Singleness of mind

Tonight I learned how to drive a diesel truck the size of a semi. Besides spending time with my dad, my favorite part was being able to focus on just one thing. Keep the trailer inside the lanes. Aim for the yellow lines in the parking lot. Feel the brakes. Don't cut the curbs. It was so relieving and fun. A mother of young children is so fractured - I'm making lunch while holding Eloise while listening to Hazel tell me a story while the twins are asking me for a drink of water. Learning to drive a vehicle with several tons behind it felt like a mental vacation. The driver can't lose focus! 
So I may have only been successful backing up into a parking slot straight once out of five hearty tries, but I enjoyed the singleness of mind and purpose. Maybe I should pick up driving trailers around as a hobby :)!


My take on current events, both in Utah, and abroad

It is not fair to impart leadership and priesthood powers to just men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Men make all the decisions. Men decide how money is spent, who gets callings, who speaks in church, when things happen, they decide everything. There aren't any justified arguments against it. I believe there needs to be an institutional reform, but I don't think that will happen with the current leadership. That being said, I still believe the Church does more good than harm, and it gives me chances to do good in the world, and I will always believe in that. 

If Vladimir Putin is as uber-macho-manly as he portrays, he should 'man up' over the downed airliner. Take some responsibility, dude!

The LGBT community should be allowed to legally marry. I do not understand any of the arguments about how it threatens "traditional marriage." It would do absolutely nada to my marriage, or anyone I know, but it could do a lot of good for homosexual people.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about it and I really think the Israeli – Palestinian conflict has no easy resolution, if there is a hypothetical resolution at all. Maybe if we could somehow carve out Jerusalem and transport it to a remote island. 

I am not a huge fan of the Common Core in education. But I don't think it is a reason to condemn all public schools. Also, I think parents who do not immunize their children are brainless. 

Also, people who think global warming is a matter of belief are brainless.

I heard on NPR this morning that the mortality rate of the Mormon pioneers crossing the plains was 3.5%, and the national average at that time was 2.9%. I was extremely gratified to hear that. And BYU did the study!

We'll, there are some strong statements for your Thursday morning!


Reasons why my children might be happier if I sold them to the circus

Reasons why my children might be happier if I sold them to the circus:

  • They could care for exotic animals, and actually touch them
  • There would be tight ropes from which to dangle
  • All the popcorn and cotton candy they could eat
  • They could learn to swing on a trapeze
  • They could laugh at the slapstick clowns
  • They could ride in a train for transportation instead of a minivan
  • A 'clown car' could be more than just a metaphor their mother uses to describe their life
  • They could sleep in a tent
  • No one would make them clean up their bedroom
  • They could scream as loudly as they like, without a mom to say, "Please, honey, I have a terrible headache."
  • They wouldn't have to wait for a prayer to eat
  • And best of all, tutus could be everyday wear

too much, and too little

You lose a lot when you become a stay-at-home mom. You lose a lot when you have a special needs baby. Its all been so hard for me lately. Being home so much with so many little children makes me question my sanity, and can overwhelm me with a feeling of desperation - because I am trapped. So trapped. Physically (can hardly go anywhere with a baby with tubes, let alone with all her siblings!), emotionally (can't lose my temper or scream if I want to), spiritually (why God?), and intellectually (sometimes not even NPR can make up for a lack of reading time.)
I get that I am raising four human beings, and all the effort and time I spend is worth it. I love them. But for someone who is burdened with an oversized wanderlust and a hungry mind, staying home is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My children are awake for 12-14 hours a day, and each of them want my undivided attention ALL THE TIME. And Eloise is...a whole lotta work. Just the upkeep of her jejunal tube, and her numerous medications, and the three times an hour she chokes on something and has a 'spit fit.' I spend so much time at the pharmacy, on the phone with health insurance, and just keeping all four of my children fed and alive, there is just nothing for me.
This sounds like a pity party, yeah, I know. I do see where I am blessed, but it doesn't help when I am exhausted, sick to death of toys and squabbles over toys, when I've spent most of my day in the kitchen either making food or cleaning it up, or the weariness from the constant concern for Eloise. It feels like too much, and too little.

Someone told me a few days ago that yes, children grow older, but they don't get easier, they only replace the old annoyances with new ones. I was quick to tell that person that no, this will get easier because this is not annoyance. This is a chokehold on every aspect of my life. Yes, it will be easier when my fourth child can eat with her mouth and her stomach. When I'm not driving to and from doctors appointments constantly. When even my night is not interrupted 3-7 times. It will be easier when I'm not spending $500 a month on diapers and expensive, specialty baby formula. It will be easier when all my children can buckle their own damn seat belts. When they can pour their own milk, or open a door. Or even when they can all speak English.

I am frustrated, and feeling desperate, and I forced myself to sit and write this blog post, because I thought it might help. But even when I've tucked myself away in the Glamper for just an hour, Amelia and Hazel have interrupted me about five times...Good picking grief.


my african summer

It all started when I read this book in June...
...and loved it. Read it twice. I am in a full-fledged African obsession. I've been following the news from the Dark Continent much more closely, cooking African-inspired meals, reading, scouring library shelves. My discoveries:

  • The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, by Martin Meredith. Despite being an insatiable francophile, my formal studies have never ventured closer to Africa than reading Heart of Darkness in high school. I'm only three chapters into this read, and already I'm embarrassed at how little I knew about African modern history. I have spent time in Tanzania, Zanzibar and South Africa, but only spending a week in each port is hardly time to grasp the history of a nation. I highly recommend Meredith's book as a starting point to modern African history!
  • The Congo and the Cameroons, Mary Henrietta Kingsley. If one were forced to place the positive and negative consequences of imperialism and colonialism on a scale, I believe the scale would tip to the negative. That being understood, I enjoyed Kingsley's book an awful lot. Those plucky Victorian lady travelers! So cheeky.
  • I have been delving into African art, and not only am I disappointed by the comparatively minuscule number of publications (well, quality publications) on African art, but how it is approached in the field of art history. Pretty sure there are more books on Versailles than the entire art history of Africa. 
  • I want to mention also the 'Stuff You Missed in History Class' podcast. Such a fantastic podcast, it is perfect for feeling out topics in history. 
  • And of course, To the Moon and Timbuktu, by Nina Sovich. I followed her travels with Google Earth, which greatly enhanced my reading. Seriously, if you're ever bored, indulge in some virtual travel in West Africa.
Our menu has featured couscous and vegetables, chicken seasoned with African spices, and a lot of fish. I rarely have time to watch movies, so it has taken me something like four days to try to get through the first half of Meryl Streep's 'Out of Africa.' I've pulled out the music I purchased in my own travels in Africa, and I have been so gratified with my daughters' interest. Josephine asks about Africa all the time, and she has ventured onto Google Earth all on her own! 

Oh, right, and I've been checking out plane ticket prices to Morocco...



"Mom, its Francis!" I'd bet you didn't know snails are all named 'Francis.' These daughters of mine are inseparable, and find joy, entertainment and fascination with everything. I am peppered with their questions almost every waking minute. They tire me, but capturing moments like this remind me of the happy times they are having.

Should've named her Audrey?

This is how my Josephine came down the stairs looking. She chose the dress herself at Old Navy, ferreted away my sunglasses, and she clearly felt fantastic. 
 Below is the face she pulled when I said, "Look stylish, Jo!"
Oh. Yeah.
When she can't wear clothes she chose herself, she alters her clothes. She wears t-shirts backwards, because she believes it is more fashionable that way. I can't wait to see "wear" she goes next!