Monday, November 24, 2014

Times Three

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I'm up late reading my twitter feed about the results in Ferguson. It's too late in fact, but I can't stop reading. I can't stop feeling sad. These past few months have been an intense education about a world of racism I never really knew about before. I am grateful I've learned about these issues from Kristen my neighbor who grew up in Ferguson and those who have written, tweeted and blogged about what is going on. I thank them for teaching me so I can teach my children.

Saint Louis is special to our family, and are hearts are broken.

But before I go to bed I want to write about Erin, it's her birthday today and I am thinking about her and this world she's growing up in.

This is what I want to say:

Last Saturday I promised I would take the kids to the pool if they cleaned the house with me. Faithfully (and not without tears, I assure you) they worked on each floor of the house until it was satisfactory. Then we went swimming.

When we got to the pool we noticed there was a shaggy-haired big kid running around in the area for small children. He was splashing kids, making them cry. He was kicking water in kid's faces. He'd laugh when his antics produced a shrieking reaction. But he also did it with a sort of skill that eluded his own parents. I kept watching and waiting for them to get involved, but they seemed pretty unaware.

So I started to speak up to him, but he was totally ignoring me. At one point he kicked water in my face while his little blond side-kick of a brother laughed. With my well-learned passive-aggressive attitude I stared the kid down while he stared at me back. That pleasantry lasted a few seconds before I had to ask myself what I was doing.

But then Ever needed me to adjust her goggles, which distracted me for a bit.

When I looked back up the boy was standing still for the first time since we arrived at the pool. He was staring at something with a puzzled look on his face. Then I saw Squish charging toward him, her short legs powering forward in the shallow water. Her little index finger was pointed right at the boy, her shoulders huffed with every stride, her brow was deep on her face, her brown eyes locked on her target. And though I couldn't hear what she was saying, there were some obvious stern words coming out of her mouth.

That boy started backing up as she got closer. She backed that boy right into a corner where he bumped up against his oblivious parents.

I ran over to Squishy and picked her up out of the water. Her face was flush with determination and grit.

"You ok?" I asked her.

But before she could answer, the other kids were thanking her for her bravery--like the munchkins to Dorothy after she landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. And then all together they roamed about the children's pool, free of the bully for evermore.

And tonight as I write this tribute to my three year old daughter on a historic, tragic day in America, it's my hope that she won't lose her sense of justice, that she'll always fight for what/who is right, that she will recognize her own prejudice and privilege and work to eradicate both.

And I hope she'll never, ever fear the bullies.

Happy Birthday Squish.

Mondays are the Worst: THANKSGIVING SPECIAL

There simply isn't enough Thanksgiving Specials anymore. So here's one from us to you:

Like what you see here? Buy tickets to the Lower Lights Christmas Show today!
Special thanks to Jason Hatfield for the filming of this special! We love you Jason!

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Awesome Things

1. One of my favorite markets is going on this weekend in downtown Provo, the Bijoux. I've found some blessed treasures at this market in years past. I often notice how we tend to lose interest in store-bought items while we hold on to the local hand-made purchases year after year. Plus, for people on a solid budget like me, the prices are fair. Maybe I'll see you there!
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2. Speaking of Provo, I was interviewed by the great Emily Clark for her story on social media campaigns and downtown Provo. She sat on my couch and I wore my plaid leggings and I talked with my hands per usual. I am convinced there is no way to not look like an idiot while being interviewed on TV. I feel like I've tried everything. Anyway, it's the content that matters, and I get to share air space with Utah Valley's Favorite Blogger Mayor Curtis and Provo's Party Queen Alison Faulkner from The Alison Show so not a bad way to spend a segment.

3. And still, while we're on the subject of downtown Provo... I am speaking on a panel tonight at the launch of Samuel Brown's book First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple.  It's a book that takes a more personal and vulnerable approach to talking about the core of Mormonism rather than purely academic prose. I appreciate Sam's willingness to write about matters of his heart--losing his father and learning to forgive--for example. On the panel tonight, we'll be talking about faith and doubt in the Mormonism, which is a pretty hot topic right now and something I've been battling with myself. Brad Kramer, anthropologist and my dear friend, will also sit on the panel. If it's anything like going to lunch with Brad it will be an incredibly insightful night. Please pray that I won't sound like a tool. Thanks! 
Zion's Books
274 W Center St, Provo, Utah 84601

4.  My friend Ann Dee Ellis (and genius writer) had a baby girl this week. I heard the good news when I saw her sister Katy picking up her son at preschool. "Is there baby news?!" I yelled out my window to Katy. "Yes! This morning! Early!" Katy yelled back. And then I spent the rest of the day remembering how much I love those pre-birth and post-birth hours where everything is thrilling and surreal. I could sit in those moments for the rest of my life. I don't know if I'll ever experience it first-hand again and I'll probably always feel envious of women who do, but I am grateful I had four blissful experiences of my own, especially because I went for so long thinking it would never happen. Anyway, congratulations to Ann Dee and baby girl Ellis! 

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5. In all honesty, these past two weeks have been hard ones for me. Hard is such a silly way to put it, and I am not sure what other word to use. Certainly there isn't much about my life that is "hard" but at the same time, it doesn't mean I don't experience periods of hopelessness and loneliness. Not loneliness like I need social experiences, but lonely like I can't seem to connect to people like I want to. I feel incredibly grateful that I do have a good life, one full of friends and experiences, family and children, a roof over my head and a really great (free) therapist who lives next door. A rough patch is a rough patch though, and I think it's good for me to admit to those when they come. This weekend we're having Fakesgiving with some friends and I am going to take time to munch on my baby and sit in the sun as it filters through the front window. And I'm going to request a vigorous backrub (heads up Chup!) and I'm sure by next May I'll be doing fine! FINE I TELL YOU!

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Happy Weekend! Love to you all.

And I mean it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Her Last Week of Being Two

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The first thing she did this morning was spill her cup of water on the kitchen floor so she could "jump in puddles. I LOVE jumping in puddles."

By mid morning she was the Lotion Monster--a species covered in thick, white body lotion, ranging from the feet to the face.

"I am the Lotion Monster!" she screamed as I chased her down, slipping on her slimy tracks, unable to grasp on to any dry patches of skin as her little body slithered through my hands from room to room.

At lunch she wanted an apple juice mustache which is like a milk mustache I suppose but a more unattainable mustache--though it did not stop her from trying.

After lunch she woke up the sleeping baby just as I was about to take a nap of my own.

I actually cried at that point.

But then she lined up all the upper case abc's with their matching lower case counterparts, and I was so proud of her I forgot all about the missed nap.

(No I didn't forget. That is a lie.)

In the late afternoon she decided to freshen up (before daddy comes home!) and helped herself to my make up--mascara plastered all over her face, pink powdered cheeks and a generous helping of "Ravish Me Red" lipstick.

"Wow," I said when I found her hiding shamefully in her closet.

"I look like a bad guy," she said sadly to me, her face staring at the floor. And because I know how the application of make up can be awfully tricky, I decided to forgo making her wipe it all off.

"I think you look beautiful." I offered instead, and her Picasso-ed face lit up.

So we went downstairs and watched America's Funniest Home Videos while Dad made dinner.

 (A baby boy threw up all over his twin brother while they were in their crib and a lady's hair went up in flames when she tried to blow out her birthday candles isn't that funny har har har, MOMMY ISN'T THAT FUNNY?)

After dinner I let her have a scoop of ice cream for cleaning up the kitchen, "Look Mom, the kitchen is so clean now it sparkles" (and then pretended to whistle like, LOOKIN' GOOD).

Before going to bed she tried to convince me three times that her snow boots were "actually bed boots that you wear to bed" and only did she give them up while in the throes of my wrestling moves. There also may have been some tickling involved--just in that sweet spot above the hip and below the armpit.

At her request I snuggled her after I turned off the lights, and sang a little song in her ears and in a matter of minutes she was out cold, absolutely drained of a day.

I left her snoring a little, her face still plastered with my mascara, her skin smelling of woman's body lotion, her "bed boots" dutifully placed at the end of her bed where she'll put them on first thing in the morning, along with her diamond skirt and her stretchy "goldy" shirt she wears day in and day out,  and with the early sunrise and her rosy sleepy cheeks, we'll start all over again.

Photo by Justin Hackworth

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mondays Are the Worst Vol.2

The freeze frame should tell you how intense this one is. We talk family mottos and kids who don't perform and why I'm wearing four inch heels while Christopher is barefoot. Just kidding we don't actually talk about that but it does beg a question: why am I wearing four inch heels and Christopher is barefoot?

WANT TO WIN THE LOWER LIGHTS NEW ALBUM? Enter in the comments section here by telling us why you are a fan.



p.s. I am sorry if my singing on this vlog offended you. I CAN'T BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE OK?