enough so that it's not frizzing all over. Use ...


Great for autistic kids

By Kris the Mommy from Draper, UT on 10/12/2012

 

4out of 5

When you survey your stash, you label this product: Life-Saver

Hair Type: Very Curly Hair

Pros: Adds Shine, Gentle, Cleans Thoroughly, Lathers Well, Adds Volume

Cons: Smells Bad

Best Uses: Thinner Hair, Curly Hair, Daily Use

Describe Yourself: Minimalist

I have a 4 year old son, Toby, who is autistic. Every single day since he was born in Jan 2008 we have had a tantrum at bath time. Every SINGLE day, bloody screaming like I'm murdering him when I wash his hair. He can't handle the liquid feeling on his scalp or something. It's awful. But his hair is super curly and very fine and it needs to be washed daily or it gets matted.

So I popped into the Salt Lake City LUSH store the other day and asked for a sample of the best solid shampoo for fine, curly hair. This is what I was given. It has lasted for almost 3 weeks for a relatively small sample size, which is amazing. My son has shorter hair, but still, for getting it wet daily it hasn't melted at all.

Toby's hair is clean and beautiful. It curls up fantastically and his reddish gold hair color has brightened up vividly.

Thank you so much LUSH. You have saved my days. No more do we have daily bath time tantrums. For the last 5 days, Toby has actually ASKED for me to wash his hair. You have no idea the change this is. I could cry of happiness.

The only problem is that I think Trichomania smells like death. It is reminiscent of coconut creme pie...rotten coconut creme pie. It makes me gag when I smell it. So I am going to try a different scent. But dear heavens, LUSH, thank you for making solid shampoos. I only wish I had figured this out 4 years ago.

(legalese)

LDS Missionary age change and regrets

06 October 2012
Today I listened as President Thomas S. Monson announced that young women will be allowed to serve LDS missions at age 19 - a full two years earlier than they were allowed to serve just yesterday.

I am slightly ashamed to say I burst into tears - not out of joy, but of regret, jealousy, and bitterness.

I graduated from high school and with my Associate's degree when I was 17 years old. When a young woman graduates from high school, she is asked to attend Relief Society. No longer are you in a class with your own peers, but you have graduated to The Grown Up class, which brings in women of all ages, backgrounds, walks of life. That's fine.

But as a 17 year old, I was lost. Completely and utterly lost. I lived in a very adult ward with almost nobody my own age. The next youngest to me was 24 and married with children. As a new member of the Relief Society, I was confused and felt "too young for all this." After all, I certainly didn't need to know how to be a good wife, or how to serve my husband or take care of my children. At age 17, I had no desire or plans to get married - ever. EVER.

When I was 12, I remember asking my mom why girls had to wait until they were 21 before they could go on a mission. My mom didn't know, but she tried to be positive about it. She didn't like the rule either, she said, but that's the way it was.

Maybe the church has changed now, but when I was growing up, the emphasis was always on getting married. Young women, you will grow up. You will get married. You will have children. As a youth, that was not what I wanted in the slightest. I had no prospective boyfriends and I hated children. I still hate children. I liked being alone. I was going to grow up, go to medical school and be an Emergency Room physician. Or I was going to be a veterinarian with my own farm, complete with horse I rode to work, and a dog. Or I was going to do all of the above and write novels. But it was always going to be alone.

I left the church for a while, because I felt so unneeded and unwanted. I had well meaning leaders who thought I was homosexual because I had zero interest in getting married (at age 17! come on!) I spent 3 miserable years in a dark place, cutting myself almost daily, struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression and social anxiety. My family and I weren't getting along at all. I was in debt. I was lost, still.

I met Nate. We dated and it got serious. I asked him if he would be willing to wait for me if I went on a mission. I was 19, so I still had 2 years before I could turn in my application plus an additional 2 years to serve. Nate said no way would he wait for me. And because I didn't want to lose my first love, the first person who had made me feel worthwhile, I decided I wouldn't risk it. I dropped the missionary thoughts. Nate asked me to marry him, and a month after I turned 20, I did. I still had a full year before I could have served a mission.

I remember when we lived in Arkansas and the missionaries would stop by our home. I remember thinking how weird it was that I was living in my own home, married, and yet these two boys were still older than me.

I have struggled with regrets my entire life, but I regret nothing the way I do those years between 2004-2007. Every day, even today, I think at least once a day how those choices I made back then have affected me. Sometimes I get sad because it feels like all the important decisions in my life have been made. I'm done. Now it's just little things from here on out.

But most of all, I have regretted not going on a mission. I regret not waiting, not telling Nate to suck it and still remaining friends, but making plans to be my own person before I got married. I regret dropping out of school. I regret everything about those years. I love my husband. I do. But how much different would my life have been if I had said "no, this is something I need to do"?

So much different.

But again, at the time, it was a 5 year wait between graduating and going on a mission. Five years where I felt alone and irrelevant to the church. I know that many young adults have struggled with the transition between the youth program and the adult program. I am so happy for these youth who will have the opportunity to serve missions at a younger age. I believe this will greatly help them, people around the world, and the church's ability to keep our young adults active in the gospel. I am excited for them.

I am also jealous of them.

If this call had just come 5 years ago, my life would be so different. I can't say it would be better, because I don't know that. But I wouldn't be here right now - struggling every day with a child who doesn't like me and who I don't particularly care for either. I wouldn't be looking at scars from self-inflicted wounds. I wouldn't think back on those years as a waste and a mistake. I would be more sure of myself, more firm in my foundations, and more experienced. I would be a better person. I know it.

Yes, I can serve when I am older. It's not the same and it never will be - I don't know why people use that as a consolation.

My mom always said that her biggest regret was not serving a mission before she had me. I know she wanted me, but I often felt like I'd ruined her life when I was growing up (she tried very hard to keep me from feeling this way, but I am awesome at being melodramatic.) I interrupted her plans and I broke her goals. If this call had come 26 years ago, my mom would have been able to serve earlier. I wouldn't have been born - and that's okay. Everyone might have just been a little bit happier. There's a difference, though, between missing this announcement by 26 years and missing it by just 5.

Everyone has regrets. Mine just punched me in the face this morning.

I wish I could articulate it better. But long story short: yay for the younger missionary age, I hate that it didn't come early enough for me, my life is filled with regrets and I have struggled intensely with them all month (so this wasn't a particularly timely announcement for me.)

Edited to add: I'm not leaving the church over this. I'm not mad at President Monson. I'm not going to go jump off a cliff or flush Toby down the toilet. I am sad, yes, but I'm not angry or vindictive or...irrational? I realize that I am where I am supposed to be (even if I don't always want to be here.)

I am really, really excited for the new sisters who can serve! So many lives are going to be affected by this and I am thrilled to be here to witness it. I just think, to some extent, I will always regret not having served a mission, and today it hit me even harder than normal. Just as I will always regret dropping out of college or not going to medical school. It's okay to have regrets, I just have to remind myself that it's not the end of the world that I didn't do X, Y and Z. As long as I don't allow my mistakes (or my inability to do something) to rule my life, it's okay to be sad once in a while.

It was hard to post this because I don't want to seem like "I hate my life! The missionary age requirement ruined it forever! It's the church's fault I'm married and have a weird child!" No no no. I love Nate and I am so glad I married him - that will never be a regret. I love Toby and while I would take away his mental problems in a heartbeat*, I don't regret him either. It's just one of those things, you know? I don't regret my family and I don't hate my religion. It's okay. Okay? Okay.

I've never understood parents who say "My child is autistic and even if there was a cure I wouldn't take it!" Are you kidding? I'd sign Toby up for the cure so fast your head would explode. Just as I know my mom or Nate would have signed me up for the anxiety/depression cure in a heartbeat.

Utah scenery

02 October 2012
Utah is beautiful. There's just no getting around it. I mean, all places have beautiful spots, but Utah seems amply blessed with those. Here's a bunch of pictures taken over the last week. Have I mentioned that Autumn is my favorite season? Yeah, when I am in charge of the universe, I am making Autumn year round.

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Sparrow at Stewart Falls in Sundance, Utah.

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Stewart Falls.

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Sparrow loved the logs on our long, long walk to Stewart Falls.

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I love my mom and dad, but they suck at nature-walking. They basically RAN through the trail as fast as they could, leaving me no time to point out leaves, trees, or bugs to Sparrow. And no time to take pictures either. Next time we go on a hike with them, we're not going on a hike with them.

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See how they aren't stopping? Dah!

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It was very beautiful though.

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A beautiful sunset from the other night, which evolved into...

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The sky is on fire!

A Photo Essay

26 September 2012
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ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God.

Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

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The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.

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Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

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THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife.

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HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.

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THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.

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Extended families should lend support when needed.

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WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Read the full Family: A Proclamation to the World here.

My Review of Sakura Bath Bomb

21 September 2012

Originally submitted at LUSH USA

In Japanese, Sakura means Cherry Blossom, the gorgeous white and pink flowers that bloom for just a brief period of time in the Spring. Relax into the warm water as the pretty pink and blue sea salts dissolve just like your cares. Imagine cherry blossoms softly falling as you inhale the fragrance o...


Phenomenal cosmic scent, ittybitty fizzy

By Krisis from Draper, UT on 9/21/2012

 

4out of 5

When you survey your stash, you label this product: Must-Have

Pros: Relaxing, Smells Great, Soothes Irritated Skin, Softens Skin

Cons: Boring

Best Uses: Gift, Decorative, Bath, Use As Potpourri

Describe Yourself: Normal Skin, Sensitive Skin

Sakura is the first LUSH product I ever tried, way back in 2006. To my disappointment, the scent didn't linger on my skin very much.

Now it's 2012 and I can't find any bath bombs I love more than Sakura. The scent is just intoxicating. I love, love LOVE that scent. I buy 2-3 extra Sakuras and put them in my underwear and sock drawer. They make my clothing smell extra delicious.

No, the scent still doesn't linger on skin very long. It does linger in my bathroom though which is great because I'm the only woman in my house. My son (age 4) came in to my bath tonight and said "Oh Mommy, that smells DELICIOUS." He made me promise I would let him have a LUSH bath tomorrow.

It's boring as bombs go. There are no surprises, no glittery, no colors. It just smells really good. If I want something pretty to look at, I will opt for a Sex Bomb over Sakura. But Sakura's clean, crisp scent draws me back over and over again. I love that smell so much.

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BYU Rocks!

17 September 2012
Today I took my chirping Sparrow to BYU. I have been thinking about attending school again once Sparrow starts kindergarten and I wanted to walk around campus and re-acquaint myself. The last time I attended BYU I was 17 and had severe panic attacks on campus, so I figure if I start acclimating myself now, by Fall 2013 I should be able to go to classes without having heart attacks.

I'm really excited to go back to school, but social anxiety makes it hard. My biggest regret is failing out back in 2004. Granted, I was just a kid and I was not diagnosed and basically just thought I was crazy and a loser for not being able to make myself go. But I wish I had gone to a doctor and gotten help rather than hiding from my classes.

Anyway, Sparrow made a little flag to carry around with us on campus. It says "BYU Rocks!" We got lots of smiles from students and he enjoyed showing off his flag-waving skills. Sparrow informed me that he really wants to go to BYU when he's older "maybe 6!" I told him he had to be a little older than that, and he conceded to go "when I'm 22!" Sounds good, Sparrow.

We had a good time. Next time we go back, I think we are going to make a huge batch of cookies and pass them out to unsuspecting hungry students. Booyah.

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Birthday presents and Etsy

14 September 2012
My favorite Etsy seller has completed a new set of Book of Mormon hero pictures! I love them. Of course I had to buy them immediately (good timing, making them available on pay day) but I'm out of space on Sparrow's walls. So if she makes any more, we're going to have to move to a bigger house. (Start packing, Hawk!)

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If I had a girl, I would be all over her Bible Girls sets. I had a hard time as a little girl feeling like there were Biblical heroines for me to aspire to. I love that these are available. What great role models for our daughters!

il_fullxfull.319898927 I especially love the Esther one. Sparrow's favorite Bible story right now is Esther. My 7 year old sister is named Esther too.

While we're on the subject of Etsy, I just found the perfect birthday present for my soon-to-be-16 sister. I think she's going to love it. I'm pretty excited about it. I'm still searching for the best birthday present ever for my dad though. He's pretty old, so I'm not sure what he'll enjoy. You know, with the limited time he has left on this earth and all. Heh. Heh heh.

My best friend Dove's daughter turns 3 on Monday. For her birthday, Sparrow and I took her to Fotofly where we had her portraits done. We had to squeeze Sparrow into a couple of pictures because he and Chickadee are betrothed. These will be great to stick on their engagement pictures in 20 years!

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Simple Treasures Boutique party!

10 September 2012
My friends, I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is, you only have 1 month and 24 days left until my birthday. The good news is, you still have time to get me a present!

Where better to go shop for me than at the Simple Treasures Boutique? There will be over 100 vendors from all sorts of crafting ninjas - who knows what you will find? The possibilities are endless!

This is the Simple Treasures Boutique's 12th year and it promises to be one of their best years ever! This year the boutique will be held on September 19-22 at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. The grand opening on Wednesday the 19th will be from 10a.m. to 12 p.m., and there will be treats and a treasure hunt!

Of course, the boutique itself is kind of the ultimate treasure hunt. I'm kind of a sucker for craft fairs so I am pretty excited to attend this. I'm planning on forcing my mom and grandma to go with me. When the three of us get together, we always have a blast, and we're all in love with crafty stuff like you find at Quilted Bear and the like. I'm really excited to have a Girl's Day Out with my family. And I hope I find some good Christmas presents for some certain people in my life!

Make sure to check out the Simple Treasures Boutique's Facebook page for giveaways and details.

In addition to all this awesomeness:

  • You can win a $50 gift card by texting "treasure" to 24587
  • Admission is $1
  • There is a Central Checkout, so you only have to check out once! Whew!
  • All Major credit cards are accepted
  • Hours are W-F 10am to 8pm and Sat 10am to 6pm

Will I see you at the Simple Treaures Boutique? I'll be the one making my kid carry all of my bags. I'm mean like that. If you spot me, come over and say hi! I hope to see you there. It's going to be AWESOME. Remember, good opportunity to get me a birthday present!

Okay fine. I guess you can get your Christmas presents there too. Sigh.

Post Sponsored By: Simple Treasures Boutique.

Struggles with Social Anxiety...Again.

07 September 2012
I can't read the answers if I can't see the page
I'm driving blind and the landscape doesn't change.

These last few months have been rough, but the last week or so has been murderous. It's not easy to struggle with a disease that people can't see, a disease that some people don't even believe in. Social Anxiety Disorder is a bitch, my friends. Moving to a new neighborhood has nearly killed me. It is a very active neighborhood, with people everywhere. I should be happy about this. I should be thrilled that Sparrow has the potential to make friends.

And instead, I shut all the blinds and pray that nobody knocks on my door.

I should be attending my church meetings and getting involved in my new ward. I should be getting to know people and volunteering my endless free time. I should be friendly and outgoing.

Instead, I lie awake all night Saturday and have panic attacks on Sunday morning. And then I either go to church and have panic attacks throughout the 3 hour meeting block, or I stay home and feel guilty and awful that I have, once again, missed my chance at fellowshipping for the week.

I take medication for depression and anxiety (I've had my share of medication struggles too, which you can read about here), but lately it hasn't been doing its job as well. I've also been much busier this week with social engagements. It's even hard for me to be around family, and this week was a very family-oriented week.

I wait for my vision but it never comes...
I'm driving blind through this barren land.

I remember when I realized I had Social Anxiety Disorder. I was 14 and we had just moved to a new state. One day after a torturous panic-ridden day at school I was browsing the psychiatry books in the county library and happened upon a book called Social Anxiety Disorder or something. I read it and was so excited. Someone understands! Someone knows what I'm going through! When I tried to talk to my family about it, I was given these wise words of advice:

Get over it.

That was 11 years ago. (And I have been officially diagnosed since then, so it's not a 14 year old's guess.) I've tried to get over it. I'm trying. If it were that easy, I would be over it. I don't know why I was given this trial. I hate this trial. I hate whatever lesson I am supposed to learn from this. I spend days pissed off that God would let me struggle on with depression and anxiety and an autistic child. It's too much for me to handle. It's too much.

...I never knew it could get this dark.
I can't read the answers if I can't see the page.
I'm driving blind behind this bitter rage.

I spend days wishing I had cancer or lupus or polio or anything but this. Something visible, where people could see and understand that there is something wrong me. Instead, I look normal on the outside and people wonder why I'm so aloof, standoffish, or flakey. I tell people that I'm sick, but it's obvious that I'm perfectly healthy on the outside.

I want my diseased brain to go away. I want a normal life. I want a normal outlook on life.

I've been so lonely and ain't it sad
to be missing something that I never had?
And I've been so blind and now I'm paying the cost.
How can I find what was never lost?

And while I'm praying for things that will never happen, I would also like to have a normal child. This autistic stuff is total crap.

I got no direction, no change in lanes.
I'm driving blind and pushing through the pain.

God will never test you above what you are able to handle?

Bad news. That statement is a lie.

Lyrics taken from Driving Blind by Grace Potter, which you can view here.

Sparrow's Room - Updated!

31 August 2012
I just had to show you pictures of Sparrow's updated room. We didn't change anything except that we finally got the crown moulding up over his map, so it looks like it's in a picture frame!

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We measured the map, cut it at Home Depot, and brought it home. My mom had a miter saw which we used to make the corners angled like a real picture frame. Unfortunately, my dad and Hawk measured the wood or got the angle wrong or something. But luckily Sparrow's bed blocks off a corner of the map where there's a good 2 inch gap between wood pieces. None of the corners came together, but I folded pieces of paper into triangles and painted them the same color as the wood, and you can't even tell.

Right? Right??

We printed out two 11x14 pictures of Sparrow dressed as a missionary and put them up on the sides of the wall. I think it really brought the room together. I wish now that I had gotten brown frames, or painted the map frame black to match the rest of the room, but oh well. It matches the bed and I had a ton of Semi-Gloss Bittersweet Chocolate paint to use up!

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Now his room is finished! Hooray!

Now I should probably work on the rest of the house.