Monday, January 26, 2015

So Sure

It's a Monday morning. I was on call last night and was so sure I'd be called in, and yet wasn't. So. This means I didn't fall asleep until 3am, and still had to wake up at 5:40 to cook breakfast for Aiden and drive him to Seminary. I'm now waiting the hour until Conor's alarm goes off, and enjoying the thoughtful quiet of the sleeping house.

Adam is here.

For a few weeks now. I was so sure I was done, and yet I could not go through with the divorce with my whole heart. Which left me thinking, and I'll admit, having a private foot stomping, clenched-fist, teeth-gritted emotional temper tantrum. Maybe I'll write more about this. Maybe. I feel a bit like the Girl Who Cried Divorce (not that I ever wanted to be that girl!), so since this is a delicate, vulnerable, tippy-toeing time, maybe I'll just wait.

This is the last week of January. I have my New Year's Resolutions all categorized and typed up, accessible from my home screen, and yet. I was so sure I was ready for some of them, and they haven't happened. Yet. I have not given up! Why is it so hard to do simple things that I know will bring me peace of mind and a measure of happiness? Must. Ponder.

I'm still thinking about our Testimony meeting yesterday. Sometimes our ward can be more circus than celestial, but yesterday---boy, yesterday was incredible. We have a new bishopric, and maybe the fresh leadership has ignited the positive energy, but I looked around the chapel during our meeting yesterday and have never felt so connected and so belonging with a group of people I often feel so different from. Wait, did that make sense? Our ward is somewhat of a melting pot in the Stake, a gathering of misfits from all walks of life, and yet, as I looked around the chapel I felt like I was home, that these people are my family, and that this, this is what the gospel is all about. Tattoos, cigarettes, poverty, imperfect families, and strained marriages, all coming before the altar of God, surrendered. I attended church fasting for my son. Thinking of him, praying for him, pleading for the Lord to keep His eye on my boy and somehow make Himself known. As if in answer, it seemed that every testimony was a powerful witness to the Lord's private workings, personal miracles, individual redemption in the lives of the ward members, and I felt peace.

I'm not sure it does me any good to be sure of anything except that. So, I'm going to move in the direction of peace.

Friday, January 9, 2015

January Field Trip: LACMA Samurai Exhibit and La Brea Tar Pits

One of my goals for this new year has been to get out and see and do more with the kids. There is so much available to us here in Los Angeles, but besides the factors of time and money, I struggle against an overwhelming desire to just stay home. I love to just be home, but I do want to take advantage of the opportunities around us, so I set a goal to have a "field trip" once a month with at least Conor (the other kids too, if they're here, which they're not right now.)

A friend drew my attention to the Samurai exhibit currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She raved about it, and I knew Conor would love that, so to be sure it would happen, I scheduled it in my planner and told him it would be a date.

It really was incredible. The exhibit is a portion of the private collection owned by Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller. Gabriel's father and grandfather were both art collectors and he has had a fascination with the Samurai since he was a boy. The items he's been able to collect are absolutely stunning, dating back over the last 700 years. I was so impressed by the fine craftsmanship and exquisite attention to detail. Here are some of my favorite pictures, snapped with my iPhone.

Conor brought a sketchpad and was so cute as he sat there sketching helmets. Twice, adults came and sat next to him and did their own sketches. I walked around the room and read placards while he sketched away.

Conor was hungry by that time and wanted a cheeseburger, so we walked down Wilshire and stopped at a food truck.

The Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits are right next door to the LACMA, so we headed over there too. I've been wanting to go to the Tar Pits for years.

This is a ground sloth! No thank you!

This mother mastodon and her six year old child (child? calf?) were found together. So sad!

The Columbian Mammoth. Those tusks have got to get in the way.

The Dire Wolf wall. All skulls from dire wolves found in the excavation sites at La Brea.

Here's a dire wolf skeleton.

The Paleontology lab. What tedious work!

Once through the museum, we walked around to the tar pits, where there are still active excavations.

Crates of fossils waiting to be worked on.

And on our way back to the parking garage, Conor wanted a quick shot of him lifting this massive boulder.

We had a terrific time together. Conor is such a pleasant museum buddy, and these two were right up his alley. A day well spent with my boy!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Eve

I woke up early on Christmas Eve, the list of tasks for the day running through my mind. I love the holiday traditions we have established in our family, and I love that my children depend on them, but it is a lot of work to make holidays happen! I had to run to the grocery store to get last-minute additions to our day. We had waited for Lyndsay to be home to do our graham cracker houses, and with my work schedule, that tradition got pushed to Christmas Eve. Also, Lyns requested a turkey dinner, since she missed my food so much at Thanksgiving, and since I was scheduled to work Christmas Day, we plugged our holiday meal into this day as well.

While we worked on food in the kitchen, and carols played in the background, the kids and I got to work on our graham cracker village.

I did a cheater thing this year, and I'm blaming it on Pinterest. I saw someone had posted that they assemble their houses with hot glue since they never eat the crackers anyway, and then decorate with royal icing. This was a year I could definitely use a time saver, so I went with it. One less (at least!) batch of royal icing to make, plus the cost savings involved.

Several hours later, our finished houses!

Aiden's really took the cake this year. It was quite a masterpiece!

Lyns went for a log cabin this year.

Despite the confusion and turmoil in our marriage, I don't want anyone to be lonely for Christmas. I invited Adam to come and spend the holiday with us. His children, Caitilin (home from college) and Sean, came by for a little while to exchange gifts, and we got our traditional family photos in front of the tree. Man, we have so much fun together. Christmas has a way of blurring bad memories, and everything just felt so happy. We sure were missing Dylan though, who wasn't able to be with us.

Love a good laugh fest. And I love these two girls.

We reminisced about when they were little girls sharing a bedroom. Now they are college girls!

Three of our handsome boys.

Lyndsay made the rolls for me, and they were amazing!

Caitlin and Sean had dinner with their mom, so they didn't join us. The work involved in preparation was so worth it! The food was delicious! I'm not sure why Conor looks so glum here, except that he probably just wanted to get down to eating!

I really wanted to drive out to the temple to see the lights and hear the Christmas concert, but the traffic was horrendous, and truth be told, I really was exhausted. Instead, we read our nightly Christmas story together, sang several carols, and Lyndsay read the account of the Savior's birth in Luke 2. We had a family prayer together too, focusing on our gratitude and our wishes for members of our family who were not with us, and struggling.

My friend and visiting teacher, Angela, stopped by to drop off a gift.  We chatted for a bit. She's getting ready to move out of the ward, and a good distance away right after the holidays and I am so sad about that. She has been so good to me and I will really miss her.

Then it was time for yet another tradition: Christmas jammies! Each of the kids opened their gift.


Merry Christmas!