Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In honor of my sixth anniversary

My anniversary was actually a few days ago, but that's okay. I'm going to share with you my husband's version of our courtship. (I stole it from a gaming message board that he posts on). My additions to his story are bolded.

my wife's name is Misty Dawn and she unfortunately hates today's video games (she will play anything up until super nintendo with me) in her mind 2 buttons (A and B) were perfect 6 buttons (A, B, X, Y, R, L) were tolerable and anything with triggers or more controls than that is a silly waste of time.
that's all true.

Misty Dawn? Is that really her name? Yes.
Does she have a sister named April Sunshine? Yes.
Are her parents hippies or something? Yes. no, they're not.

okay enough with the self interview.

our story began one week before i met misty. i was singing in an institute choir and overheard the instructor talk about a new piano player that had just been called to play the music for us. she had been a traveling photographer and recently quit her job so that she could take on a church calling. oh yeah that was one of those evesdrop sessions that brought a good warm feeling. one of the first questions i would always ask on a first date out at college was do you play the piano? and if the answer was "no" there was rarely a second date. so i instantly knew that she was second date material. it's not that i have anything against non-piano playing women, however, i just don't like them is all.

the following week i showed up casually late to choir practice and checked out the back of the person sitting on the piano bench and i knew instantly that she would be my wife. than she turned around and looked at me giving the late arrivals (me and my roommate) an annoyed look and i was still pretty certain she was the one. then i noticed a ring on her left ring finger while she played the music and was now down to about a 50/50 chance.

so my roommate leaned over to me and said hey that new piano player is pretty hot huh? i shrugged she's okay. just okay, huh? good to know! then i said i'll bet you $10 i can get her to kiss me before you. so the bet was on. little did my poor roommate know that she was destined to be my wife and not his. he owed me some money anyway so i figured i may as well get $10 bucks out of him.

as soon as choir practice was over he rushed up to the piano along with all the other guys it was just dave and his roomie...no one else came to the piano. and started flirting with her. *sigh* what an act of desperation. i, on the other hand, would impress her with my skills. i had been known as somewhat of a piano player (in napolean's voice: probably the best that i know of) Dave does have a good ear for music, but I found out later that he sat down and played the only song he knew. He doesn't read a note of music. once i saw her look at me and wade through all the other guys and sit next to me on the piano bench we made beautiful music together (I played some jazz/blues riffs and he did some improv on top of it) and the rest was history. except that he left the institute bldg without getting my number or anything. He happened to see me write my name and email address onto the teachers roster. He left to go home and actually made his roomate turn around and go back and he copied the info off the roster. He emailed me the next day and it was the day after that that we had our first date. (which he was late for...) the next night, i took her to see the christmas lights at a local amuzement park and 2 weeks later we were engaged (oh yeah she had to break things off with that other guy getting ready to go to the MTC which is why i had to wait 2 weeks before proposing) and then 5 weeks later we were happily sealed in the Seattle Temple. He was also late to this...lol.

the whole process was streamlined since she already had a wedding dress and all we had to do was basically cross the other guys name off the invitations and write in my own. I did have a dress partially made (it wasn't finished yet) but there were no invitations! lol.


And now for your reading pleasure...the lyrics to a song that my husband wrote while he was attending BYU. He wrote it to make fun of the whole instant marriage phenomenon that sometimes occurs among Mormons...and then he practically lived it when he met me.

I was walking down the street and I saw the girl of my dreams.
When our eyes met it was love at first sight, so it seemed.
My tongue got all tied up, I didn't know what I should say
So I blurted out the words "will you marry me, today?"
What do you say?

She told me that she would 'cause she was in a good mood.
She didn't want to hurt my feelings by being rude.
I was so excited that she would be my wife!
We would be together eternally and for life!

Now that we're engaged, tell me, what's your name?
You told me once before, but to me they're all the same!
Is marriage eternal or just some kind of game?
The Bishop said we can save a lot of pain,
if we just get hitched and skip the waiting game.
Oh yeah...

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have a whole new empathy for Noah

We've all heard the story. Noah and his boys (and their respective wives) board a ship that we commonly refer to as the Ark. They loaded this huge boat up with every animal on the planet then climbed aboard and waited for rain. There they are, hanging out on a boat in the desert. I imagine everyone else thought they were pretty dang crazy.

Then the rain began.

40 days and 40 nights of rain. Noah and the boys waved goodbye to their friends (short ones first, I'm sure) and watched as everything sank out of sight. For a while they probably amused themselves with some games. Run sheepie run, cow tipping, maybe a little pin the tail on the donkey. They probably tried their hand at some deep sea fishing, but eventually they had to have gotten bored.

The incessant drip drop drip drop of rainfall can really begin to grate on your nerves. Getting soaked when you step out for fresh air is no picnic. You can't wear sandals, and the bottom of your pants (did they wear pants back then?) are always wet. You can forget about your new hairdo lasting long enough to impress the hubby (or misses in their case). Not to mention the depression that sets in from NEVER SEEING THE SUN. Ever.

How do I know this? Because I'm living it. It's been well over 40 days of rain now. I havn't seen the sun in ages. I hydroplane every time I get on the freeway. I fall asleep to the pitter patter of rain on the roof and the wind blowing it against the windows. Then I wake up to it. There's flooding, mudslides, avalanches, road closures and puddles. Oh, the puddles. You'd be amazed how quickly a 3 yr old can get to the middle of a puddle. Especially when she's wearing a dress, tights and clogs and we're on our way to church.

I feel for Noah, I really do. But I feel for his wife even more. Seriously, who do you think was mopping the deck, cooking the meals, drying the clothes and cleaning up after the animals? And all the while, she didn't even get a tan. And then, when the rain finally did stop, they had to wait for the water to recede before they could get off! At least around here if the sun ever comes out again everything will dry up fairly quickly.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

10 years later...nothing has changed

The year is 1996. I am 16 years old. Songs like "Cotton Eye Joe" and "YMCA" are playing loudly. Large groups of people are doing the electric slide or the macarena. The walls are lined with teens. There is a couple holding hands in the back. The adults are manning the entrance/exit and the refreshment table.

"Sing, Sing, Sing" comes on and there is a cheer, followed by a mad rush to the floor where everyone tries to swing dance. The boys are trying not to drop the girls who are willingly being tossed around by an adolescent male. The song ends and "Everything I do, I do it for You" begins.

Suddenly the girls fall back. The boys scan the crowd of waiting maidens and begin their plan of attack. The braver souls go right into the mass of estrogen and make eye contact. They walk right up to their choice of partner for the song and ask her to dance. They offer their arm. She breathes a sigh of relief, shoots a glance at her friend who is still waiting, takes his arm and goes to the dance floor. Once there, they assume the acceptable ballroom style stance (only they stand practically at arms length) and begin a slow rock, turning in a circle in one spot.

Some of the left over girls will snag the boys that are too shy or too cool to ask someone to dance.

The adults perk up now that slow song has begun. The more suave chaperones will grab their spouse and begin to dance around the floor. They step and spin, weaving through the teen dancers. If a couple is closer than the accepted standard of "a Book of Mormon width" apart, the husband will spin his wife close to the couple where she'll whisper "a little too close, kids" before spinning back.

There's at least one socially awkward young man still trying to find a girl to agree to dance with him. (fortunately for him, "Everything I do, I do it for You" is like 8 minutes long).

The slow dance ends and with the next song a large circle is formed and everyone takes a turn embarrassing themselves by dancing solo inside the circle. Eventually the circle becomes a jostling mass of dancers jumping and flailing around.

Fast forward to 2006. There is a stake youth winter ball and I was asked to attend and take your standard prom style pictures and candids of the kids dancing. I entered to the sounds of "Cotton Eye Joe." I then observed and had flashback after flashback of my own youth. There were the kids that could dance, the kids that pretended like they could dance and the ones that just stayed seated or hovering around the punch table.

There were the chaperones, the cool ones and the not so cool ones. (including my husband who entertained himself by walking around with my baby and thrusting him into the couples who were slow dancing and exclaiming, "this is what happens when you dance too close!!!")

There was the socially awkward boy who followed people around, jumped into people's pictures, got rejected more than once, and spent some time in the corner with a Gameboy Micro.

There was swing dancing, line dancing, circle dancing, mob jumping and slow dancing a "Book of Mormon width" apart. (Although sometimes it was more like a stack of quads width apart.)

And then there was me, observing the whole thing behind the lens of my camera.

Friday, January 27, 2006

An air purifier?....or the mosquito zapper from hell?

I spent the last (CRACK) 5 days at my little (SNAP) sisters house. (CLACK) We were staying (SNAP) with her (CLICK CLACK) while Dave looked for a job (CRACK) and we looked for our new house.

Let me tell (CLACK) you a little about her (SNAP) house. It's approximately 900 (CRACK) square feet. It has 2 bedrooms and (CRACK SNAP) 1 bathroom. For three of those (CLACK) days there were 8 people in this little house. My sister and her husband, my (SNAP) mom, my husband, our three kids and me.

My sister (CLACK) and her husband don't have kids yet, so there was nothing (SNAP) for my kids to play with but things like shoes (SNAP), pillows, blankets, my cell phone, and toilet paper. So really, (CRACK) they were adequately entertained. I, on the other hand, was not.

If you've ever (SNAP) been cooped up with 2 rambunctious toddlers and an infant in (CLACK) 900 square feet with NO toys and (CRACK) no where to escape to, then you might have an idea of the insanity that I was dealing with. Not to mention (CRACK) my sister has hard wood floors all through (SNAP) her house. My kids were rounding corners at top (SNAP) speeds and crashing into (CRACK) everything and giving me (CLACK) all sorts of heart attacks!

And then there (CRACK CRACK) was this mysterious noise that happened randomly (but often) all day and all night. You know those poppers that kids (SNAP) throw on the ground on the Fourth (CLACK) of July? That's what it sounded like. It would pop (CRACK) and everyone would look at the vent it was coming from. It was (SNAP) capable of stopping conversations (CRACK) in their tracks. It was, (CLACK) in a word, annoying.

Supposedly (CRACK) it's an air purifier. My sisters swears she doesn't hear it any more...but I have my (SNAP) doubts. You think this (CLACK) entry is bad? Try listening to it for 5 (CRACK) days straight!

But in brighter news. Dave got a second interview! I keep waiting for something to mess everything up. It's too all been too easy!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

After 26 years...I'm now a grown-up

Little girls often dream of their grown-up life. We picture our wedding, our children, and our house. In our dreams our wedding is on the perfect day with flowers everywhere. We're wearing an exquisite gown, our ring is a huge diamond and our husband is Prince Charming. He has no faults.

Eventually, we get hormones and when we find that perfect connection, those hormones blind us to his faults until we have that ring on our finger. Over time we learn to love him in spite of those faults, and later we may even love him because of his faults.

Then the dream of children becomes a reality. We gaze longingly at pretty pink dresses and bows and we imagine our little sweetheart smiling up at us and loving us unconditionally. Then we get pregnant and reality hits. The puking, the heartburn, the swelling to unreal sizes...not to mention the stretch marks from head to toe, the acne, and the saggy boobs. And we don't even want to think about labor.

Somehow it all works out, though. I've always thought that God sends us our kids in the form of babies so that we'll fall for them so hard and fast that the love we feel for them will get them all the way through their teenage years.

Then there's the house. Many grown-ups do things in a different order and start with the house, but that wasn't the case for us. We've been married for six years. We have three darling children and we're squished into a 2 bedroom rental house with mold, drafts and rats. (not kidding)

For six years we've dreamed of our first home. It would be big enough to live in for many years. It would be in the perfect neighborhood, close to parks, schools and church. Our neighbors would become our good friends and we'd live happily ever after.

Well, yesterday it all began! We made an offer on a house that is the perfect blend of my need for a somewhat unique home (no HOA's for me, thankyouverymuch) and Dave's need for functionality and good use of space. It's big enough and it's in the perfect neighborhood, close to parks, schools and church! Later that night our offer was accepted and now the ball is rolling.

And since I married prince charming, and my body is still the model of perfection, and my children are perfect....well, there won't be any problems with my house! Right?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ohh, to sleep again!

When your existence is consumed by ankle biters, sleep becomes a novelty. Not only that, if mom is overly tired, energy demons will invade all the kids and said mom can kiss that shut-eye good-bye. Let's just examine last night, shall we?

Aria fell asleep watching a movie at 6 PM. This is the worst time for a child to fall asleep. It forces the mother to make a decision. Wake up the child, causing a melt-down followed by a cranky 3 yr old for the next 3-4 hours when she'll finally crash again. Or, let her sleep, move her to her bed and pray she was so tired that she'll stay asleep all night. I chose the latter. It was the wrong choice.

Her nap was over at 9:30 PM and she came bopping out of her room, all refreshed and ready to play!

In the mean time, Nathan (age 4) fell asleep on the couch. Now he's tricky too. When he falls asleep somewhere besides his bed, you must give him at least 30 minutes of un-interrupted sleep before trying to move him. Not doing so will result in a screaming, kicking tantrum that begins while you're trying to move him. If you've ever tried to carry a 45 lb cat who wants nothing more than to get away from you, then you may understand the danger I was facing at moving him to soon. Fortunately, I remembered the last time this happened and I let him sleep for 30 minutes before moving him.

So it's now 10 PM, Nathan is asleep, Aria is wide awake and Gabe(3 months) is screaming to be fed. So, I nurse him, fully expecting him to fall asleep, which he does. I held him for a few extra minutes to savor his baby-ness and laid him down. I pulled his blankets around him, all the while holding my breath and moving as quietly as possible. I back away, and his eyes pop open. His little baby grin absolves him of any wrong doing and I pick him back up.

Fast forward to 1 AM. Aria finally crashed again and I'm laying down and nursing Gabe in my bed hoping he'll fall asleep and stay that way. Apparently he did because when I woke up again at 3 AM to a noise from Aria, he was asleep. It didn't last long though. Aria had decided to come join Dave and I (and Gabe) in our bed. In the process of climbing in, she stepped on Gabe. The screaming didn't last too long and we all fell back to sleep.

I woke up at 5 AM to flip over and nurse Gabe again. Then at 7 AM, I woke up yet again. Only this time I was laying in a puddle. Now I wasn't totally shocked. After all, I am the resident cow, and leaking is not uncommon. But there was something different about this puddle. For one thing, my back was soaked. So, I checked the next likely source of the puddle. Aria. She hasn't wet her bed in months. Murphy's Law states, however, that when she does decide to wet her bed, it should not be her bed, it should be mine.

Did I mention my dryer is broken?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My Inner Aria - the meaning behind my blog name

Aria is 3. She has a natural zest for life that the rest of us just wish we had. She expertly blends a happy-go-lucky, fun personality with the ability to whisk away other people's problems with no trouble at all. Whether it's with a hug when you most need it or an unexpected smile, she'll deliver. (And usually with all the flair she can muster.)

To Aria, rules were made to be broken. Even the English language is a necessary evil only to be used when she needs to get her point across to us mere mortals. She's quite verbose and has been talking our ears off since she was 1, but when she gets bored with English she'll switch to her own language and start babbling away. However, if you ask her what she just said, she'll pity you and repeat herself in English.

Aria means melody. And Aria does not dissapoint in that department. She constantly makes up songs and walks around serenading us. If only the rest of us could get away with that.

Yes, Aria is only three, and I'm plenty scared of what she'll be like in 10 years. But for now, she's my best girl.

So, my inner Aria is my inner melody. It's my inner rebel, my inner 3 year old, my inner compassion, and if you want to get real technical, at one point Aria was inside me.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The walls of my cell of sunshine and flowers have fallen

That's right. My inner rebel has been released from prison. But not just any old prison. You see, I love my life. My prison was not steel bars and a concrete floor, in fact, it was a prison full of happiness. I love my children and I love my husband. I've been well provided for and really should have no complaints.

But I did.

The problem was, I didn't know what the problem was. Until today. And with this moment of clarity, it all came together. It all started with what my husband called my "Witch tights." As in the wicked witch of the west. I remember them fondly. They were thigh highs with purple, green, and black horizontal stripes. I had 4 inch, black, chunky heels that I wore with them. (They were from Paris. I wish I still had them.)

Now, you may be asking yourself where in the world does a good little Mormon girl wear witch tights with 4 inch heels? (did I mention with the heels on, I became 6'2" tall?) Well, I'll tell you. I wore them to church. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I did not pair them with a mini skirt and a halter top. Nope. I would wear a very tasteful, long black skirt with a modest sweater. You could only see about 3 inches of my witch tights around my ankles. But it was enough. With those tights on, I made a statement of non-conformity. And that is something that defines me.

However, my husband was not fond of the witch tights. In fact, they embarrassed him so badly that he didn't want to be seen with me. He was holding whispered conversations with his mother trying to figure out how to get rid of the horrid witch tights. No good little card carrying Mormon girl should be wearing those! Where are the eggshell pantyhose with the tasteful button up floral dress? Where are the understated beige pumps and the oversized sweater? WHAT DID HE MARRY? And that's when the walls were built.

In spite of my need for non-conformity, I loved my husband and I knew he was incredibly uncomfortable with my witch tights. So I threw them away. I eventually donated my beautiful black heels to Good Will. After all, they made me quite a bit taller than my 5'10" husband. And that might draw attention, and I didn't want to embarrass him.

Now, there was no malice and no bitterness in these decisions I was making. I truly felt that if he needed me to dress like a school marm in order to be happy and comfortable, then that was something that I could handle. After all, it's just clothes, and our love is much more important than that!

Over the years, however, I began to convince myself that this was me. I really believed that as a wife and mother I had to fit in a certain mold. I was mentally berating myself for what are failures to some people. My house does not stay clean, I don't cook balanced meals, and "craft" is a 4 letter word to me. But I felt like that was what was expected and the pressure started to build. For 6 years I've kept my inner rebel in prison without knowing why I wasn't fully happy.

Today I tried yet again to figure out what the problem was. I was trying to explain to my husband that I was happy and I love my life, but something was wrong. Somewhere along the way I lost part of myself and he said 5 little words that broke down the walls.

"It was the Witch tights."

After 6 years, my darling husband, the one that was so embarrassed by my need for non-conformity, was able to recognize that that was what was missing.

I feel so free! I feel like I can wear funky heels again! I can put a streak of an un-natural color in my hair, I can insist that crafts are NOT art, I can embrace my macaroni and cheese skills, I can shun all things jello and IT'S OKAY!

I think I'll start with a new pair of witch tights.