Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm Here...Sort Of

It's just me...Mrs. McSicky Sick Sick.
Ohhh...my body hates me right now.
The good news?
I saw my doctor this morning and he gave me the okay to take any medication I need to take.
"God doesn't make birth defects retroactively" he told me.
"If your baby is going to have a birth defect it's already there."
"Take what drugs you need."

The other good news?
Tomorrow at 1:30pm.
Oh...you want to know what's tomorrow at 1:30pm?
My mom will find out if she's having a grandson or a granddaughter.
She cried when I told her she could come with us.

I'll be back with stories...once my brain is convinced it's going to survive this illness.
Until then...
...proof...
That we spent the night in the LAX airport.
It was a LONG night indeed.



Friday, February 25, 2011

Moses had to stay on the other side of the Red Sea this time...

Do you miss me when I travel to foreign countries?
(I say that like it's a regular occurrence...)
We've spent the last four days in my favorite city...a place called Guanajuato.
And after a high-speed taxi ride this morning, we are now back at my friend's house.
Our flight leaves tonight.
We'll have a delightful 9 hour layover in LA and then catch a flight for home.

You're going to wish you could see us...
With our air mattresses, down blankets, and pillows - camped out for a good night's sleep in the LAX airport.
(It pays to marry a man who comes equipped with all the backpacking gear a girl could need - times 7.)

I'm sorry to disappoint, but we won't be bringing home the bassinet. Here in Mexico they simply call it a 'Moses'.
That Moses...it would cost me at least $100 to get it home.
And that's saying nothing of the hassle it would be to package it so that it wouldn't break.
I will send Fernando (the giver of the Moses) a ginormous thank you email and my friend Ana assures me she will find a good home for Moses.

I have so many stories I could tell...and so many pictures I could post...

I will tell you one story for now, and spare you the pictures. Believe me, you'll be grateful.

There is a thing in Guanajuato called the Mummy Museum.
If you talk to anyone who knows anything about Guanajuato, the first question they will is ask is, "Did you see the mummies?"
I have been to Guanajuato six or seven times.
I have never been to the museum.
A taxi driver told me this week, "You haven't really been to Guanajuato until you've been to see the mummies."

In the 1800s there was a cholera outbreak in Mexico and to keep it from spreading, authorities dug mass graves for all who had passed away as a result of the cholera. In fact, some of the people who were buried hadn't died yet.
Several years after the cholera breakout, the bodies were unearthed and it was discovered that there had been a natural mummification had taken place.
I just read on Google that the mummies in the museum are the bodies that went unclaimed.

So...imagine walking into a museum to see dead people...some with their clothing still intact.
And imagine seeing the expressions of horror on the faces of those who were buried alive.
It was awful.
Really awful.
And I cried.
Call me pathetic.

The worst?
They had the body of a pregnant woman...and her baby...that they had taken out of the womb.
I've had nightmares every single night.

This girl is NOT A FAN of the mummy museum.

I can not leave you with that image...so hold please...while I find you a pictures that is a happier image.

My friend Ana has been looking for a new toilet seat forever.
In fact, while we've been here we have accompanied her to three different stores looking for said toilet seat.
(It's a specific color.)
The other day, as Jason and I were strolling the crowded seats of Guanajuato, we found a bathroom store.
And inside we found a toilet seat the color Ana needs!
I bought it.
What it sight it was...this girl from North America...walking around town with a toilet seat tucked under her arm.
I just laugh.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everyone Welcome Emily

I found Emily at sweat tears or the sea through her sister's blog.
Emily is a beautiful writer...and after reading her posts I find myself thinking for days about what I have read.
Thank you Emily, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to blog for me!!

Last summer, I was talking to a guy about dating. I have no idea how we got on the subject -- but we started discussing our achilles' heels. You know, the one place you have absolutely no defense for when it comes to love. It would have been more interesting to discuss our shields probably (see Homer's attempt), but we couldn't resist -- the unshielded is so much more mysterious. (Actually...maybe I couldn't resist because I can't actually remember what he said.)

It doesn't matter because I never told him the whole story. I gave him the first that popped into my head at midnight sitting on a sidewalk in July -- which was only sort of true and mostly romantic.

My real life kryptonite is a guy who knows something I don't know. Especially if this includes words I've never heard before.

I'm not even that smart, so this is pretty easy to achieve. And, like I said, I have no defense for it. So, if you're a guy and you know how to cook, you'll have me swooning in five minutes if you use all the correct names for the processes involved in caramelizing onions or roasting peppers. Or if you like cars -- and I ask you to tell me the parts of an engine -- don't think I'll be bored (because I won't). Or if you can explain how lighting works in a theater, or name all the muscles in my arm, or if you could just show me how to start a lawn mower --. It's like a foreign language (another kind of kryptonite.)

It's not about being "taught" something. It's just about a guy exposing a part of his brain -- and I find it irresistible.

Last night, as I was discussing this little weird trait with my friend from Texas, she said, hold on! Listen this:
           "Despite popular theories, I believe people fall in love based not on good looks or fate but on knowledge. Either they are amazed by something a beloved knows that they themselves do not know; or they discover common rare knowledge; or they can supply knowledge to someone who's lacking. Hasn't anyone found a strange ignorance in someone beguiling. An earnest question: what day of the week does Thanksgiving fall on this year? Nowadays, trendy librarians, wanting to be important, say, Knowledge is power. I know better. Knowledge is love." --Elizabeth  McCracken, The Giant's House: A Romance

Maybe I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm going to need to buy another plane ticket just to get it home...

Once upon a time the girl lived in Mexico.
Wait, you knew that part of the story.
Once upon a time when the girl lived in Mexico, she met a guy.
A very romantic, passionate, cowboy kind of a guy.
In spite of all of his attractive qualities, the girl was not attracted to him.

The girl and the guy spent a lot of time together...as friends.
The guy took the girl to Mexico City to explore the great pyramids.
When the girl needed something to eat, the guy took her out.
(The girl always paid her own way.)
The guy accompanied the girl to movies...and to fiestas.
The guy really was a nice guy.

One day, just a few days before the girl was to leave Mexico, the guy took her out to dinner.
"Girl, I'm in love with you," the guy said.
And the girl sighed and cried a few tears.
"I know Guy, but I don't feel the same."
The guy persisted.
"We could have a good life together. We could be happy. I would treat you better than anyone else ever could."
"But Guy, I don't love you...not like that...and I don't want to move to Mexico."
"I will move to the United States," said the guy.
"Guy, it will never work. I can't marry you."

And with that, the girl left Mexico.
But the story didn't end there.
For the next four years the guy persisted...
He sent emails, and handwritten letters - he called and left messages on the girl's phone.
He wrote love songs and poems.
He declared his eternal love every chance he could.

The girl went to Mexico several times during those four years to do humanitarian work.
And with each trip, the girl would see the guy.
He would ask for the girl's hand in marriage, and the girl would say no.
On one occasion, the guy even got down on one knee and proposed yet again.
And the girl...
She said no over and over again.

Finally, out of desperation, the girl told the guy, "Guy, this has to stop. We are friends. Nothing more will ever come of this."
The guy cried...and then ceased all contact with the girl.
The girl heard nothing from the guy for several months.
And while she missed her friend, she was also relieved.

Eventually the girl heard from the guy again.
It was as if things had never changed.
The guy was still waiting for the girl to change her mind.
He was content with his memories...with the images of the girl he held in his mind.
He would wait until the girl was ready.

The girl stopped responding to the guy's emails.
The girl ignored the phone calls from Mexico.
The girl sighed and thought to herself, "This situation is kind of pathetic."
And it was.
The girl finally contacted the guy...to tell him that she was getting married.
She told the guy that she loved her future husband very much, and that she was happier than she had ever been.
She wished the guy happiness in his future, and bid him farewell.

The guy, who is good friends with the family the girl and her husband are staying with, knew of the girl's trip to Mexico.
And Sunday morning, just as the girl was getting ready for the day, there was a knock at the door.
It was the guy...and he had come to meet the girl's husband.
The guy asked the girl if she was happy, and she said "Yes, happier than I've ever been."
The guy sighed a long sigh and said "I guess things happen for a reason."
And then the guy said, "I brought you and your husband a gift."




















The girl took one look at the gift and said, "How do you suggest I get that home?"
The guy said, "That's your problem, not mine."

The girl and the guy talked for a few more minutes and then the guy left.
The girl gave her husband a long hug and said, "Husband, I'm so glad I am married to you."
Lucky for the girl, the husband is glad too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm turning into the beggar...

Did you know that traveling while you're pregnant comes with some interesting challenges?
If you didn't, let me be the first to tell you: traveling while you're pregnant comes with some interesting challenges.
Especially if you're traveling to a third world country.

If you'll remember, it was snowing when we left Utah a few days ago.
It's 85 degrees in Mexico.
I came prepared with two pairs of sandals to choose from.
What was I not prepared for?
The heat...and the resulting ankle swelling.
Walking around with ankles the size of Rhode Island in sandals?
Oh the blisters...and oh the pain.

Another thing?
When you travel make sure you are confident in your ability to find a bathroom.
The delightful wedding we went to, in the tiny rancho of Garbanzo?
You won't find a bathroom there for anything.
Perhaps an outhouse or two...
Several large cactus trees to choose from...
Wide open fields...
But no bathroom.
And with people from every village within 20 miles, there to celebrate the happy couple...
You're not likely to find any privacy.
And to add insult to injury...
I forgot my travel roll of toilet paper anyway.

And the biggest thing to think about?
Food.
The day before we left I filled a backpack with snacks:
Wheat Thins, Granola Bars, Fruit Roll Ups, and some nutrition bars.
It seemed sufficient to me.

Well...
Take a look inside this refrigerator:






























80% of what you see is cheese.
Goat cheese.
Jason likes it.
I most certainly do not.
I of course blame it on my pregnancy...but just between you and me? It's doubtful the pregnancy is to blame.
Somehow our beautiful hostess Ana can make a meal out of what you find in that refrigerator.
But when I open that door all I see is cheese.

Last night, after returning from the wedding (where we had eaten pork, rice, and tortillas), I  realized that amazingly I was hungry.
Ana and her husband had gone to dinner with friends, and Jason and I had declined the invitation to join them.
We were tired...and I smelled like dirt...that's a story for another time.
I said to my husband, who is my favorite person ever to travel with, "I will make us something to eat."
We walked into the kitchen and looked at our options.
Realizing that we did not recognize anything in the fridge but the cheese...
"How about I cook us some eggs?" I suggested.
Jason agreed that eggs and toast would be a good meal.
Except...
I couldn't figure out how to turn the stove top on.
Seriously.
And on top of that...
As far as I could see, there was no frying pan.
I took one last look in the fridge and found Ana's daughter.
"I'll buy you dinner if you take us somewhere to eat."
She thought it a brilliant plan.

Sunday is on the only day of the week Ana doesn't cook.
I don't blame her.
She deserves a rest.
By 4:00 Sunday afternoon my Wheat Thins were no longer cutting it.
I had eaten a bowl of cereal, but to a pregnant woman a bowl of cereal is akin to a teaspoon of rice.
I repeatedly asked Jason if he was hungry and his answer was always 'no.'
Ana had offered us some leftovers from the wedding but those leftovers consisted of pork skin.
We couldn't eat it.
Not even a little bit.
At 5:00 I sat next to Jason and he took one look at me and said, "What's wrong?"
"I might cry," I said.
"Why?"
"Because I need food. Real food. And I will not ask anyone to drive us anywhere to get food. And if I have to eat one more street taco...well, I think I'm going to cry."

But then...instead of tears I had an idea.
Ana was going to the church for a meeting and I knew of a place close to the church.
"Ana, can we go with you? We'll just go for a walk while you go to your meeting."
She happily agreed.
Our walk ended up at a table for two at a restaurant around the corner from the church.
You'll never guess what I ordered.
Tacos.
Because if there's on thing my mom taught me?
Beggars cannot be choosers.

I have so much more to talk about:

The wedding (that may have to wait until I'm home...seeing as how the story is turning into a novel) -
Jason meeting the one other man on the face of this planet who was desperate to marry me -
The gift we received -

And by the time this post is published we'll be in the most amazing little city...
Staying in a delightful hotel...
Eating ice cream cones in the plaza...
Enjoying our second honeymoon (our one year anniversary is only a few weeks away)

It's been a dream come true, this vacation...and being here with Jason makes it even more so.







p.s. this baby sister over here...her hands are tired now...my sister is a talker...hope you enjoy!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

We Have A Guest!

Once...and I don't remember when or how...I found a blog called The Lumberjacks Wife. Taylor, the author, is not really a lumberjacks wife. In fact she is an electricians wife, but her husband is probably a wanna be lumberjack. Taylor makes me laugh every time I read her blog, and I wanted to share that laughter with you.

The year was 2002.

The time was 7am.

I was about 7 weeks pregnant with my first child. I woke up sick, as usual.

I was young. I was new to this whole “pregnancy” thing. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I was already going against the advice I had gotten from others:

1) Don’t drink caffeine. (I had about a cup of coffee a day)

2) Don’t gain more than 3-5 pounds in the first trimester. (I had already gained 10 pounds. It was sad, really.)

3) Don’t stand by microwaves. (Seriously. Is that one for real?)

4) Don’t tell anyone you are pregnant until you are at least 12 weeks along. (I told everyone and their mothers within 15 seconds of taking the pregnancy test.)

The Lumberjack had already woken up and left for work.

I was all alone.

I went to the bathroom.

As I turned to flush, I noticed something foreign floating in the water.

As I stared at it, tears filled my eyes, and I knew instantly what it was: my baby.

I was devastated.

And mad.

Mad at myself for drinking caffeine. Mad at myself for eating too much. Mad at myself for microwaving popcorn. And mad at myself for telling people.

But mostly, I was truly devastated.

I stared and stared at it, horrified at how easy it was to just lose a baby.

I knew a girl who had a miscarriage a few months before that. The doctor had told her to bring the baby in so they could look at it. So, I figured my doctor would want to look at mine. I took a clear, plastic cup and fished it out of the toilet.

Then, I sat it on the counter.

And I stared at it.

I called my mom.

Mom: Hi!

Me: I lost the baby.

Mom: What? How?

Me: (crying) I don’t know. It just came out. In the toilet.

Mom: Are you sure it was the baby?

Me: Well, what else could come out of me? Something came out of me. Something was in the toilet.

Mom: Call the doctor.

Me: I did, but they aren’t open yet. I have to wait until 9am.

Mom: Ok. Call the doctor at 9am and then call me.

The time dragged on. I stared at the little object, trying to make out what I was seeing. At one angle, I was sure I saw a spinal cord.

Finally, the time came to call the doctor’s office.

The receptionist put me through to a nurse right away.

Me: I think I had a miscarriage.

Nurse: I’m sorry, hon. Tell me what happened.

Me: Well, I woke up this morning and I went to the bathroom. And after I went, I saw it floating in the toilet.

Nurse: Hmmm . . . ok. Is this your first pregnancy?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: Ok. Can you describe “it” to me?

Me: Sure. It is bluish-gray. And it is kind of fuzzy, almost like lint or something.

Nurse: Interesting. Sweetie, do you think what you saw in the toilet could actually be lint?

Me: Well, I don’t think so. Do people normally pee out lint?

Seriously. This nurse is insane.

Nurse: *sigh* No, hon. Sweetie, are you in any kind of pain?

Me: Nope. I just feel nauseous.

Nurse: Bleeding or cramping?

Me: No.

Nurse: Ok, hon. Why don’t you just call us back if any more comes out of you?

Ok, I am certain I hear a chuckle in her voice. She is making me very angry.

Me: You don’t need to check me out or anything?

Nurse: No, hon. I think you are fine. Just call us in a bit.

I stare at the object and cry and sob.

I am mad at that nurse for not believing me.

I am mad that she was laughing at me.

And now, I am quite perplexed because the object has slightly disintegrated in the yellowish water and become two objects.

I guess it does kind of look like lint.

But how could that be?

And then . . . it hit me.

The Lumberjack.

Everyday, when he wakes up, he has a huge wad of belly button lint.

Everyday.

Without fail.

Gross.

100 (meaningless) points to anyone who can tell me why.

I have never in my life had any bit of belly button lint.

I decide it is time to give my husband a call.

You might be wondering why I haven’t called him yet, seeing as how I fear I have just lost my baby.

My husband does NOT like phone calls and he does NOT like getting phone calls while he is crawling through tiny crawl spaces, hanging from ladders, and getting electrocuted.

Yes.

My husband gets electrocuted regularly.

I wonder if he is any good at this electrical business?

The Lumberjack: What’s up?

I can barely hear him over the hammers, drills, and blaring music.

Me: I have a very important question for you.

The Lumberjack: What?

Great. He is already annoyed.

Me: When you woke up this morning, what did you do with your belly button lint?

The Lumberjack: What?!

Me: Your belly button lint! What did you do with it?

The Lumberjack: I don’t know! I think I threw it in the toilet.

Oh, my.

Me: Can you please do me a favor and flush next time?

The Lumberjack: Sure. I really gotta go, Taylor.

*****

I am happy to report that

A) I did not have a miscarriage

B) I do not pee out lint

C) The Lumberjack still remained married to me after that ridiculous phone call

D) The Lumberjack still, to this day, has belly button lint.

E) I still don’t have belly button lint.

The End.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Greetings From Mexico

 














There was a time I wanted nothing more than to be a part of the Amazing Race.
Two days in Mexico has changed that for me.
Running through an airport to catch our flight was my first clue.
When we left our house the sun was shining.  By the time we arrived at the airport it was snowing.
Our plane was delayed 2 hours...leaving us just 15 minutes to catch our second flight.

This morning our lovely hostess Ana asked, "You want try a taco?"
I told her no thank you...because of the baby.
Jason had no excuse.
The poor man took one bite of a taco made of cow stomach and nearly lost it.
I nearly lost it just looking at him.
He informed me that we would not be running the Amazing Race.
Turns out I´m okay with that.
















I have tried downloading pictures.
I have failed.
Did you know computers in Mexico are different than computers in Utah?
It is true.
That Baby Sister of mine is going to have to help me out.
For now I will tell you that we spent the day shoe shopping.
Jason bought shoes. I did not.
Is that crazy?
I think yes.

















 And then tonight we spent time with one of my favorite grandmas.
She is 94.
And she cried as she told me she is forgetting her English.
She speaks better English than I do.













It is past midnight and tomorrow I will wake up early to attend a wedding.
Not just any wedding...
A wedding in a tiny little rancho called Garbanzo.
I will take pictures.
If I´m not dead from heartburn due to the street tacos I ate.




p.s. it's me, baby sister...I think I got all of the pictures she wanted...if not I'll come back and add the rest :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Because I Have Time To Bog

Guess who woke up dizzy this morning?
It wasn't Jason.
Seriously?  I'm getting on a plane in hours, and you choose now to get dizzy?
That's what I said to my head.

I stayed still, not moving my head, thinking of everything I was going to have to change.
Will the airline waive the fee for changing a ticket if you have a doctor's note?
Do I even have a phone number to call the person who is picking us up from the airport?
Will throwing up all day hurt my baby?
Staying still seemed to work though, and my dizziness didn't get any worse.
And after an hour of staying still I got up and didn't pass out.
And I made it all the way downstairs to get something to eat...thinking that might help.
And then, after another hour of staying still, the dizziness passed and I am upright and functional.
It's a miracle!

I had to run to work for a few minutes this morning and as I was drying my hair I heard this from Jason:
"I've got to make a few calls, make the bed, clean the house, and then pack."
"Why do you have to clean the house?" I asked.
"Because you go to work all day and I work from home.  I should clean the house."
Who am I to argue his logic?

Rats.
I just realized I probably left an envelope sitting at home on the couch.
It needs to be in the mail today.
Double rats.

I'll have internet access while I'm gone.
There is a lovely little internet cafe two cobblestoned streets over from where we will be staying.
I'll blog.
But maybe not every day.
There will be guest posts however...
Well, there will be at least one guest post.

Once, when we went on a family vacation we came home to a newly remodeled house.
New paint, new carpet, new furniture...the works.
It was beautiful and we all stood in our living room and cried.
I'm not asking to come back to a newly remodeled house...
but I am asking something.
Could you somehow get me past 281 followers?  Do you know how long I've been stuck on 281?

There.
I think I have said all I intended to say.
Be good while I'm gone and I'll bring you a treat.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things I Learned Over The Weekend

If you read a heartbreaking blog about a little 7-year-old girl who has terminal brain cancer...
DO NOT...and I repeat...DO NOT leave a comment suggesting that the parents have angered God by eating meat.  Do not imply that the cancer is God's punishment.  Do not suggest that if the parents apologize to God and refrain from eating meat in the future,God might have mercy on their little girl and heal her.
If you do write such an asinine thing, DO write it as an anonymous commenter.
It's the only way you'll keep millions of people from beating your blog door down.

* * *

If you're of the mind to do some match making please consider the following things:

-Make sure that the girl you want to set up knows that the guy you're setting her up with is 20 years older than she is.
-Make sure that once the girl knows the age difference, she is okay with going out with a man old enough to be her father.
-Make sure that the girl is okay with her date talking about his grandchildren all night long.
-Make sure that you tell the girl all of this BEFORE the date shows up at her door.
-If you're the girl's sister, make sure you emote the proper amounts of dismay and sympathy when the girl tells you of her horrible evening.

* * *

If you're in need of a quick power nap, I've heard a high chair is a great place to go:


* * *

Valentine's Day is a perfect day to do 15 loads of laundry.
There is nothing more romantic than folding socks.
And also...if you're pregnant, and you stand at an ironing board for a prolonged period of time...
your feet and ankles are going to hurt...a lot.
If your husband offers to rub them you should let him.
Don't tell him you'll be fine and that he can go to sleep.

* * *

If you're going to Sunday dinner, and you want to contribute to the meal, and you're 4...


...make a salad that consists of spinach, baby carrots, and lots of ranch dressing.
Put it on the table and make sure that ALL of your aunts and uncles know that you made a salad.
Tell your cousins that they can eat the salad you made.
Don't be offended when your 6-year-old cousin starts to cry because she wants to eat the grown-up salad.
Just let her...there will be peace that way.

* * *

And finally...

When your husband makes you dinner...
And tells you that you look hot in your maternity pants...
And leaves you cheesy love notes...
And tells you his favorite part of the day is when you come home from work...
And carries the laundry basket so that you don't have to...
And leaves you messages on your phone telling you not to come home yet because he hasn't done the dishes...

Say a quiet prayer and thank God that He sent you the man of your dreams.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Because It's Valentine's Day

My friend and I have been emailing back and forth, trying to confirm a day that would work for both of us to meet for lunch.
In one of her emails my friend said, "Let's go Monday!  Oh wait...that's stupid Valentine's Day.  Maybe things would be less busy on Tuesday."
I agreed that Tuesday would be better, and suggested we meet at the new Italian place.
"What new Italian place?" she asked.  And then she finished with, "Stupid, stupid Valentine's Day."
I laughed because for years I shared her sentiment.
Valentine's Day was just another day to remind me of the pathetic state that was my love life.
Something happened though, that made me realize that Valentine's Day didn't have to be about romance.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for over a year, you will have read this story.
I hope you won't mind that I share it again.
It is my favorite love story of all time...and it has absolutely nothing to do with romance.

One afternoon while I was at work my phone rang.
I answered to hear my grandpa on the other end.
"Noelle, can you come here after work?  I need you to take me somewhere."
I asked, "Where are we going Grandpa?"
"Just come as soon as you can," was all he offered by way of a reply.

My grandpa was 92 at the time, and mostly blind as a result of living for years with macular degeneration.
He lived alone and did well at taking care of himself.
I took him grocery shopping, paid his bills, read his mail, fixed the remote whenever he pushed a wrong button, and called him every single night at 10:00 to tell him it was time to get ready for bed.
In return, he gave me the greatest blessing of all - his love.

As I pulled into Grandpa's driveway that evening, I was sure he would tell me we were going to Arby's.
He craved roast beef sandwiches more than anything, and at least twice a month I found myself being treated to dinner.
I had no sooner turned the car off when Grandpa came out of his house.
He had a bottle cap opener on his key chain, and when he needed his house key he felt for that bottle cap opener and knew his key was next to it.  He was in the process of doing this when I got to the porch.
"Can I lock it for you?" I asked.
"No, I've got it," he said.  And then he shuffled his way down the stairs and around to his back patio.
I followed wondering what he was up to.

Grandpa bent over a table and stood up holding a jar of roses.
A jar of roses that had no water.
Roses that he had picked off of his own bushes.
"Do these look okay?" he asked.
"They're beautiful.  What are they for?"
"Let's just get in the car and I'll tell you where to go."

Grandpa directed me to a few streets over, and into the driveway of an old brick house.
"Wait here,"  he told me.
I watched as my white haired, 92 year old Grandpa shuffled his way up the stairs.
I watched as he felt around the door until he found the doorbell.
And I watched as a woman, many years his junior, opened the door.
He said something that I didn't hear, and then handed over the jar of roses.
Lisa, the woman he gave the roses to, burst into tears and gave my grandpa a long hug.
She said something to Grandpa and then he made his way back to the car.
I was wiping away my own tears as he opened the car door.

Grandpa was quite on the drive home, except for an occasional sniffle.
Finally, as we pulled into his driveway, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said,
"Noelle, I think God inspired me to give Lisa those roses today."
I told him I was sure that he was right.

That wasn't the end of the story with Lisa, a single mother trying her best to support her family.
Over the next few years Grandpa would often have me deliver things for him.
Sometimes it was an envelope with money.
Sometimes it was food.
At Christmas it was always an amaryllis.

Later, when Grandpa needed Lisa, she was there for him.
I think Lisa spent as much time with Grandpa as I did during his last few weeks.
She was there with me when Grandpa died, and she's been there for me many times since.
And I was at her wedding, the day she married the man of her dreams.  We both missed Grandpa that day.

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about romance.
As I learned from my grandpa, it's a perfect day to give love to someone in need.

I hope on this day that someone reaches out to you and loves you. Because you deserve that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Painting 101



Picture Overload

Something big happened at our house.
I hesitated to say anything until I knew for sure it would happen.
I had my doubts.
I was quite certain I was building my hopes up for nothing.
But it wasn't nothing.
It really happened.
And now I can finally share it with you!
I shaved my legs.

Yesterday Stephanie made this comment about a comment Jason made on my post:

Is that YOUR Jason up there? The not your wedding picture Jason? He's cute! Yes, keep him. :o)


Have I done a poor job of showing you pictures of my husband?
I shall remedy that right now.




My husband wants to go and climb Mt. Timpanogos...by himself.
It doesn't seem to bother him that Mt. Timpanogos is covered with at least 700 feet of snow.
"I've climbed worse mountains than Timp in the winter," is his argument.
And mine is "Not when you had a wife...a pregnant wife."
I'm losing the argument.
So I guess I just make sure he doubles his life insurance policy and then say, "have a good time honey" ?
Do you remember what Mt. Timpanogos looks like from the top?
Woe is me...

I'll share one little story and then it's off to paint for me.
Don't worry...no ladder climbing will be done.

My little niece Ruth has been sick.
(This is Ruth)


She's new to throwing up.
Last night after she threw up once all over her bed, her daddy handed her a bowl and said,
"Next time you need to throw up use this bowl."
Ruthie's daddy went back to bed and then a little while later heard Ruthie at it again.
He got up and walked into Ruthie's room.
What he found was Ruthie laying flat on her pillow, with the bowl covering her face, throwing up.
"Daddy, it not working," a sick little Ruthie moaned.
I'll bet he cracked up.

OH.. a big happy birthday to my brother and sister!
(They're twins.)
I highly doubt I have a picture of the two of them together, but I shall see.
Hold please.
It is as I thought.
But here they are...separately.



The top is Heather - on her way up that dreaded Mt. Timpanogos
and well...you've seen this picture of Ben.
I simply can't resist.
One day he will probably do physical harm to me.
It will have been well worth it.

Happy Thursday friends!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Brother Just Told Me He Doesn't Read My Blog Every Day...RUDE!

This morning as I was finishing up a delicious bowl of wheat chex with bananas (it wasn't that delicious) I said to Jason, "I have to go do something with my hair and then go to work before they fire me."
I ran upstairs and came back down a few minutes later.
"I love what you've done with your hair," Jason said with a smirk.
I had put a hat on. 

I've found yet another thing people forgot to mention about being pregnant.
It's the pain.
The pain in every joint and in every muscle.
I called my little sister and said, "When you're pregnant do your knees hurt?"
"A lot," she said.  "And they don't stop hurting until many months after I have the baby."
When I asked her why she never mentioned this part she said, "I just didn't think about it."

I have Jason though...who will massage my back, my feet, my knees...and all I have to do is ask.
I'm going to keep him around.
I was in bed last night by 10:30 which is early for me.  I think I was sleeping soundly by 11:00pm.
Jason wasn't tired at all but went to bed when I did.
(I think he misses me when he's all the way downstairs and I'm all the way upstairs.)
I woke up at 2:30 for the first of many trips to the bathroom and looked over at my husband.
He was playing Angry Birds on his phone.
At 2:30 in the morning.
He woke up at 5:30 to go and play basketball for two hours.
Am I the only one who thinks he's crazy?
Actually, he thinks he's crazy too...because now every muscle and joint in his body hurts.

Don't you love these posts where I have nothing worthwhile to say?

Here's something else incredibly worthwhile.
Remember back when I wrote that post with the questions?
You know the one...where I asked you to tell me what to write about.
One of you...and sadly at this exact moment I can't remember who...asked me what my hobbies are.
Here's a picture of one of my hobbies:





























I stitched this one winter when I was stuck in Oregon at my grandparent's house because of an ice storm.
I'm working on another one now...one that has so far taken me 7.2 years.
I'm a fourth of the way done.
You're amazed at my speed and skill aren't you?!

I'm going...I'm going...now that you've fallen asleep at your computer.

Oh...but wait...did you need to know that I'll be leaving on a jet plane in one week from today?
It's true.
If you plan on ransacking our place while we're gone...
Don't.
We've hired a big bull dog to house sit.
With BIG teeth.

And that's all I have to say.
(You're thanking the heavens above aren't you?)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Musings

If you were wondering if I was going to post today ...
So was I.
I'm finding it nearly impossible to express myself.
I was awake off and on all night thinking about this post.
Rewriting sentences in my mind...changing those words to these...deleting that paragraph, adding this one...
And now sitting in front of my computer, I find myself doing the same thing.

A few weeks ago my sister made a declaration - a declaration that changed my life.
Maybe it wasn't as dramatic as that...but it was enough to know that my sister really knows me.
We were walking around the track at the rec center and she asked me a question about something.
"I probably can't answer that question, " I told her.  "We can't talk about this...not without me saying something that will sound mean and spiteful."
She looked at me and said, "Consider this track Switzerland.  We're in neutral territory.  You can say whatever you need to say.  It will not leave here and it will not change my own opinion about anything."

There are so many things in this world I feel strongly about.
There are so many things I see in a day that I wish I could change somehow.
I read blogs and comments on blogs and get worked up.
I stew all day about things I read.
I hear political opinions and want to shout at the top of my lungs when I think something is wrong.
I hear friends talk about their disappointments and trials, and once in a while I think 'I have the answer that would help this person', and generally I say nothing.
Not because I don't believe in what I think, but because I know that my opinion will rarely make a difference in anything.

I save all of it for the track. 
I tell my sister about the conversations I have with people, and about the things I read.
And then I tell her what I would do to change things...or what I would say to someone if given the opportunity.
My sister...bless her heart...she just listens.
And I love her for that.

Last week however, I read something that I could not save for the track.
I read something that I knew I couldn't keep quiet about.
I thought long and hard about what I would say, and after going through all of the possible ramifications of speaking out, I sent an email.
It's wasn't wordy.  In fact, it was just a few short sentences.  But it expressed how I felt.
You would probably laugh if you knew how hard my heart was pounding as I pushed the 'send' button.
It wasn't very long before I got an email back.
That email could have said anything.  It could have been filled with anger and hate.
Instead, it was an apology.
An apology and a sentence that said, "I deleted that part of what I wrote."

Believe me, what that author wrote would have been humorous for most of her audience.
But for a much smaller audience, myself included, it would have been one more attack against something we hold most sacred.
I cried when I read the email. 
I cried when I told my mom about the email.
And to be honest, I cried when I re-read the email the next day.
Because in one small moment, my voice changed something.
Not something big...not something earth shattering...but something.
Something that mattered to me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Bit of Trouble

Sunday dinner was at Trouble's house.
(For those of you who are new to the scene, Trouble (Samantha) is my 3-year-old niece.)
As we were clearing the dishes from the table I noticed that Trouble was missing.
I walked down the hall to her bedroom to find the door closed...and locked.
I knocked.
"Who is it?" Trouble asked.
"It's Noelle."
Trouble opened the door, put her hand on my stomach, and asked her standard question.
"You still got the baby Well?"
"Yes Sami, the baby is still in my tummy."
When I asked what she was doing she got a sneaky grin on her face.
"I'm playing with Erika's Polly Pockets."
"Will Erika get mad?"
Trouble just smiled.
I'm guessing the locked door was an indication of how Erika would feel if she were to walk in.
Trouble and I talked for a bit and then I left her room.
A few minutes later I hear this:
"WELL!  Come here!"
I think she had yelled at me three or four times before it finally clicked that I was being summoned.
Trouble was peeking out the doorway and when she saw me she slammed her door.
As I walked in I could hear her giggling.
She was snuggled in her bed, snoring.
I sat down next to Trouble and asked, "Is it night time?"
I got a loud snore in response.
She scooted over on the bed and I knew to lay down next to her.
A minute later Trouble whispered, "use the blanket."
I pulled the blanket up over me and there we stayed, snoring and giggling.
"Well, go get Jason to take a picture."
Jason obliged, and after 4 or 5 different shots, Trouble was satisfied.
This is the picture she liked best:


Trouble invited Jason to join us but soon realized her bed just wasn't big enough.
When I told Trouble I had to go home she asked,
"With Jason?"
"Yes Sami, Jason has to go home too."
"With Jason's phone?"
"Yes Sami, Jason's phone has to go home too."
She got off the bed, pushed her stroller down the hall and said, "Okay, I play with Ruffie." 
(Ruffie is Sami's cousin Ruth)

The evening ended perfectly:
Jason watching his recording of the Super Bowl and Becca and I hanging out on our bed upstairs.
(Also...for those who are new...Becca is my twin sister...except really she's my triplet sister...)
We talked about everything there was to talk about and every few minutes we would hear Jason:
Yelling at the players, or the refs, or the ... whatever it is guys yell at during a football game.
Becca got a good chuckle out of Jason.
"Does he always talk to the TV?"
"Yes Becca, ALWAYS."

Just between you and me, that's one of the reasons I love him.

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whatever You Do This Weekend


I hope it's as relaxing as walking down the street barefoot on a sunny day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Have Questions

1. What should I blog about?

2. If one were to ship baked goodies to Wisconsin, what would one do to guarantee freshness?

3. Would you be embarrassed to hang out with me if I wore my hair in a ponytail every day for the next month?

4. What's your favorite blog to read?

5. Would any of you want to guest post for me while I'm away in the land of frijoles and tortillas?

6. Would you be offended if every time your friend talked to you she called you 'fatty'?

7. How can women walk in high heels?

8. What do you eat for lunch?

9. Is it warm where you live?

10. What should I blog about?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sad Stories

I got glasses in the 6th grade.
Glasses and braces.
Glasses and braces and puberty.
Gone was the cute girl every boy wanted to be friends, and in her place a mess of awkwardness.
Truthfully, my glasses defined my life.
Sports?  If there was a chance my glasses would break, no thank you.
Swimming?  My long-standing love affair with the swimming pool ended.
More than anything else, I hated not being able to see clearly.
Without my glasses, I was in a state of perpetual claustrophobia and panic.

Right before the start of my first year of junior high my family went on a vacation.
It was the first real vacation we had taken in years.
Our destination was a place called the Rockin' R Ranch.
Our week was going to be filled with kayaking, horse back riding, sleeping in a ginormous ranch house, songs around a camp fire, and lots of delicious food.
We got there in the evening and after a dinner served in the mess hall, we settled in for the night.
First up on our list of things to do the next morning was kayaking.

We arrived at the lake and my recently ended love affair with the swimming pool seemed pointless.
I wanted nothing more than to jump into that lake.
I took my glasses off and put them on the dock, at what I thought was a safe distance from the activity.
I had been swimming for no more than 5 minutes when I heard a cry from my sister.
I looked up and saw her struggling with a kayak.
It was harder to carry than she thought.
As the kayak fell out of her hands, it knocked my glasses into the lake.
My dad dove into that lake over and over again, searching the sandy floor for my glasses.
After a near half-hour of searching, he 'called it.'
Time of death: something o'clock in the morning.

The horse back ride I had been looking forward to for weeks passed by in a blur...literally.
Singing around the campfire lost some of it's appeal when I couldn't see the cute boys sitting across the fire.
My head ached from the constant squinting.
And to make matters so much worse...
My new glasses wouldn't be ready until the third day of the new school year.
The mess of awkwardness that I was had to start junior high school blind.
I can still remember walking down the hallway of that school...
...not seeing anything clearly.
For three days I hated junior high.

Isn't that a tragic story?

I have an even more tragic story for you.
If I eat anything with sugar: chocolate, ice cream, Skittles, sometimes even oranges...
My tongue swells up and acts all offended.
Grow up tongue.
That's what I want to say.

And finally...
When it's a total of 12 degrees outside it pays to have a husband who owns 50 something coats/jackets.
Look at me all snug as a bug in a rug on a six wheeler:




















Oh...and too?
Guess who cheated.
Me.
I bought a round brush/blow dryer combination.
Take that hair.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If You Happen To Be In New York City

You should really take the D line into Brooklyn and stop at Newkirk Avenue.


(Photoshop I have not...thus no arrow pointing to Newkirk Ave.)
If you hear the name Brooklyn and feel some apprehension about stopping there, never fear.
Newkirk Avenue is the dividing line between the Jewish section of town and the 'hood.'
It's a quaint little subway stop that is home to many a pigeon.
You'll get off the subway and climb some stairs and come almost face to face with the best bagel shop in all of NYC...perhaps the best bagel shop in the entire United States.
Oh bagel shop...how I miss you.
They'll warm your bagel, cover it with whatever spread you want, and hand it to you in a brown paper bag.
With that first bite you'll forget you're two blocks away from some of the roughest streets in Brooklyn.

If you're feeling adventurous, might I recommend another stop?
To make this next stop you'll have to feel like living on the edge a little bit.


Take the J train all the way to the last stop it makes in Queens.
You'll be in a place called Jamaica, Queens.
Coming up out of the subway, you will feel as if you're in a different country.
And if you're anything other than African American, you will be the minority.
You'll cross Jamaica Avenue, go down two streets and take a left.
Half way down the street, on your right, you'll see a large Baptist church, and next door to that, a Jamaican restaurant.
That Jamaican restaurant has something called cocoa bread and beef patties.
If you're hungry for lunch...or dinner...or just a snack...order both the cocoa bread and a beef patty.
You'll never regret it.

And finally, for desert...


Take the 2 or the 3 back into Brooklyn and stop at Fulton Street.
You'll be close to the Brooklyn Bridge, if you want to play tourist first.


Go to Flatbush Avenue and stop in at Junior's and order the cheesecake.
I'd recommend the strawberry variety...
But no matter what flavor you choose, it's all delicious.
DELICIOUS

I guess what I'm saying is this...
If you happen to be in New York City you won't starve to death.

* * * * *

This post was inspired by my craving for a NYC bagel...
...a craving I've had now for two weeks...
...a craving that cannot be eased...

We're going to Mexico in a few weeks.
Maybe I'll reroute our flight and have a 2 day layover in NYC.