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Utah, United States
One night while tucking Abby into bed she sweetly chimed, "good night! Sleep tight! Don't let the bed bites bug you!" I like her thinking. Sometimes life bites. The trick is to not let it bug you.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Has It Only Been 17 Years?

Engagement photo, June 1994
Seventeen years ago today, Scott and I embarked on the comedy of errors that has been our marriage. I use the word "errors" in the Bob Ross sense, harking back to his famous quote, "there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents." I'm pretty sure marrying Scott was neither error nor accident, but we've had plenty of comedy. And a few (at least 2 for certain) happy little accidents.

Scott and I  had never met, but we were both finishing up LDS missions in Japan (Scott was in Hokkaido, I was in Okinawa) during the summer of 1993. Scott had been at BYU prior to his mission, but wasn't going to return in time for the beginning of the BYU fall semester. I had been trying to transfer to BYU but missed the deadline. We both ended up registering for fall at the University of Utah.

One of the classes I registered for was a Japanese calligraphy class, specially designed for students with spoken Japanese but less reading/writing experience (read "LDS returned missionaries"). On the first day of class I arrived early and was pleasantly surprised to find a few familiar faces. We sat and visited until our instructor, Tamanaha Sensei, entered the room and began first-day formalities.

Roll had been called and books cracked open when a blatantly tardy but extremely cute guy walked into the room and took the last seat. I made a mental note to meet this guy at my next convenience.

The next day I was on campus with a little extra time to kill before Japanese class, so I found a spot where I could pull my book out and study. Confused by a couple of elements in the chapter, I looked up from my book and noticed another student, the same book held up to his face, sitting only about 15 feet away from me. Without much thought I hopped up and walked over to get another perspective.

September 17, 1994, Los Angeles LDS Temple
"You must be in my class" I called ahead of myself as I strolled over, and the book lowered to reveal Extremely Cute Blatantly Tardy Guy. 

Then Scott walked by and tripped over his own shoelaces. Just kidding. Scott was indeed, Extremely Cute Blatantly Tardy Guy (and pretty much still is, bless his heart).

The rest, as they say, resulted in 17 years of our Japanese skills paying off when we wanted to talk about people behind their backs and keep secrets from the kids.

We were young when we started out, so we've really grown together and shared many of life's significant experiences. Our "happily ever after" has had a few not-so-happy moments and occasionally colorful language, but I firmly believe, as I've told Scott many times, marrying him was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm looking forward to the next 17 years. I love you, Smoochy!

Friday, September 09, 2011

5 Years of Overcoming the Bugs

Christmas 2005, expecting Annie.
I just realized last night that my blog is 5 years old! Happy 5th Anniversary to me! You can check out my first few posts in 2006 here.

I can't say I've been blogging for all 5 years, as there were a couple of years ('08, '09) when I was, well, trying to figure my life out after losing a child. It's probably just as well that I wasn't blogging during that dark time.

Halloween 2006, with Annie.
When I began blogging, it was mostly out of interest in the concept. I enjoyed reading blogs, and the idea of having my own site- before I had ever even heard of a "Facebook page"- seemed like a fun opportunity to play with. I used my blog to remark on silly things and keep my followers (my mom and sisters, basically) updated on family happenings.

2007, Shropshire, England.
I started my blog about 3 months after the birth of my fifth child, Annie. I was overwhelmed and stressed as a mother, and my blog gave me an outlet for my lighthearted side. When I look back at the things I wrote then, it is evident to me that stressed though I may have been, my natural inclination toward cheerfulness was still untainted by the sad events that were to come.

2008, with Abby.
At first I tried to keep my blog going after we lost Annie. During the initial months after the funeral (2007), we rallied as a family and I depended on the normal routines to help the kids cope and keep myself from losing it. Scott and I relied on each other for support. As time wore on, however, it became harder to keep up the positive momentum, and looking back I can identify how we withdrew quite a bit in our grief. I had been the children's song leader at church prior to this time, and after we lost Annie, I no longer could summon the cheerleader in me or the creativity that made me effective in that job. I felt the same way about blogging. I let DLBBBY sit unattended in cyber-space.
2009, enjoying baby Bobby.

I am relieved to now be able to say that life does go on, and there is still joy to be found after tragedy. It seems fitting to be thinking about how tragedy has affected my life just before 9/11, too. I think I can draw many similarities from how our country has healed since that event to how I have healed since my significant loss. We've moved on, we've become stronger in many ways, but we'll never forget, and we'll never be the same.

2010, 40th Birthday in NYC with Kimmy.
The trajectory of my life was affected more than I ever anticipated by the events of the past decade, and I am a different person now than I was even only 5 years ago. I know I'm less concerned with the superficialities of life, more interested in relationships and life lessons. Seems like these are the things I'm blogging about the most nowadays.
Scotty and me, 2011.

Thankfully, I have been blessed with many joyful events over the past few years, and my family has been enjoying a season of recovery and happiness. As my dear friend Karen L. commented after my very first post, "... life is part yuck. The trick is not to let it bug you."

I'm so glad now that I have my blog to help me remember who I was and who I am becoming. I hope I'll be able to look back again 5 years from now and learn even more. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Back to Being Schooled

Labor Day last hurrahs at East Canyon.
Since the whole "Back to School" mind-shift began a few weeks ago, I've witnessed a transformation that usually happens with my kids when shaking off the lethargy of summer. Some of their familiar school-year characteristics are back, along with a few new epiphanies. If I could put words in my kids' mouths, the following would be what their actions have been teaching me lately:

Wesley: When you realize what you want from your future, buck up and do what you have to do to get it.

Abby: Leave your imagination on auto-pilot so the creative juices can keep-a-flowin', and write everything down. Accessorize.

Andrew: Incorporating some magic into your life makes everything more exciting. Hurry up and get your "have tos" done so you can get back to the magic.
Ian: Shake your bootie and don't stress. Everything will work out. (This is not new. It is probably Ian's life theme.)

Bobby: Celebrate every triumph. Do the potty dance.

I've been a little consumed by the hustle and bustle lately, and amazingly, haven't felt the need for pontification. I'm finding observation to be more fulfilling at the moment. I think my own rhythm has changed with the new school year, too. Doing things a little... differently.

I had popcorn for breakfast this morning. It is a grain.