Friday, September 04, 2009

Twice blessed

This week I had the AMAZING opportunity to welcome not one, but TWO beautiful babies into the world.

On Monday at 5:47 a.m., I found out the baby Liam was coming. Later that day, I met him. He was a big boy with a healthy head of beautiful curly hair. He weighed in at 9 lbs. 12 oz. and 22 inches.

















Here are a few photos.














Sorry about the fuzziness--Mama and baby!











And there is proud Papa and his boy!



Now some Mama with the other kids!






























Congratulations on baby Liam Scott!


Then my sweet baby sister had her first baby, Olivia, yesterday.
Here is the new mama and her cutie pie!

And the whole family--3 is the magic number!


Welcome sweet baby Olivia! She's no shrinking violet--9 lbs. 11 oz., 22 inches!

We love you both!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part sixteen

Yep, it was the big day. I was very jittery getting ready, but Laurel saved the day and re-did the mess of hair I had made. I looked great, and I started to feel better and better. On the way to the temple I thought about the journey it had taken to get here. Definitely a roller coaster. But I had learned so much and grown and I was ready to take the big step of marrying my sweetheart for time and all eternity.

I don't remember much of that day, but a few things shine through. I remember Mr. TD&H stepping out of the car to greet me, and promptly dropping his white bow tie on the ground and stepping on it. I just had to laugh. He looked long and deep into my eyes, intense and hopeful, and I once again knew I had made the right choice.

I remember feeling so pampered and well-taken-care-of in the holy temple. I remember being surrounded by those who meant the most to me, especially that great man who was willing to go through this earthly journey with me through ups and downs. I knelt across the altar, clasped his hand, and tried to listen to the sealer without getting lost in those beautiful brown eyes. Every once in a while he would squeeze my hand and his eyes would twinkle. I loved thinking about the blessings and responsibilities that were now and would be mine if I was faithful. I felt an outpouring of love and gratitude that I was there in that holy place, making promises to him and my Heavenly Father. I have felt His help from that moment on. I have always felt that the word "sealed" meant so much more that day. We were now one, leaving our own families to start our own, turning to each other and God to make it through.

I remember exiting the temple doors, my arm around my husband(!!!)'s waist, and beaming at all our friends and family that had come to be with us. What joy! We made it! We took picture after picture, laughing and smiling, being goofy and solemn, just grateful that we took the plunge!

I don't remember much more about the day, a whirlwind of luncheons and receptions, make-up and hair refreshing, and thanking people and receiving congratulations. I do remember being so grateful that the important part of the day had gone so seamlessly, so beautifully.

I am glad to be married to my best friend. Life isn't without its trials, but it is priceless to be able to struggle through it with one who loves you. That has been my greatest gift.

P.S. I will post photos, but right now my scanner is on the fritz. I promise that photos are forthcoming!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part fifteen

Mr. TD&H flew out the day before the wedding. The day before that he called me, a little concerned.

"Um, we have a problem with the tux," he sputtered.

I think I was putting up a very heavy piece of wallpaper at that moment, the phone cradled between my ear and my shoulder.

"WHAAAT?" My not-so-calm voice went up about an octave and a half.

"Well, I went in to get my measurements taken, and I gave them the numbers I just got when I ordered my wedding suit. Somehow they got all messed up."

"How?" I demanded.

"I don't think you want to know," he mumbled.

"Oh yes, I do," I sarcastically spat back.

"Let me paint you a picture. The jacket is about 3 sizes too big. The vest is too short. The shirt collar is about two inches too big and the sleeves are about 4 inches above my wrists. At least the pants are long enough but the waist is a size too small. I look ridiculous."

I felt my pulse start to race. You may think that I should have told him to just go and get another tux. The only problem would be that Mr. TD&H is not an exaggeration. Emphasis on the T. 6'8" to be precise. Not an easy body to clothe on short notice.

I think he knew I was starting to panic.

He tried to make me feel better.

"The guy at the tux shop gave me some fake cuffs that we can tape on to my forearms so that it looks like the shirt sleeves are just fine."

Even now I can't help laughing out loud. Really loud.

Taping cuffs to your arms? Are you kidding me? Who does that?

The answer would be: Mr. TD&H.

When he flew in the next day, my first request (after a much needed hug and kiss or two :) was to see the tux. When we walked in the door of my house, I made him put it on to see what we could do.

He looked great. Even in a HORRIBLE tux. I guess it pays to be not only tall, but also dark and handsome. (Emphasis on the handsome!)

I don't think anyone knew that his shirt collar was folded at the back of the neck and held together with his bow tie. Or that I could grab a couple fist-fulls of his jacket behind his back and it would still be loose. Or that we pulled the adjustable neck-part of the vest all the way out to accomodate the beautifully long torso of Mr. TD&H (and that you could see the clasp in only a few wedding pictures).

Oh, and the magic cuffs. He just needed to be sure NOT to take off his jacket.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part fourteen

During that crazy work-filled week, I was talking to my eldest sister. She was the only married sibling I had. She was so excited to have me join the ranks of the happily hitched.

We were talking about finishing details when she looked at me with concern in her eyes.

"What about pictures? Who is your photographer?" she quietly asked.

"Oh, we aren't having one. We thought we could just deal with snapshots here and there," I casually responded. (You will see that this was often my normal response.)

"Oh yes, you will," she countered. "You will regret it if you don't have good pictures."

Honestly, I hadn't even given it a thought. Ever.

I am thrifty by nature, and a wedding photographer was just an unnecessary expense in my very-inexperienced-with-weddings mind.

So my dear sister called her friend from Santa Cruz. Melisa was just starting up a photography business and needed some wedding shots for her portfolio. She jumped at the chance.

So, thanks to Kristin (and Melisa), I had a wedding photographer.

And, yes, I would have regretted it if I hadn't any pictures to physically document our amazing day. In my bedroom right now there are no less that 10 wedding photos on my walls. I am so grateful that we were captured, so beautiful, so full of love, so happy.

At another moment, my almost-mother (mom's best friend) Marylyn sat me down to talk about the honeymoon. And no, not that talk. About where we would stay. We hadn't planned that either. (I know--how insane!!! But, in my defense, we only had 5 weeks AND we were in school. Does that excuse us? Please?)

She called Mr. TD&H and together they arranged a beautiful several days in Carmel and Monterey. She even footed half the bill! Thank you, Whattie!

As I think back, I can't believe how many important things I had dismissed as trivial and unnecessary. And I am awestruck at how merciful the Lord was in inspiring people to lovingly put us on the right track that would help us make our wedding experience a time we would never forget.

***revision***
I completely mis-represented my sweetheart in this post (not too badly, though). He DID plan a honeymoon for us (at least one night) which was amazing and fabulous. Thank you, sweetie! I didn't want anyone to think he was completely off his rocker in not planning anything.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part thirteen

Fast forward four weeks. During that time I studied, did finals, and tried to plan a wedding. What a joke! Thank goodness for my mom and Gerry Y. who took our plans from earlier in the year and made them happen (along with so many helpers!-thank you!!!).

I was going to tell the long, drawn-out, horrific story of the announcements, but I just don't want to. At least, not in detail To make a long, painful story short--I ordered them (expedited) to be shipped ASAP. The day after I was supposed to receive them, I called and they told me that they never received the order. AAAAACK! I called and hysterically told my big sister (very experienced in customer service) what had happened, but not even Laurel could pull out a miracle on that one (much to my shocked surprise--thanks again, sis!). So I found some paper at the stationery store, went to a printer, and got announcements made (photocopied--can you believe the faux pas-ery of it all?).

Well, I am here to tell you that you can get married even if you have photocopied announcements. Who knew?

I flew home a week before the wedding. I walked into a beehive of activity. As a little background, my family seems to need a deadline to get major things done. My little sister and I had provided the deadline--wedding receptions to be held in our backyard. My mom thought she had until the middle of September to get ready, but then I sprang my wedding needs on her only a few weeks before the big day. Boy, I was in for a week of work!

We laid tile in the whole kitchen/family room, recarpeted (I think), rewallpapered the downstairs bathroom (plaid--not a good idea in a time crunch--FYI!), the family room (can we say Hallelujah for wallpaper that can be hung upside down and no one will know?), repainted ALL the trim, etc. And that was only inside the house (where no one would be except the kitchen helpers)!

The backyard renovation included restaining the deck, ripping out the hideous pine tree in the corner, cutting back the iceplant (oh how many stories I could tell about the summer days shen we were supposed to be cutting back the iceplant!), weeding the bark sections and laying new bark, planting HUNDREDS of flowers and shrubs, laying stepping stones between the fence gate and deck, and SO MUCH MORE!

I couldn't believe how tired I was each night as I went to bed. I was supposed to be getting mani/pedis and facials and sitting in the sun with cucumbers over my eyes, right? I guess there was no rest for the wicked (or engaged!).

The work took its toll on my hands. I couldn't get all the dirt out from under my anemic and chipped nails, so I took a drastic measure: acrylic nails for my big day. Just so you know, I bit my fingernails until I was well into my college career (and only stopped then when a classical guitar-playing quasi-boyfriend of mine told me he thought it was absolutely GROSS). I am a pianist. I don't like long nails, but I figured I needed to not look like Ms. Bride Hamburger Hands on my wedding day. I remember the nail tech staring at me in unbelief when I told her how short I wanted my nails to be. She thought it was blasphemy to have them shorter than an inch and a half. But I got my way, and left thinking that my hands looked pretty good.

But my pain was nothing compared to what Mr. TD&H would go through with his tux...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sneak preview

I am going to tell the story behind this picture after I finish our rollercoaster of a courtship. Our anniversary is just a week away, so I'll be wrapping up soon. But not too soon that there won't be more drama...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part twelve

So, I was a believer! But Mr. TD&H and I were still technically "seeing other people." Our little date the night before hadn't changed anything, right?

Yeah, right.

I remember the next part very well. I was sitting at my desk, looking at the computer, when the phone rang. I picked it up, and immediately the caller said,

"So how do you feel about getting married before school starts for the fall?"

My heart leaped in my chest. The proposal I had been waiting for!

I chose my words carefully.

"I'd love to. But we have to be really organized or I know I'll freak out again."

Ah, romance. The telephone call/proposal. Surprisingly enough, I wasn't surprised or offended. I was too happy to be either of those. It was all falling into place (after being a roller coaster for far too long).

He was just as giddy as I was. The rest was all a blur. I hung up the phone, floating on cloud nine. My name? I couldn't remember that right now--I had more important things to dream about.

Just then I glanced at the calendar hanging on the wall. July 15. School was starting again the first week of September. That was six weeks away. And I had to get married and have some semblance of a honeymoon before that. The butterflies in my stomach morphed into falcons and they were diving every few seconds. Do NOT freak out, I told myself. OK--short list: call the temple, get a dress, get announcements...oh, and tell our parents. That's not too bad, right? After all, we had planned a wedding earlier this year. We just had to put all the plans back into motion.

And did I mention that my little sister was getting married on September 12? And that they had planned it for months? I wasn't stealing her thunder, was I? I was probably stealing more thunder from her future hubby than from her. She and I had always been the most laid back girls in my family about stuff like this. I didn't think she'd mind (and she didn't--or at least she didn't tell me!).

So I called the Oakland temple and set the date for Saturday, August 23. As I look back on it now, how in the world did I get an August Saturday (in a big sealing room, no less) five weeks before the wedding. I don't remember very clearly, but maybe Whattie (my second mom, Marylyn) pulled some strings. She had been working at the temple for quite a while, and it is just like her to try to smooth my path a little bit--or a lot. So we were set on the temple date.

Next came the dress. I was so worried about this part. I remembered all to well the desolation I felt when I couldn't find anything I liked. I walked in with a prayer in my heart, and I was not disappointed. I fell in love with the second dress I looked at and, wonder of wonders, it looked fabulous on me! I coudn't believe how much I was being helped and watched over. A shopping excursion may not be reason for a tender mercy for everyone, but for me it was undoubtedly a divine shove in the right direction from my loving Father. Even with the hemming that needed to be done, it would be ready in plenty of time (will the miracles ever cease? i hoped not!). Two things checked off my short list.

During this whirlwind week, I got asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting in my ward. I fished around for a suitable topic, and then settled on the week's most important bit of gospel doctrine--stepping out into the dark with faith. I reminisced on the spiritual journey I had recently taken as I prepared--grateful that the Lord had given me such an amazing discovery at such a critical time. When I sat at the front of the room waiting for the service to begin, I was handed a legal pad with a question--"What is something that not many people know about you?" I figured it would be used as part of the introduction for each speaker. I hesitated only a moment, and then scribbled, "I just got engaged." As the paper left my hands, I panicked. What if this all doesn't work out? My dating chances will be killed in this ward if I say I'm engaged and then it doesn't happen! I gave myself a mental slap-in-the-face. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, I shrieked at my subconscious. Everything will be fine. For heaven's sake--practice what you preach, girl! Aren't you about to pontificate on the merits of moving forward in faith? You should be ashamed of your unbelief! In a matter of moments, I had been faithful, freaked out, scolded, humbled, and recommitted. (Maybe I should have been committed instead--to a looney bin!) As I renewed my desire to marry my sweetheart despite any thorns in my path, I felt again a wave of peace and joy. Heavenly Father wasn't leaving me on my own. He knew this choice was a difficult and important one. He stood by my decision, and He was also willing to remind me of its divine approval.

The member of the bishopric conducting that day was Darin. I don't usually call members of the bishopric by their first names, but Darin was different. He was a frequent visitor to our apartment--I think he had a crush on Emma, my roommate. As he stood to announce my talk, he said my name and, with a huge smile on his face, he continued, "I've been wanting to announce this next information for a long time. Melanie has just gotten engaged to the tall Canadian sitting in the back of the room." Right then I heard a gasp--a very loud gasp that carried through the entire auditorium. Mr. TD&H later told me who it was--a girl he had dated last year (who was still in the ward). It wasn't that she was horrified, just surprised that I was marrying a guy she had dated. She was happy for both of us and a little embarrassed by her outburst. I just thought it was funny and a tiny bit weird. No big deal. But my re-confirmation of my decision had been a very big deal for me. Full steam ahead!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part eleven

I was so excited about having made my choice. I couldn't wait to share my experience with my sweetheart.

Unfortunately, he was having his doubts now. After having been such a constant strength to me during my struggles, he was having a few struggles of his own. Did he want to be saddled with such a crazy wife? I'd be taking a long hard look at that too, if I were him!

The months of March through July were filled with more ups and downs. I was sure, then I doubted. I was strong, then I let my fears creep up on me again. I wish I could report that I was steadfast and immovable, but I was full of failings.

In July my roommate and I decided to travel to San Diego to a mission reunion to welcome home from Spain our beloved Pte. Tenney. We carpooled with a couple of elders we knew in Spain. One of them was an elder that had really impressed me. Of course he was younger than I was, but I looked on this trip as an opportunity to forever put him out of my mind or pursue something more. Don't get me wrong--I wasn't two-timing. I was just exploring other options while not completely sure what was going on with Mr. TD&H.

Within the first couple of hours I realized what a mistake I had made. No doubt, he was a wonderful and faithful missionary, but my appreciation could forever end there. He had a good voice, an outgoing personality, and was a nice person. But NOT what I was looking for. Just another reminder that I already knew who I was looking for. (And where he lived. And what he looked like.)

The reunion was amazing. I basked in the spiritual glow of my mission president and his wife. She gathered myself and a few other sisters in a study of Proverbs 31. Enlightening, to say the least! She strengthened me in my resolve to marry my wonderful, faithful man. He led all of us missionaries in a study of a chapter in Alma. I can't remember now which chapter, but I remember the point he made that really resonated with me. He spoke about when we know something through the spirit that we are sinning by not acting in faith. Whew! Was that a bullseye or what? I needed to repent, that is for sure. I left the reunion re-energized and refocused on moving forward with faith.

I got home on a Sunday afternoon. I called Mr. TD&H right away. I was SO excited to convince him that we were indeed going to get married. He answered and we chatted for a few minutes. As I was thinking about how to tell him about my amazing weekend, he related to me the trials of his weekend. He had been feeling so down and confused. He told me that he had decided that perhaps we needed to start seeing other people. I was floored, devastated, heartbroken. I was so shocked that I didn't tell him a single thing about my weekend. I didn't know what to do. I just prayed that everything would turn out okay.

The next day while I was at work, I got a phone call. He wanted to go out that night. So much for seeing other people. We went to the movies, to see a movie called Contact. While we were waiting for the movie to start, we saw and talked to a friend of Mr. TD&H. He had just gotten married. He talked about what a blessing it (marriage) was. He spoke of learning how to show love in the way the other person can understand and receive it. We were touched.

I hesitate even telling the next part because it is so cheesy, but I'll forge ahead. As we watched Contact, the movie's message came through--you CAN know something that you can't prove to others. You CAN have a conviction that something is right. I knew that was true. I had lived it. I was living it. I knew that I would be blessed if I married him. I couldn't prove it--I had to have faith.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part ten

***Disclaimer*** This post is full of deep faith based musings and experiences. Proceed at your own risk!!

A few days later, I was talking with my dear roommate. She had seen me up and down, confused and deliriously happy, heartbroken and comforted. She was concerned about me, and like a true friend, helped me see to the heart of the matter.

"What is it that you are looking for?" she tenderly asked.

As I sat, thinking about my reply, she continued.

"What more do you want?"

I was stunned. I had never thought about it in that way. What more DID I want? I couldn't see into the future to see how he would react to all the things life would throw at us. But I was sure of a few things:

1. He loves me.
2. He loves God.
3. He is a faithful priesthood holder.
4. He loves the scriptures and temple worship.
5. He is humble and honest.
6. He is a hard worker.
7. He wants to do God's will with his life.

I thought of these things and re-asked myself my dear friend's question--What more do I want?

I had to have faith. I couldn't know everything at this point. But I knew that I had an important decision to make. I wanted to marry him. I couldn't let him get away. I loved and respected him. I wanted to spend my life learning to love and sacrifice for him.

I knelt by my bed and said a different kind of prayer. All this time I had prayed that Heavenly Father would make the decision for me. Now I wanted to make my own decision. I wanted His seal of approval on my choice. As I prayed, a feeling of peace and joy flooded my body. I had my answer. He was my choice. And the Lord approved. Just the way I wanted it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part nine

Well, the weekend was, expectedly, a disaster. I was surprised that we made it back alive. And still speaking to each other.

As I reflected on my crazy feelings and wacko decisions, I found that I had some unresolved concerns. I felt that I hadn't been able to make my own decision about whether or not to get married. I felt pushed into the decision without being given the time to wrap my mind around such a huge step. I let myself "take counsel from my fears" and needed to figure things out. And fast. I knew I loved Mr. TD&H. I knew he was an amazing, loving, caring, unselfish, humble person. I loved all of that. I loved that he loved me. All of me. Even my psycho parts (which, I was finding, were not a few). I did need time. Time to sort myself out. Time to listen to heaven helping me make this all-important choice. I needed that divine help. I had been doing this on my own too long.

So I went to talk to my sweetheart. He was so sorry that I felt pushed into the decision. He wanted me to feel comfortable with my decision. He backed off and gave me time. That took a lot of love and faith, and I was so grateful.

About a week later, I came home to a wonderful surprise: Two dozen long-stemmed roses from him. They were the MOST BEAUTIFUL roses I had ever seen (and they are still unmatched--they were incredible!). I felt so loved. So patiently loved and cared for.



just an FYI--chapter four has a new picture--FINALLY! (that's for you Liz and Rita!)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part eight

Later that day we were standing in the kitchen with his sisters. He looked across the room at me and said,
"So, should we tell them?"

Well, as you can probably imagine, they didn't need to be told. They started screaming with excitement and hugging us in turn. His younger sister, who was already married, was beside herself with happiness. She whispered in my ear that she had been hoping for this. I was nervous and anxious, yet I felt so loved and accepted.

The next experience was NOT my favorite to recall. We were walking around the mall in Lethbridge. As we passed a jewelry store, my future SIL stopped us to look at rings. I saw a few that looked nice, and I turned to look at Mr. TD&H. He looked positively green.

"That is more than I thought it would be," he simply said.

Embarrassed, I quickly started to exit the store. I was mortified that he was balking at how much he needed to pay for a ring. For me. I was the reason for his pain!

I think he stayed green for the rest of the day. His sister caught on to what was going on with him. I think she may have lectured him a little bit (hee, hee). He came to me later to apologize about his reaction. I reasoned that it was totally normal to have sticker shock. I forgave him.

But I was shaken. My fears reared their ugly heads. Are you sure you want to do this? Is he "the one"? Really? Shouldn't he feel privileged to pay whatever was necessary to give you whatever you want? I rebuked myself for being to superficial. My knight-in-shining-armor was a man of limited means, and that didn't bother me at all. What was I expecting--a 3-carat rock to wear on my finger? I was freaking out all for nothing!

In time, we returned to school in Provo. It had been a fun, family and food-filled trip that I would not soon forget. Not only did I get the lovely experience of feeling what snow is like on my skin at 40 degrees below, but I also had a private tutorial by my man's Uncle Lawrence on the finer points of Rook. I was also introduced to Old Dutch chips (dill pickle being my favorite--even still!). Ahh, so many memories!

Back in the real world, I was feeling buffeted. My fears about getting married would resurface several times a day, but I was able to work through them. Then the wedding planning began. I want to be perfectly clear here--I didn't NOT dream of my perfect wedding since I was a young girl. I didn't have an image in my mind that needed to be met down to the last detail. I was just happy to be getting married, and I guessed that all the wedding stuff just came along with that. So I went to find a dress. January was drab and dreary around me as I walked into Walker Bridal on Center St. in Provo. I wasn't (and I'm still not) a shoppin' gal, and after the first few minutes I knew that I should have brought a girlfriend with me. I must have suffered through racks and racks of wedding dresses. I couldn't find ANYTHING that I remotely liked. Not even close. I didn't know what I wanted, but I REALLY knew what I didn't want. YIKES! Did people really buy these dresses? Who were they?

I walked out of the shop depressed and mildly hysterical. What if I couldn't find a dress? Was this a sign? Was I not supposed to get married? Was heaven holding out on me? I may even have gone home to cry on my bed, but I have conveniently blocked that out.

Mr. TD&H and I needed to make more wedding plans--ones that required a trip to my hometown. So we booked our flight and waited for that last weeked in January to head to sunny California!

Our classes, work, and choir (for me) took up a lot of time, so we didn't have a ton of time to spend together. When we were able to get together, I was very sensitive and irritable. I am sure that was one of his favorite dating times! Finally the week of our trip dawned. I was down (probably hormonal), and the night before the trip I called home to commiserate. I spent a lot of time whining and complaining to my mom on the phone. She was VERY concerned and mentioned that maybe I needed to rethink this whole situation. I mulled that over all that night and through the next day. I thought to myself, "If I just break it off, all this stress and hoopla will go away, and I will feel so much better!" In my mind, this was exactly what I needed to do.

I didn't exactly know how to approach my man, so as we sat next to each other on the flight to CA, I casually said, "I have been thinking." (yikes, uh oh, deer-in-the-headlights) "This is all moving too fast. I feel so stressed out. I want to break things off for a while to see if I can figure out how I am feeling."

Now, imagine yourself sitting with the person you love, on the way to visit her family, and she drops this bomb in your lap. He sat there, staring at me with concerned eyes, not moving or speaking. Finally, he said something like, "So you waited until we were in the air to tell me this?"

Then I had my finest hour. I not only didn't answer his question, but I continued by asking the impossible:

"Can you not mention this to my family? Let's just pretend like everything is fine, and they don't need to know. We'll just deal with it on our own."

To ask Mr. TD&H to pretend where his feelings are concerned is like asking him to stop breathing. NOT gonna happen.

He looked at me, incredulous. "How am I supposed to pretend everything is normal? You just told me you don't want to get married? Why are we even here? To plan a wedding that isn't going to happen?"

Needless to say, I didn't have a good answer.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part seven

It has been a while. If you need to remember where we are, you can read part six here.


With one family "met," we had one left. His family. But I had only been home from my mission for a few months, and I wanted to go home for Christmas. My family wanted me home for Christmas. So we'd have to meet his family some other time.

Fast forward to the week of semester finals. I was planning to drive home with some friends for Christmas to spend it with my family. Then one night, Mr. TD&H and I were talking about Christmas. We didn't want to be apart, but I wanted to be home. He felt very strongly about going to Canada for Christmas, and he just threw the idea out there. Why didn't I come home with him for Christmas? I immediately said that I couldn't. I wanted to be home. But I started to think about it. I had just been home at Thanksgiving. I really did want to meet his family. Why didn't I go? I felt peaceful. I hoped my family would understand. I knew they'd be disappointed. I was disappointed. But I hoped they would be able to see where I was coming from. It was a long trip, and I wanted time to really get to know his family. I knew Christmas break was the right time. It felt right.

I was a little nervous at the thought of meeting his family. Mr. TD&H was VERY close to his family. They meant everything to him. He had five sisters and one brother. His sisters absolutely adored him, and they were also very protective of him. Especially the sister closest to him in age. He had talked about other girls he had taken home that hadn't gotten "approval" from the sisters. I hoped I would win their approval, but I wasn't overly worried because I knew I had his. It would be like icing on the cake. I hoped they weren't hideously mean! (hee, hee, sweetarita!)

After finals were done, I waited patiently to go. We had decided to go the day before Christmas Eve. It was a long drive, 13 hours, and I wasn't looking forward to it. On the other hand, I would have Mr. TD&H all to myself!

As i waited in his apartment, I was getting a little antsy. He had a project for a client that he was finishing, and it was taking a lot longer than he thought. He kept putting off the departure. I was a little annoyed, but I was more than happy to sleep a little more to make up for all the sleep deprivation through finals. Eventually it got too late to go that day, so I schlepped myself home to sleep a few hours and get on the road early on Christmas Eve.

I was back early the next morning, and we were off! We were snuggled in to the melanoma car with a stereo for tunes and a blanket or two in the back seat. We made it all the way to near McCammon, Idaho (maybe three hours on our trip). I was driving and all of a sudden I didn't feel any traction. I told Mr. TD&H and he reacted: "Black ice!" I completely panicked. I had heard so many scary black ice stories and had experienced it myself on a desolate Nevada stretch of I-80--complete with 360's! I screamed back, "What do I do?" He told me to pump the brakes, and they seemed to be working just fine. I just didn't have any oomph. I would step on the gas, but nothing happened. We finally came to a stop at the side of the road just before the exit leading to Lava Hot Springs. This was before cell phones, so we actually had to get out of the car and hoof it to the nearest house. As we left the car behind, we noticed a pinkish trail leading to where we stopped. "Transmission fluid," he stated. I was at a loss. What would we do?

The first house we passed was surrounded by snow drifts. Not there. Let's try the next. The door opened to our knock, and we entered a very comfortable home. There were pictures of temples on the wall and inspirational quotes. Relief flooded me. We'd be okay. We called a tow truck that took us in to Inkom, Idaho (about 20 minutes). We ended up spending about 7 hours in this little fix-it shop. Please remember, however, that it was Christmas Eve. We were lucky they even looked at the car. The guys were so nice. The car just had a tune-up, but the repairman hadn't properly replaced the plug for the transmission fluid, and it had all leaked out. We had to find a new plug. On Christmas Eve. So the amazing guys at the shop called a junkyard in Pocatello and located one. I am still amazed that they fixed it. About 3 p.m. we were back on the road. My guy's family didn't know about the delay, so we hurried on our way so as not to worry them. We made it through Idaho and started into Montana. It was getting dark, and the weather worsened. I was clueless about the directions, so I didn't know that we were near a crucial crossroads. Where I-90 crosses I-15. If you blink, you'll miss the signs and get on the wrong road. We did. We were heading to Missoula, Montana, and we didn't know it. After going about an hour and not recognizing anything, Mr. TD&H pulled off the road and found a pay phone. He called his dad and broke the news that we'd be late. Very late. Then he found out that we were on the wrong road. We had to backtrack over a small highway to get back to I-15. We got the directions and started on our way.

It was pitch dark when we finally made it to Great Falls. We gassed up and called his house to let them know of our progress. As we left the gas station, I realized that we were losing our first Christmas Eve together. So I put on some hymns on the stereo and started reading Luke 2. The Spirit flooded that little car. We were filled with love for a Baby born in a stable thousands of years ago. We were filled with love and gratitude for each other. It had been a hard day, but we had enjoyed each other's company and been positive. Mr. TD&H told me later that he was so impressed by my unfailing optimism. Boy, had I tricked him! The Lord must have strengthened me through that test. There is no other explanation.

We basked in the reason for the season and started sharing Christmas memories from our childhood. I told him of my amazing Beatles digital watch that I sneaked down in the middle of the night to open. He told me of homemade jammies and heartfelt gifts from his family. We were making the best of this crazy situation. Then the blizzard hit. He was driving, thank goodness, and then next few hours we creeped along the highway at a snail's pace. Each time a semi would pass us, we would silently pray that we would stay on the road during the ensuing white-out. He would hit drift after drift in his little car, hoping to not hit one we couldn't get through. I was beside myself with fear. Practically a native California girl, I had never experienced anything like this. Mr. TD&H was intently concentrating on the road, so my mind had plenty of opportunities to play out gruesome scenarios. At the time my inexperience with this kind of weather was probably a blessing. I had no idea how bad it really was. Hours passed slowly as the tension mounted. I prayed we would make it. We weren't prepared for this kind of situation. I was grateful for the blankets, but they wouldn't do us much good if we ran off the road.

Finally, the weather eased up. He was exhausted. We traded places, and I took the driver's seat. With sunflower seeds in hand to keep me awake, I started toward Shelby. After I had driven about 30 minutes, I saw a car. This was a welcome sight. We hadn't seen many for a long time. But then the car started acting strange. It came up right next to me, and the driver seemed to be trying to communicate. I was so freaked out, that I sped up to try to get away from the crazy person. Then the car sped in front of me and pulled in to my lane. Now I was really getting scared. The car then started to slow down. I had no choice but to slow down as well. We both stopped and I locked the car doors and turned to Mr. TD&H. Panicked, I told him that someone was walking toward the car. He sat bolt upright, trying to wake up. The driver was at my window! My heart was racing in my chest. What should I do? Did I have anything i could use as a weapon? All of a sudden, Mr. TD&H said, "Pedro!"

He reached over me and started rolling down the window. There stood an average-sized guy with a blond afro. This was no Pedro. Was my guy really awake? Was this part of his dream? Then "Pedro" smiled. He said, "We are so glad we found you. What took you so long?" I turned to Mr. TD&H for some explanation. "This is my brother in law," he glibly stated. They exchanged greetings and "Pedro" said, "Your dad's in the car, too. We came to find you."

When we hadn't shown up, they called the border. The person working there told them of the storm and that, because it was Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, there would be no Highway Patrol officers out from midnight on. Had we gone off the road, there would have been no help at all. We could have frozen to death in some ditch in Montana. I was so glad I hadn't known that. The family had gotten together and decided they would send a "rescue party." So Dad and "Pedro" set out in the wee hours of Christmas morning to find us. That is completely normal for this family. Sacrifice for other family members? Sacrifice? What sacrifice?

So these intrepid adventurers escorted us across the border. Funny story about that border. Mr. TD&H had told me not to say anything stupid at the border. Just answer the questions calmly and everything would be fine. So what do I do? I get to the border--I am still in the driver's seat, remember? First, they state that we must be the who they had been looking for. Auspicious start, eh? They start asking questions, and I get a little flustered. Finally I just softly shriek that I am an American. My passenger not-so-nervously laughs and says that this is my first border crossing (which it isn't), and they let us move on our merry way. Excited to be so close to home, Mr. TD&H wanted to drove. Go right ahead, I thought. An hour later, we pulled in to his parent's driveway. Home at last!

I walked in, feeling like death warmed over. I hadn't showered in two days, but with the stress and expectations for these introductions, I felt even more crusty and fuzzy-teethed. I said a cursory hello, and headed for the bathroom. The hot water thankfully brought me back to life. It was hot--really hot. I finished my shower, stepped out, and almost passed out. It must have been 90 degrees in that bathroom with the heat and the steam. I thought I would be sick! I quickly opened the window and stuck my head out as far as the screen would permit. It felt wonderful, but as I breathed in, my throat hurt. Was I getting sick? I didn't think so. I found out later that the pain in my throat came because it was 40 DEGREES BELOW ZERO!!!!!!!!!! What? To my Californian body, 40 degrees was cold. But below zero? Does the temperature really go that low? (I am sure there are many knowing chuckles out there at this point) I finally joined the family, and we had a wonderful Christmas morning. Although they had only known about me coming for a few days, they had a stocking and a pile of presents for me. I was NOT expecting that! I felt loved, thought of, and valued. They took me in as one of their own. And the sister I was worried about? She treated ME as a true sister. What a wonderful end to an interesting Christmas journey!

After a day full of family, food, and fun, Mr. TD&H had some time together late that night in front of the fire. There I was, looking out the window onto the first white Christmas I could remember, cuddled in front of a warm fire with the man I loved. Could it get any better?

Yes.

After talking for a while, he turned to me with a very earnest face. He spoke of hopes and dreams, ones that would include me. He told me he wanted to spend his life with me. I whole-heartedly agreed. It was a glorious moment. I floated to bed on Cloud Nine.

The next day we were quietly talking, and he asked me how I felt about the night before. Great, I responded. He asked if I was ok with it. With what? With being engaged, he answered. Engaged? Are we engaged? Panic ripped through me. Engaged? He saw the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face and faltered. Was I okay, he asked? I considered for a moment. Was I engaged? I guess I was. Our conversation of the night before could be considered a proposal, I just didn't realize it. I did want to be with him. So I was engaged.

I put on a brave smile. I asked myself, why was I so scared? Did marriage scare me? I didn't know. I thought that maybe I just needed time to get used to the idea. Yeah--I just needed time.

Whaaat?!

I missed July?

When was it?

Oh, I only just missed it.

Oh well.

Life happens, I guess.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sick

I am sick of vomit.

First Sarah, then William, then me.

A week passes. Safe, right?

Wrong.

Then Lauren.

Who is potentially next?

Mr. TD&H, who shared his scrambled eggs this morning with aforesaid sicky girl.

Textbook case of "wo unto him who says all is well in Zion."

'Nuf said, right?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just got back...

From Girl's Camp!

We were rained out two of the three days, but we had a blast!!! I am still recovering from the absolute sleep deprivation, but I just had to post my fave song:

The Sprite Song (sung to the tune of Do a deer--Sound of Music)

Dough--is how I buy my sprite,
Ray--the guy that brings my Sprite,
Me--is who will drink my Sprite,
Far--a long way to the john,
So--I think I'll have a Sprite
La--Oh yes, I'll have a Sprite,
Tea?--No thanks, I'll have a Sprite,
and that brings us back to Sprite!

I just laughed and laughed. Hope you will too!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Lauren-ism

She must be a lover of Brahms. Just like her mama.

How else would she come up with "Yo-hahm-mus" for hummus?

Get it? Johannes--Yo-hahm-mus?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lauren's new word

I thought I had forgotten what she said. Thankfully, Larry reminded me.

Lauren and I were standing in the kitchen. She asked me to cut her some watermelon. I was in the process when she came up with this beauty:

"Mom, didn't we have some of this lasterday?"

I just blinked for a few seconds trying to figure out what she was telling me.

Then I laughed. My girl is very resourceful. If she can't remember the word she is searching for, she'll just make up one that is close.

And she was very close. The combination of last night/week/month and yesterday still has me smiling.

have a gray! (great day)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sorry I've been slacking...

But life has a way of catching up to a person!

Hopefully I can put on my "writer" hat and get our story going again. It is fun, however, once in a while, to actually spend time with my Mr. TD&H instead of just writing about our past.

Here's hopin' that I'll carve out a few minutes (or hours) in the next couple of days.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part six

Things were going along quite smoothly. We spent almost every moment we could together, and we were lovin' every minute of it.

A couple weeks into November, we made a decision (helped quite a bit by super-low airfare). We would go to my house for Thanksgiving to meet the family.

I think we were both a little nervous about this big step forward (although Mr. TD&H had already run the gauntlet in meeting my mom). However, he wins the prize for stress-induced illness. He had a mouth full of canker sores. Really bad! When we flew in on Thanksgiving morning (see how smart I am? I didn't have to help with the cleaning, cooking, or anything else!), he was starting to feel the pain. To make a long story short (I know, too late), he couldn't eat a single thing. Not one thing. I think he may have drank some milk. And it was skim milk. If you know Mr. TD&H, he does not do skim milk. Nice Thanksgiving for him!

To add insult to injury, it was one of the coldest Thanksgivings in my hometown. Which isn't a big deal to Mr. TD&H (who is from Canada). But you have to understand something about my family. Growing up, the rule was that if you were cold, you put on more clothes. Turn up the heat? Perish the thought! Even now, all these years later, when my parents are getting on in years (no offense, Mama J!), I think they set their thermostat at 62 degrees or something absolutely crazy.

So there we were, the day after Thanksgiving, and Mr. TD&H says to me, "I am freezing!" I thought: What? Aren't you from "the frozen north"? This is California, for cryin' out loud! He told me that he had never been so cold as he was in my parent's house. Nice. I'd find out later why. (keep your eye out for the Christmas post coming up...)

That evening we went to see my sister. She was graduated from BYU and living in my Grandma's house. My grandma had passed away many years before, and the kids were trying to figure out whether to rent or sell it. So my sister was "renting" with a couple of roommates. I had so many wonderful memories in that house. Mr. TD&H and I drove the 30 minutes to Grandma's house, and we visited with my big sis. She was absolutely wonderful and so excited to me this handsome guy of mine. She drew us in to her warm, conversational embrace, and I could see Mr. TD&H thawing out--on many different levels. He is so much more comfortable one on one with conversations.

We talked until late in the evening, and then my dear sister left us to say our good nights. Not so fast. We weren't done talking. I think we spent the next few hours opening our hearts to each other. Sharing our pasts, talking about the present, and painting beautiful pictures of our dreams for the future. As we sat in my Grandma's old room, so full of loving memories of that amazing woman, with a gentle breeze blowing in through the barely curtained windows, Mr. TD&H said,

"I love you."

There it was. Out there. Un-take-back-able. But I could see that he didn't want to take it back. He meant it. And I wasn't afraid. I loved this man. A man who was fearless in sharing who he was, warts and all. I felt so safe. He loved me. He was aware of some of my warts also. And he still loved me. Gratitude surged through my whole body. I loved him. I wanted to be with him.

"I love you, too."

to be continued...

Friday, May 08, 2009

A love affair with dairy products


To quote Larry holding an 8-cup measuring cup,

"Now this is an ice cream bowl."

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part five

Then the first weekend in October came.

The first mission reunion.

I wanted to go, see the mission buddies, and show everyone that I hadn't been wasting time. Maybe not so much the last one, but I was excited nonetheless. Troy and TD&H accompanied Diana and myself. It was a little awkward at first, but I am glad that we both had "friends" there and that they both had someone to talk to--each other. It was really fun to see old friends, and Diana and I were having fun watching people try to figure out what was going on between us and these guys. We certainly didn't divulge too much information!

The next day Di and I were invited to the guys' apartment to watch General Conference. From the moment I sat down on the couch next Mr. TD&H, I could feel something was different. He was serious about being with me (if you catch my drift). The sparks were flying, and I was having a hard time concentrating on the talks. As he got closer and cuddlier, I had to ask myself some serious questions. Like: was I ready to kiss this guy? Did I think that was okay? I was TOTALLY gun-shy when it came to physical affection, and I almost panicked at the prospect. Still unsure of myself, I avoided looking him in the eye (you know, lips in close proximity) until I could sort things out. Turns out my defenses weren't too strong. As he walked me to the car, I felt my moment of truth had come. And it had. He cornered me--there was nowhere to go. I decided to move forward in faith (how's that for misquoting?), and we kissed. I hadn't done that in a long time. I liked it. A lot.

There it was. The first kiss. A little awkward. And wonderful.

Where were we going with this? We'd soon find out.

Soon after that I was invited to a party at another mission companion's house--Mel K. She became my companion right after Diana went home. I missed Di very much, and Mel was the perfect companion for me at that time. She was absolutely the most loving, supportive, optimistic, sensitive, spiritual person I had ever known. I would go anywhere or do anything to be with her for an evening. I was excited to introduce her to Mr. TD&H. She was thrilled to meet this guy. We went, and it was like another mission reunion. Mel and her mom were so welcoming and kind to both of us. I was so busy greeting people that I didn't pay that much attention to my guy. As we were going home, we were deep in conversation. It was your basic DTR (define the relationship). I was having fun being with him, getting to know him, and getting back into the single social scene. But he proceeded to lay things on the line. He was 26 years old. He had dated a LOT (about 50 girls). He was ready to get married. He wanted to date me to figure out if he wanted to marry me. YIKES!!! He was dead serious. He was so earnest in saying what was in his heart that we drove all the way to Payson before he realized that we had missed the exit for Provo. Of course, I being the ultra-observant person that I was, I had noticed about 5 seconds after he missed the University Parkway off-ramp. I have to admit that he was freaking me out a little bit. But strangely enough, I wasn't turned off by him. I found his honesty and humility so refreshing. He was so completely different than any other guy I had ever been interested in. I was willing to give it a try with this TD&H man. I could tell he was worth it.

to be continued...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part four

Maybe it could get a little stranger.

My dear oldest sister was so glad to have me home. So glad, in fact, that she wanted to do a little match-making. You see, she had been married for seven and a half years. She needed some company in the married department, so she thought she'd do her part.

So I got set up on a blind date. With a brother of a brother-in-law or something. We both tried really hard, but this wasn't going anywhere. It was so hard to talk to him. I kept thinking, throughout the evening, that Mr. TD&H was quickly topping my interest list. This guy sure couldn't hold a candle to him.

To review, then, in the three weeks since I'd been at BYU, I'd had several dates with three different guys. Not typical for me. But if I had to make a choice, that choice was clear. Let's say head and shoulders above the rest. And dark. And handsome.

A couple weeks later, I had a feeling of dejavu (sorry, I can't figure out how to put on the appropriate accent marks). Diana and I were invited by Troy and Mr TD&H to a date in the canyon. In the exact same spot as my interesting blind date. I had the opportunity to compare and contrast. Uh, no comparision. The sun began to set, and we just basked in the glory of a late summer evening. Then the fire was lit, and the s'more fest began! We had so much fun, but, uh, I guess I forgot my jacket, so I had to snuggle close to Mr. TD&H and share his coat before the fire. I was seriously getting twitterpated. We talked and talked, laughing and having a great time.

And he forgot to get his coat back at the end of the date. Oops. It smelled really good.

I have to admit--I think I may have fallen asleep that night snuggled in the coat. Just don't tell anyone, OK?

Mr. TD&H knew I was in Concert Choir. And it turned out that he knew some other people in it. So you can imagine my surprise when we were in the middle of rehearsal and the back door of the Madsen Recital Hall opened upon the TD&H form of a guy. He sat on a chair in one of the back rows. I must have blushed to the roots of my hair! But I was so flattered that he would come. After rehearsal he caught up with me and said that he just wanted to see me. He reached his hand toward me and in it was a Little Debbie Oatmeal Pie (if you don't know what that is, it's two soft oatmeal cookies with frosting between). He sheepishly said that he wanted to give me something, but that was all he had. My heart leaped. I have to confess that I kept that cookie pie for several years as a memento of the first thing he gave me. I am cringing even saying that because I am embarrassed at how super-sappy I was (and still am). When he found out I kept it, he was shocked! And he thought I was really weird. Which I am.

The next week my choir was part of the BYU Homecoming Spectacular. One of the performances would be graced by the presence of Mr. TD&H. I was extremely excited! So I donned my sparkly dress and the plate-sized rhinestone earrings and thought, "Let the games begin!" After said performance, I was with my friend Carol H. I had told her a little about this cute guy I was interested in. I told her his name, and she knew him! It seemed that we had more friends in common than we thought.

We walked out of the Marriott Center and there he was. Ooh, he looked so good. Like TD&H times a million! My stomach filled with butterflies. I was in serious trouble. I was falling for this guy. He walked closer and my heart started racing. He put his arms around me in a big hug and practically melted. Just at that second, Carol whipped out her camera. The moment had been captured for the ages. I was so very happy.

to be continued...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part three

DISCLAIMER: I have a bad memory. So this story is the best I can do--some details may be "creatively remembered." Just wanted to dispel any wild notions of super-memory!

We sat there looking at each other, SO AWKWARD! We laughed, nervously, together. I thought, was this a deal breaker? Did we even have a "deal"? Should I have kept my "three weeks" a secret? Was my weirdness leaking out? I was definitely panicking. Finally, he just laughed and said that he hadn't known. Then he did something I didn't expect. He asked if I was okay being with him. I thought to myself, wow--he is really thoughtful. I told him I was just fine. And I smiled.

From there the conversation took off. I think the recently-returned "surprise" acted as an ice breaker. It started to sprinkle a little bit as we walked off campus. We really enjoyed talking together. He was exactly what I needed. When we were looking at the mission website, I had a little homesick attack. I loved my mission and missed it. I felt ill at ease in "normal life." Mr. TD&H also loved his mission. He had been home for 5 years, but I felt like he mirrored my feelings. We talked and talked about funny mission stories. We even shared our feelings about being strengthened in our faith in Christ by our service. We got to his car, and he offered to take me home. It was raining after all. I accepted his chivalrous offer. The talking continued. For hours. We sat in front of my apartment for the next few hours having the most amazing talk. I think back now and have to chuckle. Because of the rain and the heater going in the car, the windows were steamed up. I am sure it looked a little compromising, but we had no idea. We were just happy to be getting to know each other. Really happy.

We finally tore ourselves away, saying that we would talk again soon. I practically floated into my apartment. Diana looked at me with wondering eyes. "What have you been up to?" she asked. Oh, just talking to Troy's roommate for the last several hours, I replied. She chuckled to herself and said, "Oh. Nice?" "Nice," I answered, with a sheepish grin.

I have to interrupt here and say that my life did not revolve around this guy. Not yet, anyway. I was trying to figure out whether to continue my music major or my English major or start an emphasis in education. I was a little lost. One safe place for me, however, was Concert Choir. Before my mission, I had the opportunity to sing under the direction of Mack Wilberg (who now conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). I was lucky enough to get in again the first semester I was back. I loooooved singing in that choir. So I had plenty to do without sitting at home, next to the phone. Although I looked forward to seeing Mr. TD&H, I did have quite a busy life.

I can't even remember how this next bit started, but somehow this guy named Andre entered the picture. Not sweeping me away, mind you. Just there. He was nice enough, but I wasn't too interested. I liked him more as a friend. He even went shopping with me once. One night, soon after school started, we hung out with another couple (married, I think). I remember the couple, I just don't remember if they were married yet. She and I were in Concert Choir together, and we had a double date. Nothing memorable happened because I can't recall anything about that night. Only that Andre was sorta kinda in the background of my life. And he is a singer. A really good one.

Remember how I said my mom was visiting (for the missionary homecoming, etc.)? Well, we were talking and I mentioned Mr. TD&H. She was very interested in seeing this guy, so she invited us to dinner. What???! You don't ask a guy to meet your mom within two weeks of meeting him! But, after all, it was a free dinner. So we went. And it was a little awkward. But Mr. TD&H was a trooper and very nice. I wonder what he was thinking--I've never asked him.
That was Friday night. We made plans to do something (just the two of us) the next evening.

The next day I took my mom over to the HFAC (music building at BYU). She was the choir director in her ward and wanted to run through new music. There, we ran into Andre. He and my mom really hit it off. He offered to help with the music run-through. My mom was thrilled! We worked for quite a while, and I hadn't foreseen this. I hadn't divulged that I was meeting Mr. TD&H because I thought we'd be done by now. I don't know why I didn't just come clean, but I felt awkward, I didn't want to make Andre feel uncomfortable, and I vainly hoped that things would work out all right. It had become late afternoon, and I was getting a little stressed about the fact that I was needing to kindly yet firmly ditch my mom and Andre so that I could meet Mr. TD&H on campus. I don't remember how it happened, but I met Mr. TD&H with mom and Andre in tow. My guy was standoffish, very unlike him, and that puzzled me. (Although now I can't believe I was puzzled. Wouldn't you be with two tag-alongs on a date?) We started walking and I pulled away from the crowd to talk to Mr. TD&H. "I know that guy," he said. "He dated my sister in Canada."

Great. Not only were we on a really strange date, but the two guys actually knew each other. I think Andre felt the tension because he totally started over-compensating. He was charming the socks off my mom and driving me batty. We had to get out of there.

So I finagled a ride (from Andre) to my sister's apartment for my very grateful (to him, not me) mom , and we were finally alone. Tension, anyone?

I reassured Mr. TD&H that there was nothing between me and Andre, and we went on our merry way.

Fast forward three days.

Mr. TD&H met on campus, and he walked me home. When we got there, Andre was sitting in my kitchen with a plate of donuts. He looked at us, and then said, "I hoped we could do something together tonight."

Huh? Did he not see the giant standing next to me? Did he want a trio-date? I told him the obvious, that I already had plans. What was going on here? A couple of weeks earlier I had wondered if I would ever get a date. And now here I was in my own kitchen with two guys seemingly vying for my affections.

Could things get stranger?

to be continued...

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part two

Whoa. "You are so beautiful"?

Who says that kind of thing?

I mean, I am an English major. I am accustomed to guys who can talk the hind legs off a mule. But did he really say that?

But I saw sincerity in his eyes. He was serious. As a heart attack.

Needless to say, I was taken aback. Was he for real or just a really good actor? Now, before you jump down my throat, I am not saying that I am not beautiful--I was just shocked by the sudden, unexpected quality of the comment. The audacity. The courage.

Mr. TD&H and I started talking a little bit. He was a computer nerd (well, not a nerd, you know, he is td&h), and he wore a pager for work. I told him that when I left on my mission, only drug dealers had pagers. Nice, I know. I'm not known for my tact. I mentioned that I was an internet novice (but I probably didn't know enough to say it that way). Being the gallant gentleman he is, Mr. TD&H offered to show me the ropes. He was studying computer science at BYU, and we made plans to get together the next day at the Talmage Building to un-novice-ize me.

I was excited. I know it wasn't a "date" per se, but I would see him. 4 p.m. That sure was a long time to wait.

Monday, 4 p.m.

He was on time. We greeted each other, and he invited me to the computer lab. I sat down. He took a seat right behind me. He was very close. I was very aware in a giggly sort of way. He asked me what I wanted to search. Being a very recently returned missionary, I of course wanted to look up the Barcelona mission. He helped me figure it all out, and wonder of wonders up popped the mission website, complete with pictures of Barca and everything! We started talking about how amazing missions are. I asked him where he served. San Antonio, Texas, with the aforementioned Troy. How long had he been back? A few years. He returned the question: how long had I been back. Three weeks, I said. Startled, he moved his chair back a few inches. Three weeks, he stammered? With a nervous giggle, I said, "Yep!"

to be continued...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Our crazy/silly/roller-coastery story, part one

Ok, just needing to confess: i am a copy catter-dirty ratter. my friends c and a have done this, and i don't want to be left out. it is such a great idea--finally putting down on paper (screen?) the story of us, the beginning. here goes!

Call me scaredy-cat. I loved serving a mission for my church in Barcelona, Spain. And I loved my mission president. Frankly, real life scared the dickens out of me. I didn't want to go home and face trying to live in the world but not of it. I was right to be scared.

My beloved Presidente Tenney understood what I was going through, but, characteristically, he wanted me to buck up and exercise some faith. Which I absolutely needed to do. In my exit interview, we talked about the next step. Marriage. Nope, no boyfriend. Nope, no prospects. So he comforted me, saying that I would marry a very special guy. And he counseled me not to worry if Mr. Wonderful didn't show up for a while (slight paraphrase). Right. OK. Got it, Presidente. No worries.

Fast forward four weeks (past the awkward family pick-up, self-righteous non-released missionary fiasco). Sorry, family. I know how much you wanted to relive the glory days. Tee, hee.

August, 1996. Provo, UT.

I was living in Katy Apartments with my amazing mission companion, Diana. I was starting BYU in a couple of days. A little shell-shocked? You betcha! But, Di was exactly what the doctor ordered. We talked and laughed about Barcelona, and she helped me not be such a weird-o. At least I thought so at the time.

She told me about this guy, Troy, that she had noticed in her last ward. He was cute, and she was hoping to see a little more of him. She told me he had a roommate. Immediately, I was insecure. Dating? I didn't have much experience in that area, and I was scared to death. And I still had a hard time seeing guys with non-missionary haircuts and not thinking they were heathen. To say the least, I was rusty. And nervous. Not a good combination.

So, to ease my troubled mind, Diana suggested going all together to the CES fireside that weekend. OK--that I could do. If nothing else, I could take good notes, right? We're on.

It turned out that we would meet them there. Our whole apartment and various male counterparts swarmed toward the Marriott Center. I didn't even see who Troy was. It was a huge frying pan moment. So many single people, all looking for love. So intimidating. I was anxious and unable to concentrate on the speaker. I don't remember a single thing about the fireside, only that I went home with another roommate and some random guys.

When we got home to the apartment, the fun began. It was crowded. My roomies were obviously very social. I laugh about it now, but the typical BYU Sunday-night activities ensued. We even had a hymn sing (I am cringing even thinking about it). There was a super-tall guy who mentioned that he would sing bass. I pricked up my ears. Tall, dark, and handsome, AND he sings? Jot his name down and file it in the rolodex!

After the virtuous activities, we got a little silly. Troy and his buddy had just returned from Hawaii, and we did some dancing around the room and a lot of laughing. Mr. T(all) D(ark) & H(andsome) had a nice laugh. I was interested.

After they left, Diana pumped me for info. Did I like Troy's friend? Would I want to go out with him? Yes, and yes, I heard myself say. The butterflies began. Would he be interested in me? I hoped so.

Monday passed. He didn't call. I was bummed, but not surprised. I may not have had much dating experience, but even a novice knows the game. Don't act too interested. You don't want the other person to think you are too eager. I thought, maybe he wouldn't call until Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday passed. No call.

No call on Saturday. Majorly bummed. Maybe the chemistry I noticed was just imaginary. Come on in, insecurities.

During the week our home teachers had come by and came up with an idea for a potluck dinner on Sunday night. An international theme. We'd invite a whole bunch of people and they could each bring something to eat from the various places they'd lived or whatever. However, my mom's cousin's son (extra points if you know what relation he'd be to me) had just returned from a mission, so my mom wanted me to accompany her to the "ranch" for sacrament meeting and the ensuing family dinner. Reluctantly (and because my mom has a killer guilt instinct), I drove out to Roosevelt, thinking that as soon as it was over I'd be able to come back and attend the potluck.

And I was hoping Mr. TD&H would be there.

As those of you who know about family events, it went WAY longer than planned. So I was literally flying over country roads back to Provo , praying that Diana wouldn't be mad at me for leaving her in the lurch for our spanish food offering and hoping that a certain guy would still be there.

I walked in the door of my apartment to see Troy and Larry standing, ready to leave. I breathlessly apologized to Diana and the guys for being so late.

Moments later, Mr. TD&H looked me deep in the eyes and said, "You are so beautiful".

Whoa.

to be continued...

Friday, April 24, 2009

A great weekend

By way of explanation, my husband never gets to do anything fun with the family. Works all the time, like a crazy person. Sometimes that makes me a little crazy too, but it makes us all appreciate our "daddy time."

On Saturday, Larry took us swimming. It was SOOOOOO fun. William even mentioned in his prayer that night how great it was to have Daddy come with us. Times like these just make my heart smile.

Then, on Sunday, an amazingly beautiful Spring day, we went on a picnic, Daddy included. Two days' activities with Dad. LUUUUCKY!! When Larry got in the car to go with us, Lauren said, almost jumping out of her seat, "Daddy is coming too?!!!!! YA-HOO!"

So here are a few pics from the -nic. Enjoy!

Larry was enjoying the relaxing family time so much that he fell asleep on the blanket!

Lauren and Sarah love their food.

Don't you just LOVE the mountains behind me? I am such a mountain mama!

Hadland is the king of funny picture faces! If I could get him to do a real smile--it would be a MIRACLE!

William, on the other hand, is always waving at the camera.

I am working on the photos--and we'll be back with more! ( like when we had more family time with Daddy on Monday for family night!)

Joshua Tree

About 2 weeks ago, thanks to my wonderful sister and her husband, our family experienced the rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park. I was so pumped for this excursion (part of our family reunion in Palm Springs) because I had never been climbing before. So we headed out on a not-too-hot day to visit the great outdoors.

Devon, being the rock-climbing stud muffin that he is, brought all the gear, set up the ropes so two separate areas could host climbers. He and Laurel are unbelievable. And super supportive of newbies.

To make a long story short, my eldest child demurred. He did a little freestylin', but then he spent the rest of the day gallivanting with his brother and cousins. My other boy climbed a couple feet and then got a little nervous. I was hoping he'd do more, but that's okay. Girl #1 got all geared up and then went up a couple inches. Girl #2 (2 1/2 years) didn't even think of anything but snacks--my kind of girl! Then Ella got on the ropes. And climbed the whole thing. She was the first kid (and a girl!) to finish the climb. I was amazed. But then, she does have climbing in her genes. By this time, I was getting a little nervous. What if I chickened out and couldn't make it to the top? Would this be a repeat of another family reunion embarrassment? I know my family probably thinks I am referring to my "interpretive dance" skills, but you all know I ROCK THE DANCE FLOOR!!! I was actually talking about that same family reunion at Lake Powell where I was such a wimp that I couldn't even pull myself out of the water while water skiing. I tried and tried, but I couldn't do it.

So with that baggage firmly entrenched in my mind, I started to climb. I was a little cocky (RED FLAG, right?) and felt like I was doing well. Then I hit the part that had stymied Jefferson. I had to try the "Emperor's New Groove" move, and I actually made it! I reached the top! I wasn't nervous, more pumped with adrenalin, and I was so proud of myself. Laurel was a great supporter, and I had a great time. It was a lot of fun, and I discovered a few muscles that I had been ignoring (hee, hee).

Overall, it was a great day. So tiring, but so fun. Then we got home, ate, and spent some time at the pool. That is what a vacation is all about--doing things you normally wouldn't be able to with family you love but rarely get to see. Lucky us!

Potty training and all that entails

So, this morning Sarah tells me first thing that she wants to go potty. I think to myself, OK, we can do the panties thing today. I don't have a ton going on. So into the panties she goes.

She went THREE times in the potty. THREE! I was so excited that it was finally clicking in her mind that telling me that she needed to go potty BEFORE she wet herself. Actually, only the third time was she completely dry when she sat to use the toilet.

I was cocky, self-assured, ready for disaster. Oh so ready.

This afternoon my brother Michael and I took the kids to the amazingly wonderful and fabulous Treehouse Museum. If you are ever in Ogden and have kids under 12, you MUST go. Really. Truly.

So I vowed to myself to stay very close to Sarah so that I could ask her every 10 minutes or so if she needed to go to the bathroom. But I have four kids that all like different things and who LOVE the treehouse museum. Needless to say, I was separated from a recently pottied Sarah at a very important crossroads.

Yep. That crossroads involved poo.

I walked into the Doll Room where I found Sarah AND an interesting smell. My (and Michael's incidentally) first thought was, wow--a mom seriously needs to deal with the diapering of her child. Then my sweet daughter looked up at me and said, "Poopy in my bum." Shock registered on my face and then the adrenalin rush. I quickly got over to her, felt her "deposit" in her training pants, and ran to the bathroom. No wipes, no diapers, no extra pants, but yes, I did have extra training pants. I won't give details about the next few minutes, but I replaced her old panties with new, unsoiled ones, and left with a child complete with a huge wet mark in her crotch. No worries, right?

The fun continued. I think that first experience taught her that it was no big deal to just wet herself in public. Probably 3 more times as we visited the museum. I was shocked, totally overwhelmed, and finally just gave up. She was wet from the first accident, so any more wet would just add to her character, right? Right???!

I repent. I was cocky. And disaster hit. But nothing a little birthday cake and ice cream wouldn't erase. Gotta love food as comfort.

P.S. I am sure you'll understand why I didn't add photos to this post...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Warning: Girl Stuff Ahead

To any man who may be reading this post, you may not want to. Girl stuff, ya know what I mean?

Ok, girls. Let's talk menstruation.

Not gross stuff, mind you. Just the cramps. YIKES!

I was just talking to my SIL today about what a bummer all that stuff is. It totally reminds me of my crazy back labor. Today as I was kind of moaning and complaining about my sore and aching back, I thought about how intense and amazing childbirth is. I thought about bringing a new life into the world--to love, to teach, and treasure. Incredible, isn't it?

But I still don't like cramps.

Does anyone have any chocolate? Ho-hos? Ding dongs? Brownies? ANYTHING?!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Note to self

When you go into the dark basement to

retrieve the candy you hid
for the kids' treat
for keeping their eyes closed
during our family prayer,

turn on the lights,

ok?

oh, and don't always hide the candy.

Guess who eats if it is hidden?

Yeah. Thought so.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Sarah Funny

As I was getting Sarah dressed this morning, she kept saying "Potty" and fiddling with something in between her fingers.

I thought she was just teasing me that she wanted to go potty and then pee in her training pants either moments before or after I get her panties on or off.

Then I saw this.

What does it look like to you?

I thought so.

It is actually a miniscule piece off of a clip-on earring or something.

Nothing gets by that little chickadee.

Now if she'd actually use it.

The regular sized one, of course.

P.S. nice photography skills, huh? super-macro, baby!

This is the true size of the "potty." See the normal-sized mouse? That itty bitty speck next to it is the aforementioned commode. Now you think I am an amazing super-macro photog, right?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Another William funny

I can't even remember what was said except for one little phrase, said to or about Lauren:

"for our own sins."

I kinda did an auditory double-take. Then I finished it, "and not for Adam's transgression."

Was he really partially quoting the 2nd Article of Faith? In regular conversation?

Does that mean gospel instruction is actually sinking in against all odds and wiggliness?

You betcha! I have hope! You should, too! :)

It reminds me of Elder Uchtdorf's talk (this is a link, but it doesn't look like it--CLICK ON "TALK") in last conference (one of his talks, anyway). Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

AAAARGH!

Taxes.

Personal and about a trillion businesses.

Need I say more?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I just love it!

Does it get any better when your kids can read the scriptures THEMSELVES?
Granted, they were the kid version of the New Testament, but William read about the grateful healed leper. I only had to help him with knelt and knew (he still is in the dark about silent "K"s).

I am so grateful for reading. It opens new worlds each time they reach a milestone. William is so proud of himself when he can do something on behalf of the family. First it was playing "Silent Night" for the family to sing. Now it is contributing to the nightly scripture story reading.

VICTORY!!

Oh my goodness!

Last night my brother Mike was visiting (after spending the day sitting my kids) with Larry and myself. He mentioned that it was SO hot in our house that he could hardly stand it. It was a bit on the chilly side outside, so we opened the front door for a few minutes to cool off. And if you know me, I do NOT set my heater very warm (much to Larry's chagrin).

Fast forward to this morning. I got to sleep in a little, so I hadn't noticed the outdoors until about 30 minutes before we left for church. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Fierce wind, tons of snow falling, and the whole bit! What??! Didn't anyone let the weather people know that it will be April this week? Yikes!

I know what I want for my birthday (nope, you haven't missed it--it is in a week). I want sunshine. I want a picnic for General Conference. Is there anything wrong with a birthday wish?

I didn't think so.

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A conundrum

So, how do you get things done AND take care of your kids?

I'm just not very good at that.

And I have a little bit of a temper.

All of those things put together does not make for a very happy Friday.

I just need to CHILL OUT! (and laugh--something I don't do often enough!)

On a happier note, I am going tomorrow to a seminar to train me how to be a Let's Play Music teacher. It is seriously the most amazing music program for kids I have ever seen. Check out the site. I can't even believe what they (I) teach the kids by singing, moving, and playing. Needless to say, I learned some of that stuff in my COLLEGE music classes. It is the first music program I have ever wanted to be a part of, so I am jumping in with both feet!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Geniuses! Geniuses, I tell you!

Whoever came up with the Backyardigans is a genius, I tell you! Every episode has a different musical style--disco, hip hop, 80s pop, etc. Personally, I think it is the most fun show out there (well, maybe a tie with Word Girl). And


when I see my little girl head-banging to some sweet disco tunes a la Backyardigans, it does my heart good. I love "Surf's Up!" and "The Quest to the Flying Rock" and so much more! If you want some awesome songs to get stuck in your head, find some Backyardigans to watch!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not much to say

I am trying to be more regular in my posts, but I can't think of anything to say today. So maybe I'll post some pics and journal them.

Here goes!

See these cute girls? This is my lovely Lauren holding sweet Erika T. Since L is just two years older than her little sister, she didn't get a lot of "holding the baby" moments (protective mom's fault). Isn't she precious? Lauren is not bad, either! Lauren is my little mommy. She is always talking about what she'll do when she is a mommy. I was never ever like that as a kid, so it is so wild to see my own flesh and blood as such a girly-girl. So cute!

Then there is my handsome William. I sure love that blue-eyed boy. He is holding Erika as well. He was so excited to hold the baby. He was so gentle with her (so different than he is with his own sibs), and that just warmed my heart. What a happy boy!

This pic is Hadland playing basketball. He was so excited to play on a team. Some of his good friends were on the same team, and his coach (former NBA player and Larry's home teach-ee) was completely awesome, so although we moved mid-season, he LOVED it! He was always right on top of the score, making sure he knew if the team won or not (not that they were keeping score at all). Now if his dad could teach him some sweet moves...

This pic has a sweet/sad story behind it. We were attending Erika's baby blessing up in Draper at Grandma and Grandpa Thunell's house, and we couldn't find Sarah for a while. That may alarm some of you, but I just thought she was playing somewhere in that huge house. Then someone went to use the bathroom and found a little girl asleep on the rug. Our guess is that she went in and then couldn't get out. She may have even been crying, but I couldn't hear her (lots of talking, laughing, kids running around), so she just gave up and took a nap. Sad, isn't it? But it makes for a funny picture and story.

Well, Savannah, here are some pictures just for you!

(And for anyone else reading this crazy blog!)

Have a great night, and we'll be back tomorrow. Who knows, maybe with more pictures!