Nephi's Courage is a popular song in LDS children's class (Primary.) Sparrow only started learning it last week and I am so proud of him! I love his sweet little voice and I love that he loves music so much. He picks up lyrics and tunes so quickly it's a little ridiculous. He has a great sense of pitch for a four year old and a really good sense of rhythm as well. He may drive me crazy every single day, but I do love my wonderful little boy.
28 June 2012
21 June 2012
But now it's done! Hooray!
Here is his new room:
His room is very long and skinny with tall, slanted ceilings. It was already painted this color when we moved in, and we were not allowed to repaint. The bed is an IKEA Kura bed, which originally looked like this:
I painted it Bittersweet Chocolate with a bristled brush, which makes it look like it's the actual color of the wood grain. I then used scrapbook paper cut down to fit on the blue panels, and Mod-Podged it on. I love how it turned out!
The map is HUGE. It's 6 feet wide! I got the vinyl lettering from a mall in the store and we placed it on there carefully last night. It was hard, but I think it turned out great. I am planning on getting some crown molding from Home Depot and cutting and placing it on the sides of the map so it looks like a frame. Eventually I might also put pictures of missionaries we have had in our family over different countries (Sparrow has two uncles in the field right now, one in Paraguay and one in Australia.)
The bookshelf is an IKEA Expedit. He has bins of pajamas, underpants, socks, and a toy bin. The shadowbox on the wall is the outfit he wore when he came home from the NICU, his baby bracelet, his name tag that was on his incubator, the two pictures I had of him till I got to meet him for the first time (he was 3 days old before we first met), and a Valentine the NICU nurses made for him.
Here is his south wall. It has two large windows, but luckily this map fit perfectly. It might be kind of weird having two maps on the wall. This is the one I found at Women's Conference this year; it has every temple in the world on it, including ones that are currently under construction. I bought it from the BYU bookstore for $6, but there is a website here where you can buy it or find out where it's sold near you. Sparrow loves to look at it and tell me he is going to Hong Kong, China on his mission. (I don't know where that came from.) The bookshelves are IKEA Bekvam spice racks, painted Bittersweet Chocolate to match the room.
Here's his closet. We hung the organizer up to give him an opportunity to help with laundry! He also has his growth chart, which I love because it moves with us wherever we go, and his picture of the temple and of Christ.
Edit August 31, 2012: I updated Sparrow's room just a little bit - we finally got the "picture frame" up over the map! Check it out here.
07 June 2012
Our sealing happened!
Pause for emphasis.
Is everyone else shocked? Because I am. It's been so long in coming I wasn't sure if it would actually happen or not. As Hawk and I sat in the temple waiting for our guests to arrive, the time seemed to stretch out before us. Would we be trapped in the temple forever? Would my stomach continue to growl and disturb the rest of the temple patrons? Would we ever see Sparrow again? Was my best friend ever going to arrive? Were there enough seats available for our guests?
Because, you see, my dear friends. I did a stupid thing. When we made the sealing appointment, I told the temple we would have 50 guests. I have a huge family and we also have bazillions of friends who we wanted to share the moment with. But when I addressed my 50 invitations, I addressed them all to "Family" or "Mr. and Mrs."
Pause for emphasis.
Meaning that we could have had over 100 people show up.
So if you didn't come yesterday, THANK YOU. YOU SAVED MY BUTT. Phew!
Everyone was so kind and wonderful. The temple workers were all so excited for us it was hard to be reverent and not dance around the altar. I had 9 ladies come up to me and say a variation of "oh, your son is so beautiful! When I heard there was a little boy in the nursery I just had to go see him and I can't believe how adorable he is!" To which my response was "yes, he's very cute or he wouldn't have survived this long." They thought I was joking. Ha, ha.
Everyone kept asking us if we were nervous. Nah, we've been at this marriage thing for a long time. Have we ever not been married? Those were dark days indeed. If by this point Hawk doesn't know how to handle me, we're in big trouble. But I think he's got the husband thing down. I'm glad I snatched him up when I did.
We had a good representation of our ward, our friends, and our families. How do I put this nicely? Thank you, families, for not feuding in the temple. I was very nervous that there would be blood or swear words, but you all behaved yourselves. I had been assured by both sides that "We Are Adults, We Know How To Behave," but after the debacle that was our wedding, I had doubts. Thank you for proving those doubts wrong. Also, I only cried once that my two missionary brothers could not be there. I miss them both and wish they could have attended but they both refused to swim/walk across continents to get here. Rude.
Our two witnesses were Bishop Smart from our old ward, who has helped us in our quest to get to the temple. He has been an amazing help and support and I am going to miss him terribly. Also, Bishop Smart, if you ever want another kid, you could adopt me. I promise to brush my teeth and put away my toys nicely.
Our other witness was a very special man who will always hold a place in my heart, Bishop Lunt. He is the bishop who was in charge of Hawk and my student ward, and he is the one who married us. I only got to say 3 sentences to him yesterday, but I was reminded of what an amazing person he is and how much I love him. It has always been my hope that he would be able to attend our sealing when the time came and I was so thrilled when he said he could make it. Hawk and I decided that it would be perfect if the two bishops that mean the very most to us could be involved in our sealing somehow, and that is why we asked these two wonderful men to witness for us. Thank you, gentlemen, from the bottom of my heart!
Sparrow behaved about as well as I expected. Our temple clothing threw him off, as did the 30 pairs of eyes staring at him as he walked into the room. And seeing his Nana and Papa and Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles and Primary teachers and not being able to go attack them with love. He survived but barely. At least there was no outright screaming. I did warn the temple workers that he is on the autism spectrum and needs a little extra help. (I hate telling people that because I still feel like it's the wrong diagnosis and so a lie, but it's the best thing we have at the moment to help people deal with him.)
The day itself was beautiful. It's like God special ordered the weather just for me. Everyone else was freezing (it was about 60 degrees) but I thought it was GLORIOUS. So much better than 95 degrees. We did not get very many good pictures (at least not on my camera). They all turned... blue. I'm not sure why they are blue, but they're blue. But I am going to play around with them, and possibly make us all go back with an Actual Photographer sometime in the next 2 weeks to get decent pictures of us at the temple because I want to. So there. I am a little bummed we didn't get any big-family-group-party shots, but again, family feuds. I'll just Photoshop you people in.
This morning I woke up confused. What was missing? We've moved, gone on vacation, packed, unpacked, packed, unpacked, repaired toilets and sinks and flooding basements, decorated houses, built furniture, taken family portraits, sent out invitations, gone to the temple for my first time, been sealed together as a family forever... now what? What am I going to do with my life now? Where is the stress? Where's the motivation to do stuff, to get it DONE?
And then my washer broke. So it feels a little more normal around here now. Off to go wash my pants by hand.
01 June 2012
I have an announcement to make. After 5.5 years of marriage, Hawk and I are finally ready to go to the temple to be sealed together as husband and wife for eternity. Shortly afterward, we will be sealed to Sparrow, and we will finally be a Forever Family.
We were married on 12-6-06 and we will be sealed 6-6-12. It took some convincing (of family members) to get this date to pass the gauntlet, but we kind of put our feet down, because it just seems perfect. We chose to be sealed in the Draper, Utah temple as we have lived in Draper for 3 years and this place is very special to us. Sparrow has always been interested in temples, and by interested I mean obsessed, so when he learns we get to go inside one he is going to die of happiness. He has actually been inside the Draper temple before. We visited it before it was dedicated as a temple, back when it was open to the public in 2009. I believe he left some Cheerios behind as a token of his appreciation.
It doesn't seem quite real yet to me. This is something we have worked for for a long time, and I not necessarily gave up, but just kind of quit hoping for it to happen, since it was taking so long. We realized at the beginning of May that our sealing in June was a possibility, and then we started pushing for it to happen.
And as we pushed toward our goal, Satan pushed right back.
I want to testify that Satan is real. He is real, and he is evil. He wants nothing more than for each and every person to be miserable. He has declared war on the institution of family, and he is succeeding.
He nearly succeeded in the war against us. Two weeks ago, I was so angry and frustrated. Sparrow is a hard child and that day had been super hard with him arguing and whining and fighting me constantly. I was trying to get our moving orchestrated, trying to deal with my own tiny little stresses and insecurities as well as my very real grief and pain at losing our home and the area that I grew to love with all my heart. Sparrow was being extra bad. And I finally snapped. I spanked him and I yelled hurtful things at him and he cried even harder.
I went into the bathroom and I cried, too. I cried as I screamed angry prayers. Why, God? You told me you wouldn't give me more than I could handle. Lord, I have passed 'able to handle' months ago. I don't know what I am doing with this kid. I don't know what I am doing as a parent. Please, please take him away from me. Let him go to a mommy who knows what she is doing. Or take me away. Hawk and Sparrow would be fine on their own. I just need help, Lord. I cannot do this. I just can't. I am giving you one month, God, and if in one month things aren't better, I am leaving. I quit my family, I quit the church, I quit life. Fix me. Fix me so I can handle this stuff, or else let me die.
I went back into the house, feeling a little better. And Sparrow was worse. I screamed more angry words and sent him to his room.
And I went downstairs and out to the car to get a pocketknife.
Most of my readers know that I used to engage in self-harm. As a teenager and young adult, I would cut myself to relieve pressure and hurt that I was feeling in my life. I quit cutting in 2006, but I still struggle with those feelings sometimes, and that day I was ready to cut again and feel that relief.
As I opened the car door, a letter fell out. I picked it up. It was the letter from the temple, confirming our sealing date.
And in that moment, I had this thought come to me: Satan is doing his very hardest to keep you from being sealed. It has always been that way. He succeeded in keeping us out of the temple in 2006, and he is frustrated that we continue to go against what he wants. He doesn't want us to be an eternal family. He doesn't want us to go to the temple and do the holy work that we do there.
And I will tell you, today was once again, very hard. But the rest of this month have been surprisingly low key, with Sparrow at least. I have felt relief, felt myself given an extra measure of love and patience at times. I still know the Lord won't push me to take on more than I can handle, but I also think he overestimates me a LOT!
But you know who underestatimes me? Satan. Satan, you can SUCK IT. I am going to the temple and I am taking my family there. And there is nothing you can do that will stop us. We are tired of listening to you, of following your ways of lies and disobedience and darkness. We choose the light. We will become a temple worthy family and we will be sealed with the Priesthood power, and there is nothing you can do about.
Honestly, I felt for a long time that Satan was a mob boss who'd ordered a hit on me.
But tomorrow morning, he will have lost the battle to keep me out of the temple. Because tomorrow I am going to the Bountiful temple to receive my endowment and make holy covenants with my Lord and God. I am so excited go to through and to take on this next level of responsibility and service in the gospel. I'm a little nervous, too, but Hawk says I will be okay. Hawk went through the temple for the first time back in 2002 in preparation for his mission, so he knows what he's doing. I guess.
I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm very relieved. I can't wait for tomorrow, and I can't wait for Wednesday. Forever Family! That will be us!
And nothing Satan can do will hold me back now.