Feeling Grateful…

I’m experiencing that warm fuzzy feeling a mother has when all of her chicks are back in the nest, even though it’s very temporary.  I only have one at home full time, one away at school in Ohio and one at school in Los Angeles.  For a few days at least, I don’t have to worry about them because they are all safe under my watch.  Even though I know my two adult off-spring have good solid heads on their shoulders, I still worry about their safety, if they are getting enough to eat and sleep…the list goes on and on.  Today, we enjoyed each other’s company, just us since we don’t have any family near by.  I know the time will come when we won’t all be together for Christmas, so I’m enjoying this day, this moment.

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Christmas past…

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Christmas present…

I hope you all are enjoying the company of your loved ones right now!  Right now, this moment is the best Christmas gift of all!  The laughter at dinner, the witty remarks coming from these amazing individuals at my table who have inherited the best parts of both parents.  I love these kids so much!  I hope as the years pass that they have only the fondest of memories of home.  I hope that they find that their childhood home will always be a place where they can rest and re-group when needed.

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Also, feeling grateful for the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just because I don’t believe in Mormon doctrine any longer, doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the birth of the Savior.  In fact, I feel his love in a way I never had before.  He loves everyone of us that are flawed and perfect at the same time.  In fact,  I think he has a soft spot for us rebels…

Merry Christmas y’all!  May your joys be many and your sorrows few in the coming new year!

 

My First Born…

At Salt Lake Regional Hospital on December 12, 1994, at 9:33 p.m., I became a mother for the first time.

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After a fairly short  8 hour labor, Keegan James Busick was born and thrust Jim and I into the previously unknown world of parenthood.

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My labor was mercifully short, but my pregnancy was long and a bit more harrowing.

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I had hyperemesis gravidarum (severe puking due to pregnancy) for all 9 months of my pregnancy.  I lost about 18 pounds in my first trimester, so I had a medically inserted Pick line (an internal I.V. line that went through my arm and ended close to my heart), so that I could get fluid and anti-nausea medication, like those given to cancer patients.  That first trimester I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink…even water set me off.   Jim would have to sit out on the porch and eat his dinner because I couldn’t stand the smell of food.  Once I got the pick line, things were a little better.  I was hydrated and there were some bland foods I could tolerate.  I remember being scared to death when I was given the choice to take the anti-nausea medication, in fear of it affecting my unborn baby.  Typically, most morning sickness will last just the first trimester, but mine was severe and wasn’t letting up, so to save my baby, I decided to take the medication and prayed it was the right choice.

Thankfully, my labor was short, but it was still painful.  I remember being so thankful for being in a nice sterile hospital.  I remember wondering if me and my baby would have made it if we were doing this 100 years before.   I was thinking about women on the Oregon trail having their babies and then moving on quickly.  I thought about medieval mothers whose babies were rubbed with olive oil and spices after birth and the doctors and midwives who had no idea about what caused infection.  Keegan came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and  blue in color.  He was wisked away from me because he had swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid.  He was brought back to me so that he could start nursing, but he wouldn’t latch on and his cry was weak, so they wisked him away from me again.  Before he was brought back to me, the nurse said that after cleaning him up some more, they realized that he had red hair!  The whole experience seemed surreal, until that declaration…I KNEW he was mine because of the red hair!  There is lots of red hair on my dad’s side of the family.

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I know I’m not unique when I say that I was humbled when I first held my baby in my arms.  I felt humbled because I realized that this perfect little being, this little piece of heaven was part of an imperfect, flawed being…me.

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It didn’t take long for Jim and I to realize that we had a very special little boy.  He was talking in full coversational sentences by 2 with words like “extraordinary” in his vocabulary.  He always identified with the Disney villians, saying that they were “misunderstood”.  I remember his kindergarten teacher saying that Keegan “was on a whole other level above the other children”.  He certainly had a rich imagination and it was a joy just to sit back and watch him play.

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Here he is above already winning academic awards!  Keegan does have a stubborn streak that emerges occasionally.  When he was in elementary school, he decided twice that he was not going to perform to the best of his abilities because he didn’t like his teachers.  This was how he rebelled.  It got really bad in 4th grade and we couldn’t convince him to just suck it up and do his best regardless of his feeling about his teacher.  He wasn’t unique in his feelings about Miss Jensen…I had talked to other parents who had problems with this teacher.  She would target kids and pick on them.  She wasn’t interested in teaching…she just wanted to get her years in because she wanted to be a school administrator.  She was a piece of work.  Jim and I had a parent/teacher conference with her and she said she wasn’t quite aware of the extent of Keegan’s dislike for her until she announced to the class that there would be a substitute the next day and  Keegan stood up with both hands in the air shouting “whoo hoo!”.  The conference didn’t help anything…she was still a wench to my kid, but the day came when I got my revenge…

I was teaching group fitness classes at the local L.A. Fitness.  One day I was asked to substitute a class for another instructor.  I walked into the workout room and I saw Miss Jensen setting her mat and step up in the front of the classroom.  Our eyes met…and it was game on!!!!  I quickly evaluated her fitness level during the warm up (overweight and out of shape) and proceeded to take the class to a level I knew she wouldn’t be able to keep up .  Fortunately, there were many of my regular students in the class who were use to my intensity and choreography style.  Miss Jensen had to pack up and leave before half way through the class because she couldn’t keep up.  I knew I should have taken the high road and not taken the opportunity of revenge, but what can I say?  She humiliated my kid and I was in full momma bear mode.  You know, the funny thing is that after all this time, I don’t feel the least bit sorry.  I know, I know…I’m horrible for not “turning the other cheek”, but it felt very gratifying to watch Miss Jensen walk out of my class defeated with her tail between her legs.

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When Keegan was 5, I started him on piano lessons, but after a few years, I decided it was time for him to stop…his heart wasn’t in it.  When he was 8, he approached us and asked for fencing lessons.  I think the Star Wars movies had something to do with it, but otherwise it seemed pretty much out of the blue, but after further thought, we realized it was the perfect activity for Keegan.  First of all, he chose it, and second…fencing is all about out witting your opponent, so Keegan excelled because he was able to use his intelligence with this activity.

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Keegan also has an intense love of history.  At the age of 8 he asked to see the film “Saving Private Ryan” because he was actively studying World War II.  We sat down and watched it with him because of the intense opening segment on Omaha beach, and due to his sensitive nature and his young age, he couldn’t watch the complete scene.  I think he was 12 or 13 when he was finally able to watch the entire movie.  History is a way to bond with Keegan.  I remember watching a documentary on the History channel on Alexander the Great in my bedroom.  Keegan was very young when he came in and asked me what I was watching.  I told him and he asked if he could join me.  When the documentary was over he said, “I don’t think Alexander was so great.  Now Peter…he was great!”.    Keegan is a history major at school.  He wants to get his Phd, so that he can teach on the University level, but I also think a future in politics could also be in his future.  He could go either way.

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Despite his shy and reserved nature,  Keegan made good friends in High School and even went to the prom!  Here is my graduate with honors!  Then off to Antioch College he went with a full tuition ride!

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Keegan joined the debate team at Antioch.  I heard that he made one of his opponents almost cry in front of his family who had come to watch the debate!  This is surprising because Keegan is so mild mannard!  This is one reason why I think he may have a future in politics.  He always knows both sides of every issue and is usually the smartest person in the room!

The past 21 years have gone by with lightning speed.  If I had known how fast the years pass, I would have tried to savor the little moments more than I did.

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What I would give to kiss this little boy’s face again, to play legos with him again, to squeeze and hug him forever.  Of course our little ones don’t stay that way for very long.  I think about the saying “The days are long, but the years are short”.  But watching your children become adults is also gratifying.  If you are lucky, they acquire the best parts of both parents.  I can definitely say that I see the best parts of Jim and myself in all three of our children.

Yes, even after having a rough pregnancy with Keegan, I went on to have two more children with equally horrible pregnancies!  I was so in love and enchanted with this little guy that I couldn’t help myself!

Filler Fluff Fashion Post

I’ve been mulling over some potential posts in my head, and the ideas  and words are not ready to come out yet, so here is a filler post with some looks of the week.  Notice that our temps here have not droped yet!!

 

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The above is an example of an off day look made a little more festive by adding tights, faux fur vest and booties for a High School Christmas concert.

Dress Lou & Grey; Loafers Clarks; Necklaces Kendra Scott, Tights Gap; Booties Simply Vera Wang by Kohl’s; Faux fur vest Nordstrom Rack; Coach backpack and Ray Ban Sunglasses purchased at Clothes Mentor Cedar Park.

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Gap Dress, Old Navy Cardigan and Dooney & Bourke backpack purchased at Clothes Mentor Cedar Park; Jewelry Kendra Scott; Flats Madewell.

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I’ve lived in Texas for 9 years and am just now learning to appreciate the cowboy boot!  This is my 2nd pair!

Lou & Grey dress; Necklace Anthropologie (gifted from my daughter!); Coach crossbody purchased at Clothes Mentor Cedar Park; Ariat cowboy boots purchased at Style Encore.

Oh, and look at these little beauties I picked up today:

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That’s right…bubble gum pink, brand spankin’ new Dr. Martens purchased for a song at Style Encore re-sale shop!  Now there is no way you can have a bad day wearing these babies!

 

Mothers and Daughters

I read this quote by Pink posted on Facebook recently and it got me thinking…

The mother/daughter relationship can be complicated, especially around adolescence.  Comparing my daughter’s adolescent relationship with that of me and my mother’s…I think my daughter and I had a tougher time…if memory serves correct.

My daughter, Chloe-Jane, was born from the womb brimming with confidence.  As a child she was naturally sweet, empathetic to the needs of others and obedient.  As she got older, a strong will became evident, which I think was the result of her natural confidence.  The day she started school she ran into the schoolroom without looking back at me.  She was more than ready to start, despite being one of the youngest in her class.  Things got tough with her for her sophomore and junior years in high school.  I wish I had remembered the run-ins I had with my mother at this time, and it is true…the rebellion was not about my mom at all.  It was about me exerting my independence from her, growing, experimenting…finding out who I was and just testing the waters in deciding which way to go, often hating myself in the process.

I wish I had remembered that.  I took Chloe’s rebellion WAY too personally, due to my lack of self confidence and my propensity to take things personally when they shouldn’t be.  There were too many “knee jerk” reactions on my part.  I should have remembered that part of her rebellion was the result of how I raised her…I didn’t want her to be anything like me.  I wanted her to question everything. I wanted her to be the opposite of what I was at her age and If I’m completely honest…what I am now…a woman with so many complexes.  I want her life experiences to be totally different than mine…from losing her virginity, to being able to grab life by the balls and go for broke…not to be held back by fear or lack of self-belief in her abilities.  I wanted her, and my boys as well, to see life in a way that is not all black and white and in the sometimes rigid way of the deeply religious.  I wanted her to have the courage to be who she is and not apologize for it.

All of the above mentioned qualities were partly achieved by a conscious decision to separate my family from the LDS (Mormon Church).  I saw that when Chloe was 12 years old and entered the Church’s “Young Women’s” program, it was not going to be a good fit.  She started questioning the church’s docterine, all the training for motherhood and for marriage in the Mormon Temple for girls at such a young age.  She let it be known that it wasn’t her cup of tea.  Chloe started reading lots of philosophy and other things at this very young age and decided she didn’t want early marriage and motherhood thrust upon her.  At first I was perplexed and astounded by her very clear observations, knowledge and feelings.  I must admit I was  a bit envious that she came to a clear decision at such a young age because I had similar feelings at her age, but didn’t have the courage to vocalize them and it led to confusion and self-loathing:  Why couldn’t I believe like everyone else, what was wrong with me?  Ahhh, now that’s a post for another day…

When I saw Chloe recently in L.A. after not having seen her in awhile…she just took my breath away.  My heart was filled with joy spending time talking with this beautiful, intelligent, open-minded young woman.   All I could think was…mission accomplished!

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Now I know that there are a great many Mormons who love the Church’s Young Women’s program and they are O.K with their daughters getting married at 19 and 20-years-old.  To them this is their “mission accomplished!”.   There is a reason that Brigham Young University is sometimes jokingly referred to as “Breed’um Young University”.  Often the goal of getting an education is secondary to landing a returned missionary and getting married in the Temple before the young women can get her bachelors.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with this if you are devoid of goals and ambitions, except that you jip yourselves of some valuable life experience.  Much change happens between the ages of 18 and 25 and so on…

I know, I know…some will reply to this post relaying their testimonies about the sanctity of Temple marriage and the Church’s teachings.  You know what?  I heard it all before, so please save your testimony bearing for your own blogs.  This is mine and this is my opinion and my special place to express my feelings and beliefs and experiences.

Another thing I’ve learned is that once you start judging your children they will shut you out of their lives and will be less likely to share if they perceive parental judgment.  They have to know that your love for them is unconditional even if they make choices that you don’t agree with.  Yes, as parents we have the right to give counsel to our adult children, but not to judge them…aye…there lies the rub!

With age comes clarity and my relationship with my mother vastly improved once I became an adult married woman with children, partly because now we have shared experiences, but mostly because I don’t need her approval anymore.  All I want is her love and now I am sure that I have always had it.

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Okay…now for today’s middle-aged gal look:

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Kut From The Kloth Jeans from Nordstrom Rack; Sweatshirt and Vest Old Navy; Tee from Loft; Shoes Vans; short necklace Kendra Scott; Kate Spade handbag an Texas outline necklace purchased at Clothes Mentor Cedar Park.