For a youth activity on Wednesday night we dressed in disguise and headed to the local mall, where kids from church had to spot people they knew amongst the evening shoppers. They had to get our signatures for points, and the group with the highest point total won a prize.

Briggie and I had fun wandering around while people whispered and stared. At one point two guys came out of a store and silently pushed a pen and paper at me. They definitely did not go to our church, but I think they thought I was famous since groups of teenagers kept asking for my autograph. I gave it to them, of course:).

Later on a lady took a picture of Brigham with her cell phone, which tickled him to no end. As we were leaving, Eric pointed to a woman sitting in the food court and asked if she went to church with us. I told him no- I didn't recognize her at all. Apparently one of the groups of kids thought they did and asked her to sign their paper, which she very nicely did!

Here we are in our get-ups:

Gamecocks Girl...

Marimekko Man...

Smooth criminal...

Disco Mama....

Little E had scouts so he missed out on the fun. We got a mouthful on that all the way to the church, but he had fun playing ultimate frisbee and gorging on cookies all night, so I think he got over it.

Our Young Women's president told me later that when the girls saw me they said, "Wow! Brother Aldrich must be lovin' life!", which, I'll be honest, made my week. Maybe my month.

Wardrobe check: Eric's shirt was made by my Aunt (from a curtain- is that true AR?) and used to belong to my grandfather, who wore it proudly- he was cool that way. The pink pants. Yes, well....okay I'll tell you, but you have to promise to believe me. I bought them on the Ave. in Seattle on a date with my husband. I needed something fun to wear to a Relief Society activity where we were all supposed to dress crazy. I got wind of some women who were planning to wear their wedding dresses, so I knew I had to go all out. It's how things are done in Seattle. I found a pair of pink leather pants at a second-hand store and have now worn them exactly two times in my life.

Now I'm craving icecream from The Mix.


Blackberry jam

A few weeks ago I was at the doctor with Brigham. While we waited in the exam room I had a chance to peruse the walls, which were hung from floor to ceiling with degrees and awards earned by the doctor we were about to meet. Harvard. Duke. More Harvard. Associations. Leagues. Boards. Honored service. One was in Latin- I couldn't read it even though I took two years of Latin in High School. I felt small.

In my mind I saw the walls rise up on either side of me. I stood in the middle, shrinking, until I was only two inches tall. Un-showered, baby on my hip, defensively wearing one of Eric's Duke Econ shirts in an attempt to get a little respect. Having three kids, looking younger than you are and flashing a medicaid card doesn't always make for the most pleasant treatment at doctors offices.

Then the doctor came in. She was lovely and nice. She answered my questions and calmed my worries about Brigham's eyes and those stupid patches that I was beginning to think would always be a part of his life. I felt a little better when I left, but I kept thinking about the feelings I had in that room. Feelings of inadequacy. Of worry that maybe I'm not doing enough with the life I've been given to live. That's one of my demons. It haunts me all the time, even though I do have a testimony of the sacred importance of motherhood and family.

Then the other morning I was eating breakfast at the kitchen table. I looked over at Marley in her highchair. She had blackberry jam all over her face and she looked so beautiful that my eyes teared up. A word floated into my head:


I've never seen my children as offerings- only as gifts, burdens, little tornadoes that tear up my house and teach me about life, forcing me to dive deep into myself and see what I'm really made of. But in that moment I saw an offering, and I knew in a quiet, calm way that my offering is acceptable to God.

I have no doubt the demons will return- we all have them and it's never that easy to get them to go away. Maybe that's why I felt the need to write this post- to have a tangible reminder of the whisperings of the spirit in a quiet moment at the kitchen table.

P.S.- Cjane says today:

I will never feel sorry for a woman who seeks the best of what this life is offering, even if what she finds doesn't look like what I have found.



A letter to the Jet City

Dear Seattle,

I'm missing you somethin' fierce today. The pear trees are blooming here- nothing, I know, compared to your spring splendor. Have the cherry trees exploded on the UW campus? Is everyone trekking up north to see the tulips? Are the sailboats out on Lake Washington?

I'm sorry I've stayed away. I just don't want to come back unless it's for good- I'm weird that way. Remember how fiercely determined I was to hate your guts? How I used to call Eric at school in the middle of the day for no reason other than to say "I'm not living here. I hate this rain. We're moving as soon as you graduate." But you won my heart. With your ferry boats and your sea planes and your Cascade mountains. Your Burke-Gillman trail and your John Kerry yard-signs and your Kidd Valley burgers. Your naked cyclists and your Fremont troll and your non-depressing zoo. Your wild blackberries and your Starbucks' on every corner and your beautiful, amazing summers.

How is my old apartment that used to take me an afternoon (ONE afternoon!) to clean? Does Bill the maintenance guy still turn the sprinklers on at 7 A.M. everyday? I'm doing fine here in North Carolina. When I go to the beach I can sunbathe and swim. It's only March and I have my windows open. And I do prefer loblolly pines to your towering trees. But part of my heart will always be with you. And who knows, maybe someday the rest of me too? Save me some blackberries...

Love always,



Are a mystery to me.

The way you can push your body past the point at which most people would give up. How your brain knows it's way around complex mathematical equations that look like another language to me. The patience you have to film our daughter for 7 straight minutes while she trots around the church during Sunday school. The love you have for building things with your own two hands. The pure joy you feel at being able to see for miles atop a high vantage point. Your dreams of traveling the world to see the people and places you pore over in your National Geographic.

Wherever you came from, I'm glad you're here and that you're mine. Happy birthday sweetheart.


California Bound

I'm going on a little trip out to the West coast to visit my friend Megan. I've never left my baby girl before. Will she be okay? Will she forget me? Will she start calling someone else Mama? Probably not, since she doesn't even call me Mama. A few days ago she started saying 'Mommeeeee' over and over again when she wanted something. I was excited until I finally figured out that she was trying to say 'Marley'- as in 'that thing is Marley's! Give it to Marley!'.

Eric just got home from a trip to Utah where visited his sister and her sweet kids, and then was wined and dined at BYU, but told that they're under a hiring freeze and probably will be for at least a year. This, added to the stories from friends on the job market this year who've applied to hundreds of schools and gotten 2, maybe 3 offers, is giving me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know we'll get a job somewhere, just please, PLEASE don't let it be in someplace scary like Iowa, or Maine, or Wisconsin. I don't think I could make it through the winter. I would have to run away to California for more than a few days.

In the mean time, I'll try to rest easy knowing that this imposing character is watching over my family:

Just this morning he was very angry with his brother and called him a "poop rat" as they were getting out of the car in front of the school. So you really don't want to mess with him...