Friday, July 22, 2011

The Bale of Straw

While I was visiting my parents in Utah, my dad shared a funny story with his ward about when he and my mom were first married.

When my mom met my dad she was an eighteen year old baby (I'm sure she was a mature eighteen year old baby, but she was a baby nonetheless).  After he swept her off her feet at Ricks College, he carried her to none other than the booming metropolis of Moses Lake, Washington (which was even less booming in those days, I'm sure, than it is now).  They lived on the farm land of Gene and Opal Merkley, and as a service to the couple, in return for getting to live on their land for free, my dad helped care for Gene's cattle that lived in a pasture next to my parents' house.  This farm was about a zillion miles from town, a reality magnified by the fact that my parents only had one car (a two-door Chevy Chevette with no air conditioning), which my dad drove to work every morning, leaving my mom car-less, surrounded by sage brush and dust, and I'm sure wondering what in the blue blazes she had gotten herself into (that's what I would have been thinking, anyway), while she tried to adjust to life on a farm, something she knew nothing about at the time. 

Anyway, back to my dad's story.  So apparently, one day in this early stage of their married life, my dad had a particularly rough day at work.  My mom must have spoken to him on the phone, because she knew this, so she decided to "surprise" my dad by feeding the cattle for him before he came home.  She had watched him do this before, many times, so she got up the gumption to just do it herself.

As my dad pulled up the driveway, he saw my mom attempting to feed the cattle from the tractor, dust flying everywhere, and a very upset bunch of cattle that he hoped weren't about to stampede.

My dad, completely perplexed, asked my mom, "Dear, what, exactly are you doing?" (I can totally hear him saying this, too.  I can picture his exact tone of voice.)

My mom's response was that she was, "Trying to feed these cattle!  And I noticed these bales were lighter, so I loaded them onto the tractor, because they were easier for me to lift, but now they won't eat it." (I can totally hear my mom saying this, too, because she probably sounded a lot like me when I am about to have a nervous breakdown about something.)

My dad (probably trying not to chuckle, I'm sure) informed my mom that, "Honey, they don't eat straw, they eat hay."  It was a silly mistake to make if you know anything about farm animals and what they eat, but my mom knew nothing about farm animals and what they eat, because she wasn't a farm girl.  So my dad said, "I'll tell you what, let's fix it and go feed them together."

The whole moral of the story, and the point my dad was trying to make when he shared this story, is that you should always remember the bale of straw.  Your spouse may do things that you don't understand at times, but you have to be patient with each other.  You can never rewind life.  Don't say things to the person you love most that you will one day regret, because you will likely one day wish you could go back and change your words and actions.

Today, Chad and I have been married for six years.

That rounds up to ten.

That is more than half of a decade.

My parents will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary on August 7th.

That rounds down to thirty.

But that is more than a quarter of a century.     

I am so unbelievably thankful for my parents and the example they have set for me of a loving, committed marriage.

I am so thankful for Chad and the amazing husband he is to me, and the wonderful father he is to Kaden.  Without Chad I am like half of myself.  I seriously don't know how I was ever a person before we were married.  I know that sounds strange, but I just feel like he is the perfect complement to my personality.  He is laid back when I am up tight.  He is calm when I am frazzled.  I wouldn't want to share life with anyone else, not to mention the huge responsibility of parenthood!

I am so thankful for Chad's parents and the wonderful example they were to Chad growing up, because I know that is part of the reason I have such an amazing person to call mine.

A lot has changed for us in the last six years, but a lot has stayed the same.

Metaphorically speaking, I've pulled a lot of "bale of straw" moments over the last six years.

Thanks for still loving me, Chad, even though I still squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle after six years of you asking me not to.  And thanks for putting the toilet seat down (most of the time) even though I haven't changed my toothpaste habits.  I'm working on it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Letters without the Pesky Stamps

Dear Cute Girl in the Skinny Jeans on the Flight from Salt Lake to Dallas,

Or should I call you the baby whisperer?  Our conversation was short, but you did ask my son's name.  You smiled at him and said, "It's going to be a great flight, Kaden." After which he promptly fell asleep.  For the entire flight.  I know you said you were once a nanny.  I can't afford to pay you, but maybe you'd like to fly with me every time I go home to visit family?

I look forward to flying with you again soon.

A Mom Who Forgot How Sweet it is to Watch Her Son Sleep in Her Arms 

Dear Grandma on the Flight from Dallas to Raleigh,

Thank you for being a grandma and not a drunk Anthony Bourdain look-alike, who I feared might be a pedophile.  Thank you for letting Kaden peek out the window as often as he liked for the entire flight.  I hope you got to take your bra off when you made it home, as you told me that was what you were most looking forward to.  I can't wait until I'm old, so I can say whatever I want even in public.  You are awesome.

A Bra-less Woman in Pajamas

Dear Man Who Was Waiting Outside the Airplane Bathroom When Kaden and I Came Out,

I'm sure you were wondering what we were doing in there.

Kaden had a wet diaper that had to be changed.

And then I popped a squat and nursed him right there in that closet of death.

I know it was rude of me to commandeer the restroom for my personal use, while you very well might have needed to desperately tinkle.  I'm sorry, but you try nursing a child in public who is violent while doing so, and refuses to be covered (while maintaining some sense of modesty and privacy).  It's not a pretty sight.  It was a full flight, and desperate times call for desperate measures.  In fairness, I kept it as short as possible and gave him a snack and not a full meal.

A Milk Mama

Dear Heat and Humidity,

Go away.  I hate you. 
I think we all know that in the crazed stupor you are sure to induce for me, I will likely say and do things I can only regret.

An Adopted Southerner Who Can't Take the Heat

Dear Weeds in My Front Flower Beds,

Are you serious?  Are you SERIOUS?  I know I've been gone for two weeks, but this is just ridiculous.  How did you possibly overtake everything in that amount of time?  Do you realize our yard is directly across the street from the best landscaped yard in the neighborhood?  How do you think your mess makes us look?

Enjoy your reign and pray that the heat wave from hell lasts, because as soon as it's over, you're over.

The Gardener Who Seems Cursed to Encourage the Undesirable 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Skipping Ahead

Right now Kaden and I are in Utah spending some time with my family.  I am already eons behind in blogging, so I thought I would just jump ahead to the present, in hopes that I won't become too overwhelmed and never attempt to catch up later.  Hopefully I'll have a chance later to write about our spectacular adventure at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh with my friend Katy and her family, and the great fun we had with my Aunt MalaRee and her kids when they stayed with us just before we left.  In the meantime, on to Utah fun. 

So far Kaden has . . . 

Played in the pool or at the splash pad almost every day. 

My parents live in a great housing development that has both, so it's super easy to play in the water just before nap time. 


Taken a trip to BYU.

Where Grandma bought him his first Cougar ball cap.

Visited The Hogle Zoo.

Kaden loved the giraffes best, but Anya and I liked the baby elephant.

Helped Grandpa and Grandma with Yard Work

Visited my friend Steph and met her darling baby boy, Andy.

Wow.  Not a single picture.  Such a tragedy.  It was great to see her though, and Andy is adorable. 

Crawled around on the blanket that is my parents' grass.

Our grass just can't hold a candle to this stuff.  And there are no fire ants here to worry about, which is especially nice.

Learned to walk behind his walking toy.

He's been cruising like crazy for over a month now, but this is the first he's tried to walk without an actual person assisting him.  He's still too unsteady on his feet to walk on his own, but occasionally he'll be standing holding on to something and he'll let go and stand on his own for a few seconds before he realizes what he's done.  Then, he immediately plops on his bum or grabs back on to something for support.  It's pretty funny to watch.  

Taken lots and lots of night-time baths.

PLUS, I have . . .

Learned to use a sewing machine . . . kind of . . .

Watched the end of the Harry Potter era unfold on the big screen at midnight with my cousin, Anya, while my mom missed out to watch Kaden (who woke up just after we left for the theatre).


Eaten my body weight in chocolate chip cookies, ice cream sandwiches, and homemade hot fudge sauce.

It's been a great trip.  We are here until Wednesday, so there is still more fun to come.  

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