Thursday, January 29, 2009

30 means something

I was all alone when I turned 30 at midnight last night. Micah was at work, and the kids were asleep. So I sat there and made seashell angels, and listened to reggae.
Then I read poetry by Richard Brautigan, an eccentric beat poet of his time. And I laughed at his ingenuity.
Thirty means I can stay up late and enjoy myself.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Overwhelmed

This week I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
This week I am making choices.

This week I can use disposable diapers instead of cloth.
This week I can buy bread at the store instead of bake.
This week I don't have to read....anything
This week I don't even have to check email, read facebook, or 8 forums.
This week I don't have to exercize.
This week I don't have to plan any outings.
This week I don't have to do my visiting teaching.
This week I don't have to drive anywhere.
This week I don't have to be sad that I'm not a part of her birth.
This week I don't have to buy those shoes I really need.
This week I don't have to sew or do any creative projects.
This week I don't have to answer BFing help calls.
This week I don't have to recycle.
This week I don't have to give my upstairs neighbor a fake hello.
This week I don't have to think about my to-do list.
This week I don't even have to write on my blog (even though I will anyways).

This week I can just be.
This week I can just be me.
This week I can just be me and love my kids.
This week I can just be me and love my kids and do nothing.

Next week I'll be allright.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday. Today I am not in Hawaii right now having dinner at some exotic ethnic restaurant, followed by a movie, followed by a delicious helping of Ghiradelli ice-cream. And I wish I was! I truly miss my outings with Dad!

Some of my most favorite memories are driving out to Honolulu for a date with my Dad! I would get in my car about 4pm and gas up for the long drive thru the pineapple fields, past dirty Wahiawa, past Aiea stadium, and along the H-1. I would always hit traffic once I got closer to Honolulu, but I didn't care because I was excited to see Dad. I would get off at my exit, and go past all the government buildings, the Queen Liliokalani Palace, and the Kamehameha Statue. Finally, my Dad's office. The P.U.C.
The building doors were always locked so I'd throw rocks at his office window to let him know I was there.
Then out would come my Dad, ready for a night out on the town with me. We would get in my bomber car and off we'd go!

He always had a list of restaurants to choose from. "What do you feel like this week?" he would ask. "There's a new Korean restaurant downtown, or we could try that Thai food one in Waikiki. Or how about Indian food, or Greek food, or Filipino food, or Balinese food?"
He always kept up on the latest restaurant openings, so we'd never feel dull on our culinary adventures. I don't think we ever ate at the same place twice, unless it had something really amazing to offer. (Like Evil Prince Panang Curry).
Each week was always a tasty adventure.

After stuffing ourselves with yummy food, we'd always head to a movie. We'd usually see thelatest box office hits, however, we went through a short phase of watching foreign films at the Independent theater near Manoa University. One of my favorites was this German film (with English sub-titles) where this couple who couldn't conceive a baby, adopted a tree root. Then the tree got really big and started eating everybody. I forget what it was called, but I remember us laughing hysterically at the craziness of it all.

I have to admit that my food adventures have derailed over the past couple years. Idaho and Utah aren't exactly the places to find exotic cuisine.
But, thanks to all these wonderful memories with my Dad, I can never say I haven't tried some of the most delicious foods on Earth.

(And yes, I tried the chocolate-covered squid you sent me. It was.....interesting)
HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY to the Dad who is dependable and in control, but is never a bore!


My last outing with Dad before I moved to the mainland. Leilani, Genevieve, and Taylor, too!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 30 countdown

It's official. I turn 30 years old in exactly one week!
I'm not really nervous about it, but for some reason I can't stop thinking about it. If I live to be 90, this is 1/3 of my life that I have experienced thus far. 1/3 of my life spent, to become the woman I am today.

I've been reading my old journals lately. I think waiting 10 years before reading your journal is a good idea because you get to really tell yourself, "Now that was dumb! Good thing it was 10 years ago!"
I feel like I have grown into the person I want to be now. I know myself now better than I ever have and it's a very secure feeling.

When I was 17 I had so many hopes and dreams and I would write them all down. To me, life was such an adventure and I wanted to have it all!Oct 16, 1997: "If I could choose, I would just surf the rest of my life and be happy. Being in the ocean heals me and makes me whole. My one dream in life is to live on the beach, marry a surfer, and teach my children to love the sea."



Looking back on that statement makes me sad. A part of me feels like I have robbed a 17 year old of her dreams.
But, the 30 year old in me knows better.
If someone came up to me that day, back in 1997, and told me that someday I would find true happiness in 1.marrying the most intelligent and thoughtful man 2.in bearing children and finding joy in raising them 3.in being a strong and consciously aware Mother 4.in being involved in community service organizations 5.in being a disciple of Jesus Christ 6. In buying land, building a home, and settling down on my own property and 7. In experiencing new adventures with my little family,
I think I would have said, "Thank you! Thank you for saving me the hassle of trying to figure out how to be happy for so many years!!!"
However much I love the beautiful, tranquil, healing ocean, miss the invigorating, soul-soothing days of surfing, my heart truly belongs to the woman I've become. (The almost-30 year old one.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Exercise Solution

Remember how I go crazy when I don't get exercise in the Winter time? Oh ya didn't know?
Well, let me explain....
If I feel too cooped up in the house, or if the temperature outside is too cold even for a brisk walk, I start to go nuts. (not silly-nuts, but crying-throwing things-tantrum-nuts) In fact I told Zadok one day that I turn into "Psycho Mommy" if I can't get outside, immediately! That's my way of getting him into the jogging stroller if he's refusing.
"You don't want me to turn into "psycho mommy" do you? Do you? huh?huh?"
He usually complies. Even though he doesn't know what psycho means, the tone of it can't fool anybody. It means I need to get out and do something fast---get some ENDORPHINS!
So, instead of complaining about hating gyms, or having to leave my precious kids, I found a great solution!
I simply asked the Bishop of my ward to grant me a key to the church building. Then I started an exercise group. We meet twice a week and do workout videos. It's just enough to feel like I'm staying fit, and just enough to feel justified for not going nuts on those cold days. The best part is that my kids get to be a part of it. Zadok refers to it as "our" exercise group. He can't wait to go and run laps with mom around the gym. Him and Odin play with the nursery toys and with the other kids, while we moms do Tae-Bo with Billy Blanks.
(You can keep your gym money you all you gym-membership-scamming-business sales-man-suckas!!) Oh yah-and if anyone one reading this is interested and wants to come-call me!

Billy Blanks giving me the thumbs up for being a genius!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My First (and last) Blind Date

In case you were wondering, I met Micah 5 years ago this month. He called me and asked me out on a blind date. It was my first and last blind date ever. I was at my apartment in Provo, Utah when the phone rang. It was my friend Karly giggling like a little schoolgirl on the other end. She said that this boy wanted to talk to me and his name was Micah, then handed the phone over to him.
They had been browsing through an astrology book when Micah discovered that the perfect match for a Sagittarius (his sign) was an Aquarius (my sign). And naturally, he wanted to ask an Aquarian out on a blind date to see if it would work out. Karly thought of me.

Our phone conversation went something like this:
"Hi my name is Micah. I am a Sagittarian, and you are an Aquarian. According to this book, you are the perfect love match for me, will you go on a blind date with me?"

And me: "Um who? What? Who is this again? Are you serious? Well, I guess so....."

 I agreed, and hung up the phone laughing and thinking, "Who is this guy?"
The only information I had gathered was: His name was Micah. He worked at a Wilderness Therapy program in Southern Utah. He was visiting my friend Karly on his week off, whom they were old friends. He is a Sagittarius. I am his perfect love-match-Aquarius.

A whole month later we finally went on our date, mostly because Micah had left town and he didn't know when he'd be back to Provo again. When he finally called me I definitely remembered him and got nervous that this date was really happening.
The night came when we made arrangements to meet. I was trying not to be nervous, especially because when you think about it, the whole thing was a joke. I mean, he didn't really think I was his perfect love match, did he? He just wanted a blind date for the awkward experience of having a blind date. (That is so Micah, I find out later!)

I drove over to the house he was staying at. I remember everything I was wearing: Gray slacks, black blouse, blue down coat, rainbow beanie. Really besides the point, but It was a memorable night, after all, and I remember trying to pick something out that was neutral and blind-date esque.
I knocked on the door, and waited. I had no idea what to expect. Three things crossed my mind.
1. This doesn't matter. It's all a funny joke anyways.
2. If he's way unattractive and creepy, at least I might get a free meal out of this.
3. I can always fake menstrual cramps and leave early.

The door opened and there was Micah. Tall, handsome, smiling Micah. He was wearing a woven Mexican sweater, ragged trousers, a colorful beanie like mine, and long, wavy, curly hair. His whole persona was screaming hippie-homeless-mountain-man. I absolutely loved it!
Oh and the biggest beard I've ever seen.
He got out his disposable camera and took a quick snapshot of me. I'm still not sure why and I've still never seen that picture to this day. Then he told me right away that he is NOT a rock-climber, so that we could get any over-idealistic expectations out of the way, in case I had a thing for rock-climbers..

We enjoyed some not-so-awkward-small talk in the living room until he asked me what I wanted to do on our date. Naturally, I wanted to climb up to the highest rooftop in town and shoot water out of my rubber chicken.
So we did.
We climbed onto the roof of the Provo bell tower and that's where we spent most of the evening. The sky was clear, the air was crisp, and there wasn't anywhere I'd rather be  than laughing, talking, telling stories, and shooting water out of my rubber chicken off the roof and onto the ground below, with this Micah Jackson character.

Then we got hungry and went and ate Mexican bean burritos at 2 in the morning at some hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
Finally, I dropped him off at his place and said goodbye. No kisses: just a big, happy, hippy hug goodbye.
We both had a fun time together, but didn't make any future plans to go on another date.
The next day I asked my roommate, "So how long do I have to wait to call him for another date? Because I don't think I can wait any longer!"
She replied,"Do it now!"
So I did. I called and we set up another date for the next time he would be in Provo.
The rest is pretty much history...
That first date was by far, the first, last, and best blind date I've ever been on! And for those of you that don't fully believe in astrology, I agree. But that doesn't mean the Heavens didn't have something to do with this.

I love you my Micah, my Sagittarius!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Breastfeeding culture


A single, male friend recently asked me (quite nervously), if women "give up" their sexuality while breastfeeding. He seemed to be concerned that we mothers hand over the breasts to the children, and henceforth glory in their true function from then onward! I replied that breastfeeding is an amazing and glorious function of the breast, but to forget that it is also a sexual organ is quite foolish. And vice versa; breasts are sexy and attractive, but they were also specifically designed to nourish our babies.

It's unfortunate we live in such a culture that can't seem to distinguish between the two. My male friend who feared his future wife would leave him hanging after the kids arrived, clearly didn't realize that women do not have to choose between the two functions when they become mothers. More likely, each function can be used at different times, for different purposes. Yes, you can still be a powerful, attractive, and sexy, breastfeeding mother.

In an American culture that only sees breasts as the sexual icon of women, it's no wonder mothers struggle with feeling comfortable and normal in using their breasts to feed their babies.
We live in a society that tells us to go hide in the bathroom, or cover up while we're breastfeeding. Fear is instilled in women that our sexuality will be exposed, that we'll be immodest, that we'll be flaunting our goods inappropriately, (while simply trying to feed a baby!!) It's, to say the least, ridiculous.
When using our breasts as a function to nourish our babies, there is no reason why we can't do it openly, and uninhibited. There is nothing sexual or embarrassing about feeding a baby.

I only wish we lived in a culture that could make this distinction; that breastfeeding mothers everywhere could stand tall, and breastfeed when, where, and how they need. I feel so frustrated and sometimes angered when I see a mother cautiously, and nervously get out the giant blanket. It's especially insane when mother and baby engage in a sort of crying, screaming tug-o-war, to keep the blanket in place. It isn't anger for the mother, but angry for a culture that doesn't support mothers the way we need. Our society forces women into stinky bathrooms, hot cars, closed offices, and sometimes behind bushes, all because we might be seen exposing some breast. (Breast that has kept the human population alive.) I also add that there is more breast exposed on the cover of Cosmo, and no one is complaining about that.

As a breastfeeding mother I urge people to embrace the function of breastfeeding as a non-sexual act, to provide health and nourishment for our babies. I urge breastfeeding mothers to breastfeed freely and openly. I urge everyone to see breastfeeding as normal part of our culture. I urge myself to never let anyone decide when or how I feed my babies.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sit on the floor

Each night as I lie in bed I've been trying to repeat in my head what my children need and how I can meet those needs the following day. I think some days can get really busy in my head, and I want to make sure I am always in the present with my kids.
Although I am a full time stay-at-home mom, and each day is spent on adventures, playing, eating, napping, and growing together, some days I do try to buy groceries, clean my house, pay bills, work on personal hobbies, exercise, keep up with friends, plan primary activities, fill my spiritual cup, etc...
So I've found that if I think each night what they presently need, I am able to meet those needs amidst our busy lives, and everyone is fulfilled.

Tomorrow Zadok needs more alone time with mom while Odin is sleeping. Alone time can be spent playing a board or card game, reading books,playing Star Wars role play, or wrestling on the big bed. Zadok likes to help around the house so I need to provide more opportunities for him to do so.
Tomorrow Odin needs more games involving body movement(like Patty-cake), more eye contact, more dancing in mom's arms, leg massages, and more mom helping him walk across the room.


What I like to do, whenever life gets too busy, the house is a huge mess, or we're tired, or bored, or just don't have anything else to do, I just sit on the floor. The moment I sit on the floor the boys are crawling all over me, we are laughing, and nothing else matters. I sit on the floor a lot.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

13 is soooooooooo fun


A very 13 year old Sally Stokes.

Last night I read my entire journal from the year 1992. I was 13 years old. I was laughing my head off. My journal entries went mostly something like this,

"Today I woke up and ate my favorite cereal with the fruity shapes.
Then I went to school and saw Waiole, that boy who I think is sooooooooo cute.
Then I came home and played hiding-go-seek with Pog the Dog.
Then Jenna came over and we went snorkeling at Shark's Cove.
Then we came home and watched Baywatch and Melrose place.
Then we went to Foodland to check out all the cute surfers buying dinner.
Then I went to bed. Today was soooooooo fun. Well, except for I saw Crystal at the store and she didn't even say hi to me."

Next day: "Crystal is so rad. She is my best friend. Today we went boogie boarding."

So anyways. Being 13 is such a funny, funny age.

Then I read my journal from when I was 19. And this is a public apology because I was pretty sure my crap DID NOT stink when I was 19, according to my journal. Reading back on that age I was in a very selfish, self-absorbed world. Glad that's over.

I am still an avid journal writer. I can open my journal from one year ago today and know exactly where I was and what I was doing. In fact, one year ago today Micah caught a squirrel in the backyard, killed it, and ate it. And I cried about it, even though I gratefully realize that he could feed us in a disaster situation. Blaaagh!
Hopefully in another 10 years I will read back and have a lot to learn from and laugh about, too.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Converted

Struggle
Eight years ago today I was in a struggle, and I had to make a decision. You see, God had answered a very pleading prayer from a very confused girl, and I couldn't turn my back on Him now. Knowing so deep in my heart that He had answered my prayer, and that it was so direct and so specific to what I needed, there was no way I could deny Him again.
Doubts
With so many questions, so many doubts, so many things to believe, all I wanted was some rest for my soul, and some direction for my life's path.
In this great struggle, angels came my way, in the form of loving friends. On this particular day (January 1, 2002) my friend Dave says to me," Why don't you just make a commitment? Do what you think God wants you to do, obey Him, then come to church every week, and see what happens."
Hope
So I did. I promised myself I would try it. Then maybe I could sleep at night, or stop struggling with it in my head, or stop fighting against whatever was tugging at me in all these confusing directions.
Right way
It didn't happen all at once, this conversion. But each week as I did what I had committed to do, my whole life headed into a new direction. Suddenly I was finding peace, rest, answers, fullfillment, and a driven feeling so profound that I could've burst with happiness each day. I had found the right way.
Rest
I get down on my knees each day and thank God for helping me find my path. I am amazed at the path I have taken. I am amazed that all it took was one pleading prayer to change everything.
Converted
My Faith.