Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day of Rest

For the past three weeks, I've enjoyed the Sabbath day more, and have felt more rested, uplifted and inspired than I have for years.  That's because I haven't been going to church.

Ostensibly, I've been staying home to heal and rest, and to protect the health of Isaiah, whose immune system still needs a little while to boot up before he meets a chapel full of fans. 

But a girl sure could get used to this.  After all, what am I missing?  The sacrament is delivered to me here, so I can still renew my covenants.  Instead of hearing talks from ward members, I get to hear general conference talks online.  And although I'm not serving in Primary, I get to serve this sweet baby boy--which yields way more warm fuzzies per hour, anyway.  Instead of the weekly "be reverent" wresling match our family hosts during sacrament meeting, I'm at home enjoying personal scripture study, prayer, reflection, and journaling--all things that, admittedly, I don't take advantage of enough.  Three golden hours of silence in my own home have turned out to be a spiritual boon for me.

I'll be back to church in a week or two, however--and although I'll miss the peace and quiet of a solitary Sunday afternoon, I'll be glad to be back.  After all, I wouldn't have a testimony of this gospel if my parents hadn't braved the toils of church worship as they did just about every week of my upbringing.  We go to church first because our parents take us.  Then, because we hunger and thirst after the word of God.  Finally, we go so that we can pass the torch of testimony to the next generation.  It's worth it, too.  They're worth it. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Story

The doctor wanted to induce me a week in advance, since he was going to be gone on the trek for two days--but I was genuinely curious to see when this baby would come on his own.  I've always gone at least a little early, so I was surprised to find myself still pregnant on Tuesday, the day before my due date.  I went ahead and scheduled my induction for the afternoon of the next day, and joked with everyone that it was the best way to get him to come on his own. 

Sure enough, that night as we cleaned up dinner, I felt some serious contractions and started timing them.  It would be so funny if he came tonight, we joked, since Wednesday morning was the only truly inconvenient time for TJ to missing work all summer.  The contractions still came, and so we finished getting the kids ready for bed, called Louise over from across the street, and hurried to the hospital. 

The nurse proclaimed that she'd be "more impressed" if the baby's head was down and if I had dilated beyond a three.  Okay, seriously, I don't have much of a grudge, but just a tiny one.  I should have complained louder about the pain; long story short, she encouraged us to go home after a couple of hours of painful, unproductive contractions.  We should have stayed.

Fifteen minutes after arriving home, during another hard contraction, my water broke.  We hurried out the door while our devoted Louise made her way over yet again.  It was a little after 11.

The contractions were really hard and fast now, and I began to worry that I wouldn't get my crucial, essential, life-saving epidural.  I had endured enough of natural labor only up to a point before, but enough to know that beyond that, I would certainly burst into flames.  I've always lived in fear and dread of a world without those precious drugs.

We got to the hospital at 11:36.  A very painful twenty minutes later, Isaiah came into the world without the aid of anesthesia, or a doctor for that matter.  I didn't die.  I didn't even tear.  And my screaming was on the dignified side of things, TJ later assured me.  I have to say, I'm a bit proud, very awed, and pretty sure I never want to do it that way again. 

Isaiah is perfect.  He was eight pounds, one ouce, twenty inches and a quarter, and has the same red fuzz Ezra did when he was born.  He also sports the same pointy elf ears and huge feet.  He has an adorable dimple that I can't wait to see more of when he starts smiling.  He eats like a champ and sleeps...pretty well.  He hates air conditioning so we keep him bundled as if in the snows of December.  Going outside in the 100 degree heat is a special treat for him, and that's where he always gets his baths.

On the way home Wednesday evening, we stopped at Walgreens for the essentials: Lortab, milk, cheese, binkies, and dark chocolate.  The kids spent the first three days with Georgia, so TJ and I had two days at home with just the baby.  It was the perfect "babymoon."  Plenty of peace and quiet, freedom to sleep whenever and wherever, and lots of time to just love on the baby.  Thanks so much, Georgia and Lance! 

TJ has completely devoted himself to my comfort the past five days: he's done housework, yardwork, shopping, childcare, late nights and early mornings.  He has been showering me with gifts, too.  He arranged a gorgeous bouquet for me while I was in the hospital.  And he bought me an Ipod--something I've long wanted and never been able to spend the money on.  Really, though, just having him here so much has been the biggest luxury of all.  I wouldn't care if he worked in a steel mill, personally, as long as I could have him home as much as he is with his current job.  That he loves what he does is just a nice bonus.

The kids came home Friday night, and have been driving us just a little bit crazy since then.  Turns out that five is more than four!  They've really been enjoying the baby, though, and as long as we keep Paul's mostly loving embraces to a minimum, it's healthy for everybody.  I am filled with awe that the Lord trusts us with such spectacular spirits.  Isaiah truly is blessed to be able to grow up with such siblings.  And we are blessed to have his sweet spirit in our home.  

Isaiah Glen Dick

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting;
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
-William Wordsworth

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Just Want to Say...

This has been the best summer ever.

The kids are getting big.  They're doing chores in such a way that my load is actually lightened--imagine that!  They're getting old enough to read to themselves and each other.  They're trustworthy enough to look after Paul in the backyard while I mop the floor.  They understand accountability and generally do their best to obey the rules.  They're loving that they have no homework and no school--just hours and hours to do with what they wish. 

Our neighborhood is packed with kids, and the doorbell rings all day long.  At the beginning of the summer, I was concerned that my kids were racing through their chores and taking off to play with friends all day--totally ignoring each other.  So I planned lots of down time for them and stopped accepting every request for time with friends.  The results have been so great.  They've been building forts with couch cushions, playing board games, watching movies, wrestling, and playing with their toys together.  Mostly, though, they goof around.  They giggle at potty jokes when they think I can't hear.  They chase each other in circles.  They wrestle.  Half the time I think the noise will drive me crazy, but I can't stop smiling. I just love to see them enjoying each other so much.   

Catching Up!

Today is one week short of my due date, and since my doctor is leaving town tomorrow, he offered to induce me tonight.  Since I feel really well, though, and since I'm curious to see when this baby will come on his own (within reason) I passed.  But I wonder if tonight's the night, anyway.  TJ thinks it is.  And, if we're going to be scientific about it, I am wearing the same shirt I wore when I went into labor with Paul--and I am blogging, which is another thing I did that night.  So we'll see.
In the interest of having a fresh slate to post baby pictures on in the near future, I thought I'd do a little catching up.  Here is what we've been up to this summer:

Waiting at the airport for Kendall to return from his mission in the Phillipines.

This is us back at the house after greeting Kenny at the airport!  We missed you, Tana! 

This is Paul on any given day.  He loves chocolate smoothies, Otter Pops, and any other sticky substance he can get his hands on.  I usually dress him at least once a day, but I've gotten to where I use his clothes judiciously in order to make it through the week!

This is Eliza on her 7 1/2 birthday.  She got this bike from us, as well as an awesome water party in the park behind our house.

It was a low-maintenance, high fun blowout.  We all got wet, right off the bat--in order to survive the heat.  The water baseball game turned out to be a little above our age group's interest, so mostly it was just a huge water fight.  And we all had a blast. 

The Dick Family Reunion was the same weekend.  We had a fantastic time.  I can't prove it, though, because my camera spent a majority of the time being lost.  Highlights were seeing TJ do Just Dance with his nieces, putting on the Talent Show, swimming, enjoying the gorgeous accomodations and amazing food (thanks, David and Chan!), and, last but not least--fooling Chantel into thinking I had gone into labor. 

 So, we noticed that Mom's Wall of Adult Children featured family, family, family, family, single guy. 
So we put this note on Kendall's picture.  AVAILABLE  For information regaurding creating a family with Kendall, please call 688-8142.

We are so happy that Kendall is home!

And I'm always so happy to post pictures like this of Georgia!

Okay, picture this.  Fourth of July at my house.  The whole Monnett clan is over, and kids are running wild while we prep the shish kebabs.  Upstairs, downstairs, front yard, back yard.  So, I had gotten Paul up from a late nap and had forgotten to get him a snack, and I may have lost track of him for a few minutes.  So he takes matters into his own hands--he goes into the garden and harvests all of it.  I find him on top of the picnic table munching contentedly on a green pepper, and TJ finds a pile of underripe produce in the back yard.  I guess he was saving some for the next time we forgot to feed him!
After the barbeque, we walked down to the overlook on the bike path and watched the fireworks from there.  Popsicles on the way there, poppers on the way back.  It was the perfect Fourth of July.

 TJ made Ezra two wooden swords last week.  This is how I found Ezra the following morning.  Reminds me of that scripture in the Book of Mormon about men sleeping on their swords!
 And here is Paul in his natural element once again (covered in chocolate.)  Actually, one of our biggest events this summer has been the laying of turf in the backyard.   TJ worked like a slave to get it done, and also put in a couple of rope swings and a rope bridge between the trees.  The place is transformed into Kid Heaven.  Every day this week, the neighbor kids have been over to chill in the backyard with our kids. 

So that's our summer so far.  Trips to the library, swimming, cousins, Otter Pops and rope swings.  We are really living the dream. 

The Prayer

TJ gave a mini-concert at a local bank last week.  I joined him on this song, so naturally it was the best one.  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Raising Readers

I love books.  They're basic to my existence.  Over my lifetime, I've been shaped as much by my reading as I have in by relationships with close family and friends.  That last bit sounded pathetic, but it's true!  And it's always been my dream to see my kids become as freaky and weird their mother is about books.

I've been going on faith until this summer.  I've read books to my munchkins faithfully since they were little, I've signed off reading charts for school, and I've casually strewn age-appropriate reading material all around the house in hopes that they would get hooked.  This summer, I've scheduled plenty of down-time for them, knowing that boredom is the best inducement for reading.  But although they're both reading above grade-level, Ezra and Eliza really haven't shown much interest in reading for fun. 


Last week they each polished off five big chapter books--Junie B. Jones and Magic Treehouse, and begged for a trip to the library to replenish their stores.  This week, it's Hank the Cowdog and Ramona.  Seems like every time I round a corner, I bump into one of them with his or her nose in a book. 

Of course, I'm still very casual about it.  I don't want to break any magical spells of education going on around here by jumping up and down with giddiness every time Eliza or Ezra finishes a book.  But you can bet I'll be keeping that bookshelf well-stocked this summer.  Just in case anybody gets bored.

Eliza's First Recital

Last night Eliza gave her first-ever piano recital.  She did so well!  She has been practicing hard, and I am so proud of her good sense of tempo and musicality.  She wore the Easter dress that Grandma Dick bought her, and shoes which were too big but which were black.  She remembered to thank the Monnetts and the Baileys for coming, as I'd asked.  And at the after-party we hosted at our house, she had a ball running around with the cousins and uncles, and dancing to the peppy music she's figured out that our digital piano plays automatically.  A few years from now, she'll be playing peppy music of her own.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Peaks and Valleys

The straight and narrow road has peaks and valleys.  Friday night was a valley for me.  Frustrated and overwhelmed at the thought of what seems to be a never-ending supply of work—I cried most of the evening, let TJ take over, and went to bed early.

Fortified by eleven hours’ sleep, and leaving the kids again in TJ’s care, I went to the temple, where I witnessed the wedding of Alisha and Todd.  This was a peak: ever since I was married ten years ago, I have dreamed of being in the temple with her on her special day.  She has been faithful to her baptismal and endowment covenants, and has carefully prepared herself through her own valleys of life.

In the evening, I went to see two kids from the ward baptized.  Katie Groke is in my Primary class and Jackson Mackelprang is a buddy of Ezra’s who lives on our circle.  Their parents surely felt the joy of standing on that peak, watching their precious children promise to follow the Savior and receiving the awesome gift of the Holy Ghost to guide them on their way.

Most days, the work of the kingdom of God is doable and rewarding.  Some days, the load seems crushing.  But once in awhile, we get to view this life from a higher plane.  We get to see the rich rewards that come only after years of preparation.  I dream of seeing my own kids together in the temple with worthy companions.  I dream of my Primary kids doing the same.  And I dream that someday, I’ll be the woman I was destined to become.  I dream that all the valleys and all the peaks will culminate in a softer, more loving, more faithful me. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowgirls

On Friday, Longview Elementary hosted their annual Kindergarten Cowboy/Cowgirl show. Eliza has been looking forward to it for weeks, and has really enjoyed practicing the songs and especially the dances. And she just shone, as she always does when she's in the spotlight. I was about five rows back, and most of my shots of the program looked about like this:But notice, if you will, how she has spotted me with my camera and is smiling so the pictures will turn out right! That's my little ham!Here she is after the program with her teacher, Maritia Stephens, who has been a wonderful teacher.

Other friends who shall go unnamed until I can get with Eliza on this...

And here's Gavin, a friend from her class and the ward who used to be Ezra's friend until Gavin made the mistake of befriending Ezra's little sister and had to be discarded. Fraternizing with the enemy, you know. Seriously, he's an adorable boy and I love him for his chivalry among many other things. Not just because his mom will see this post, either.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


TJ mediating a fight:

"Ezra, come in here.  Tell Eliza you're sorry.  No.  Look at Eliza.  Eliza.  Look at Ezra.  Ezra, say you're sorry and hug her.  Ezra.  Say it like you mean it.  Eliza, leave Naomi alone.  Look at Ezra.  Ezra, give her a hug.  No, not like that.  Ezra!  You're not supposed to hurt people when you hug them.  Eliza, turn around and hug him back.  Naomi, stop kicking Eliza."

And I laugh because I'm in the kitchen doing dishes.  I love dishes. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

At the River

Yesterday was such a perfect day.  The temperature was pushing seventy when we loaded up the kids and a picnic and headed out.  We chose a campsite down in the Gorge for our picnic, surrounded on every side by the arid and majestic grandeur of the canyon walls.  After we ate, we hiked down to the river.  My hiking buddy was Naomi, which is appropriate, since she’s about as much an outdoorswoman as I am.  She picked her way over the rocks and walked/slid down the hill, her voice registering high-pitched concern and discomfort all the way.  Once we got to the promised land, though, her whining turned to giggles and screams of delight.

Though the water was too cold for swimming, the kids flirted with the its edge—dabbling sticks, throwing rocks, and building castles and canals.  Paul was industrious, on a constant mission to find the best and biggest rocks and toss them six inches into the water.  He stumbled and fell constantly, often into the water, and ended up covered wet sand.  TJ and the kids built a “bridge” into the river, using huge boulders.  They buried Paul and their feet about one foot down. 

I was content just to watch and remember.  The heat of the sun and the smell of the river seeped into me, reminding me of hundreds of childhood days spent frolicking on the Colorado River.  I was reminded, once again, of how nutritious it is, how necessary it is, to get out and play in the dirt, especially as kids.  Their joy at discovering weird sticks and big rocks, at creating and destroying, at getting good and dirty—it suffused my childhood, too.  Even then, I needed a good push to get outside, but I loved it once I got out there.  Just like I do now.    

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Six Months in Pictures--Part II

Let us hope that a picture truly is worth a thousand words, because that's about how far behind I am!
Paul's first birthday!

Our day-date to Lamb's Knoll.

Camping at Lamb's Knoll with TJ.

Pain is beauty, beauty is pain.