Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Doggoneit, People Like Me

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I write this down because this is how I am living my life right now:

I wake up every morning, plant my feet on the grass outside my bedroom door, and say to myself, (fully recognizing I sound like Stuart Smalley) :

"I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."

Then I say it to the earth.

"Earth, I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."

And then, I systematically go through each child and say the same thing to them. And add,

"Will you help me by taking care of yourself as much as you can?"

(And I would say it to my husband if he were here and not in New Jersey or North Carolina or somewhere. And then I'd ask him to repeat it back to me. THIS IS ROMANCE, EVERYBODY.)

But today I was thinking I could actually add a long list of things I could say this mantra to in my life--even things that aren't living:

"House, I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."
I won't dwell on the many many many many home improvements I fantasize about on a daily basis.

"Minivan (Dragon's Breath) I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."
Even though I'd prefer maybe a white van with doors that close by themselves and a DVD player that actually worked...

"iPhone, I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today.
 I won't let you distract me all day long.

"Provo, I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."
I am NOT going to spend the day wishing I were on vacation somewhere...ANYWHERE...else.

"Food, I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."
I am going to taste you and notice your texture and not abuse you or restrict you for vanity.

"Blog, I like you. I accept you. I am going to take care of you today."
Which I guess means, I am going to keep you freshly updated, and delete ugly comments.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chasing the Rain on a Sunday Afternoon in Provo

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A writing exercise:

Sunday was unbearably hot. The air in our house was sticky and heavy, filled with busy flies swirling around our bodies. The children continually broke into choruses of cries caused by siblings and boredom both. The swamp cooler smelled like swamp.

"It must be raining somewhere close to us," I said as I fanned myself with my hands, sprawled on the ottoman barely able to move.

And then it occurred to me that I should put the kids in the car and go chase the rain.

We didn't even bother with shoes, we climbed into the car with anticipation and sweat.

We started at the top of the mountain to get a full view of the entire surface of our valley. The clouds were dripping at the far end of the lake, directly west of us.

We set out on Center Street--passing the craftsmans lining the road, through a quiet downtown with red, white and blue flags flying straight on the buildings and rooftops. Then to the rural part of our town--fields of corn and an occasional snoozy horse or two. And just as we entered the Utah Lake State Park our windshield was hit with drops.

Drop. Drop. Drop.

And then a downpour. Dousing the fisherman on the dock, drowning the boaters in bay, splattering the choppy, gray waves as they roared in the wind.

And then it was over. The storm left us behind on a determined pathway to the east. At the end of the rocky shoreline we exited the car barefooted and liberated. The rocks smelled like rain, minerals and earth. And yellow gnats zipped around our heads.

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My phone beeped. A message from Christopher.

"Come home, it looks like it's about to rain."

And so we turned around and chased it back, passing the sopping horses, the thick corn fields, the empty downtown with the flapping American flags, up towards the craftsmans on Center and home.

Just in time to catch the first drop.

Drop. Drop. Drop.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear C. Jane, What's that Returned Missionary Guide for Sisters book?

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Q. I thought I recall you mentioning a book a friend of yours wrote or compiled that was a great read for return missionaries trying to re-adjust to post missionary life.... If so, what is the name of it?  My sister comes home from her mission in two weeks and I wanted to buy it for her.

A. Nicole, you were not dreaming this book really exists. It's called Tell Me About It, Sister: A Guide for Returned Sister Missionaries written by my friend  Andrea Faulkner Williams.
(Sister to your favorite craftster The Alison Show)

This refreshing book is oozing with personality--written in a fun, familiar voice. It covers everything from depression to relationships and wardrobe encouragement. Why wasn't this written when I came home? I had to bumble about making really awful choices.

Hint: unless you're certain you REALLY like him, DON'T MAKE OUT WITH YOUR FORMER DISTRICT LEADER OK? Yikes, learned that one the hard way.
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You can buy them online at Amazon AND the BYU Bookstore! Online here or in-store.
Go get 'em Cougars! Grab some chocolate-covered cinnamon bears while you're at it.

p.s. I was honored to write the forward of the book. Only, after getting my first copy I realized my ending was a little weak. So if you buy this book for the RM Sisters in your lives (and I think you should) before wrapping it up in a little bow will you edit my last line please? Like this:

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Happy Reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dance Love!

Happy Friday! I can't believe I posted 4 times this week! I must be coming back into my body. Does that sound weird? That's how it feels to me.

I wanted to share this video with you, it's DANCE LOVE by the Millennial Youth Pirates featuring Mindy Gledhill and the dancing luger Kate Hansen. WARNING: it's a catchy little number and you might be listening to it all day. Also WARNING: I have a dancing cameo with Mayor Curtis. ANOTHER WARNING: There is a shot where I am NOT dancing because I am trying to control my bladder.

But you'll be happy to know that as I come back into my body I have more bladder control. Oh my gosh why do I share these insights into my life? I guess I have dignity-insensitivity?

Anyway, enjoy:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cool Summer of '14

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Our summer so far looks like:

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1. On the first day of summer I decided to become a plus-sized thirtysomething postpartum fashion instagrammer. Because WHY NOT? It's an underrepresented conglomerate. And people were so kind to me! The response was very encouraging. So encouraging that I sorta became self-conscious. It only lasted a week. Maybe a plus-sized thirtysomething postpartum fashion instagrammer just isn't in the cards afterall. And listen Fashion Instagrammers of the World, I am sorry I ever thought your work was easy, that was harder than coming up with things to blog about. And posing is really awkward. And finding new places to shoot at home is really taxing. And self-timers are tricky. I bow down to you, my friends.
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Also p.s. I don't think my work here is finished. 

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2. As per my "taking special care of myself in my postpartumness" I am working out with a trainer. Her name is Sara. She's also my Relief Society President. Does your Relief Society President come to your house and stretch the hell right out of you? Mine does. She's helping me understand that it's pretty important to strength train when you're a mom with four young children. My life is very physically taxing and energy-draining. Lots of pushing, pulling, carrying, wiping, running, folding, holding and let's face it, loving. I think you get a work out just nursing a newborn every two hours. Anyway, Sara is both a great trainer and RS Pres AND FRIEND!

p.s. She's taking more clients, email me if you're interested.

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3. Also I am in a relationship with a dietician. It's a client/dietician relationship but it's still hot. She's teaching me HOW to eat. I missed that human skill somehow. Anyway, currently I am taking a photo of everything I eat and answering this question: WHY AM I EATING THIS? And yes, sometimes the answer is BECAUSE I AM LONELY AND THIS RITZ CRACKER LOOKS LIKE A GREAT FRIEND. In all caps. Of course.

p.s. I am lonely because my Christopher works a lot out of state and sometimes I just miss the fellow and lots of times all the cookies in the world aren't enough to replace "us" you know?

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3. We're listening to this very beautiful, haunting, philosophical album. Adam Klopp's voice actually crawls out of the music and dances on your heart until it cracks in little tiny lines which eventually shatters and leaves you in a daze of the sublime. Go here and try CABIN FOUR.

p.s. Adam is my friend. But that has nothing to do with how much I like this album.

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4.  In an attempt to prepare him for kindergarten, Anson has been working with a tutor named Melany who we would like to adopt into our family if she'll have us. If not, at least we found a tutoring situation that works for us--in our house, with a state certified teacher my son loves! So dreamy. We found Melany through Academic Achievement and BRING ON KINDERGARTEN!

p.s. Academic Achievement also does nationwide online tutoring. Find out more here.

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5. We're getting ready for this by watching a lot of CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP viral videos. This one is our favorite, partly because, well, people are flying bikes into a pond. We're also listening to House of Lewis. This one we listen to daily.

p.s. Mimi Knowles is also a heart throb.

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6. Six years we've lived in this house and never discovered until this year how nice it is to have dinner in the backyard when it's shady and the mountains are stained by the sunset. We're done with having lunch in the direct-sun dining room with a blowing swamp cooler producing the feeling of eating in a full fish bowl.

p.s.  I am SO SO SO grateful for that swamp cooler and a shady backyard. Are you hot too?

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7. I added to my Provo Temple art collection with a Kirsten Sparenborg print. I love it. I especially love that she included that looming Rock Canyon profile in the background. Now I need to find a great frame for it. If you like temples, (AND WHO DOESN'T?) I recommend you check out her incredible collection of watercolors.

p.s. If they ever change the Provo Temple I will hurt deeply. I love the unique 60s architecture. THIS is symbol of Provo to me. DON'T CHANGE THE PROVO TEMPLE. I am starting a campaign.

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8. The Provo Rec Center Pool. Can't get enough and why would you want to?

p.s. I love running to readers at the pool. Thank you for saying hello. Thank you lady last week who touched my shoulder and whispered, I LOVE YOU and then turned off to chase a toddler. I felt your love.

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9. My new goal in life is to do something vulnerable everyday. This is my duckface.

p.s. I can now add that to my pile with "wore a bikini to the community pool" and "wrote a public post about my feelings on female ordination" I am going to be SHAME FREE in NO TIME!

10. We do a lot of this.
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And this.
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And tons of this.
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And in general massive adoration of this:
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p.s. How is your summer going?