Someone get me a cocoa-baba

I sat on the couch this morning while I brushed my teeth and looked out the window for the gold Honda Pilot to drive up our street one last time. Eric was taking our dear friends Paul and Megan to the airport for their 12:00 flight to California. Tears were running down my face as I tried to picture life in North Carolina without them. Without Harry coming over to play with the boys while Eric and Paul go running; without dinners at their house that felt so comfortable and warm and sometimes more like home than our own house; without our frequent trips to the beach with Megan always finding the biggest and most beautiful beach house for a steal (or a "still", as she would say), without Harry's ubiquitous cocoa-babas and Eli's little dimples; without my partner in lateness. For three years, we have built the foundations for our families side by side- buying houses and having babies and going to school.

The boys looked at me uncomfortably and Marley squirmed in my arms as I stood in the driveway crying and waving after them. I hate to say goodbye to people I love, though I guess I'm not alone in that. I know that life will be good to them in California. I'll picture them in an exact replica of their North Carolina house, except with a red-tile roof and a palm tree in the yard. Meg, I wanted to print this poem and give it to you before you left, but I never had time, so I'll post it here for you:

On Friendship
Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


Better than Christmas

Marley is PISSED today. She woke up in a mood. She gave my hair several hard, deliberate yanks while nursing. Then she spit out her oatmeal all over her cute onesie that I had just put her in. (Apparently onesie is not a real word- thank you spell checker.) Anyway, I had even put an extra spoonful of strawberry jam in it! Which only increased its stain power of course. I tried a big old dose of tylenol. I gave her my sunglasses to play with. She threw them on the ground and reached for my ipod which is, amazingly, still functioning after its foray into the toilet. Okay then. Bring it on- horrible, no-good, very bad day- I can take you! Know why? Because I have these:

Did you ever really want something but you knew you couldn't afford it, so you resigned yourself to dreaming about it until your husband finally gets around to finishing grad school? And then, somehow, it fell into your lap completely free of charge and you knew that someone, somewhere, was looking out for you? I've noticed over the past few months what seems like a new trend: regular people are getting amazing family pictures taken and posting them on their blogs for the rest of us to drool over. I mean the kind of pictures that capture the soul of your family. The little looks and the complexity of relationships and the depth of love. Some of us possess such a talent (and such an expensive camera), some of us have husbands and sisters with such a talent (you know who you are!). And some of us have new people move into their ward who are photographers and need to try out locations in their new town and ask if anyone wants a free session. That would be me. Thank you Melissa!!! They are amazing and we will treasure them always!

Marley has tired of my ipod and is reaching for the fish-in-a-bowl that Brigham painstakingly colored and cut out at school yesterday.....I'm afraid it will have to be sacrificed.


Oh for Pete's sake.

It's been one of those days:

First, I accidentally ripped the boys' bathroom door off it's hinges.

Then the dog ate my flip flops.

Then Marley got my ipod and swished it around in the toilet.

In other news, I feel like I should mention that our chickens died. We were, and are, sick to death over it. It was a very hot day a few weeks ago and Eric left the house at 5 A.M. to go to the temple before school. He forgot to let the chickens out of their cage so they could roam free in the backyard like usual. Someone had given us a giant piece of plexiglass that we thought we might use in a treehouse for the boys, and Eric had been putting it on top of the cage at night to weigh it down so that foxes and such could not tip it over. Basically, the sun shining through the plexiglass cooked the poor chickens to death. Words cannot describe the sorrow and remorse we all felt. We gave them a nice funeral and buried them under the shady trees in our backyard (Eric wanted to eat them, but that just seemed wrong). After a suitable mourning period, we decided that we had loved having chickens and that they'd had a happy life, save for that one awful day, so we're beginning again, armed with our new knowledge of how very fragile and precious life is. Eric's teacher lent us his incubator and gave us some fertile eggs that are the siblings of our departed chickens. We just put them in today, so in 21 days we should have baby chicks. I'll keep you updated!


Every queen needs a throne

Two things I hate:

1. Baby clothing with the word PRINCESS stamped on it.
2. Braggy blog posts

This is not a braggy blog post though because no special talent of any kind went into me re-painting our rickety old second hand high chair for Marley. I used cheapo $1.19 acrylic paints from Michael's and Eric covered it with a coat of polyurethane. Now Marley has a seat that is worthy of her adorableness.

I'm always complaining to Eric, not about the size of our house, but about its layout- the living room is in the center and every room opens off of it, which doesn't make for a lot of privacy and creates major problems when one of us needs to sleep while the rest of us are awake. But as I checked my email tonight I listened to the familiar noises...the thumping of the dog's tail under my chair...the whir of the white-noise fan in Marley's room...Brigham's compulsive throat clearing...Eric's repeated "Mamaaaaaaa....Brigham's bothering me...", and I thought of how much I will miss the closeness of this house when we someday leave it. It's been good to us.

*****Post edit*****
I just thought of a third thing I hate: Facebook. I don't know why, but I hate it and I think it's evil and any day now I'm going to delete my page. Eric was just logged in to his page and I noticed he had: 1) a random friend's list of which five celebrities she'd like to be stuck in an elevator with and 2) one relationship request, whatever that is, with a little red heart next to it. See why I don't like it? A discussion ensued in which he tried to guess which celebrities I would most like to be stuck in an elevator with (the answer- none. I'll take my husband, thank you.) and in which I grilled him about WHO was requesting to be in a relationship with him!?!? Finally, he clicked on the relationship request and then started laughing so hard he almost spit his toothpaste all over the computer screen. It seems it was me. But I still think Facebook is evil.



Did I ever mention that Marley's middle name is most emphatically NOT from the Twilight books? Eric gave her the name Bella because it means beautiful in Portuguese, language of Brazil, land of his mission. (Actually it's bela, with one L, but I'm sensitive about hard-to-pronounce names, having had one myself). We call her our bella girl. When I look at her I see perfection in every tiny detail, from her small chubby feet to the soft sprout of curls on the top of her head. I love to watch her purse her beautiful little mouth when she tastes something new, to press my lips against her always-flushed cheeks, to feel the weight of her head resting on my shoulder when I pick her up out of her crib. Yesterday someone remarked to me about how vocal she is and I responded that I waited for months and months to hear her sweet little voice- it seemed like it took her forever to find it, but now it's my favorite sound in the world.

Having my little bella girl helps me see beauty all around me- just tonight I was at the church and passed by a friend in the hallway and just stopped and stared at her for a moment, with her dark wavy hair and freckles. I thought about how glad I am that our Father in Heaven made us all so different and so beautiful in our own ways. Why is that so hard to apply to ourselves? How do help my precious daughter understand how breathtakingly beautiful she is without making her feel like her value is in the way she looks, that her beauty stems from her value and not the other way around? These things weigh on me at night while I'm lying in bed. So there's a price to pay for all those fun hair bows and dresses after all....