Monday, March 25, 2013

Consquentail consquences of living in Truth or Consequences

These pictures are some of the last from our Truth or Consequences period of life. The view from our backyard, our now useless slingshot, Theo's bum. This last picture is from the street where we now live in Las Cruces (not our backyard view, but close) with the Organ Mountains behind. Adobe style everything.

Well, we don't live there anymore. Turns out small towns are that way for a reason. If they were easy to live in, everyone would be, thereby negating their small town status. Jon had an opportunity for a transfer that would enable him to commute from Las Cruces, and we took it. I always knew coming into this that living in a tiny town would test me and make me grow in a variety of ways. One thing I realized was that material things and convenience--your Targets, Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups, organic produce, a place to change your oil within 20 miles--don't really matter that much. With Amazon Prime, I could pretty much order anything I wanted at anytime. And maybe it would come on a Wednesday night at 9:30 pm, but it would get there--even if it was just a doughnut cutter. But for me, a slightly strange type of person who is very extroverted yet loves to stay at home and ignore people at times, I really missed people. Sometimes I didn't. I like things to be quiet and routine, and living in the middle of nowhere gave me that. But when I lived in a big city, I could channel my inner rural heart whenever I needed a break and then see people when I chose. I really missed the support system I didn't even realize I had once it was gone. So some days were a real challenge for me. It made me appreciate the great friends that I have in my life. It made me branch out into the internet and try to make new ones. Even if it was just me making comments on some popular instagrammer's post, pretending we were friends (ok, that sounds a little pathetic). But thank you internet friends! Thanks for calling me, real people friends! I really appreciated it. And if you were one of the special few to actually haul yourself to the edge of nowhere, you probably saved me from losing my marbles (Jon may argue that point, remembering times when I went a bit crazy). I changed my philosophy a bit on friend finding. It was difficult for me to hear friends in very populous places talking about how hard it was to find friends. I was so jealous of them at times--I thought they had it so good and they didn't even know it. I've said those things myself in the past--it is hard to find friends. But I've realized it's a lot like dating--it takes effort and trial and error. And it's often not too fun. I got set up on a blind date once that seemed perfect on paper and Facebook pictures, but then we met and we had nothing in common and then he wouldn't stop talking about Blink 182 side projects. I mean, you crash and burn sometimes. But eventually if in all that trying you find one person that really gets you--it's all worth it! So don't stop trying, great friends will emerge eventually. You may have a lot of friend-dates before you find that magic friend. And maybe I'll put that phrase on a poster with a kitten riding a unicorn over a rainbow. [end of subject]

There were of course some things we will never forget and loved about living in T or C. The beautiful desert vistas of Jon's dreams and fulfilling that life long ache of his heart that I hope has been completely satisfied. The interesting people we met, the fact that Jon loves his job and it fits him so well. I really loved experiencing a culture and climate that was completely foreign and different to me, as someone who grew up and has lived most of her life in the Northwest. It's very different, and I'm still getting used to it. But liking it. Except, it's hot already! The people we met in the branch at church were amazing. Everyone had such an interesting story, as to how they ended up there and why. I'll never forget hearing stories from an older woman who had sailed around the world with her family, visiting remote islands and talking about her church experience there (talk about perspective). We came away from the branch experience stronger church members. Branches require so much more effort and participation. If you're there, you really want to be there, doing your three callings and speaking multiple times in church. This past week in our new ward, I got lost in the huge building. It seemed so grand. I hope I don't take having one calling for granted again, or complain about things I have to do. However, things like teaching, bearing your testimony and speaking are much easier when you are doing it in front of 30 people instead of 300.

We like Las Cruces so far. It's a fairly big college town, home to NMSU, and has so many new Mexican restaurants to experience. There is a frozen custard place close by, at least two parks (covered!) within walking distance, things for Theo to do, 15 Mbps internet speeds instead of .5,  and most importantly, NO RATTLESNAKES. If you talked to me for any amount of time in the past 7 months I probably mentioned them. They are a cause of great fear and anxiety for me. At one point a bit ago I broke down in tears, telling Jon I just couldn't handle the upcoming snake season. Prayers are answered, folks.

I know I sound a bit dramatic, as we only lived there for seven months. But you can learn a lot in seven months, I've found. Two things are certain. The most important thing I have is my family, and they are with me always. And in small towns, nothing will be open when you want it to be.


Google image totally exceeded my expectations.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Margot 9 months

Every time I look at Margot's face it makes me so happy. It's hard for me to believe that she's so close to a year old--I feel like she's going to be a baby forever. She has become so wiggly and crawls everywhere in the house. She pulls up onto her knees and gets into a sitting position that way too. She loves bread and string cheese right now. She has also mastered the straw, which is exciting for me. She waves, and claps by slapping one hand on top of another. She loves to babble, and usually has a distinct "ma-ma-ma" for when she's hungry. She hasn't had her nine month appointment yet, but she is definitely a tiny thing--I recently measured her length at 25 inches, which is small for her age. I'm pretty sure she's under the 10th percentile for height and weight, but she looks well proportioned to me (with chunky thighs to boot). She's finally started sleeping through the night more regularly, which is amazing. Still has no teeth. Still a bit clingy, but getting better. A few people held her for a while at church last week. Maybe it was just me being extra clingy? Probably. Margot loves to move her arms to music, and squawk like a bird. We call her "Lady Bird" so much that Theo usually calls her that, which is pretty cute.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The sun will come out...and burn me

Some days we are the ones happily playing in bubbles, and some days we are getting water poured in our eyeballs.

I started my day by slipping in toddler barf at 12:00 am. I guess if I was being optimistic I should point out that I did not fall while I was holding my barfing child, just skidded on my heel crazily into the bathroom. I woke up at 5:00, fed Margot and barf #2 happened (Jon caught that one). Theo luckily felt better by morning but I spent most of the day limply washing barfy sheets and playing too many kid shows even though Theo was bouncing around like nothing happened. I got some disappointing news by phone, causing me to be weepy while reading nursery rhymes. Have you ever tried reading "The Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" half crying? It's pathetic.  Don't worry about me, it's not so bad, I was being dramatic and was going on little sleep, it happens. I had no dinner plans. Then I got a call to give a talk in church on Sunday. It's my second time speaking in 6 months. No ward has ever wanted to hear this much from me, ever. I think I'm just going to try to tell a good joke, since I always, always bomb my jokes in talks. The branch is small, it's a good time to improve my set.

I don't love crappy days, but at least tomorrow has a really good chance of being better than today.

And an aside, if anyone has tips for barf removal from a flat woven rug, let me know.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

This kid. This boy! Who is this?

You know you only have about 5 pictures before this happens and the toddler is begging for the camera.

Theo changes faster than I can keep track (2 years, 8 months now). I am constantly amazed by everything he can do, wants to do, refuses to do. Right now he loves stories. He could read his favorite book (Richard Scarry's Cars, Trucks, and Things That Go; also RS's Day at the Fire Station) forever. He reads after he should be napping, and reads in the dark after he should be sleeping at night. The other day I looked in the playroom and he was silently looking through books. It was one of the greatest things I've seen him do. Theo loves create his own narratives with his various toys--talking to himself and describing what they are doing. I love hearing him imagine and create, and I also love how independent he is now. Something Jon and I do on the drive home from church is tell stories--things from childhood (usually traumatic ones, like when I knocked out my front teeth), retelling favorite books, or his most requested of the moment, "Margot born?" He loves that one. Theo loves singing Jingle Bells, three blind mice, and reciting nursery rhymes. He can throw some amazing tantrums, but those usually happen most when he is overtired. He hasn't had a biggie in a while. He loves Margot, but spends most of his time gathering any toy within her reach that he doesn't want her to touch (that's just about everything). He loves playing with his cars and trains most of all--doesn't care too much about art projects unless I prod him to do it.

He still takes some solid naps, probably because he has started waking up around or before 5:00 and coming into our room, refusing to sleep anymore. We got him a timer and hooked that up to a lamp, and when the light comes on, he can get up (5:50 right now). It's only been a few days, but he has taken to the idea more than I thought he would. Which is good because when 6:00 am feels like you are majorly sleeping in, something's got to change.

Theo has also reached a stage where he can ramble on long phone conversations, and remember and repeat everything you say. I officially have to watch it. Like when I say to him, "Here's some, but these are the crappy scissors," and he repeats, "Oh, the crappy scissors." I can't handle how cute he is when he says "Truth or Consequences." He loves his dad so much--he usually cries when he leaves in the morning, and ignores me when he's around. He's also obsessed with Cadbury eggs. But who isn't?