March 19, 2013

Thoughts About Fear

A week and a half ago our home was broken into. I came home in the evening with Ellie and was getting her some dinner while I was talking on my phone. After fiddling around in the house for a few minutes, with Ellie sitting on my lap, I saw that our back sliding door was wide open. I knew that I had not left our door wide open when I had left the house two and a half hours earlier, and my stomach dropped. My heart began to pound in my chest and I held Ellie close to me while I decided to search the rest of our house and make sure everything was ok. Our home was dark and I flipped on lights as I moved through it- glancing in doors and hoping that I wouldn't find any stranger inside. I turned on the lights of the master bedroom and found every drawer of our armoire had been rummaged through. By this point I felt like I was the leading role in a scary movie. I was terrified. It was nighttime, and here I was as Ellie's sole protector, alone in our invaded home. All this time I held Ellie close to me, and my body became more and more frantic. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking like crazy. At this point I couldn't get out of my house fast enough. I tried to buckle Ellie in her car seat and finally decided to leave her half un-buckled so that we could just leave as quickly as possible. I drove down the street and called BJ sobbing.
 I had never had a real life reason like this to be afraid. I had never felt in danger like I felt that night. I had never wanted so badly to not be the adult in the situation. I couldn't believe I was Ellie's mom- Ellie's protector- all I could think about was how I wanted my mom and dad so, so badly.
Long story short, all of BJ's watches and jewelry were stolen, a policeman came to our house that night, we bought a dog to be my protector, and life keeps moving on.
I layed in bed with BJ last Thursday night and cried to him. I told him that although I didn't like how dramatic it sounded, this wass probably the hardest thing I've ever had to go through. My favorite place in the world to be, the place I have poured my heart and soul into, the place that is my territory, my sanctuary, the holy ground to raise my family became a place that now caused me anxiety, continual worry, and stress. I couldn't shake the fear even though I knew that I really was in actuality pretty safe. I felt overwhelmed and doubtful knowing lots of Heavenly Father's righteous children go through horribly traumatic experiences. Just because I was living righteously didn't mean I could be exempt from anything bad or dangerous happening to me. I couldn't sleep well at night and was on the verge of tears multiple times a day. I felt like my patience was on a rollercoaster with Ellie- one minute I'd be loving and adoring her, and the next I was snapping in complete and total frustration.
On Sunday night I cried again to BJ when we were driving home from a friend's house- telling him that I just wanted my old life back. I wanted to be in my home cooking during the day without being nervous. I wanted to spend time in my garden without looking up for an intruder every 30 seconds. I wanted to enjoy when I was away from home running errands, or out with friends without anxiety crowding out the happiness of the moment. I called my mom crying and with a shaky voice my first words on the phone to her were,
 "I am not handling this well."
We talked through things and she comforted me in a way that only a mother can. She then told me she would call my uncle Steve who is a physcologist and see if he had any advice that would be helpful. That night I talked to BJ some more, and to my mom again, and finally realized that I needed to really turn this over to the Lord. I went upstairs, alone in my room (and I wasn't afraid! woohoo!) and prayed aloud for a good amount of time. I told the Lord I understood that this was a trial, and that if it needed to be hard, that was fine, but that I couldn't live in fear in my own home anymore. I cried and talked to him, the way I have at other times in my life and felt as if I had a counselor in the room there with me. As I prayed my thoughts began to clear. Little by little, line upon line, clarity came. I asked that I would be blessed with insight and promptings to be able to cope with the situation. I asked that I would have the determination and commitment to turn to him in prayer every time I felt afraid. I pleaded that His Spirit and His angels would be felt in my home and that my heart could be calm again.
Since Sunday night, I have slept through the night, and slept well for the past two nights. Understanding and insight have come and I have learned a lot about acceptance. It is ok that I feel fear. The fear doesn't have to go away right now. But I can enjoy the peace that each moment in the present brings. I have learned that breathing works miracles. When my thoughts reflect back on that night and my heart races again and I feel my body go tense, I can breathe, and relax my body and feel my thoughts begin to clear. I can now accept the fact that bad, scary, difficult things to face are very likely awaiting me in my future. We don't have to be free from these things to find that life is very, very beautiful, and that indeed, these difficulties do refine us if we use our agency and the atonement together. They are a remarkable pair that can heal everything. It is ok that something scary happened to me and that something scary could happen again, but today I am walking with the Lord, making sure I stay close by him so that I can see the beauty in my life and home again.

February 24, 2013

Thoughts on Mothering a Boy

I have a boy living inside of me right now. As far as I can tell, he is calm and relaxed. Through the kicks I feel, the ultrasound footage I've seen of him, and the glimpses of his spirit I've been able to pick up on, he is quiet and peaceful. He seems to have a gentle spirit.
I don't know what it will be like to birth and mother a boy. Ellie's gender is so interconnected with who she is as a person, and my only experience with motherhood is in raising a daughter. Lately, more than ever before too, I feel like Ellie and I gel remarkably well. We "get" each other. She is my little mimick- wanting to do and help with everything I am doing. She is feminine through and through, and I already feel like our personalities click as "friends" as much as they do in a parent/child sort of way. Raising a son will not be the same as raising a daughter. I know I will love him. I do not question that. But I still feel like the idea of raising a boy is like walking into a new school on the first day... there is a lot that is unknown, and it's hard to be confident about the things you don't know.
One thing I do know is that when I taught elementary school for 3 years I was pathetically smitten for my boy students. They were silly, and smelly, and awkward and so irresistably adorable I could have hugged them for an entire recess. (Some of them at least...) I also know that I love BJ in little baby/toddler/boy/and awkward adolescent form just about as much as I love him now. Oh I tell ya, if I have a little boy that looks all freckly and blonde like BJ used to, he might just sufficate from all the smothering cuddles and kisses I give him.
I pray (literally) that he and Ellie love each other. I pray that they don't just love each other cause they're siblings, or that it doesn't take till they're adults for them to appreciate each other. I hope they adore one another and that they learn what a good girl/boy woman/man should be from the example of one another. I hope little brother makes Ellie laugh, and I hope that Ellie holds her brother to a high standard- because she's knows just how good of a guy he is.
I know that picking out boy names STINKS.
And I know that my little son is coming to be raised by a man who can show him how to be one of the kindest, most caring, genuinely good-hearted men in the world. And boy is he lucky.
Hey little man,
Hope you're excited to join us.
We've got a pretty awesome crew down here, and our house rocks.
Love, love, love,
Daddy, Mama, and little (big to you) Ellie Layne
p.s.- what in the world are we supposed to name you?

January 9, 2013

Our New Home

BJ, Ellie, and I made the trek home from Utah with a trailer full of furniture on Dec. 30th. Since then, we've been busy moving in, cleaning, organizing, and getting settled in our new home. It feels so good to have our own place. It still is very surreal most of the time, but so wonderful. We are anxious to get a sofa so we have somewhere comfortable to relax at the end of the day without having to go to bed at 8:00 o'clock, and without having to lay on a pile of blankets on the tile floor.
I have felt an ebb and flow of satisfaction and contentment that constantly wrestles with the many projects I dream of working out in my mind. Some are simple, like finding a decadent candle for every room so my house smells cozy and like us rather than the previous owners, to bigger things like painting the kitchen cupboards and un-installing the outdated light fixture in the kitchen ceiling. Most of these projects are ones I will complete myself (with the help of BJ and my mom.) We, like the people that sold us this home, will put our blood, sweat, and tears into this place to make it the haven we want it to be for our little family.
May I present the very first draft of our new home...
I think the front door is very charming, and the tan siding with white trim is perfect for sunny California. I added a purple hydrangea to the pot on the right cause my sister-in-law Courtney always keeps a hydrangea by her front door and they always look incredible. It looks so cheerful and pretty and adds some needed height on that right side.
This is a view of the entry way/ living room/ dining room area from the loft upstairs. We eventually will find a loveseat and a couple nice armchairs for the living room part. For now, my blue/green hutch I bought in college carries the room beautifully on its own. This was probably the wisest purchase I have ever made in my life. That mexican antique (piece of beautiful junk) makes me happy every time I see it.
Here's a closer up view of the hutch, as well as the gray side table from JaLayne that I painted.
And here's the entryway table I painted as well. This is on the wall on the left when you walk in the front door... across from the green hutch.
Upstairs, on the left we find the master bedroom, that at first BJ and I did not think we were going to like because of the unique set-up of it all with the bathroom that's right there practically in the bedroom, but we (especially I) have really fallen in love with it. After living in our little apartment in Utah, and then in the Pugmire's gorgeous, but small apartment, I feel like this is a grand master suite.
...and there's Ellie!
Here's Ellie's nursery. My mom's coming next week and I really want to make some soft, light, feminine curtains for her window.
This is the room next to Ellie's that will be her room when the baby comes. We'll definitely add some more young, girly touches to it before then. If the babe is a boy the nursery will obviously need an overhaul. I already know that I would keep the crib yellow and add blue and white. (I'll use the blue and white fishy sheets from Land of Nod that I love so much.)
This is the loft next to the two kid rooms that we'll use as a playroom.
And this is Ellie's bathroom that has quickly turned into one of my favorite rooms in the house, but it's so darn small I can't photograph all of it in one shot.
Here is the kitchen. When my mom comes next week we're going to remove the horrible wood/flourescent light fixture in the ceiling, and in a few months I'm hoping to hire someone to paint the cupboards a steely, bluish gray.
And oh doggy, you just wait til you see the next room in the house... the family room right off the kitchen...
We're anxiously awaiting our pewter colored velvet English roll arm sectional for our family room. We need a rug so we don't freeze and so a little sound can be absorbed, and perhaps some blinds, drapes, or some kind of window covering. My mom and I are going to remove the glass doors from the fireplace next week and paint the brick of the mantel white to get a nice beachy feel going. I'll put something pretty in the exposed fireplace like candles or sticks on end or something.
The backyard, however, is in pretty great shape...
...although the garden needs quite a bit of work, and I'm on it! I've already planted lettuce, spinach, basil, onions and peas. I've definitely got my work cut out for me.
It makes me a little sad to post this because I am so proud of my home. I love it and it makes me happy. I do have a lot of projects in mind, there are a lot of things I want to change and improve, but in spite of all that, this feels like such a warm, happy, beautiful, joyful place to us, and I'm not sure if the pictures really portray that. Come visit any time. Ellie and I are home basically all day every day. I cannot gurantee that I will be showered and dressed in normal clothes, more likely I will be covered in dirt, grime, and goldfish crackers, but I know that if you stop by, you will be able to feel the love and happiness that live here.

November 23, 2012

I Am Thankful

I've been especially teary the past few days as I count my blessings. God is good to me, and good to my family. Above all else, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for the little family of mine, my parents and siblings, and my wonderful inlaws. I am surrounded by a loving, encouraging, supportive network of people that are continually living a beautiful example of the kind of person I want to be. I am grateful for my rich heritage- for the remarkable women of faith, love, and strength that came before me and carved the way of righteous motherhood that I strive to continue. I am grateful for the love of my husband, daughter, family, and Savior that sustains me every day.
I'm thankful for the hope that shines before me as new possibilities, new opportunities, new blessings, and new challenges unfold. I see such evidence in my life that the Lord not only answers the tearful prayers I utter each night and morning, but that he fully knows, and answers the silent prayers I hold in my heart. I am reminded that often times I am like the young girl in this story that thinks she knows what is best, but the Lord always knows better. I am grateful that he does, and I am so grateful that I get to see first hand in those times just a little glimpse of His understanding, mercy, and love for me.

November 20, 2012

Ummm... We Got a Home!!!

Last Wednesday we received a miracle. The offer we made on a home that seemed just perfect for us was accepted. After about 5 unaccepted offers, months of house hunting every available minute of the week, and a few tears shed, not only did we find a home that seemed like a dream come true for us, but we got it. I saw the home for the first time last Tuesday morning, and my realtor said on our way there, "I think this might be the one." Then lo and behold a picture of an LDS temple hanging on the wall when I walked in the front door! And another praise was sung when I found out that the sellers were not using an agent, but would be selling directly to the buyers themselves. The night they accepted our offer I received an email confirming the acceptance,
"We have reveiwed the offers received and even though your client's offer isn't the strongest one we would prefer to sell to them... We are excited about the opportunity to transfer our home to the Pugmires who we know will enjoy and cherish their time in our home as much as we did."
The home was built in 1987. (The year I was born.) It has three bedrooms and a loft that could easily be converted into a fourth bedroom to accomodate our (hopefully) growing family. The inside is neutral, clean, and filled with light. And the backyard has a large covered patio, a BIG grass area, and tons of garden space. There are 2 avocado trees, 1 lemon tree, 1 navel tree, 3 peach trees, and a pluot tree. It was dirt space for corn and potatoes, and 4 raised garden beds with a built-in irrigation system.
I am over the moon with excitement, enthusiasm, and gratitude. BJ is excited, stressed, and overwhelmed. All day and night daydreams, visions, and planning rule my mind as I create the perfect home for my little family.

November 15, 2012

A Beautiful Testament of What We Believe

I love being able to wear a yellow vest.

Sick Day

Ellie was sick today- sicker than I've ever seen her. She woke up teary and flem-y and snuggly. I knew right away she wasn't feeling well and I set her up in our bed with pillows and blankets and her favorite tv show, Doc McStuffins. She layed there for hours this morning not moving a muscle, her eyes droopy and watery. When I got her dressed she said, "Ow! Ow!" over and over again. Her skin was crawling and her poor little body was achey all over.
We spent the day inside. It was gray and cool outside, the kind of day you almost want to be sick on so you can stay home and cuddle up. I was able to practice my domesticity by roasting a chicken for chicken soup. I believe there is nothing you could cook that would make you feel like more of a domestic goddess than a roasted chicken- possibly making bread I guess, but for me, I always end up ticked off when any bread I make comes out of the oven. This recipe today even beat out Ina Garten's "Perfect Roasted Chicken." The seasonings and oil not only go in and on top of the bird, but in between the skin and the meat. It was an absolute beauty. I cooked by the fireside while Ellie napped. It was very idyllic.
Ellie had thrown up when she woke up from her nap and I gave her crackers and Sprite and thought there'd be no way she'd want any chicken. But when I came into bed next her with a chicken leg for lunch she was begging for it. She ended up eating my entire chicken leg and two more plates of chicken breasts. I was tickled to see my daughter enjoy the fruits of my labor as much as I hope my family does. I love to cook, but when someone loves my cooking especially my own family, it sends me over the moon.
I have realized over the last few years that I am so much more of a home body than I ever realized I was. I love to be at home. Today was such a treat. We literally didn't go anywhere, and I enjoyed the perfect balance of time spent cuddling, comforting, nurturing, and playing with Ellie and time accomplishing the things around here that needed to be done. Home is my favorite place to be. I can't believe BJ and I are going to have our very own home soon. What a miracle.

November 11, 2012

Snow

The snow is so, so cold, but it is so magical too. I loved seeing the incredible snowfall this weekend at my parent's house through Ellie's eyes. She was fascinated. We loved playing in it and bundling up for it. We sledded down the back hill on Saturday in the 12 + inches of snow and I kept saying, "One more time." "One more run." I couldn't get enough. It was so fun and took me back to my childhood and the many, many times I sled down that hill. I couldn't get any pictures of the sledding because tromping through that much snow, with that many layers, in slippery boots is hard enough without carrying a marshmallow shaped toddler the entire time. Sledding was a great workout heaving Ellie up that hill after each run. I hope it snows a bunch at Christmas- for Ellie's enjoyment, my own, and so BJ can sled with us. It's especially nice when we can come back to California and enjoy wearing our opened toed shoes and mary janes again. We've got the best of both worlds.


Tate and Ellie

Ellie was so happy that her cousin Tate came to visit while we were in Utah. She'd call his name in a high pitched voice every morning first thing, and he'd come running. Because they're so close in age they have a sort of love/hate relationship. One minute they're giggling together having so much fun, and the next they're pushing, whining, and screaming that the other one just took the toy they wanted to play with. Most of the time Tate treated Ellie like his little sweetheart: putting his hand on the small of her back while he walked by her side, sharing his sippy cup and and blueberries with her, and waiting for her whenever she was a little slower doing things than him. My favorite thing they did together was dance. We'd turn on music for them and they'd dance and dance and dance, inevitably crashing into each other mulitple times. One time they danced right after a bath together, and watching their little naked bodies rocking around had us all rolling with laughter. Is anything better than a couple darling kids?

November 8, 2012

Becca's Wedding

November 8th, 2012
At 1 pm this afternoon by best friend from college was sealed to her love in the Salt Lake Temple. As I sat in the sealing room and watched her and Jason enter the room hand in hand, with tears brimming in his eyes and a smile stretching wide across Becca's face, I cried happy tears. I felt for a moment like a mother to Becca: my feelings were tender because of my immense love for her, and I was so proud. 
Becca and I were roommates all throughout college, and for both of us, that was a time of spiritual re-birth and growth, of distinguishing what it was we really wanted and knew was right in life, and it was a time of friendship that felt like sisterhood. After a week of living together Becca and I discovered that we were essentially the same person. We had the same interests and loves. We had the same taste in style and decor. We shared a (sick) passion for food, and for trying to be healthy. We shared a love of dance class and Anthropologie, and antiques, and a great way of procrastinating homework, studying, and paper writing. We came to know each other through long days of rehearsal and late nights lying on each other's beds talking. We made midnight runs to Safeway for cartons of icecream and jars of pickles. We painted nearly every wall in our condo together, and decorated using random objects from the yard, Target, and the craft store. We had picnics on the floor while we watched back to back episodes of Friends, and we celebrated every little holiday together by cooking meals for each other, giving gifts, and exchanging notes. We learned about each other's families and spent time together with our moms. In college Becca was all I needed, and I was all she needed. We hung out together, at home, nearly every weekend. We watched General Conference together and studied our scriptures side by side. We filled journal after journal each year and spent hours driving to and from Mesa to do baptisms at the temple. We both agree that we couldn't have asked for a better college experience, or a better time in our life to share with each other.
Her wedding today was perfect. The sealing started the day off on the perfect note. Our emotions were close to the surface and her feelings of joy permeated the air around her. We were all reminded of the importance of the covenants we make and how they, above all else, are the most important treasures we have in this life.
Becca is incredible. She is talented. She is creative. And she is powerfully unique. I saw Becca for the first time when I was 13 years old. She was dancing, and I remember thinking that she was EXACTLY the kind of dancer I wanted to become. Her ballet technique is exquisite and her passion for the artistry of dance is so visible in the way she moves. Now she channels that creative passion into everything she touches. She is a living example of one of my favorite quotes from Brigham Young:
"Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you... and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations."
Becca made every single decoration that was displayed at her wedding except the flowers. She collected and painted every vase, she made every streamer, she sewed and glued every table runner, and filled the hall with her unique, creative brilliance. The talented florist that she hired admired Becca's talent so much that she asked her if she could come work for her. Becca is excited for a new creative outlet to venture into. She encompasses the unique and rare, feminine quality of adding beauty to every thing around her. Her wedding dinner could not have been more beautiful.
 Like I said the other day, finding and keeping great friends is one of the wisest investments you can ever make. Becca has touched my life literally since the first time I saw her dancing. She inspires me to be pure and focused, and dedicated to the simple, beautiful, uplifting, and important things in life. I love her with all my heart. Happy wedding and the rest of eternity, darling. xoxo
(Becca here with another brilliant, seriously inspiring friend. I'll have to tell you about her another time.)