different now

I just put Ray down for a nap (still making noises), Liam went to play with a friend and Noah is at school. I have a moment. ah. It’s pretty quiet and as I look at my list of things to get done, I don’t want to do any of them. I feel like I need to validate blogging/journaling …. so here it goes – this is like therapy, to write what I’m stewing about, so I consider writing just as important as working out – this is good for me. And that’s why I am choosing to use my quiet time this way.

WARNING – This is not a happy post. This is one of those therapeutic posts. You were warned.

I feel like I am different now.

I have had this lump of hatred welling up inside my gut toward Michigan over the past 5 years and I started wondering about it this morning. Why? Could I really be that angry about the weather? I don’t think so. I think it is so much more than that.

This time period in my life has been rough. I imagine it is for a lot of women. The years with young babies and toddlers can be a dark time. A time without sleep, food, showers … self respect. A time when your body isn’t your own and you’re … let’s just say it … fat. Not everyone has this experience, but I’ll bet a lot of women feel this way. So, granted, no matter where I resided, I think this period of time in my life would have been hard. Maybe. Maybe not though. It has been a time when I needed a lot of help and love and understanding. And as much as I have dearly loved my friends here in Michigan, I have felt quite isolated and alone during this time of trial and difficulty.

The winters here are long and cold and isolated. You don’t see your neighbors and friends as much during the winter here, it is relatively lonely for about 6 months, at the very least and that is hard. I planned my pregnancies around winter time. seriously. I would not have a baby during the winter months for fear of post partum depression hitting me in the dead of winter in Michigan …. that could be fatal or at the very least, damaging. And I hate that. I hate making life choices out of fear.

The people I ran into at the grocery store, library, park were sometimes downright mean to me. For no good reason. This happened a lot. For many years. I actually had many encounters with people who yelled at me in public places. And this is not speaking in past tense. Someone yelled at me at the movie theatre about a month ago. Totally unprompted, as I was walking past them to get into my car. It has made me feel not only lonely and isolated, but it has taken me to the next level – I feel as though I need to protect myself in public and have a ready retort. I need to be able to stand up for myself and protect my kids from mean, sad people we meet everyday. And I hate that. I hate feeling like I need to protect myself everywhere I go.

Even at church it has been a different experience in Michigan. The ward was hard to feel comfortable in. For years. really. Once I was “in” and felt that I knew people and they liked me, I felt more love than before, but that really took me a few years. Lonely years. I also had to learn a hard life lesson here in my wards in Michigan – how to say “no”. It was out of protection that I had to learn how to do this. I had to protect my family and our time together and …. my sanity. I have been in several situations here where people have asked and requested things of me until I was so frustrated and stretched so thin that I HAD to say “no”. I’ve never been in that situation before. I had no idea people would take and take until you were empty. I have never had to say no to anyone in a ward previous to the ones here in Michigan. And I hate that. I hate saying no.

I am different today than I was 5 years ago. I remember having several conversations with Daniel, when we were a young married couple, about how people were generally good and decent. I thought if you explained your situation to them, they would want to help you. I thought, in general, people were kind. Maybe I was naïve. But up until about 5 years ago, I still believed that. I am different now. And I hate that. I hate that my eyes and maybe my kids’ eyes have been opened to unkind, unhappy people. So much so, that we’ve come to expect it from people. I find myself avoiding people’s gazes at the store, not making eye contact as much, trying to keep my head down and get my errands done without too much interaction with people I don’t know. And I hate that.

It is so much more than the weather here. It is a totally different energy here in Michigan. It is one that has changed me in ways I never wanted to change. I don’t want to fear winter, or avoid people, or be guarded, or expect the worst or be forced to say no.

Wow, as I write this all out, I think it explains what I have been experiencing and feeling over a long period of time. Phew! That feels good. To explain that finally. I always hated it when people told me “grow where you’re planted” or “make the best of it” or “just be positive” or “look on the bright side” or, the worst one of all: “Evidently the Lord wanted you to learn something and if you don’t learn to be happy in Michigan, you’ll never be able to leave, because you’ll never be happy anywhere”. That’s just not true.

The final piece of the puzzle for me is really family. My sisters, my parents. I talk to them daily …. many times a day … many, many times a day. And I love them. And I miss them. There’s not a week that has gone by over the past 5 years when I haven’t said aloud to someone in my family, “if I lived closer ….”. Fill in the blank with anything – I could help you, I could let you borrow that, I could plan that with you, we could go there together, I could see that … I could be there for that. I can’t explain how that breaks my heart. Every week for five years. I just did the math, that’s about 260 times. Breaks my heart.

And that’s the frosting on this cake – no family. And I hate that. It’s not even a choice I can make, it’s not like I can pick and choose which family event to be to, I miss them all. Well, not all. I’ve made it to a few events over the past 5 years, but it has cost me dearly. Not just money, although it does cost an arm and a leg to fly to California from here, but it taxes me – physically and mentally. Do you have any idea what it does to a person to fly with two young children, alone, for 12 hours, with 3 carry-ons, change planes (because there are NO direct flights), have a lay over for 4 hours and have it all end in the Oakland airport with a bloody injury at the baggage claim? I’ll tell you what it does – it ruins a person. It causes a person to see their mom at the curb and burst into tears and fall into her arms. That’s what it does. And so I’m different now.

I can only hope that these experiences will fade. I will hopefully forget, probably never completely, but forget a lot. And it will not be this way forever. I will get out. I will move on. And that’s the bright side.

stick a fork in me

I’m done.

It was 1 degree this morning when I got in the car with all 3 boys to take Noah to school. In a few years, when I’m happily living in California, I think I will not remember what 1 degree feels like. I hope so. But for posterity’s sake, this is what 1 degree feels like:

It hurts.  Every bit of skin surface that is not covered, stings. It just stings. I imagine it’s the same feeling as when you get a wart frozen off. But it’s your wrist skin and your nose and cheeks that sting and feel like they’re being frozen off. It doesn’t take that much time either. For instance, it hurt as soon as I opened the front door and the air hit my face. I felt like swearing like a sailor. I wanted to do something that I heard someone do two summers ago – we were vacationing on Lake Michigan, having a beach trip, and it was the height of summer, but Lake Michigan was frigid. One daring soul ventured out into the water and starting screaming the F-word, long and loud. That’s what I felt like doing this morning when I opened the front door. I didn’t though and I feel like I deserve props for not screaming the F-word, long and loud.

There’s also no “bright side” to this weather. When it’s this cold outside you can’t even enjoy the snow or outdoors. You just have to bundle up inside, crank up the thermostat and try not to leave, for any reason, unless you need food. At which point, you try to send Daniel.

And it has been so long living here in Michigan that I am beginning to doubt myself. I think I liked going outdoors before here, didn’t I? I think I went camping and bike riding and roller blading and snowboarding, didn’t I? I think I was an active person, who enjoyed the wilderness and had a fond feeling for the mountains and pine trees, didn’t I? I remember going to the beach and actually getting in the water … and didn’t I boogie board? Didn’t I look for opportunities to get outside and go to the park? I have the foggiest memory of doing fun, outdoor recreation but I’ve been here for almost 6 years now and I haven’t done those things. Michigan has ruined my memories of the beach and camping and snowboarding. It has made those memories horrible for the past 6 years and I am beginning to think I don’t like being outside. I know I don’t like being outside in Michigan. The summers are so short and humid and the land is so flat and mountain-less and the snowboarding is so crappy and the cold is soooooooo cold. I think if I stay here much longer, I will morph into a sad, indoor person that surfs the internet a lot and plans trips away from here.

Also, I don’t think it’s healthy to live in weather like this. You end up indoors, breathing stale air and getting sick, then passing all your illness to everyone in your family … twice. And my skin is cracking and hard. Daniel’s skin gets super dry and flakes off, all over his body and Noah’s knuckles get so dry that they crack and bleed … often. To sum up: I want to curse because it’s so cold, we’re sick, stuck indoors, I’m losing my identity and our skin is cracking and falling off. So, I’m done. Done with Michigan. Ready to scoot on out of here and never come back … ever, never ever. I will miss my friends. They are good people, I feel bad for leaving them here, but I will just have them come visit me in a warmer climate :) I keep talking like we’re leaving, and I hope we are, but we have no real plans just yet.

So here’s the news on Ray lately – he’s cut his second bottom tooth!

He’s gorgeous. Hopefully, he will have no remembrance of Michigan. Lately, I noticed that Ray loves tags and small strings. He’s learning how to use his little pincher fingers and doing great. He sits up unassisted a lot now, although every once in a while he’ll be sitting there and then just fall over … hard and we feel like bad parents. He’s been sick for about a week now and he had a fever over the weekend and today he has a strange rash on his body ….. in short, there is always something to worry about with Ray. I am in a constant state of worry over him. Is he too cold? Too hot? Eating enough? Drinking/nursing enough? When did I feed him last? What’s his temperature now? Too low? Too high? When did he get Ibuprofen last? …. constant state of worry. When does this part end? I don’t remember when it happened with Liam. But Liam was so chubby, I didn’t really worry about his eating habits. Even if he had stopped eating for a few days, he had reserves, if you know what I mean. Anyway, my little Ray is so little, I just worry about him all the time. We go in to weigh him in a week and a half, so we’ll see how he’s doing.

Until then, I will not run screaming to the car, drive to the airport and fly west and never come back farther east than Arizona ever again in my life (like I sometimes imagine myself doing), instead, I will get some shorts on and go workout in the basement, take a shower and maybe make some hairbands for little Chiara (Aria’s baby girl due on March 6th).

Ray, 7 months

There are some firsts going on around here and I need to hurry up and get these down, or they will go undocumented and be completely forgotten. In December, Ray’s first tooth poked through. It’s one solitary bottom tooth and we now refer to him as “sharp tooth”.

He stands (assisted)!

And sits … unassisted!

He’s started doing that rock back and forth on your hands and knees thing. So it looks like he’s getting ready to crawl … and he seems super happy about it too.

And for heaven’s sake, is it just me, or is this kid just beautiful?

It’s a good thing too (that he’s so gorgeous) cuz, man, he’s a lot of work these days. He gained 1 lb in 2 weeks when we went in for a “weigh in” last week, so that’s great! Because at 6 months he had dropped from the 57th percentile in wieght to the 3rd. Now, after his 1 lb, he’s all the way up to the …. 5th percentile. sigh. So far to go still. And he’s holding strong on the “no bottle” issue. So I am still feeding him extra formula to supplement my breast milk through a catheter syringe. Total pain. I am getting calluses on my fingers from pushing the syringe. I took him in this week to Ann Arbor to a feeding specialist. Nothin new. She’s stumped as to why he doesn’t want to feed from a sippy cup or bottle even though he’s basically starving himself by only nursing. Anyway, we keep at it.

But he is developing in so many ways. He notices everything! And gets so distrcated so easily. I have a hard time nursing him in the front room if anyone else is in there. He whips his little head around all the time, searching out sounds and movement. He loves pears. He likes tummy time and can skoot backwards pretty well now (a skill he has been honing over the past few weeks). He drools a ton and the cutest thing to see is his little pointer finger just hanging out, hooked in the corner of his open mouth allowing another avenue for the drool to spill out. He talks to us and laughs a lot. He’s super smiley too. A good baby. Now, if he would just eat! sheesh. But we love him. 7 months is here and passing, this is going fast!


Christmas 2012

This year we all went to PA to be together at Liz’s house and hang with Ian before he leaves on his mission to Brazil in March! All of the Forsyth’s converged and it was awesome to be with everyone. We miss seeing them and loved every moment. I want to get all the pictures up, so that’s first. I will write about the vacation later. Too little time and so much to share!

Dave and Misha stopped by!!!

Brothers and babies – Daniel and Baby Ray(6 months), Eric and Baby Henry (11 months)

Ian …. doesn’t he look grown up?? He’s a college boy, with a girlfriend and an Elder!!! crazy. I remember when he was 8, at my wedding, but he’s so different now. He’s a blast.

Aunt Jaime, Uncle Eric and Liam sharing his “Wed, Hot Bw-oos” (Red Hot Blues …. Liam’s favorite chips).

Jonathan … cute rosy cheeks.

Hottest Man Alive … aka Daniel Cakes.

This is Little Will. So beautiful. Does he get that from his pretty mommy next to him? eh??

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas morning …

These guys both look pretty interested in what they’re opening.

One of my favorite gifts – my checkered Vans. This is a teenage dream finally coming true.


Santa got Liam dress-ups … does he know Liam, or what?

An after Christmas walk …

Dallin …. sweet, chubby faced Dallin. mmmmmm.

Noah’s 7th Birthday

This year was supposed to be a small party. We’re trying to stick to the idea of doing big parties on certain years: 5, 8, 12, 16 & 18. So, we only invited the Ordaz boys and one of Noah’s friends from school, his best friend, Jason.

They played Noah’s Lego Star Wars computer game, R2-D2 Trouble and ate lunch. Noah requested hot dogs, apples and pears cut up and “Noah salad” (lettuce with homemade balsamic dressing). Then we opened presents and played! Noah had been saving up all of his birthday money he got from: Grandma & Grandpa, cousins in Santa Cruz, Gammie, mommy and daddy. He wanted to buy the Millennium Falcon and that’s what he got! He also got a few awesome Lego creations from the Ordaz boys, a movie (Madagascar 3) and he got to take a gift card from Gammie to Target and he picked out the Droid Escape Pod Lego set. It was a fun day!

In case you’re wondering …. those Lego bricks are candy … and the tall Lego bricks are candles. It’s amazing what kind of Lego stuff you can find when you’re looking for it :)

We celebrated Noah’s birthday on Saturday, December 8th, but we celebrated it again with cake and ice cream on Monday, December 10th too. He looks so big. I feel like there has been such a huge leap in his face, his manner, in the way he talks …. he just seems like a little grown up now. This is the first time that has made me a little bit sad. I’ve always loved seeing my boys grow and develop and get more independent … until now. He is so smart and does so much on his own. He walks to the back of school for me to pick him up. He as his whole day away from me and tells me things he does at school and who he likes and hangs out with …. sigh. He’s big. Time to face it – I need to make the most of the next 11 years, because my heart already aches thinking about sending him away on his mission and one day giving him to someone else. For now, he is mine. My sweet Noah. And I love him. Happy Birthday big seven year old!