Saturday, October 31, 2009

Loose Ends

Tying up loose ends, that's what I've been doing here the past couple of days. My due date is Wednesday, and while I don't expect to make any frantic midnight trips to the hospital or anything before then, I'm trying to be prepared in the unlikely event I actually go into labor unassisted. So . . . blogging loose ends, mostly about pregnancy, neatly tied up. You probably won't hear from me again until baby girl has finally made her entrance into this world.

1. I put the down comforter on our bed weeks ago. And then it got warm again. But now . . . now, I sink into the pillows and relish the weight of winter time. It is a singular pleasure to hear the rustle of a down comforter, and feel cozy, snug, safe in your warm bed. I've been waiting for this since May!

2. I believe people shorter than 5'4" should only be required to gestate for 38 weeks. Anyone with me? Because, seriously, there is NO WHERE for this baby to go . . . but out. And my body does not seem to be willing to comply. Did you know I've never gone into labor (and neither has my sister, nor did my mother or my grandmother)? With the twins, I was induced because amniotic fluid was low on baby A, and it was a necessity. With MayDay, I was induced with  foley ball (e-mail me if you want to know what that means) because after a long and painful induction with the twins, I was a little pitocin-shy. Now, at 39+ weeks, I am, to quote my doctor, "High, tight, and thick." Nice. In other words, I'm still going to be pregnant at Christmas.

3. I had forgotten that pregnancy lowers all kinds of boundaries for people. For example, I find myself talking about the state of my cervix with people who don't normally have an interest in how my reproductive organs are functioning. Even strangers ask me questions that would be totally inappropriate were it not for my obviously pregnant state. Yes, thank you, I do know where babies come from. Yes, I am also aware of what . . . action may be taken at home to possibly bring on labor. Same thing that gets you knocked up in the first place, right? No, we weren't trying to have a baby, but we just couldn't keep our hands off of each other. Too much information? Well, you're the one that brought it up! I mean, do people realize when they ask these questions that they, strangers, are really asking to know some of the most intimate details of my life? It's as though the only reason anyone would have more than two children is a lack of self control. Which brings me to . . .

4. Last week, we stopped by Verizon on the way home to take care of a cell phone problem. The boys had been cooped up all day, it was near bedtime, and we were right in the middle of what we affectionately refer to as "sleep throes" so instead of leaving CPod in the car with them, we all came inside. They ran around the store, and maybe they were a little noisy, but they did not mess with any of the display phones or destroy property.

As I neared the front of the line, CPod corralled them back to the car while I finished up our business. The woman in front of me, who five minutes before had asked me when I was due and if I knew what I was having, began to make small talk with the agent assisting her. "Don't you just love it when people bring their kids in here and just let them run wild?" she said to him. He just nodded, and she kept going. "And she's pregnant again!"

Really? Really? Oh, how I wanted to say something to her. It would have been easy to engage her in a brief but scathing conversation about parenting styles, kindness to strangers, Verizon's lack of posted policy regarding the presence of children in their store, and -- egad -- passing snap judgments on people you do not know based solely on 5 minutes of observation without interaction, and what types of judgments people might make of her based on her southern-redneck accent, smoker's voice, mullet haircut, and the Sam's Club employee ID hanging around her neck. Did I make any of those judgments? No. I know too many good, intelligent southern rednecks to assume they're all stupid, and I can't disrespect anyone who has a job -- of any legal type -- in this economy. I'm much more likely to judge her based on the duplicity I witnessed in the brief minutes of our encounter. People make me crazy.

5. We had our Trunk or Treat last night at church. It was . . . a bit much for me, I think. If we had that many people at church every Sunday, our ward would split. And they never plan for as many people as we actually get, which makes it just plain chaotic. My children, however, were adorable. (Photos to follow after real trick or treating tonight.) ConMan & GDog dressed up as Mario and Luigi, and MayDay was Toad -- all from Super Mario Bros. They've been planning this since August, and, I'm proud to say, since they gave me so much advance notice, and because Grandma so graciously crafted an adorable little vest for our little Toad, their costumes did not come pre-assembled in a bag from Target, thank you very much.

6. CPod came up with an awesome last-minute costume: The Edge. (Awesomely fantastic U2 lead guitarist, for you cave-dwellers.) He put on one of the boys' little beanie caps, drew on a goatee, and hooked a little kid rock star guitar in the carpenter loop of his jeans. Only three people at church got it. In case we weren't sure before, we now know for certain who are the three coolest people in our ward.

7.  I wore an orange t-shirt and taped jack-o-lantern face parts to my belly. Really, it was my only fitting option. And that, my friends, is the main reason why . . .

8. I'm done going to church until after the baby is born. Seriously. Because I just can't bring myself to wear my uniform of yoga pants and oversized hoodie to Sacrament meeting. It's not that I'm that huge, really -- I've only gained about 12 pounds (because the secret to healthy pregnancy weight gain is to just be fat before you get pregnant), but at this point, nothing feels good, fits right, stays where it should, or, most importantly, flatters the shape of anyone who looks like Humpty Dumpy. Who was probably a pregnant woman anyway.

Signing off until baby gets here!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Check me out!

I'm guest posting today over on Mormon Mommy Blogs . . . go check it out!

(And don't miss my post from yesterday . . . it's all about my husband, and it's truly, truly entertaining. Two posts from InkMom in less than 12 hours! What has the world come to! It won't hurt my feelings if you save one for tomorrow. Circuit overload is a distinct possibility, I know.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Terror of Chipman Hall, or Why My Husband Makes Me Fear Our Children

Disclaimer: I'm sure that somewhere out there in the gigantic blogosphere, someone is married to, or knows, or is, one of the BYU freshmen that my husband tortured so mercilessly his first year at that august university. To you, I sincerely apologize. Please don't hate me because I married him. I can assure you that he eventually matured into quite a civilized adult who has been threatened with his life if he shares any of the stories of his wayward youth with our children. Hopefully, this will ensure that the cycle will not continue should our kids all end up at some university together in the future. And I only share this stuff now because I figure the statute of limitations has long run out.

Do you remember the kids in your freshman ward at BYU who were always up to something? They were fun to be around, but you were never sure you wanted to stay too long because someone was bound to come up with a "great idea" that led to yet another encounter with Officer Wayne of Campus Police. Before the internet, what else would a group of rambunctious non-drinking or drug using college freshmen do with their time?

My husband knew Officer Wayne so well that if it looked like Campus Police was going to show up, he and his buddies would hightail it away from the scene of the crime faster than you could say, "One day they'll all be RMs."

It all started with his dorm assignment. See, CPod is a smart guy, but the whole honors thing? Not really his . . . milieu. Somehow, though, he was assigned to Chipman Hall, first floor: the honors dorm. Luckily (unluckily?), he found a few other guys who shared his love of a good time as well as his healthy disrespect for all things Dungeons & Dragons and/or a capella singing related. CPod, Dale, Nathan and Matt made it their mission to make their mark on the honors dorm by alienating as many groups of people as possible. RAs were not off limits; girls were, but only because these boys admired them so much. But the biggest pranks were reserved for the guys across the hall: The Freaksters. The disrespect was mutual, and pranks were volleyed in both directions. CPod claims they differed philosophically on a fundamental level -- they were destined to never see eye to eye, and I fear that if we still lived across the street, the pranks would still be ongoing.

The Freaksters were a group of like-minded individuals who spent most of their free time playing Dungeons & Dragons and singing together in the shower. (I so wish I was kidding.) During Thursday night visiting hours, they would host a big Dungeon-fest in their room; people would crawl out of their respective caves, decked out head-to-toe in dragon-master, elf and wizard regalia, and congregate in the room across the hall from CPod's. They sat three-deep on the skinny beds and rolled their million-sided dice as they obsessed about their cards and hit points and whatnot.

One night, early in fall semester, CPod and his buddies knocked on the Freaksters' door armed with an industrial carpet dryer. As the door opened, they turned on the dryer and watched the players scramble in their cumbersome costumes as all of their important papers, cards, and dice were plastered to the window by the impressive wind tunnel generated by a commercial-grade fan.

This was only topped by the time they filled a huge trash can with water, propped it against the Freaksters' door, and knocked again. This time when the door opened, an enormous wall of water flowed through the room and back again, soaking Freakster costumes and gamepieces aplenty. Those industrial carpet dryers came in pretty handy then.

Not exactly an auspicious beginning.

The Freaksters, though, were by no means innocent. They reciprocated swiftly as the prank war escalated: a giant snowball was left to melt in CPod's bed. CPod's room was ransacked, drawers dumped, closet emptied, bed overturned, and pictures torn off of walls. They tried to outsmart the non-honors occupants of the honors dorm by leaving threatening notes quoting Star Trek, or written in Old English quatrains.

But CPod and his boys would not be put down.

One night, one of the Freaksters left his door open as he visited another dorm mate down the hall. CPod and his homies snuck in and stole all his underwear. I could stop there, right? But no, it gets worse. They scrounged together enough change to completely buy out one of the refrigerated vending machines: put in your money, open the little door, and enjoy your yogurt, or egg salad sandwich, or whatever. But behind each door, they replaced the yogurt or sandwich with one pair of underwear. Every time the kid needed a clean pair of underoos, he had to find $1.25 to buy it out of the machine. It took about two days for that vending machine to be removed from their hall for good.

CPod is a South Carolina boy. What does that have to do with anything? I'll tell you: it's the state of legal fireworks. And in the pre-September 11 libertine era of air travel, he could not resist the temptation to smuggle some contraband from the motherland when he came back after Christmas break.

The Freaksters had a strange bathing ritual that took place several evenings a week: four of them gathered in the communal shower and sang harmoniously together as they simultaneously took care of their personal hygeine. Let me be clear: they met on purpose so they could sing together, naked, in the shower. CPod and his friends thought this was a little beyond strange. And since the war was ongoing, they came up with an ingenius use for CPod's M-80s. They put the fireworks on a board (to protect the tile, of course -- they weren't about destroying property, just egos and self-respect), lit the carefully-timed fuses (to give them more time for escape, lest they should look guilty), and slid the wooden block underneath the bench where people could sit to wait their turn for the shower. The four singing Freaksters harmonized away, until the fireworks exploded and, in their panic and self-preserving, adrenaline-induced haste, all rushed for the same exit from the shower, resulting in the unmistakable smack of naked people crashing haphazardly into each other.

This one was investigated as a bombing. CPod and the gang escaped to his sister's off-campus apartment and stayed there overnight until things died down back on campus.

There are more of these stories. If I had had my wits about me, I would have made CPod sign a prenuptial agreement regarding the possibilities of future mis-education of our children. He claims he has since seen the error of his ways, but I've heard him eagerly tell these stories too many times to believe that one. The truth is, I'm a little worried it's in the genes, and our kids won't need to hear the stories to repeat history. Let's hope you don't have a reason to know my boys too well should they go to BYU in about 14 years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Heart of Rock'N Roll Is Still Beating

I'll try to keep this brief. I know most of you don't really care about this stuff.

U2.

It. Was. Awesome.

And I didn't bring my camera. Molly that I am, when Ticketmaster told me no cameras were allowed, I took them at their word. No matter that EVERY OTHER PERSON in the entire building (all 70,000 of them), except, of course, for MommyJ, Josh, or CPod, brought a camera. We had to make do with sub-par camera phones. And those pictures are not even worth putting on here. So. I have no proof. Only memories.

While U2 was fantastic, the awesomeness did not begin with them.

It began with these guys:


That's right, folks. Muse opened for U2. This was a huge bonus, since opening bands for the Atlanta concert were not announced until a few months ago -- long after we bought our tickets.

Now. The last time we saw U2, Gavin Rossdale's short-lived venture Institute opened. We were not impressed -- more like disappointed since both CPod and I had been fans of Bush for a while. Let's just say the difference between studio recording and live performance was . . . significant.

Not so with Muse. They were absolutely spot on in a live venue. Go see them! It was a fantastic performance.

Enter U2. Talk about huge. Take a look at this:



I have never seen a concert set like this before. Between bands, we watched all the tech people take their places on the set. I'm talking dozens of follow spots, camera operators, and guitar wranglers, many of them perched precariously on tiny chairs high above the audience, harnessed to the giant claw of a stage.

It was a spectacle, worthy of the price of the tickets, and impressive in it's sheer size and scope: excessive, larger than life, grandiose, self-indulgent, and absolutely one of the most fun experiences I have ever had in my life.

They played, and played, and played some more. Inexhaustible. They changed up their set list enough to keep us guessing even though we (read: CPod) are total nerds and thought we knew what would come next. We heard old stuff, and new stuff, and rare stuff (Stuck in a Moment, acoustic version, thank you very much!) and the greatest stuff. Can I say it again? It was awesome.

And I have some notes.

The Edge -- you are amazing. You are a quiet, bald Irish dude and in ordinary, every day conversation, people refer to you by the coolest nickname anyone has ever had. But man, you can play yourself some guitar. I am never disappointed by what I hear emanating from whichever of your dozens of instruments you have picked up. In fact, I have decided that you may actually be the biggest reason I love U2 so much. Some part of me responds to the iconic strains of The Edge playing his guitar, and I will never stop loving it.

Larry Mullen, Jr. -- oh, my. The arms. Drummers should NEVER wear long sleeves.

Adam Clayton -- I think they must keep you around because you're a pretty cool guy. At least, that's how you look on stage: unruffled by all those people, just playing your bass as though you're the only person in the room.

Bono -- I'll be honest: sometimes I listen to U2 in spite of you. Love the lyrics, and you're quite the showman, that's for sure. But I think the ego required to do what you do on stage must make you a pretty difficult person to live with the rest of the time. Bless your wife and family!

So, if you're jealous, and you should be, then you should watch the live video stream from the Rose Bowl concert on October 25. It will be awesome, and as Motherboard said, you can wear your pajamas. I'm all about the pajamas these days -- they're the only clothes I have left that fit me! You MUST see the set to believe it. It's amazing. Here's the preview:



I'll be watching!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

SOS

In which I reminisce about my baby and ruminate about life as it is right now. And try not to cry.

Has anyone ever told you that having twins is easy, blissful and no harder than dealing with a singleton? No? I didn't think so. Because they would be lying. Conditions certainly improve as multiples get older, but I don't know that it's ever easy. The whole will always be greater, harder, more intense, scarier than the sum of its parts.

My twins are good boys -- they are bright, and happy, and fun, and, had they been born singly, I would probably have considered them each to be a relatively easy baby. But when there are two, there is little time for a break in between taking care of everyone's needs. My sister, who also has twins, once referred to herself as a dairy bar. She's right -- early on, when you're nursing and haven't quite figured out the whole tandem thing, by the time you've gotten number two fed, burped and changed, number one is hungry again, and before you know it, it's time to go to bed, and you haven't even had a shower because one baby or the other has been nursing all the livelong day.

When my twins were barely a year old (still nursing), I found out I was pregnant again -- miraculously, since conception occurred the good old-fashioned way instead of in a fertility clinic lab.

Total honesty here: I cried. For days. Just ask MommyJ. I was already a basket case because I did not feel well-equipped enough to handle the children I already had. I was afraid throwing one more into the mix might push me over the edge.

I prayed mightily to the Lord that he would carry me through, that he would send me, first, only one baby at a time, and second, that the baby would be one with an easy disposition. I sent my white banner up the flag pole and dialed in my SOS. And he sent me MayDay.


This past Saturday, we celebrated MayDay's 3rd birthday. From the first day, he has been a balm of a child. He was the answer to my fervent prayers for mercy.


MayDay is the greatest sleeper I have ever encountered. He loves his bed and usually has his eyes closed before I've even turned out the light. He snuggles in to his pillow and "Grandma blankets" with a contented sigh and drifts off without a struggle, every single night.

Today.

MayDay is a very talented mess-maker. He can't eat anything without getting it all over him -- peanut butter from ear to ear, fingers full of Cheeto dust, yogurt on his eyebrows. But the same kid can't stand to be messy. As soon as he's done with that PB&J, he's off to the bathroom to wash his hands with smelly soap, which he also loves.

First day of school:
GDog (standing one step down), MayDay (in his backpack even though he doesn't yet go to preschool), ConMan


He laughs at his own jokes -- which, especially for a three-year-old, are quite funny. He loves his daddy. He camps and hikes with enthusiasm. He sometimes loses his blanket, and blames it on me. He talks a blue streak. Sometimes he talks with his thumb in his mouth. He loves new clothes (because most of his have been handed down from his brothers). His cheerful disposition is reflected in his big, sparkly blue eyes. MayDay is the first to come running to offer assistance when I ask for it. He sucks his right thumb, and I cannot look at his teeth without seeing dollar signs, because trips to the orthodontist will most certainly be in his future. He is a giant, and his big brothers had better watch out, because one day soon, he will be bigger than they are. They are, after all, only 20 months apart. This also means the big boys do not remember when he was not around: he is the essential third member of their cohort, and their inclusion of him in their play has spurred him to accelerated development in many areas. He has to keep up!

MayDay shares his blanket with any snuggle-partner he can find.

As I have contemplated the joy this child has brought to our home since his birth three years ago, I have come to see that the Lord has answered my prayers in ways I was not necessarily able to see when I received them. My SOS is always heard, and this is an immense comfort to me, especially now that we seem to be sending up an inordinately high concentration of distress signals into the heavens.

As I write this, CPod's mama is in recovery from the kidney and pancreatic transplant surgery she underwent through the night. She has been diabetic for 40 years. This stressed her internal organs enough to put her in end-stage renal failure, requiring both dialysis and an eventual kidney transplant. She also received a new pancreas, which, if it revascularizes the way we hope, will begin producing the insulin her own pancreas has failed to manufacture for the past 4 decades. In other words, she will no longer be diabetic.

As I write this, I am stressing out about cash flow in our business. We are not the only ones, I know. Our industry is rather elastic, and while I hate to blame it on the economy, I'm grateful for that excuse because otherwise, I might actually have to do some serious analysis of our business practices -- but I know they are sound and I know we are doing our best. My poor husband, who is excellent at what he does and has an outstanding reputation amongst his peers in the field, is beginning to take it personally.

As I write this, I'm doing a mental inventory of our obligations. Our personal finances are in good order. We have felt, over the past year, a near compulsion to get completely out of debt. We have paid off a car, and all of our student loan debt, save a paltry $700 that I am just about to finish off with some of our savings. Now that we are weathering this economic storm, I know that compulsion was more of a prompting -- and that we will survive this lean time primarily because our personal cash flow needs are so minimal.

As I write this, I am steeling myself for the next step, in which I may possibly lose the luxury of a husband who is home a lot. Something has to happen to supplement the cash flow of the business -- it needs a big shot in the arm until we get a handle on things. This might mean less CPod at home around the same time it means one more child in our family. It will be temporary, but it will be hard.

As I write this, I am counting the blessings I have in my life. They are innumerable. They are ever-increasing. And I am praying mightily, as I did when I was pregnant with MayDay, that the Lord will be merciful and help us get through this -- that we will come out smiling on the other side and be more faithful as a result of the trials we have endured.

Pray with me?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Waking Nightmare

Michelle over at Scribbit sponsors her monthly Write-Away Contest which, after a summer hiatus, is back. Yay! This month's October-appropriate topic is Fear. I immediately thought of a piece I wrote last December, so this is a repost. I only had, like, 5 readers back then, so hopefully this will be new to most. Read on, and then go enter you own piece. It's a fun contest with a fun prize, too!


This is absolutely a true story. And it's not for the faint of heart.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends (we'll call him Skippy) was the son of a rose grower. His dad and grandfather owned a huge compound of greenhouses that grew the most beautiful and fragrant of flowers in every variety and color imaginable. The facility was composed of two long rows of greenhouses, stacked like the rungs of a ladder with access at the ends. I remember seeing inside the greenhouses once when I was younger. The roses had been there for so long that some of the stems were as thick around as my wrist. They tangled and twisted around trellises that had become integrated into the plants.

Skippy would bring me flowers if I had a bad day, but other than that, I didn't really think about the greenhouses too much.

Many years later, Skippy's dad had to close his business. The cost of growing roses in this country became higher than the cost of importing them from South America, so he closed the doors and sold the property, greenhouses and all.

It was sold and resold, sitting vacant for several years.

Meanwhile, something terrible was going on inside.

A friend of ours (we'll call her Vi) became interested in renting the greenhouses to start a wholesale plant nursery. She contacted the current owner and scheduled a time to view the property. She arrived to look around and began in the storefront, which included the business office and a small cold storage room where, once, customers could select their own cut flowers.

This is where things began to get a little strange. Vi, an active outdoorswoman, immediately noticed the telling odor of copper pennies, and as her olfactory nerves registered the danger, she began to see movement in places where there should be none -- slithering, hissing movement as the snakes that had infested the empty office took note of the intruders.

She quickly moved on.

Hopeful in spite of this as she contemplated the possibility of starting a new business, Vi entered the first greenhouse. The roses were still there, wild and unkempt after years of neglect. But the constant warmth and humidity had fostered another kind of growth in the absence of regular cultivation, for the infestation apparent in the business office became something akin to a horror movie in the greenhouses. Snakes of countless variety and size tangled in knots and piles all over the greenhouse, hissing aggressively at Vi and her intrusion into their realm. They hung from rafters and coiled around the roses, indistinguishable in places from the turning, twisting plant growth.

Vi exited as fast as she could, but was undeterred in her efforts to open her business in this location. She hired someone to bushhog inside the greenhouses, thinking that surely, he could get rid of the problem. Five minutes in, he turned around, drove the tractor out, and refused to do the job. Turns out, what Vi had seen in the first greenhouse was just the tip of the iceberg.

She walked away.

Sometimes there are just too many snakes.

I have thought about this a lot over the past few months. I am terribly disturbed that these greenhouses, now a phobia-inducing breeding ground for horror, were once the guardians of the symbol of love, beauty and purity. That neglect and lack of cultivation could turn a fertile garden into a den of vipers. Is that really all it takes for the serpents to take over?

I believe this is an apt analogy for the fertile ground of our lives. We have so much opportunity to bring forth good fruit, but the seeds of corruption are sown as soon as we fail in the constant pruning and retraining that are so necessary in cultivation.

I drive past these greenhouses regularly, and as I pass, I am simultaneously compelled to speed up and slow down. I want to see the snakes . . . but I want to have already seen them so I don't have to actually go and do it. We watched The Dark Knight last night, and I recognized the same feeling: I wanted the memory of already having seen it, without the stress of experiencing it in the moment.

They have begun to dismantle the greenhouses this winter, while, I assume, the snakes are underground. I should have gone to peek in the window before the cooler weather hit. Maybe if there are still some greenhouses standing in the spring time, I'll muster up enough courage to satisfy my curiosity.

Anybody wanna come?

Monday, October 5, 2009

A few little pieces of delightfulness

I saw my OB today. Good news: the baby vault it locked up tighter than Fort Knox. I know, you're all scratching your collective heads. You mean she's 36 weeks along and she doesn't want to be getting ever-closer to finally having this baby?

Au contraire, my friends. But I don't want to drop this baby in some random hospital in downtown Atlanta. And because going into labor is not something the women of our family do well (or, at all, if history is any indicator), I have been cleared for travel. Which means . . . tomorrow night, CPod and I will be rockin' out at the Georgia Dome to first, Muse (bonus!) and second, U2. Go ahead, be jealous. If I weren't going myself, I would be green with envy.

Now, just say a prayer for MommyJ's husband, Josh, who has been feeling poorly as of late. I will dispose of their tickets if I must, but it would make me much happier to be able to share the experience with them.

********************************

We had a superb experience this weekend watching General Conference on BYU-TV via our DirecTV dish. I used to love conference weekend. Until about 3 years ago when suddenly our twins were mobile and chasing/caring for them precluded first, any listening, and second, any retention. This weekend, a miracle happened: they listened. They played quietly. They worked on their conference packets, coloring and doing mazes and decorating ties. They yelled out "Joseph Smith!" or "Temple!" in stentorian tones to earn treats when they heard one of the speakers refer to an image we posted to prompt their attention. (Perhaps it was not the best of ideas to add a picture of our Savior to the other ones from the Gospel Art Kit we posted on the doors to the tv cabinet . . . their references to Him were, ahem, not exactly reverent.)

And my love for General Conference weekend is back. With a vengeance. My sincere thanks to Steph at Diapers and Divinity for her inspiration and ideas about enjoying conference with small children -- she knows her stuff, that Stephanie!

********************************

ConMan & GDog both had a great week at school, and as a reward for their good behavior, CPod took them camping. (Lest you think we reward our children every single week -- this was in response to some poor choices perpetrated by one of our twins who shall remain nameless, and needed some further motivation to learn some healthy respect for the rules at school.) MayDay went, too. I went out to dinner with a friend (and ordered mushroom pizza drizzled with truffle oil . . . truffles always make me feel bought, because you could put truffles on dirt and the dirt would taste better than anything else you have ever eaten in your whole entire life) then came home, watched shows my husband doesn't enjoy, and then went to bed. By myself. In a completely, eerily silent house.

And I slept until 11AM on Saturday morning. I really didn't think I had it in me to sleep that late, but sleep I did, and, wow! I had forgotten what it feels like to get enough.

The menfolk arrived home just before noon, so we scrubbed all the dirty children and then fed them lunch while we listened to the first glorious session of General Conference.

Here's my secret: as nice as it was to sleep in and not be awakened by turbo-charged, energetic preschoolers, I missed them. A lot.

********************************

Sometimes, I think ConMan just lives in his own little happy universe. He is frequently oblivious to the world around him, and, when he's in one of his little reveries, moves at his own pace and cannot be rushed. Saturday, it took him twice as long to finish his lunch as it did his brothers. They had been playing legos for 15 minutes while he was still sitting at the table extemporizing conversations between his Cheez-it crackers.

As I cleared the counter of crumbs left over from making PB&J for all the little ones, I listened to Elder Bednar's talk about expressing love to your family members. Suddenly, ConMan stood up in his chair, turned around and said, "Mommy, I love you!"

He smiled, then said it again. "I was listening, and I love you, Mommy!"

I nearly cried. I was so happy not just that he was paying attention, at least a little, to the words of our apostles, but that he had enough practice saying it in the first place that he was comfortable expressing his love for me so spontaneously. He can say it, because he hears it. And because he says it back. And because he knows it.

Sigh. Sometimes, I do something right after all.