Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sing, Sing a Song

So, Rick and I were asked to sing at church this past Sunday. We did a beautiful rendition of Where Can I Turn for Peace, complete with all the thrills and chills you'd expect from a hymn you've heard sung a million times...yeah, it was pretty much what you'd expect.

So afterwards someone came up to me and asked if Rick and I just sang all day long in our home. I just laughed and told her only on Tuesday and Fridays. Well, that's not totally true. We actually were singing yesterday and it was a Wednesday...and it wasn't hymns...it was 80's Power Ballads.

I totally miss the 80's love songs with all the great key changes and drums pounding and leading you into the overly dramatic chorus...great family fun. So to celebrate Rick and I singing on a Wednesday I've put up some of my favorite power ballads from the 80's and would love to hear some of your favorites. If they're good enough, maybe they'll make the cut and I'll add them to my list. Come on, don't leave me alone - be my inspiration and help me bring this ship into the shore...truly

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Plain Ol' Post

No life lessons here, just a video of Tatiana and what happens when I send Rick outside with her while I teach piano lessons. See if you can tell when she's finally had enough...
video
Oh, and you might want to turn off my crappy music so you can hear the giggles.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sorry Rick

I very rarely do something that Rick doesn't like or approve of...except when I vote republican in the elections. But today I've done something that not only Rick disapproves of, he actually preaches against it...playlists on blogs.

It's true. Rick hates them. He says things like, "Why do I want to listen to other people's music? Most of it's crap anyways." Although I tend to agree (with the crappy music part), I've been sucked in and started my own playlist, each song with a special meaning.

That's When I Love You - I first heard this song on a Mandy Moore movie (can't remember which one so it must not have been very good) and I kinda dig Mandy, hence the song. Also I really dig Rick...even when he leaves his bloody bandaids on the kitchen table.

Pennies From Heaven - Aren loves this song. He sings it everytime we get in the car and he listens to his homemade cd. And seriously, if you hear this kid sing "Shoo-be-doo-be!" you'll love it too.

Annie's Song - This was Lily's song. I sang it to her when she was in the hospital (which was alot) and it always calmed her down. I sang it to her the night she died and plan on singing it to her the morning I see her again.

Puff the Magic Dragon - This is Tatiana's song. I sang this to her when she was a baby and I still do. And no you big fat jerks, this song is not about smoking a doobie. Peter Paul and Mary said so.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - I know everyone loves this song and it's sort of an obvious choice, but I've learned over the past few years to not wish for the somewhere over the rainbow. My rainbow is usually now and I love it.

So there you are. My playlist is officially on this site and as a courtesy to the other "Ricks" out there, it is right where you can see it and turn it off fast so you don't have to listen to my crappy music. Sorry Rick for going against your wishes, but it was bound to happen with something besides the elections...Go McCain!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gratitude

You know, every now and then I am truly grateful for all the work and thought that was put into making this world. I love watching the seasons change, seeing little flowers pop up out of nowhere in the middle of the dessert, watching the waves crash on the beach, and most recently, I am grateful that I am not a meerkat.

Netflix had some shipping problems last week so I had to resort to watching regular tv instead of tv from five years past and I was quickly sucked into Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet. Now many of you know I do NOT like animals...hate them is actually a better term, but I do love myself a good reality show and this has got all the drama of The Real World mixed with all the craziness of Rock of Love.

Don't believe me? Check out what happened in one episode...Rocket Dog is the leader of the Whiskers family and apparently there were way too many pregnant chicks in the burrow so she kicked some of them out, leaving only Rita, who was pregnant, and a few other males. Rocket Dog herself was pregnant, had four lil' meerkats and then after a hard labor and delivery decided to go eat something...who wouldn't? Well, that pregnant jerk Rita decided to stick around to "take care" of the others. Oh she did alright. She freaking killed the four babies so she could have her own kid in peace and not have to worry about there being enough food! Can you imagine?

I started thinking about my own family and who I would take out so my kids could survive. I mean, Katharine has five kids with one on the way, so she would be the obvious choice...more food for the whole family thing, but the majority of them are boys so they could be put to work. Sarah has a kid with half a heart so maybe I should go for the weakest. Then again, Sarah's other kid is freakishly strong for an almost five year old, so maybe I'll let them be. Mom and Bill are getting old so they're on their way out anyways, but she is afterall my mother so I might have to leave them alone as well.

Back to the original point of the story...thank you Heavenly Father for keeping balance in this world. Thank you for not making me a meerkat, and thank you even more for letting them be the ones to duke it out in the crazy Kalahari desert instead of me...I'd miss my family too much.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reunited and it Feels So...

Everytime the phone rings in my house Rick will stop whatever he's doing and shout out a name of one of my sisters. You see, everytime the phone rings in my house, there is a 99% chance that it will either be Katharine, Emma, or Sarah. We are abnormally addicted to each other and I love every minute of it.

There is a point to this story.

So yesterday when I was talking to Sarah for the third or fourth time that day, she told me how she ran into someone from high school and she almost had a panic attack. I just started laughing. Living in AZ has it's problems - heat, far from family, living in the middle of nowhere - but one of the perks is never running into someone from high school. Fifteen years after graduating, high school still creeps me out. Why anyone would want to relive those "glory days" is beyond me. Everyone was so awkward and fake and desperately trying to fit in. It's not like anyone was "real". I think I'm still friends with eight people I went to high school with...two sisters, one brother, three cousins and two people that might as well be family...Hey Petra and Jenna!

There is a point to this story.

While being reunited with someone from high school is scary, I must say that this blogging thing has reunited me with people I've lost touch with and never wanted to. Thanks to my new best friends, Google and Facebook, I've been able to find people I thought were lost forever. (For the record I refuse to search on My Space because I'm still convinced that place is reserved for 13 year old girls wanting to hook up with creepy old men and child molestors.) I've found better ways than the phone to keep up with friends from the mission (I know I make fun of people hanging out with high school friends and here I am living in the past with mission dorks...no offense my pryateli!) and I've discovered how to keep up with the lives of current friends.

So my cyber-friends, both current and past, let's raise a glass of full strength Coke, or Sprite if you can't swing that far to the left, to the modern era of stalking and blogging. A toast...to my friends and those of you who pretend to be my friends because you weren't smart enough to stay off the internet. I love you all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Innocence Lost

Aren came home from school today with two envelopes in his folder...one addressed to Aren Harper, the other addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Harper. My first thought was, "Oh for the love, what did this kid do?" Well, it wasn't my kid that did anything, but another kid that rides the bus with Aren.

Each letter was an apology from - we'll call the kid "Gus" (anyone who speaks Bulgarian will appreciate that) - saying that he was wrong to hurt Aren's feelings and that he knew it was a mean thing to do and he wouldn't do it again. I immediately took Aren into his bedroom and asked what these letters were about. Aren explained to me that a few days ago on the bus "Gus" made fun of him by calling him a giraffe because his skin looked so funny. I seriously began crying right there.

Most people know the kind of ordeal Aren has been through. He was born with an immune system that just plain didn't work. He couldn't fight off infection and on top of the that, his immune system was confused, for lack of better words, and would develop antibodies against different systems in Aren's body, including his blood, his intestines, and his skin. His immune system attacked the pigment in Aren's hair and skin, leaving his hair looking very salt and peppery and his skin white as snow. After his bone marrow transplant some of his skin's pigmentation came back but not fully, leaving Aren's skin patchy.

It made me sick knowing that Aren was being teased for something he has absolutely no control over. "Gus" has no idea the pain Aren went through the first seven years of his life to get to a point today where he can actually ride a bus and be in school without worries of infection, or even playing regular games on the playground without breaking his bones. I ache for this little boy who is so tenderhearted and has such a love for life and would never dream of hurting another person.

When I asked Aren how he felt he kind of shrugged it off and told me it didn't matter to him. "I just decided not to talk to 'Gus' anymore." Good for him. Hopefully as he gets older he can continue this very adult attitude. As for me, I just need to remind myself that this is all part of life and unfortunately my "some day" of Aren learning another hard lesson is now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Aren and Tatiana


When we told Aren he was going to be a big brother the first time, he just kind of stared at us and we got nothing from him. It's kind of what we expected, I mean he was two for crying out loud.

It was about five years later when we told Aren that we were going to have another baby. Again he just kind of stared at us but this time we could guess what he was thinking. His first sister had died just a few years earlier from a medical condition that Aren himself had...a condition that Aren almost died from but was saved because of a bone marrow transplant. Aren's no dummy. He knew that he almost died, and he knew that Lily did die, so putting two and two together, he knew as did Rick and I, that this next baby had the chances of being born with no immune system and having to go through what Aren and Lily had to.

Tatiana was born with a clean bill of health and I wondered how Aren would feel about her. Would he love her as much as Lily? Would he resent her because she was healthy and unless something unexpected happened would never know the painful life that Aren and his other sister had known?

I watch Aren and Tatiana together and immediately know the answers to those questions. Seven and a half years can't separate these two and I love it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Addictive Behavior

I need help. I'm completely and utterly addicted to Fiber One Bars and Diet Dr. Pepper. Seriously, I know God had a hand in the invention of these delicate bites of heaven. I am not even exaggerating when I tell you I have a 24 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper on my kitchen counter (easy access) and a cupboard full of at least 30 boxes of Oats and Chocolate Fiber One Bars. For the love, these things were on sale for a dollar a box!

If you haven't tried them yet please do, but be forewarned. In fine print on the back of the box you will find this warning...

"Gradually increase fiber over time to help minimize potential gastrointestinal discomfort."

They aren't kidding. One of these suckers will keep you regular for a week. Please don't eat more than one a day...I know. I learned the hard, or not so hard as the case may be, way.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My True Self

It was bound to come out eventually, I just thought it would take longer before I finally came clean for everyone to see.

I hate being a stay at home mom.

Ok, it's not THAT bad, but the only reason I don't work outside the home is because I hate that even more. This will never change. I will always periodically hate staying at home but the reasons will change often. Today's list includes these precious bits of my life.

1. Dirty band-aids. Gross, eh? Rick had an ingrown toenail and had it removed a while ago and I'm still reaping the nasty band-aid benefits. I've found them on the bathroom floor, in the family room, and my personal favorite...the kitchen table. So freaking disgusting.

2. Children who try to reason with me. Aren is king of reasoning and it drives me insane. Every Sunday it's the same routine. We wake him at 7:00 a.m. to get to church at 8:00 a.m. and he tries to get out of it by reasoning. I've heard everything from, "I already know about Jesus" to "We just went to church last week!". He's not the only one that can play this game. I tell him that noboday likes going to church but we do it anyway and as soon as he's been going as long as I have, he can stop. I plan on winning this one for a while.

3. Sippy cups. Need I say more? These things are the most blessed and the most annoying creations every made. Sure they help to minimize spills and stains but when you have a girl that won't stop moving you never know where you're going to find one of those things. Once finding one, I hate trying to decide if I should open it and see if the cup is salvagable, or just throw the whole thing away and spend another 10 bucks on the next potential science experiement.

4. Constant cleaning. My house is NEVER clean. There is always something to be done. I work all day long to get the house picked up and "ready" for Aren and Rick to come home only to have said people come home and drop their crap right in the middle of what I just cleaned. It's like they can't live in a clean house...they have this inate desire to have constant chaos.

Shall I go on? I could do this for days but I'll save everyone from having to pretend to be interested in my issues. For those of you who understand, thank you. And to those who are planning on using me as the bad example in your next Relief Society lesson, don't worry. Tomorrow I'll post a picture of my children and tell you how much I love them and how I wouldn't change a thing about my life and you can go on pretending that you really like staying at home...your secret's safe with me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Living in the Past

I remember going to school the Monday after my dad died. I was 11 years old and in the fifth grade. I had my group of best friends - Kate, Amanda, Sarah, Soo, Valerie - we did everything together. I remember seeing their faces when I told them about my weekend and they all said the same thing. "You need to move on, get over it, it's in the past." As I got older I realized that they were young and didn't know any better, or at least that's what I thought.

Almost twenty years later I held my first daughter, not even three years old, in my arms as she took her last breath. At her funeral I saw people I hadn't seen for what seemed ever and I got the same sympathetic looks and although as adults these friends were more well versed, the thoughts were the same. "You need to move on, get over it, it's in the past." I couldn't believe that what I thought was simply eleven year old thinking and not knowing any better was the same thought process of my adult friends.

They're wrong.

I live in my past. I live in it every day. When I wake up in the morning and see my two children, I realize that one is missing. When people talk about their children who almost died or lived through terrible ordeals and how the power of prayer brought them back, I'm reminded that my prayers did not yield the same results. Every year when school starts I cry just a little as I picture what my daughter would have looked like going on the bus with her older brother.

You know what? It's ok. I love living in the past. I crave living in the past. Sophia Loren said, "I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now."

So my friends, live in the past with me for just a few moments and look at some pictures of my sweet Lily Katharine. She was born on March 19, 2002 and died January 3, 2005. She is my past and my more importantly she is my future. I will see her again. She is mine forever.




Saturday, August 9, 2008

Scary Stuff

I've always loved being scared. I swear my house was haunted growing up. I can remember walking back to my bedroom and I'd get that feeling described on The Sixth Sense where the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you just feel like if you turned around someone would be there staring back at you.

Because I love this so much, like any good mother, I've tried to instill this love of being scared spitless into my children. It started with Aren when he was only nine months old and we were living with my mom while Rick was at basic training for the army. Aren was sitting in his high chair eating something very healthy I'm sure, and my mom snuck up behind him with the vaccum cleaner, held it up behind him and turned it on. It was the funniest thing I'd seen in a long time. He threw his food in the air, got a horrified look on his face, then immediately began to laugh. He was hooked. We still hide around the corner waiting for Aren to walk by so we can scare him and he still laughs out loud and says, "Good one mom."

We didn't want to leave Tatiana out of the loop so we're starting on her as well. The cool thing about Tatiana is you can scare her right in front of her face and get just as good of a reaction. Everyone should try this with their kids...family bonding time has never been more fun.


video

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Common Ground

Those of you who know me and Rick know that we have enough in common to sustain a marriage (love you baby!) but outside of that, I don't know that he would pick me as a buddy. Rick is extremely intelligent and I am, well, not. Whenever I get in my car after he's been in there, invariably the radio station is set to NPR. He was disappointed when he had to stop his on line subscription to the New York Times due to budget cuts and the poor guy gets so annoyed, although he'd never say it, when I ask him to define words I've only pretended to understand.

But have no fear because Rick and I have found something that will tie us together forever and that something is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, you heard me. Buffy.
We are getting our money's worth from Netflix as we have three dvd's of Buffy coming to our house at any given time. Aren is also loving this show as we ignore him completely for three hours as we get our fix, leaving him to watch/do/eat whatever he wants. If you haven't seen it yet, shut up and stop rolling your eyes. This is a show that started out good and is only getting better. The banter between the characters keeps you laughing and the necessary monsters jumping out of nowhere will keep you on your toes.

Come on people. Television is boring at the moment. Nothing good is on right now and won't be for another six weeks or so. Give this a try, but if you're doing Netflix and you take season four away from me, I just might have to drive a stake through your heart.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Domesiticated Life

Every once in a while I get this bee in my bonnet that won't go away. For years I begged Rick to buy me a sewing machine. I dropped hints at every Christmas, birthday, Mother's Day, heck even Labor Day, to no avail. Then finally in December of 2006 I was blessed with a sewing machine. I opened it and read every booklet and random piece of paper that came with it...then promptly put it back in the box and stored it in the bedroom closet where it sat for over a year.

Over the last six months or so I've become a little braver and have taken out my sewing machine to make blankets...three to be exact...which only require straight sewing lines. Even that was difficult. Then I was called to be Activity Days leader and my heart sank when the girls told me they wanted to learn how to sew. Well, two weeks ago I pulled that bee in my bonnet out and after finding a project in some craft books I stole from my mom (thanks mom!) I have achieved what is for me, sewing nirvana. It really doesn't get much better than this.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Couple of Firsts

The first time something happens can create many emotions, take for instance, the first time I had a baby. Aren scared me to death. I remember looking at him and thinking, "What am I supposed to do with this?" I don't even think I changed his diaper until he had been home a week. But here he is, almost nine years later starting his first day of third grade. Every year it amazes me that he's made it to the next grade. I seriously had to wonder after a bone marrow transplant and two broken legs during first grade. He is such a trooper...man I dig this kid.


Then there's poor Tatiana who had her first fall just yesterday. Who knew that a three inch step onto dusty pebbles could create such facial devistation! Sigh. I felt horrible watching her face plant it, but a good sippy cup of cold milk and a cushy mommy did the trick. Hopefully this will be her first and last little accident.

Monday, August 4, 2008

What did you do today?

I get this question almost every day when Rick comes home from work. Some days there is a long list of chores and errands I've accomplished. Other days the poor man just gets me glaring at him and wishing he could take back those five little words.

For those of you who are curious, these are some things I last week...
...

Welcome!

So, for fear of being left in the 20th century, I'm doing this blog thing. I've always wanted to share my life with others as I do think I have one of the most interesting life resumes you can find. Between children born with random medical disorders to my house catching fire this past June, there is never a lull in my life. Share it with me!