Friday, January 31, 2014

Flashback Friday--Concerts in Hawaii

The first concert I ever attended was Pearl Jam in 1992. They were playing at the University of Hawaii amphitheater out in Makiki on the other side of the island. I was 13 years old. I wore a white bodysuit that snapped at the crotch, cut off jean shorts, and knee high, white nylon socks. My sun-streaked-beach-hair was long and unkempt as usual.  Us Hawaii kids didn't exactly fit the Seattle grunge scene stereotype, but we could appreciate good music when it came to town. I had been listening to Pearl Jam for months on my cassette headphones, and couldn't believe I would actually get to see them in person!

My mom drove 4 of my friends and I out there in our big Dodge van, dropping us off in the parking lot,  and promising to pick us up after it was over. The butterflies in my stomach were intense in the days leading up to  the show. I remember feeling so exhilarated yet so anxious about getting to see one of my favorite bands ever, live! When the night finally came to see the show, they didn't disappoint, either. 
The music was loud, filling every crevice of my body with adrenaline and excitement. I remember staring in awe as Eddie Vedder climbed to the top of the concert scaffolding, screaming passionately into the microphone, the words to "Jeremy", one of the hit songs from the 1991 album TEN. 
My friends and I tried to get as close to the front as possible, pushing through the crowds of dancing, moshing teenage boys. It was hard to push through, and we never made it to the front of the stage. However, several times we'd tap some big, strong G.I. Joe on the back and ask for a lift on their shoulders. I remember rocking to the beat of the music, screaming my lungs out while sitting on the shoulders of some huge, sweaty, army guy.

This first concert was life-changing for so many reasons. It not only opened my heart to the joy and thrill of seeing live music, but It opened up a world of new possibilities for living on a small island with limited resources. What I soon found out, as I was entering the age of teenage autonomy, was that Honolulu was the favorite touring stop for all my favorite bands, and therefore I could save up my babysitting money, buy tickets, and attend all the concerts I wanted! It was a miraculous breakthrough for my young, tweenage self. 
My friends and I became quite obsessed after that with keeping up on all the latest show announcements. When Bad Religion came to town, we crammed into the car with my big brother and his friends. When Dance Hall Crashers hit the scene, we took THE BUS, later hitching a ride home with my friends auntie and uncle. I remember the uncle driving us home late that night while we were curled up in the back of his pickup truck. The bright Hawaii stars shone down on us 3 adrenaline-psyched girls, while ska music still danced magically in our heads. 

From 1992 to 2000 I attended more concerts than I can count. I was trying to remember all of them the other day when I stumbled upon a stack of old tickets. I can't believe I kept all these! This is probably only about half of them, as I can remember far more, but here's a few stubs I am happy that I held onto:
One of my favorite things about these shows is that most of them were at very small venues. Living on an isolated island most concerts just weren't going to attract a big enough crowd for a large, concert hall. So, most bands played in small nightclubs or empty warehouses. I saw Bad Religion every year they came to town. I must've seen them at least 5 times, each time a small and intimate venue in some downtown nightclub. 
Other shows were even free or they ended up playing at a friends house for fun. Ben Harper played for free for a small audience in 1995 at the After Dark Club. I saw Sublime play at a house party on the North Shore for my cousins birthday. This was just shortly before the lead singer died in 1996.
Every year starting in 1993 a big, outdoor music festival would come to town, called The Big Mele. Five or six bands would play on several large stages:  Bands like Violent Femmes, Tool, Fishbone, Primus,Porno for Pyros, Blind Melon, Down by Law, Face to Face, No Doubt, Cypress Hill, The Mighty Bosstones, Blink 182, NOFX, Vandals,  Big Fish, Guttermouth, Pennywise, Rancid, and 311, to name a few.
My friend Sanoe and I, post Big Mele madness.
 One year my friend Jenna and I suddenly and magically got VIP passes backstage right before Rancid started playing. I remember getting to meet the lead singer, Tim Armstrong, and immediately noticing that he had a big, white pimple on his face. I was really excited to meet him, plus hear his music, but all I can remember is wishing he would pop his zit before he went on stage.

Of course Hawaii brought countless reggae shows, as well. I've seen Ziggy and everyone else in the Marley Family a few times over (except for Bob, of course). My favorite reggae shows were always in the middle of the day, outside in the beautiful sunshine.  I grew up with a Mom who loved dancing and singing to UB40 and Bob Marley, so attending reggae shows always felt the most natural to me. I still love reggae music more than anything else. It's my go-to relaxation and happy music.

 When I was seventeen I branched out a bit with my bestie friend Crystal and saw some of the bigger names like Michael Jackson and Prince (the artist formerly known as). They played crowded, sold-out shows at Aloha Stadium. In 1998 my mom and I attended a Sheryl Crow concert at the UH ampitheatre, which was also one of my first big-name, sit-down and-watch-concerts. Later in 1999 I saw the Rolling Stones. These concerts were super fun, but mostly because I knew all their songs from all the hours of watching MTV music videos. (Do they still have those??) 
On our way to Sheryl Crow
To this day, however, my most favorite and memorable concerts were the small punk, ska, and reggae shows we saw at downtown nightclubs. I have irreplaceable, happy memories of dancing my heart out to the grooves of Dance Hall Crashers, Skankin Pickle, and Deee- Lite, in the intimate settings of downtown Waikiki and Honolulu clubs. 
Even many of the local bands were really fun to watch, like Go Jimmy Go, Natural Vibrations, and Upstanding Youth. 
I believe Hawaii has a special knack for creating talented people. Many successful musicians were born and raised on those soils. Jack Johnson appeared on the music scene in 2001 with his first album, Brushfire Fairytales. Before that I knew him as the cute, soft-spoken surfer boy who lived down then street at Pipeline. Him and his band played a free show at Haleiwa Joe's restaurant in 2002 for local residents of the North Shore, but that was the end of that. Now he plays for crowded, sold out audiences around the world.

JACK JOHNSON  at Haleiwa Joe's. North Shore, Hawaii.
The exposure I had to a variety of music no doubt shaped my appreciation and love for music as well as provided an outlet for growing and learning about life. I can't imagine my life growing up on Oahu without the positive influence and energy of live bands, and the powerful influence they had in shaping my happiness. 
 I am also extremely proud of my friends who went on to form their own bands, or have become adept at musical instruments. (Crystal rocks on the guitar and vocals, and The Psychotic Perverts can play to impress-- Jenna, Mia, Nano, you guys rock.)
Jenna, Mia, and Nano, of The Psychotic Perverts.
Here's a few life lessons I learned from attending concerts in Hawaii:
*Dancing at concerts is a must. Sitting down is regrettable.
*That Tim Armstrong sounds just as good with a freaky zit on his face.
*That sneaking into shows is heart-pumping-fun, but not fair to the musicians who've worked so hard to produce the music. (Only did that twice when I was out of mula)
*That you should not wear a spaghetti-strap-tank-top to a Social Distortion concert. The strings will get ripped right off while you are getting beach-balled through the air by crowds of men.
*Farting is not acceptable in a small, hot, venue, while your surrounded by sweaty people.
*That you don't need the influence of drugs and alcohol to feel the adrenaline rush of good music. It fills your soul with goodness immeasurable.
*If you get backstage passes, it's actually not that cool. Watching the back of people's heads sing is not as fun as watching their fronts.
*You will get dirty, muddy, and worn out from a long day at the Big Mele. Do it again every year.
*Don't be a band-groupie. They're annoying.  
*If you ask 20 people at a show for a dollar, you can afford to buy a band T-shirt.
*Enter the mosh pits at your own risk. 
*If you run into Zack de la Rocha at Foodland, don't get all starry eyed and freak out because you'll see his white ass at the beach the next day and realize he's only mortal.
*It is a privilege to have your mother drive you to concerts. Remember to thank her later on for all the driving and waiting she had to do before you got your driver's license.
*Tip the bathroom attendant lady generously at the clubs. She puts up with a lot of drunken idiots.
*"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain," are true-life-meaningful- lyrics.
*Stopping at the Wahiawa Jack in the Box on the way home for fast food and soda is a must. But watch out for aggressive transvestites looking for drugs and sex.
*Save your concert stubs. Someday when your 35 and in the throws of raising little ones, and motherhood, you will want to remember all the fun times you had in your youth (and will have again)!

So, the last few times I saw a live show were the free outdoor music festivals we have here in Cedar City and the last concert I attended: Mason Jennings in 2006, 36 weeks pregnant with my eldest son, Los Angeles, CA: 
I need a night on the town!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Insomnia and 6 thoughts

One thing I remember about being pregnant is the night wakings. Anywhere between 12am and 4am I suddenly wake up and can't go back to sleep. I call it my pregnancy insomnia. It's usually accompanied by hunger pains, which is why I am sitting here eating an egg salad sandwich with a glass of milk at 1 o'clock in the morning.

The house is quiet, which is nice, but I'd rather be sleeping. However, since I can't go to sleep and I haven't finished my sandwich, I'll jot down some thoughts instead. I don't have anything worth an entire blog post, just little things here and there on my mind.

I finished  the third chapter of my book. I've been working on it for months. I have about 9 more chapters to go til I'm finished. It's been interesting to watch my own writing enfold, and to find my own voice and style. I realized without a doubt in my mind that I don't do metaphors. They don't come naturally and they don't flow for me. If I attempt a metaphor it is cheap and forced, so I've stopped trying, just like a fledgling who falls from the nest, I've given up on flying. (get it?)
 I've been working harder at not using so many frivolous adjectives, as well as working on the overall flow of the storyline. I was up til 1:30am last night editing and re-editing my chapters until I got all the paragraphs in the right order! (Not just a bunch of jumbled thoughts.) I suppose my next step would be to have someone read it and help edit it more. Not sure how or who will do that. I tried contacting a writers group here in town and even went to one of their meetings. I was the only one there. Typical small town response.
Anyways, my book is a compilation of stories about growing up in Hawaii. Not a personal history, per say, but stories that are full of life lessons and growth experiences that have molded and impacted my life. It also encompasses the enchanted beauty and sacredness that is Hawaii, and the many things I love about the islands. It's been a lot of fun to write.
I'm really looking forward to finding out the gender of this baby. My midwife has a contact with an ultrasound tech who comes up once a month from Vegas, so sometimes next month we'll go in for an ultrasound down in St. George. We didn't find out with our last two, but I'm more than ready to know this time around. I really wished I had found out with my last pregnancy just because I had so much anxiety about it. I don't know why. I was happy that I got a boy either way, but throughout my pregnancy it was all I could think about-weather or not I was having a boy or girl. I was kind of obsessed with it, and it caused me a lot of stress. This time around I want to know. I want to be ready and prepared mentally for whatever gender she is.

My eldest son is changing a lot. He's basically becoming older, which means his needs are rapidly changing. I've found that older is harder for me. It's way easier for me to greet the days problems by pulling out puzzles and toys and dancing around the house to Abba Gold. This doesn't work for older kids. They have problems and emotions that can't be solved that way. Darnit
Zadok is such an amazing kid-- so smart, so funny, and so intelligent. Yet, I'm finding that he's not happy at home all day with his little brothers and mom. He's getting antsy and bored with the little kid stuff. Him and his 5 yr old brother are best friends, but lately Zadok has been needing breaks from him. BIG breaks.  I'm trying to provide Zadok with challenges and opportunities, but it doesn't seem to be enough for me to do it all. I need other parental help. I wish there was some type of homeschool co-op we could join, but once again, small town opportunities aren't always available. Today I'll be looking into sending him to a part-time private school for homeschooled kids. He'll be away 3 days a week for 4 hours a day, and might be just the challenge, opportunities, and space we are looking for. Keep Zadok in your prayers. He's going to need them.
A quote I read recently that has stayed with me as I've been pondering on the importance of investing my life for my family's future:
We are building for the centuries. We are building character, and tradition, and values, which meander like a river into the distance and out of our sight, but on and on and on. [Motherhood] is a way of life, chosen in great ignorance and the bedrock of much of what we are, and will become.” Anne Quindlen
Sometimes when I'm in the trenches of the hard mommy stuff it's difficult to remember that everything I'm doing has an impact, even for generations to come. What I am doing now as a mother has the power to influence my children and even my grandchildren. My family is my greatest investment. It is hard, it takes loads of mental, physical, and emotional strain, but it is worth it. It is worth it to raise good people and send them out into this world happy, healthy, and prepared. I'm not sure if I can call motherhood a sacrifice. It feels  more like a journey.

I stepped on a rusty nail yesterday. It went right through my shoe into the middle of my foot. It happened in the old shed behind our house...... the shed I told the kids to stay out of because of all the rusty nails. I am having some trouble walking but other than that, I think it's going to be fine. I realized, though, that my last tetanus shot was 13 years ago. I've decided to go in to the public health department and get a tetanus shot today, for safety's sake.  Tetanus has no certain treatment, and vaccinating against it is the only precaution besides crossing your fingers that the tetanus bacteria doesn't enter my puncture wound.
The boy's reactions to me stepping on the nail were pretty comical:
Jonah- "If I walked in the shed that would never happen to me because I have my super-power-super-hero-belt on!"
Odin- "Well, at least it's only one foot, mom!"
Zadok- "Don't tell me! I don't want to see the nail! Ew! Yuck! Gosh! Man! Gross!"
Micah- "I jumped on a nail once in the Philippines. Stepping on nails sucks but it happens to everyone at some point."

Thanks guys. So much empathy and compassion. hahaha.

I found my first white hairs over Thanksgiving and plucked them all out. It's kind of freaking me out. I turn 35 next week and have never dyed my hair in all my life. What do I do if more white hairs come? I'm not ready to grow old and change, yet. I don't even have a grandchild! Any solutions? Should I go officially brunette?

Well, Zadok just got up and came out to the living room. I told him to get back to bed because it's not time to get up, yet. 
"It's 1 in the morning, kiddo. Go back to sleep!" I said.
"No it's not, Mom. It's 6:10am. Your watch is wrong again."
Haha. So it was. I should have looked at the computer clock. I'm kind of disappointed as I was hoping to slip back into bed for another 4-5 hours sleep. I guess I'm not having pregnancy insomnia tonight, afterall. 
But I'm glad I thought I was, and glad I got to write down these 6 thoughts.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Story of our Cats

This is Jonah's favorite bedtime story, so I am writing it down:

The Story of How we Got our Cats
It was a beautiful, sunny day in mid-October when our family decided to take a walk down by the river near our house. The river is actually a small creek called Coal Creek, but we call it the river because that's what it seems like to us. 
When the rains are heavy or when the snow is melting fast, it turns into a rushing, raging river of white water. When things are calmer, it's a babbling brook of fresh, clear creek water. You can swim in it in the summer, and walk on the frozen ice in the winter. Our kids love to play and explore down there, throwing rocks, collecting "dinosaur eggs", and splashing in the water.
On this particular day we were doing just that when we stumbled upon two kittens mewing in the bushes. We had hiked up the side of the embankment leading to the bike path above, when we spotted them. They were tiny, helpless, and stranded. Their little, desperate sounding mews pulled at my heart-strings. At first we all just stood there and stared at them. 
"Oh poor kitties! Where is their mommy?" we asked.
"They need warm milk and a place to sleep! They will freeze and die out here."
Right then an elderly man walked by and piped in,"Or the coyotes will eat em!"
"Okay, that's it," I decided. "We need to take these kittens home!"

I crept quietly into the bushes to grab them. They were frightened of me and started to run. I was able to nab the smaller, tan one first, before he crawled his way deeper into the bushes.
My husband went after the darker, orange one. It leaped terrified off of a ten foot cliff and landed in the shrubs below. It took my husband four attempts to get him, and four bites in the hand later, before he finally was able to grab the scruff around his neck. We carried them home hissing and spitting and meowing hysterically. They were wild kittens who may have never been handled by humans before.

We came home and put them into a box with some food and water. I wasn't sure how old they were, so I wasn't really sure if  they needed milk or not. I immediately got online and tried to find them a home. I told the kids that night, that if nobody wanted them in two days time, we would take them to the animal shelter.
"Why can't we keep them, mom?" came three pleading voices. They were already taking them out of the box, cuddling them, and petting their soft fur. 
"Because we just got puppies, and this is more than we can do right now, of course!"
The next day I didn't get any responses for a home for them. That night after Zadok and Odin went to bed, Jonah  and I were up with the kittens. Jonah was holding one of them, nuzzling it's furry coat and telling it,"I love you, Kitty." He had even named them Park and Road. "Park is the tan one, and Road is the orange one, he told me proudly.
Well, I told him, this is the last night we get to play with Park and Road because tomorrow we give them away to the animal shelter.
Suddenly I looked over to see the saddest, most disappointing face. With tears in his eyes he said,"We can't give them away. I love them!"
I knew right then that these kittens weren't going anywhere.
That night in bed I told my husband that maybe we were meant to find these kittens. Perhaps they were put in our path for a reason? Perhaps they are supposed to be ours? 
I didn't know anything about feeding kittens, or potty training kittens, or even how to handle kittens, but I knew that my boys loved these kittens more than anything, so I was willing to learn.

Over the past few months these kittens have grown, and thrived, and become healthy and strong. They have also provided our kids with hours of snuggling, cuddling, love, and entertainment. I honestly never knew that cats could be so lovable, yet these two cats are the epitome of the perfect lovable, furry pets. 
When we kept them down in the basement in our last house, they would start purring the second we opened the door. They would come bounding up to us, ready to be held and loved.
And until recently we had them locked up in our laundry room at night because they'd crawl on our heads and purr so loudly, waking us all up. They are getting better at that, so we let them roam the house at night now. 

We changed their names to Pumpkin and Cotton Candy, because there was a disagreement over the original names. (Basically Zadok refused to call them Park and Road because they weren't cute enough names.) Overall, they were remarkably easy to potty train, they don't require a lot of food, and are naturally good at cleaning themselves. 
They even helped me out when I was night weaning Jonah. When he'd wake up in the night and cry out for milkies, instead I would get up and hand him a purring kitty. He'd forget all about nursing and fall asleep cuddling a kitten instead.

Right now the cats are at the age where they are very playful and fun! They love chasing strings, attacking feet, and pawing at just about anything left on the floor, like Lego pieces. 
My automatic response when one of my children says,"Mom, I'm bored", is "Go find a kitty!" It almost always solves the problem.
Zadok's favorite thing to do with the cats is cuddle with them on the big bed. Odin can be found building luxurious, mansion-sized forts for them. Jonah's thing is lying on top of them and smooshing them into a dog-pile puddle of love.
I also like that my kids are learning how to be gentle, and how to handle animals correctly. They are getting better at not squeezing too hard, not putting them in weird places, or not stretching their arms and feet to awkward angles. I think that cats were made with flexible limbs and bodies just for kids like mine. (It's been a learning process, especially for Odin). 

I am so grateful for these 2 kitties for being so wonderful to my three boys, for teaching them about gentleness and love for animals, and for bringing more joy and happiness to our home.
We love our kitties, and know they were meant to be ours. 
A little blessing from above for our family to love!

The End

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jackson Update 2014

The latest scoop is here on the family! I love writing up these little tidbits. I look back on them and fondly remember the good times, the funny details, the silliness, and get to see how much my family has changed and grown. I love these people with all my heart.

Zadok, 7 1/2
I'm so proud of my big boy Zadok! He is trying new things, making new friends, and taking leaps that I never thought possible. He is growing out of his shy shell and becoming more sociable, and more outgoing along the way. Since we've been back here in Cedar he's taken tumbling class (now onto his 2nd one), a Lego robotics class, and has been excited and happy to attend  his Primary classes at church. He is also looking forward to his baptism in March. These are all things he used to be too shy to even think about! He is also attending a homeschool reading group (which he kind of hates) but I make him go since I help run it. However, he loves to read on his own and is pretty darn good at it. He amazes me at his ability to spell and use complex words. For Christmas we got him a book of mythical creatures, which he has been absorbing like a sponge. He made a card game to go along with it, where the creatures battle each other using strength and magic.
I recently took Zadok ice-skating at our new rink here in town and he  loved it. He used the walker the entire time, and cursed the ice when he fell down, but begged me to take him back A.S.A.P. 
Zadok loves going to the movies for his special dates with mom, loves playing Minecraft as a passion and hobby, and loves playing board games and chess. 
Micah and I love it when Zadok creeps into our room at all hours of the night for a sleepy cuddle. He usually asks his Dad to cuddle with him, which I think is pretty sweet. 
I recently gave him a haircut. He only lets his mommy cut his hair, which I also think is sweet.
His little brother Odin is his best friend and partner in crime. They do everything together, including making up complicated card games where only they know the rules and only they win.
Zadok is just a really cool kid. I love his huge, toothy smile and his obsessive enthusiasm for random stuff he cares about, like the way his eyelids make a snappy noise when he pulls them away from his eyeballs, or learning about silly pranks and how he can pull more of them off. I love my sweet Z-boy.

New haircut

Reading "The Adventures of Captian Underpants!"
Odin 5 1/2-
Is very excited to try new things! He just started taking his first tumbling class with big brother Z. He also begged me to take him ice-skating so I finally did. He loved it. He fell, and crashed, and spun all over the ice, and then begged me to take him back the next day. 
He recently  got up in church and sang in front of our congregation with his Primary group. He was really nervous about it but proudly did it anyways, even though his older brother wouldn't. 
He entered a community coloring contest over the holidays and won 25 dollars for one of his entries, and then won Dominoes pizza for another entry. He is very proud of his 25 dollar winnings and is saving it for something fun. 
He is starting up another semester of Junior Commonwealth, a homeschool reading and activity  group here in town. He enjoys listening to stories, and can't wait to learn to read. (we are working on it, but it's just not clicking, yet
On our visits to the library he rushes to find all the Dr. Seuss books. He tries to check out all of them, but 20 is the limit on his card. He giggles at all the silly rhymes and tongue twisters. His favorite book is, "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish."
He also loves playing Legos, card games, and painting pictures for his mom. His paintings are always bright and colorful, perfectly reflecting Odin's cheery, happy attitude toward life! Odin is spunky and energetic, and excited to wake up each day. His best friend is his older brother. They do everything together. They fight, argue, laugh and have fun, just like brothers do. I love my sweet Odin and am so grateful for his cheery influence in our family.
Odin on the ice!

Snuggling with kitties. 
Jonah, 3 1/2- Loves to sing a lot lately. He'll ask us to sing songs with him throughout the day. His favorites are Jingle Bells, Twinkle Little Star, Book of Mormon Stories, and Follow the Prophet. If he doesn't know all the words he'll just sing the last word in each verse. I think it's the cutest thing ever.
He is very attached to his Daddy. He pretends each day that his Dad is an animal Dad and he is the baby. Recently Micah has been a Kamodo dragon and Jonah has been the baby Kamodo dragon. 
He has just learned how to play computer games and is excited/addicted to them. He is finally catching up to his brothers in this area, and feels pretty proud of his abilities. We  have him on Starfall and PBS kids, where he can navigate on his own, for the most part.
He also loves playing Kirby on the wii, and thinks video games are pretty awesome. (I'm right there with ya, kid--Kirby is fun!) 
Jonah loves his kitties. He jumps out of bed each morning to let them out of the laundry room. He kisses and cuddles them endlessly. They have brought so much joy to his little life.
Jonah  just started Sunbeams, which is the next step up from the nursery at church. He's in an actual classroom now with a teacher, Sister Cathy. Today he was crying and didn't want to go in until his teacher busted out some Fruit by the Foot treats. He quickly wiped the tears away and jumped in his chair, surprising us all. I learned today that the way to Jonah's heart is Fruit by the Foot.
Jonah is our last child to still sleep with us until baby gets here. He's our nighttime cuddle-bug. He loves his bedtime stories to get to sleep. We only nurse once a day now for like 3 minutes, which is fine for both of us. I look forward to that special time to reconnect with my busy toddler at the end of the day. That's when I kiss the top of his head over and over, and remind him not to grow up too fast.
 It's lots of fun to still have a three year old in the house. He's the only one left who will cuddle me on demand, kiss me when I ask, and of course, the only one I can still carry on my hips. I love his little, raspy voice, and the silly games he makes up, like  "hit-catch" and "Go Fish animal guessing game". I Love my sweet little Jonah baby.

Last but not least, Micah is awesome. When I think about Micah I don't know where I'd be without the man. He is the love of my life, my best friend, and my eternal companion, forever kine. Oh, and father of my 3 1/2 children, which means he is still very virile.
He is thriving at his job here as a Chemistry/Science teacher for high school age kids earning college credits. The job is fun and challenging for him, and he's good at it, from what I can tell. He's a natural teacher and accomplishes his work with ease. He's working on the beginnings of a doctorate program in education, and finds the school work load interesting and enjoyable, which is pretty much the opposite of my bachelor-earning experience. He carries a lot on his shoulders but rarely complains. In the last month he had to move his entire family from a house fire, then nearly tore off his finger in a heater unit, then shaved off another chunk of finger with a potato peeler, then got hit by a car on his bike, then got sick.  But day by day he gets up, gets ready for work, and does what he needs to do to provide for his family. His kids think he's invincible. Odin was overheard saying, "If Micah fell off a cliff, I think he'd be okay."
I think he'd have to be okay, because I love him and need him here with ME.
Micah hauling in the Xmas tree, shortly after he injured his finger.

Whelp, that's the Jackson roundup for now. I'd write all about myself but this is my blog, so I basically always write about myself in one way or another. ha!

Have a beautiful day and stay in touch, friends!
Cedar City skating rink.

Ice-skating, 13 weeks pregs.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Awaiting Punxatawney Phil

Lately I've been feeling like every morning is a perpetual Groundhog Day. I almost expect Phil Conners to come walking out of the bedroom with an alarm clock repeating, "Okay campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's ccccccold out there today!" 
(if you haven't seen this hilarious 1993 Bill Murray movie please do yourself a favor and go rent it now.) 

I think my Groundhog Day complex comes from feeling like each morning lately I've been waking to do the same things over and over and over and over. It might be because it's winter and we're in the house way more than I like. Or It might be because I'm pregnant and feeling  constricted in what I can do mentally and physically. Probably a combo of both. 
So every morning  I roll out of bed, I say good morning to my kids, I clean up the dinner dishes from the night before, I get breakfast ready, we pray, we eat, we brush teeth, I drink my raspberry tea, then I clean up the kitchen. And repeat. Day, after day, after day. I think I'm stuck in a morning rut. Perhaps I need to perform some magical good Samaritan deeds for my entire community to break the spell, but more likely I probably need to see the impact of my actions from a new perspective.

I don't like feeling stuck in a rut, however I also believe in having consistency, and routine, and in the security found in daily, family traditions. It probably seems like I'm doing the same monotonous things everyday, but in reality I know that what I'm doing has valuable, long term effects on my children. I know that my kids look forward to our morning breakfasts together, that learning  good habits makes responsible people, and that having a clean kitchen results in a more functional household. All these things are important parts to raising children and growing a family. All these things add up to the bigger picture. And blah blah blah.  So maybe I should enjoy these cold, winter mornings and try to make them more fun. Maybe tomorrow we'll have Star Wars pancakes, and make a game of putting dishes away. We'll see who can make the biggest bubbles in their milk cup, and maybe read a few extra good library books instead of de-cluttering the counters right away.

Pretty soon Punxatawny Phil will come out of his hole for good, and alas, it will be Spring! We'll be waking up and going for morning walks, picking new flowers, and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine once again. Ahhh Spring, I am waiting for you. I am waking up tomorrow to put an extra dose of fun and optimism in my raspberry tea while I wait.

Friday, January 3, 2014

La Leche League love and support

I got certified as a La Leche League Leader nearly 6 years ago (in March), and I can't say enough what a blessing it has been in my life! It feels so good to be running a group again here in Cedar City, Utah. When I left here 3 years ago I was so sad to leave! It was hard to watch the active, warm community of mothers we had created, dissolve to the ground. Yet here I am again, reviving the group and watching her grow once more! It's exciting! I held a meeting at our home last night and was thrilled beyond belief to see moms come together once again-- to share with one another, inspire one another, and oogle over all the cute babies.

 I went to my first LLL meeting in 2006 when I was pregnant with our first baby. We were living in Los Angeles, California at the time, right next to the LA Zoo. I heard about La Leche League from our Bradley Birth instructor, who also happened to be a La Leche League Leader. She handed out these LLL fliers at our birth class with all the dates and times of meetings being held in LA county, strongly urging us pregnant moms to attend a 4-class series by the time we reached 8 months pregnant. At first I put it aside thinking it was a class for the Hispanic community. The words "La Leche" threw me off. "Why does she want me to go to a Hispanic breastfeeding class?" I asked my husband later on. "I don't even speak Spanish!"
Needless to say, there was a lot I had to learn. My husband urged me to go check it out anyways, so I went with my friend Michelle from our Bradley class. The meeting was being held at a park in Van Nuys, CA. It was a beautiful, sunny day out. I remember waddling my large, pregnant belly over to the grass and finding a place to sit amongst the other mothers attending. 
I looked around to see moms of all races and nationalities, gathered together, each with a baby or toddler in their arms. They were friendly and smiling, and very welcoming. I instantly felt warm and comfortable in their presence. Many of the moms were lounging in beach chairs or lying on blankets, openly nursing their babies. They all looked so peaceful and happy. I wanted to be one of those moms. I wanted to be lying in the grass under the warm sunshine, smiling peacefully, while cuddling and nursing my new baby.

I learned a lot from that meeting, and it wasn't only from the up-to-date information I received, or the helpful resources I came across! I was not only convinced to read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, or feel inspired to be an advocate for myself and my baby during our upcoming hospital birth, but I walked away knowing that I could breastfeed, no matter what. I could be one of those moms in the grass, and I couldn't wait to do it!

I continued to attend LLL meetings for the next several weeks. Each time I came home feeling even more prepared, and even more excited for the arrival of our baby. 
I never thought that I would be a Leader someday, yet there was a special moment I experienced at one of our meetings that, unbeknownst to me, would greatly impact my decision to become an LLL Leader in the future.
Our group of moms was sitting in the grass, deep in discussion on some important breastfeeding topic or another, when a silver Honda slowly rolled up to the parking lot. I remember looking over to see a young couple get out of the car, the mom was holding a brand new baby. The mom looked tired, and worn down. The look on her face was one of worry, and despair. She walked slowly towards the group and sat down on a nearby bench. The Leader stopped the discussion so she could talk to this new mom. Everyone listened as she explained her situation: 
"My baby is 3 days old. I can't get her to latch on. She's not eating, and I'm not getting any response from the lactation support at the hospital. I just don't know what to do."
Tears rolled down her face as she looked down in despair once more. Her newborn baby was swaddled in her arms, tiny, pink and helpless.
I watched as one of the La Leche League Leaders lovingly took this worried mother aside and worked with her one-on-one. She sat with her on a nearby bench, for the next 45 minutes, answering her questions, caring for her concerns, and helping her to know how to breastfeed her brand new baby. I then watched this same mother walk back to her car, looking confident, empowered, and happy. She was smiling, her husband was smiling, and their entire world had changed. All because they came to a La Leche League Leader for help.

This was an inspiring moment for me. I didn't know how or when, but I knew that I wanted to be involved with this organization in some way or another. I knew that if a mother could be impacted so powerfully by the simple care and concern of another mother, I wanted to learn how to do that. 
I was able to learn later on that being an LLL Leader not only meant helping other mothers, but it means bringing together a community of mothers to help one another. That's one of my favorite things about LLL--the warmth and support shared between breastfeeding mothers.
I am happy to be serving our Southern Utah Community once more. I hope and pray that mothers can find us-- Mothers who need love and support, mothers who need breastfeeding education, mothers who need immediate help, mothers who need practical advice and questions answered, and  mothers who need like-minded friends in a warm community!

Happy Breastfeeding!
La Leche League of Utah
La Leche League International

"Our Mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. La Leche League is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization."