Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First, let me take a selfie.

Welp. This happened.


This photo has now appeared in/on:

-Three different issues of the Ensign
-The Liahona (I received many emails from Latvians)
-The For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet
-The 2011 Gospel Doctrine manual
-The Oklahoma City Temple brochure
-The Service page of

I've grown so accustomed to this photo popping up everywhere Mormon related that I'm not really mortified anymore. And this is the better version. Yeah, I wish I had brushed my hair, but the original picture features me, my scraggly hair, and my second chin. This is just my scraggly hair and like 1/8 of my face, which somehow people still recognize? Whatever. The elderly lady looks great and that's probably why this image is making the rounds as often as it is. The elderly lady wasn't great though. The whole hour I sat next to her bed, she told me no one ever comes to visit, and the photographer would say "Smile!" Her husband died of some horrible disease, and the photographer would say "Look over here! Smile!" Her children rarely call, "Smile! Why aren't you smiling?" The photographer would coax and I'd do my best to not reflect the depression and guilt that I felt for only pretending to serve this woman and not actually doing anything to lighten her load. So now every time I see this photo, which as I've already explained is more often than I'd like, I'm reminded to try and not be a terrible, selfish human.  I'm also reminded to buy a brush.

It's one of a few photos that serves as an important life reminder. Another is one that I won't post because...I just can't. Also, I've done everything possible to make sure it's buried deep in the internet and I don't even think I could find it if I tried. But I'll describe it for you.
I'm a missionary, dressed in a frumpy turtleneck and skirt with a name tag reading "Masa Morlija" on my shoulder. My hair is carelessly pulled back and I look, well I look like I ate my companion. Six months into my mission in Latvia I had gained a significant amount of weight. My small frame looked and felt like it might break under the pressure of the inflated person it was struggling to keep upright. You know how people get their lips done and the plastic surgeon injects fat until the lips are nice and puffy? It was like someone did that to my entire body but added even extra to my face. It was a long, dark winter, I could barely understand anything anyone was saying, I missed America, and chocolate was my only coping mechanism. I was coping a lot. It was a pretty low point. Things got better though. I learned Latvian. I learned to love a lot of things about Latvia and a lot of Latvians. I continued to eat a good amount of chocolate, but eventually the sun came out and the warm Spring weather allowed us to walk and I could successfully button my shirts again. My mission was always hard, but the good kind of hard. Like the boy, I'm glad I don't have to do that again, but I'm also glad I did it kind of way. After I had returned from my 18 months away and lost about 30 pounds, that dark days photo showed up on Facebook. I of course yelled in horror and promptly untagged myself, but I also felt proud that I wasn't the person in that photo anymore. That I had improved and finished the job that on that December day had seemed so impossible. I never look at that picture, but when I think about it, I'm reminded that things usually get better. Also to go easy on the chocolate.

Then there's this one.

This is week 38 of pregnancy. Looking back on the progression, in most of the photos leading up to this, I look excited and smiley in fresh maternity clothes. But here I just look tired. Tired and ready. That maternity top barely fit. Again, why did I not brush my hair? Anyway, I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. I wanted to be holding a baby. This is the last photo of Meg as just Meg, before Meg became Ivy's mom.  I was just so ready to be Ivy's mom. And even though becoming a mom was overwhelming and difficult and scary, more than I expected, it was also absolutely the best thing to ever happen to me. This photo reminds me that even on days when motherhood feels tough, I'm so much happier having Ivy to hold, being Ivy's mom than I ever was as just Meg.

There are worse things than an unflattering photo, I guess. But don't you dare post one of me without my approval.

Friday, August 15, 2014

And everything nice.

Things got real yesterday when a kind friend did an (early) ultrasound and revealed that Walter baby number two is female. I'll spare you the between the legs photo, but I can't resist sharing this shot of her profile.

I'm well aware that only parents think their child's ultrasound photos are ahhhh so adorable! but look- she's smiling!

Now that I know what kind of human is growing in my belly, this pregnancy feels less like food poisoning and more like The Miracle of Life. And if I'm being totally honest, I'm very relieved baby girl is a baby girl. I feel ill-equipped to raise a boy, maybe because I'm not one?

Or maybe I'm glad we're having another girl because I like our first one so much. 

Of course I have moments when I cry in the shower because my toddler is being mean to me, but for every terrible moment she has five hilarious moments. Like when I'm in the bathroom, she knocks on the door and says, "Mom? Can you hear me? Are you okay?". And when she gets dressed for the day, looks at her outfit and says, "Booful. I lub it." She's concerned every time Ollie poops and yells "Oh no! POOP!". A while ago we taught her to say, "Happy Birthday Nick!" for my brother's birthday, and now she says it  every time she's in the bathtub. She calls me "Meg" and Stephen "Papa Steve." She doesn't really seem to understand the concept of pregnancy, but I'm getting really excited to hear what she has to say when we bring the new baby home. Hopefully it's "I lub it" and not "Oh no! POOP!"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Meg and the just not really great morning

My pregnancy app sent me a 14 week update that read, "Your queasiness may have completely abated by now," and seconds later I had to make a mad dash to the bathroom to abate my queasiness. Real funny, fetus.

I forgot to spray the frying pan and burned my breakfast eggs. I found a spider living in my shoe. I tried to halve a pizza dough recipe, messed up twice, and finally just threw some extra flour in one of the failure bowls and am praying that the dough rises. It should be mentioned that the pizza dough recipe is titled "Lazy Pizza Dough," as in, "Only A Complete Imbecile Could Screw This Up."

Our family grew by one this week with the addition of our new fish. Ivy named her "Windick" and we've opted to call her Wendy for short.

The good news is, Wendy is still alive. The bad news is I nearly killed her by pouring way too many food pellets in her bowl (decorative vase) and making the water cloudy and gross. So it became imperative to clean her bowl (decorative vase) immediately. However, because the decorative vase is a decorative vase and not a bowl, a standard fish net will not fit through the mouth, making Wendy impossible to move, making the vase impossible to clean, and making me panic and brainstorm stories about sleeping fish to tell Ivy. Eventually the panic subsided and I put my college-educated brain to work, manipulated the wire net to work like a ladle, and successfully moved Wendy from water receptacle A to water receptacle B. NASA, I am totally available for hire. I cleaned the bowl and the rocks and felt mighty fine about the minuscule task it took nearly two hours to accomplish. Then I netted Wendy again and placed her back in water receptacle A. But she would not swim out of the net because fish are idiots. Wendy seemed totally content to call the net her new home. Come on, Wendy, have a little respect for yourself. You deserve pretty white rocks and at least a few inches of swimming room. I had to hold the net upside down and force Wendy to free-fall into the water and I'm pretty sure she hates me now. But at least she's not still in the net or the cloudy water? 

Okay. So. Then. I decided to mop our entry way because it had been...a while. I was squirting the last bit of Swiffer juice on the last tile when Ivy ran onto the floor, slipped and fell.  Like any horrific event, as a witness it's hard to remember exactly what happened. Did she hit her head? Or did she fall on her side? I honestly don't know. Of course I googled "Toddler Concussion" and have been watching for symptoms. She's currently frog hopping in the living room, so I guess she's fine?

It's not a bad day. People with ebola are having a bad day. We're just having a kind of rough day. Things are either going to turn around or get worse. Just to be safe I don't think we'll go anywhere because operating heavy machinery aka driving a car just doesn't seem like a good idea.