It has been a hugely long time (in the scheme of how fast I've been recording this love story) since I last posted. My dear Ted was out of town for several days. Gwenna had spring break. We went on vacation for over a week. I had a kidney stone. Then, I got back to this. I promise, part three (obviously) was NOT the end, as much as I suspected it would be at the time.
If this whole story is new to you, start here:
The Sunday after the peculiar date was an unusual Sunday. My institute teacher (who was also my Bishop - i.e. congregational leader) had asked a strange favor of me. He had asked if I might be willing to come to Elders' Quorum the next Sunday (the last hour of church, a class comprised solely of 18-25-ish year old men in our ward) to speak for about ten minutes on a few topics he thought the men would benefit from hear in a woman's perspective.
"So you are teaching Elders' Quorum? That's not strange at all." My roommate Casey's sarcasm as she made her breakfast expressed exactly how I felt. I had prepared well and wasn't nervous but did feel a little out of my element.
Arizona had her usual broad grin she wore when she had a teasing comment. "One girl in a room with all those guys... sounds like a fast pass to weddings bells."
How absurd. "Oh gosh." I moaned. "I think most of them know I want to serve a mission." Maybe they did and maybe they didn't but I wasn't eyeing anyone in particular.
"Does Sterling know?" Arizona asked, maintaining her smile.
Sterling had been coming around our apartment more and more lately, sometimes bringing his guitar to serenade the girls in our apartment, but most specifically to serenade me. He was a nice guy and we had been out on a date but nothing had come from it.
"Well," I replied, "if he doesn't know, he needs to know." My plate was fuller than full and the prospect of a mission on the horizon only made me that much more firm in my resolve to avoid love right now.
I felt twenty pairs of eyes on me as I walked into Elders' Quorum. I'm not going to say I had tried hard to primp that morning but I was speaking to a room of single men. Any self respecting woman would have relied on her black pencil skirt! And to keep it fun, I added a bright pink button down shirt just for a pop of color.
Many of the men in this room I considered my friends, most lived within a few apartment buildings of my own. I knew the usual suspects would all be present and I scanned the room as I spoke, my eyes landing on Ted. His mouth was slightly open, reminding me faintly of Mary Poppins. "Close your mouth, Theodore, we are not a cod fish," I thought but of course did not say.
I was grateful when my ten minutes of fame had passed and I could return to my own meeting where my pencil shirt and pink top would blend into a sea of similar ensembles rather than sticking out like a sore thumb in an ocean of polyester ties and white shirts in need of ironing.
I was ready to leave promptly at the end of church when Sterling caught me by the door.
He smiled. "Hey Kelly. Good job in Elders' Quorum."
"Thanks, Sterling." Let's keep it brief.
"I was thinking of coming by later on this afternoon if that's OK."
No harm could come of that. "Sure, that's fine. I should be home," I replied.
We said our goodbyes. I head home to nap for a while.
I didn't exactly wait around for Sterling but it would have been rude to go out. I decided to head out to visit some friends a few hours after church - to my neighbor girls' apartment - and that was exactly where he was. He was visiting the apartment of girls next door to us. It didn't exactly bother me but I was surprised since he said he would be coming by my apartment. It seemed such a flippant choice, faced with the two doors as he walked up the stairs, and he chose the one on the right. I was on the left. Didn't bother me, I told myself. Just surprising. He never did make it by my apartment that day.
Monday came around, rushed and hectic as it always was. Class, work, work again at another job, and Family Home Evening that night. By time I arrived at the institute (church) building, I was worn out. But I had responsibilities to fill and it was only an hour or two until my day would finally be over.
And when it was, with the closing of our activities, Ted met me at the door, as these boys seemed to be doing lately.
"Hey Kelly, want a ride home?" he asked with his signature cheesy grin that fell somewhere between nervously fake and ecstatic.
I hadn't driven to the institute so I gladly accepted. Our short drive was filled with light though enjoyable small talk and he walked me to my door. I walked in, still in conversation and he naturally followed, commenting on what a nice night it was. Casey and Arizona where both home, in the living area.
"It's so nice out tonight," Ted said, "we should go out and do something, just for a little while. I know you've had a long day. But, do you want to go on a little drive?"
He was right, I was still exhausted from my day but it sounded like something chill and fun enough that it might shake off some of my day before I dove into textbooks. "Yeah. Where do you want to go?" I inquired.
"Oh, I was thinking... Mars Hill." Ted's eyes shifted and his lips pursed as they squelched a smile as he suggested this location.
"You mean Make-out Hill??" blurted Arizona, who sometimes had a talent for blurting.
I had never been to Mars Hill but it did have the reputation, a sort of romantic look-out point in Flagstaff, for being a make-out spot. I should have been surprised Ted would make that kind of offer but just by suggesting it in front of my roommates rather than just casually driving up the hill, he was showing he had no suspicious intentions.
"Yeah! You know it. OK, not really. It's just a pretty night and I thought it would be fun." Ted's mock confidence dripped off him like perspiration.
"Sure. Why not? Let's go. See ya later girls." I winked at my roommates on the way out. They both laughed, seeming to know something I didn't.
We headed out in Ted's gray toaster of a car that he loved so much. I observed what a conscientious driver he was, knowing that driving for a living had surely sharpened his skills. He told me about how he learned to drive really young, having gotten his license at 14, a whole ten years previous.
The drive up the hill was windy but I relished the cool air through the windows. Talking with Ted and enjoying the night air washed away layers of stress and Mynday grime that had built up over the course of my day.
We got to the top of the hill, overlooking the greater part of Flagstaff. The downward facing lights gave way to a beautiful night sky as we parked next to a row of mostly closed, dark cars, making things feel only slightly awkward.
"Want to get out and check out the view?" I was glad at Ted's suggestion.
I was immediately taken aback by the clear sky. "Wow, the stars are amazing. You can see so many more than Phoenix. I love living up here. What a view!"
Ted agreed. "Yeah, it's pretty great." But he wasn't looking at the view.
Just then I got a chill. I thought it had something to do with the brisk Flagstaff night air but it probably was more than that.
"Hey, I have a blanket in the back of my car. Let me grab it for you." Ted went to the back of the car and returned with a black and white quilt. He unfolded it and wrapped it first around my shoulders, then around his, his arm across my shoulders as well.
I must have given him a look of surprise because his response was priceless. "What? What kind of guy would I be if I can't even help keep you warm on make-out hill?" We both laughed. It was so easy to laugh with Ted and despite the newness of it, I took note to the fact that I fit perfectly under his arm.
My thoughts were interrupted by my ringing phone in my pocket. I pulled it out and Ted said to go ahead and answer, though it seemed rude to ruin the moment. He didn't retract his arm. I took the call.
"Hello?" I asked.
"He Kelly, it's Sterling." Wow. This is awkward.
"Hey Sterling," I said to alert Ted to the caller. He still didn't remove his arm, though I suspected he would. Felt like he should.
"Hey. So have you been asked to the institute formal yet?" No beating around the bush for that guy.
The institute formal dance was coming up in a week.
"No, I haven't." I didn't offer any more details than I had to, especially standing on Mars Hill with Ted.
"Ok. Hey, can I come by later tonight for a little bit?" Once again, Sterling seemed direct. I didn't particularly want to go to the dance with him but, I hadn't been asked.
"Yeah, that would be fine. See you then." I could be direct too. He said goodbye and I closed my purple flip phone.
"So Sterling, huh?" Ted half asked, half sighed.
"Yeah. He asked if I'd been asked to the institute formal yet. I said no. Since I haven't..." I sort of trailed off, realizing, at that moment, that maybe Ted had wanted to come to this lovely setting to ask me just that. I wished I could take back my last words.
"Oh. ... That's... cool." Ted trailed off also. "I was sort of hoping to ask you as well but it seems like you've already been asked just now. Or he's going to ask you? Making his intent known? I dunno." He seemed more disappointed than I'd have imagined.
"Well he didn't technically ask. He just asked if I have been asked and said he would like to come over tonight." Again, I felt like the words were coming out all wrong. Why couldn't I just say what I was feeling?: Nope, he didn't ask me. You still can. But Ted's comments made me realize he was probably seeing things from a guy's perspective. Sterling had essentially just staked his claim.
The subject somehow got changed, thanks to the beautiful view, and a few minutes later, we headed down the mountain, less happy then when we had driven up.
When we got back to our apartment complex, Ted walked me to the door.
"So, hey, I was hoping to ask you to the institute formal tonight, but I feel like I sort of got the rug pulled out from under me. I'd love it if you'd go with me but if you choose to go with Sterling, I understand. No pressure. It's totally up to you." Ted looked hopeful and young, like a little boy asking for another cookie. And not in a strange way but in a completely endearing, freshly-shaven way.
I wanted to be honest. I had only ever wanted to be honest with Ted but that has backfired in the past. I measured my words. "I know Sterling is going to come by and I feel like he tried to sort of 'stake his claim' so I feel really conflicted. I don't know what to do."
Ted half smiled. "It's cool. I understand. Anyway, I had fun tonight on Mars Hill. We should do that again sometime." Then the real smile popped out. Captain Insinuation.
"Thanks Ted. I had fun too. See you later." I turned around and went into my apartment, knowing I wasn't mirroring his fun.
"Night." He called after me.
I walked in. Arizona and Casey were both in their upstairs loft bedroom, Arizona's presence, at least, made obvious by George Strait's twang wafting down the stairs.
I walked straight to the landing of the stairs and collapsed. Both Arizona and Casey appeared at the top of the stairs. "WHAT happened?" they said in unison.
"Ted kind of asked me to the institute formal but while we were on Mars Hill, when his ARM was around me, Sterling called to basically say HE wanted to ask me and now I don't know who asked first or what to say or do." I buried my face in my hands on the stairway covered in decrepit brown carpet from the Ice Age.
There was a knock at the door. I thought for sure it was Sterling. He and Ted must have passed on the stairs because I'd only walked in seconds before, having spewed my brief report in Gilmore Girl speed.
"COME IN!" Arizona called down from the loft.
In came, not Sterling, but Ted. He pushed into the apartment with long strides and open arms. He came straight to the stairs where I had collapsed and enclosed me in the best hug I'd had in a while.
"You just looked really upset when you came in so I just wanted to come back and give you a quick hug and tell you know to worry about the institute formal. It's no big deal." He released me from his awkward yet loving embrace, retracing his steps towards the door.
"See you tomorrow," he said as he closed the door. I hadn't said a word.
I looked up at both my roommates, eyes bulging, hands both pointing towards the door, the look on my face saying, "SEE?"
"I guess you know who you're going to the dance with," Casey said with a dimpled grin.
It has been a hugely long time (in the scheme of how fast I've been recording this love story) since I last posted. My dear Ted was out of town for several days. Gwenna had spring break. We went on vacation for over a week. I had a kidney stone. Then, I got back to this. I promise, part three (obviously) was NOT the end, as much as I suspected it would be at the time.
In case you're new, start here:
Now you're up to speed! And can we just agree that while this next one is TOTALLY true, it's also totally embarrassing? Ted and I were amazed tonight, as we recalled details, that we ended up together. We should have eschewed one another hardcore after this experience.
I got out of my first date with Ted just what I was hoping to get out of it: a fun time with a nice guy and ice cream. But that wasn't all. Oh! - if only that were all.
The snow had died down a bit, everything was melting as it started to get warmer. I had gone home over Easter weekend to be with my family in Mesa. Seeing my dad's plethora of banjo paraphernalia made me think of Ted. Ted had just gotten a new banjo, intent on learning to strum. He didn't seem musically inclined though and I knew he needed all the help he could get. "Happy Birthday" was his only conquest so far.
I mentioned my friend Ted's new passion to my dad. Banjo guys stick together. He gave me some picks, a practice implement, and books to bring Ted.
Shortly after I arrived home, Ted made the almost literal hop-skip-and-jump to my apartment, thrilled with his new toys. He, I imagined, was certain he could learn the banjo with all these goodies.
"I have to do something to repay your dad's kindness," Ted said with a sly grin, a grin I would come to know and suspect the rest of my life. "How about a date?"
Oh Ted, I thought. He doesn't know who he is dealing with.
I immediately sent a text to my dad and told him Ted wanted to take him out on a date.
My dad replied quickly. "That's alright, you can take my date."
"My dad passed, " I told Ted. "He said I should go in his place." I was certain Ted didn't know what to think about this crazy woman.
We went on a date that weekend. Little did I know it would be the last first date in the history of me.
He picked me up and we walked over to his Scion XB, the Toaster, Leroy. It was the boxiest, most impractical, shiny, gray vehicle I'd ever laid eyes on. He had a flashy, new car, and, Karin had reported to me, a mortgage. He owned the home his mother lived in, in Arkansas. While she deemed it wildly irresponsible to own a house he didn't even live in and she swore she could NEVER date a man so impractical, once I understood the reasoning, I admired his owning a home for his widowed mother. But I'd never dated a guy with a car payment AND a mortgage let alone just gone ON a date with one.
Ted took me downtown. He parked that little Toaster underground in the parking garage. We decided to take the nearby elevator up to ground level.
As we waited for the elevator it suddenly became awkwardly silent. I wasn't opposed to silence so it seemed strange that it FELT awkward. Then Ted decided to fix that in the worst way possible.
"Hey, have you ever farted in an elevator?"
Yeah, that just happened.
I told Ted that I had, indeed, never passed gas in an elevator.
"Well I have. And thank goodness I was alone because it stunk to HIGH HEAVENS!" He said this without blushing. Without a follow up comment along the lines of, "I'm sorry for my diarrhea of the mouth, I apparently have no filter and can't keep these things in." He just said what he thought. I was slightly mortified.
Once we surfaced, we went to Pita Pit. I ordered something amazing and he ordered something greasy. We both ordered drinks and filled our cups with lemonade. I noticed some spilled packets of sugar and, while filling our cups, offered one to Ted. "Sugar?"
That sly grin made a reappearance. "Sure baby, but not that kind." And he attempted a provocative wink from behind his Drew Carrey glasses.
I couldn't believe he had just said that to me. On our first date. Or at all. Ever. Because... he was... Ted!
I, for once, had no snappy retort. Me! I had nothing to say. I just swallowed air and mumbled out an, "Oh dear...."
Lunch was great. I can't tell you three things we talked about. But I can tell you what was next: ICE CREAM! We walked across Heritage Square to Coldstone. Ted encouraged me to buy some frozen monstrosity of chocolate-waffle-bowl-sugary-carmel-absurd-amazingness.
We sat in the square devouring our treats. "What a perfect day, " I thought. The sun shone and warmed the brick we sat on. Ted and I talked about so much nothing. Our families, growing up. I was continually surprised by his life details. One of six children born over seven years. his father was a quadriplegic. He served his mission right where Hurricane Katrina has recently wreaked compete havoc. He worked completely irrational hours for the company Loomis Fargo, a job in which he described himself as, "a hired gun."
For a while, after our ice cream was gone, we sat and chatted. I had another commitment that afternoon, work related, so we headed back to the parking garage, back to the elevator. As we walked I heard the bells chime, 1, 2, 3:00. "Three o'clock and all is well," Ted said in a sort of off key sing-songy voice. I added to the silliness, quoting old 80's commercials and public service ads. "It's three o'clock, do you know where your children are?"
Ted seemed to. "Yeah. Well, I guess YOU do." I expected some cute response, saying my children were in Heaven or something precious when I asked where my children were. But I got a very different response.
Ted pointed each index finger to his lower abdomen, one on each side, sort of, as one might imagine, where a woman's ovaries may reside, in a man's mind. "Right about here."
We got back to the car. Oh thank goodness for getting back to the car. So far on this date Ted talked about his extreme flatulence, tried to seduce me in Pita Pit, and made reference to my reproductive system. I wasn't discounting the high points of the date, but the oddity of the experience far outweighed the fun simplicity. This, I thought as we waited at the light for an endlessly long train to pass, was going to be one my roommates would giggle over for weeks.
But at that moment I didn't feel the urge to giggle. I did feel another urge but it was not funny. As Ted went on about something work related, all I could do was dash my eyes from here to there, looking for a restroom. The lunch, and more specifically the lunch DESSERT, was attempting to make a beeline for the exit. Apparently Ted wasn't the only one suffering from diarrhea and while his was verbal, mine was... not.
I couldn't remember a time in recent dates when I had experiences such profound intestinal distress. Each train car that passed both mocked me and brought a sense of elation. One more car passed. One car closer to the end. Moments from my apartment. My bathroom. I knew it had gotten serious when I saw Ted's lunch box - a small, 6-pack style cooler - on the floor of his pristine vehicle, and the thought passed through my mind that it would be better to soil that than his upholstery. It. Was. Bad.
And then, just as quickly as it arrived, and yet NOT, the train was gone and we were on our way with a stick shift lurch.
We arrived in my parking lot and I had to make it look as thought time had gotten away. Ted had barely parked when I hopped out. But he followed. I thought for sure he'd let me return to my apartment when he saw what a rush I was in. I mean, I didn't want to offend but... it was about to get offensive.
As I dashed to my door, he stayed on my heel. I thanked him quickly as I could, included a hug, and retreated to my apartment.
"Well, that's that." I thought. "At least it's over with. Ted will never ask me on another date again. ... Maybe it would have been better had my dad went."
If you haven't read Part 1 of the Ted+Kelly love story, I'd suggest you start there. See Part 1 HERE.
March found me in the middle of a busy semester and smack dab in a young relationship. Pete and I began dating in the beginning of February. We seemed to have very similar goals and views and in the start things went well, even through my week long trip to Texas for a leadership conference with other members of NAU's student government. He capitalized on my flirtatious nature and fed off it. I hadn't dated anyone exclusively in a while and it was nice to be back in the pattern of a relationship. Back to being someone's number one. Beautiful in someone's eyes. Important. Desired.
Desired. Like the time my boyfriend and I stood in my kitchen, assembling teriyaki burgers. They were round and juicy and full of flavor. I had taken the recipe I'd seen over spring break and I had aced it.
In walked Ted, stopping by to pick Karin up on his way to EDU 200.
His eyes lit up. "Where did you get those burgers? They look amazing!"
I answered, brusquely. "I made them."
He laughed it off. "No, really. Where did you get them?"
This time Pete jumped right in. Anything to stick it to Ted. "She made them. Just now. For us to eat." Us. That's right.
Ted basically walked off with Karin, drooling. What's up with this guy and his disbelief that I could make something so tasty looking, I wondered. Whatever. It didn't matter. I was happy in my relationship. Things were good.
But then it wasn't right anymore. With no real rhyme or reason, my feelings changed and I knew I was doing Pete no favors by continuing to date him though I had lost interest. He was a good guy and this change of heart was not easy for my to justify. Saturday I went to sleep knowing that I needed to talk with Pete the next day.
Besides, I had recently decided to serve a mission. I was 22 years old and I was newly fired up for the idea to lose myself in missionary service. It came to me in a wave and I felt strongly about it. I felt it was time to prepare.
I woke up Sunday with a feeling of dread. How was I going to break things off with Pete? I knew he was going to take this badly. Despite the fact that I did so irregularly, I felt to call my dad. Pete, two friends, and I had traveled to Mesa earlier in the month and my dad had met Pete. My dad, as always, cut right to the point. "What's up, sweetie, " he asked with concern.
"I feel like things have come to an end with Pete. I just don't feel the same as I used to and I know I have to break things off with him. I just can't get the guts to do it. I know it's really going to hurt him."
My dad paused and then dove into what gave me the courage I needed. "I can't believe you're calling me to tell me this. I had a dream last night. You were in a church, sitting in the back. You were crying and I went over to you and put my arm around you. I asked, 'What's wrong sweetie?' You said you broke up with Pete and you were really sad about it. I just embraced you and told you, 'Kel, he's not the one but he's coming.' "
I was flabbergasted. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing. And yet, I could. This wasn't the first time my dad had a dream about me or for me. We are both alike in that we listen to our dreams and have had dreams about the other.
I took this and I made a resolution. I was going to talk with Pete after church, reaffirm my strong desire to serve a mission, and break things off. It had to be. I knew it and I knew the Lord knew it. He obviously had given my dad this dream knowing it would buoy me up, give me the courage to immediately do what I needed to do. And it did.
Shortly after spring break the season changed. Spring technically came. So did the snow. Flagstaff, at its 7,000 feet, always has snow in the winter and spring. But the four feet that poured from the sky Friday and Saturday caused church to be cancelled Sunday.
But of course we didn't. Our apartment had been invited to another building and apartment of boys to enjoy some snow cream, if we could make it. The walk that would normally have take two minutes at most, taking us past two other apartment buildings, took us more than 15 minutes to make this day. It was craggy, powdered, and slick.
We continued to chat as layers of nervousness, frustration, and hurt feelings melted off my shoulders like the fresh packed white snow in the bowl when the milk hit it: gradual but certain, and with increasing sweetness.
NOTE: A dear friend has been documenting the early days of her love with her husband. It is beautiful and inspired me to document my early days with Ted.
This contains names (and Facebook conversations!), real names, of real people. It's honest in feeling and as factual as I can be, 7-8 years later. It is what it is, friends!
November 2005 found me, one afternoon, in Flagstaff, Arizona working on a Nonverbal Communication project with my next door neighbor, David. There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Dave called from the couch, not getting up to answer his door, in true, trusting Mormon Ghetto fashion. The apartment complex we lived in was ridden with young, single, LDS students and was occasionally endearingly referred to as the Mormon Ghetto.
Through the crack in the opening door popped a head. It was a long head with facial hair and thick rimmed, Drew Carry style glasses behind which sat uncertain blue eyes. "Does Jason still live here," asked the head.
|Ted, circa 2006|
Dave answered, "No, no one here named Jason. Jason who?"
"Tidwell," the head replied. "He lived here last summer when I was up here and I'm in town for the day so I thought I'd come by to say hey."
"We know Jason but he doesn't live here anymore," my friend replied. "I didn't catch your name. I'm David."
The attached body stepped through the door. He looked a little goofy. His classes, at least, gave him a sort of humorous, soft touch.
"I'm Ted. I'm coming up for school in January. Good to meet you."
"Kelly," I interjected with a smile, not wanting to be rude. If he was looking for Jason I assumed he was an LDS guy and I'd likely be seeing him around at institute and around, well, in general. Ted gave off a slightly awkward vibe but I instantly thought we could be friends.
We three exchanged some pleasant and brief conversation before Ted left.
That was that. Dave and I returned to our project.
I was home for a couple days, in Mesa, over winter break. I was absorbed in cable television one afternoon, taking in reruns of Gilmore Girls I had already seen and various forgotten Food Network shows.
One segment on one cooking show stood out. I had been busy with a full class load and working three jobs. For someone who normally cooked, I had been slacking a little and was trying to gather healthy recipes I could cook and then come back to for a few days. Teriyaki Turkey Burgers were coming together before my eyes. Loaded with vegetables and flavor. They looked divine.
It was a Monday night in January 2006, Family Home Evening at the institute building. As a FHE "grandma" I oversaw all the little mock families and was busy aiding all the "moms and dads," facilitating the lessons and activities of my "family." As the activities ended and the mingling commenced, I locked eyes with a boy I'd met recently at a New Year's party. His name was Pete. We met in the middle of the room.
Pete smiled his sort of pursed smile. "Hey Kelly. Good activity tonight."
I returned with a toothy grin, my normal. "Thanks!"
He fidgeted. "Hey would you like to go to the basketball game this weekend?"
Was this it? Was he asking me out on a date? I guessed so. I urged myself to stay cool, as I'd hoped he would ask me out.
"Yeah, that would be fun. My roommates were planning on going. Want to meet at my apartment?" He had been to my apartment to play games before so this would be a good jumping point.
We agreed and I immediately returned to my roommate Karin who had been watching from afar. But we barely had time to squeal, as I saw Ted heading over. The boy with the thick rimmed glasses who, since he started school here recently, had become nearly a friend during our few encounters.
He flashed a confident and suave smile. "Hey Kelly. Rockin' FHE tonight."
"Thanks, Ted." I smiled back, still reeling from the invitation I'd received a few moments ago.
"Hey," he said with a nudge, elbow to elbow. "How'd you like to get together this week and go salsa dancing? They do it on North campus. What would you say to me sweeping you off your feet for the night?"
I couldn't believe how over confident Ted sometimes spoke. His ego must have been large enough to fill the Grand Canyon. Still, he was a good guy and that sounded like fun.
"Sure. Sounds fun. Let's talk details later. Thanks, Ted!" I squeezed his arm and headed back to Karin to squeal about my upcoming date with Pete.
We sat in the rough maroon seats, low to the ground, giggling like two school girls, which, coincidentally, we were. I was too excited about my upcoming date with Pete to realize that I might have not only given Ted the brush off but also downplayed our date as I squawked loudly, apparently too loudly, with Karin.
Ted and Karin had a class together that they walked to with one another. The next day, on the way to class, Ted shared his disappointment that, moments after he asked me out, I returned to Karin to rave over my excitement to go on a date with another guy. Karin was embarrassed for me that Ted had overheard our gushing. We were nothing if not boisterous.
|Karin and me, January 2006|
"Kelly, I think you bruised Ted's gigantic ego when you were getting overly excited about your upcoming date with Pete. Ted totally heard you and he wasn't thrilled that you were gushing about someone other than him." Karin had a way of relaying Ted information that was uniquely poignant.
I felt to rectify the situation. Karin and I sat down at my work computer the next morning and wrote a Facebook message to Ted. I wrote, she offered moral support.
"I feel a little jerk-ish and I'm telling you this because it's in relation to you that I feel jerk-ish. Karin mentioned to me that it was really lame to be all "Pete, Pete, Pete" the other night at FHE. Yes, I want him to ask me on a date, but it's because I really want to get to know him better. But I also would love to go on a date with you because we would have a lot of fun. I'm glad we're friends and I hope you know that. So salsa dancing on a Wednesday night? Sounds AMAZINGLY fun! Let me know. ... I hope you don't think I'm horrible. Talk with you soon. Ü"
I felt this gave the impression that I was an equal-opportunity-dater and while Ted and I were already friends, I hope the date with Pete would further our friendship. This was of course a half truth. I hope the date with Pete would lead to another date. I hoped the date with Ted would lead to... no squished toes and maybe a delicious scoop of raspberry chocolate swirl ice cream from the Baskin Robbins across from our apartment complex.
I probably got just what I deserved. A reply via Facebook message several hours later:
"hmmm... friends are for hanging out and very safe group dates. if you want to be just friends then we're just friends. no dates."
It sort of ended there. We never did go on that date, salsa dancing. But we did dance, together, a few months later.
Today was a special day. The Gilbert, Arizona LDS temple was dedicated. Many people probably saw posts about the open house for the temple or maybe even attended it. This temple is the 4th temple in the state of Arizona but will be joined by the Phoenix temple before the end of the year and the Tucson temple in the next several years. We attended the open house and it was wonderful. Anyone who wants to visit an LDS temple can do so during this period. Then the temple is dedicated and only members of the LDS church who keep certain standards are able to attend regularly.
On our church website, a short blurb about temple dedication is given:
When the open house period is over, the temple is closed to the public, and several meetings are held to dedicate the temple to the Lord. Only faithful Church members ages 8 and older are allowed to attend the dedication meetings. In these meetings, prayers are offered, instructional addresses are given, and hymns are sung in celebration of the new temple. (See HERE.)The dedication, in three sessions, was broadcast through the state to LDS church buildings. It was a beautiful experience filled with inspirational words, music, and prayers.
One speaker spoke of his heart being turned to his deceased ancestors - the spirit of Elijah. He spoke specifically of his great-great-great grandmother. Her name was Amy (can't remember her last name - something-Porter?). He said he had been inspired to learn more of her. He said, "Little had been written of her life." He shared more than I know of most all my ancestors. But this phrase - "Little had been written of her life" - reminded me why I blog.
I don't write on this blog terribly often anymore and though I try my best to keep up to date on my children's blog, it doesn't always happen. But I do try to share some of the feelings of my heart. And I do try to share some of the beauty of my children and the wonderful life we enjoy as a family.
And that's the very reason. I don't want my children to grow old and forget it all. I'd hate for my grandchildren to say of my children or even of my husband or myself, "There was little written of her life." I want to be remembered, be found, and learned from. It's not out of vanity but out of hope.
How spectacular would it be for a great-grandchild to read about me and discover they have my same odd, impulsive sense of humor? Wouldn't it be amazing for a relative generations from now to find strength in a trial I have shared or hope in a story from my life? I want my grandchildren to read about their parents - my children - and laugh so mightily they have to catch their breath. I want them to cry with their parents as they remember the things they overcame and the hard times they passed through. There are things to be learned from all our experiences and the learning is not just for us to have, but for those around us.
I would really hate for someone, 125 years from now, to reference me or my children only to say there was little written on us. Our lives will be documented and, ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, tears and smiles, it will be beautiful.
I could really just sit here and cry.
Like, bawl my eyes out.
We got our family pictures back, from Marquette. ... Getting them back makes it seem like they were just developed. I think I"m using some 1993 language here. Anyway! - Oh how we love Marquette. She does such a good job of capturing US. Like, US-us. The real Crowders.
Picking my favorite pictures out of the dozens and dozens was a task that took a good amount of time. But I did it and I now have a folder on my computer with, oh, just SEVENTY favorites.
Ted went through the pictures today after he woke up. He went through all 71 pictures and said this was his favorite:
Seriously? I couldn't even imagine how that is possible. But, I'm not too stymied because one of my absolute favorites is this one:
And, seriously. How is a man so much more handsome 9 years after you met him, than he was the day he introduced himself in your neighbor's apartment? It seems counter-intuitive. Aren't you supposed to get older and wrinklier and weired as time goes on? Maybe my husband is peeking particularly late.
But enough about that. The tears!
Family pictures are like a shot to the gut. They make me want to cry. I see these beautiful people in my family - the little ones are bigger and the handsome one is handsomer. And I'm filled with gratitude not because they're big and handsome but because they're good and wonderful. Because I can see in their bight smiles and shining eyes their love and their beautiful personalities and purity. I see their sassiness, faith, and excitement. I love these people in my family. All of them.
But none as much as this one.
And though I know he doesn't read my sporadic blog anymore (did I mention he's also intensely busy?), I don't write this for him. Or for you, for that matter. But as a reminder to me and my someday self that, once, I thought I loved him. Because I say it all the time. I thought I loved him when we were dating (sort of, and that's an amazing story). When I married him. That first year and a half through snow cream and intimate vacations. When Gwenna was born. When Meredith was born. When he changed his career path in a moment of Heavenly inspiration. When we trudged through those two long years of nursing school. But not when I had my gallbladder out (also a great story). When he graduated and I beamed proudly. When we found out, after a year and a half of trying, we were expecting a third baby. When he supported my every need in the intensity of delivering said baby. When I saw him hold his son. When I woke up yesterday. When I texted him all through last night as I was sick. ... Some day I will look back on this and laugh at myself imaging that I had no idea what love was 7 years into our marriage. This is just one of those times I need to remember and look forward to remembering in 10 years.
But I do love him despite how my definition of love has changed over these years. That handsome, kindly man of mine.
What would you define as "living in the country"? When you can't walk over to your neighbor's to borrow an egg and make it back in time to pick up your recipe without refrigerating it? When you can't SEE your neighbors? A certain amount of acreage perhaps?
I define it as having mice in your house.
This is the first time in my life that I can remember having a mouse in my house. One of the terrible pitfalls of living in the country: everything wants IN! Spiders, flies, bees, mice, YOUR KIDS! OK, that last part, I jest. Our kids actually enjoy playing outside and most of the time I enjoy them being inside. But the rest of it is oh-so-true and I have become (nearly) fearless when it comes to pests.
And it's that parenthetical injection that is important. Nearly.
I can kill the spiders my daughters invariably find in the bath tub. I can shoo out the bees and kill the flies when necessary. But I have not enjoyed a winter with mice in my house.
It started one night when Ted was at work. I remember it was around Meredith's birthday, in November. I was trying to fall asleep but but kept hearing something in the kitchen/living room region. I decided at one point it was Meredith's mylar birthday balloon bouncing around. I shoved it in the box-heavy back room and shut the door. Finally, I'd be able to sleep.
But it didn't stop and it was freaking me out. I didn't know anything about mice but the next day I found some telltale evidence in my pantry. Nothing was eaten through or ransacked but there was black rice all along the back side of the pantry. Except that it wasn't. It was mouse poop.
I was horrified! Wasn't my house clean enough? Wasn't I putting things away? What was inviting these vermon in?
Nothing. It's just cold out here and our house seemed so inviting. Or at least warm.
I decided the best way to rid ourselves of these pests was to find the point of entry. After searching some time, I found a small hole, a small, fur-lined hole, under my sink. Gross. So gross. I taped over it with a vengeance and bleached the entire kitchen down - the first of many hateful bleachings.
I was pleased with the results. I saw very little poop in my house and heard next to no mouse sounds.
But there was still a little bith of both. In fact, one night, while Ted was home and we slumbered, I was certain something was eating all our food in the pantry, which shares a wall with our bedroom. The sound woke me up. We found out in the morning, after the nighttime investigations amounted to nothing, that a mouse had eaten its way through the way - next to the pantry, behind our computer desk, into our bedroom. I still have the hole to prove it. And the smart husband who put mouse poison next to the exit hole.
About a week after the incident, we spotted a mouse in the night. We were watching a movie when I saw something dart across the floor. I squealed to Ted that I saw the mouse. He seemed skeptical but half an hour later, after I had dozed slightly, he saw it too and went on a search. No luck.
But we did get lucky. The mouse had apparently taken the bate and this past weekend he died, just barely hidden under couch. My kids found him. I'm so grateful Gwenna and Meredith found him rather than Simon. I can't imagine what he would have done. I shudder to think!
I was shocked they didn't squeal or scream. They just come and reported their finding.
The biggest though surprise was that my city-girl sister was willing to pluck the dead animal out from under the couch and dispose of him. I was honestly going to wait for Ted to come in from his outside chose of some sort to toss him out. But my sister did it. I will not claim to be without shock.
We have been mouse-free since. No skittering noises. No black rice poop. No traces. Thank goodness!
Living in the country means you're sometimes a hotel and smorgasbord (they even eat dry wall!) for pests of varying degrees of horror. There are about 100 good things that I enjoy about living in the country and luckily they outweigh the vileness of the mice. Because living in the country apparently means mice.
I have a beef with Wednesday.
Let me explain. And let's start at the very beginning.
Sunday is not a day of rest for me. The scriptures say: DAY OF REST but it's only a rest from the normal activities of our week. And I believe that's all we're asked to do. There is still much good to be done on the Sabbath but, oh dear, as of late, it's tiring.
See, Simon doesn't like the sit still. Almost ever. He started walking at 9 months and 2 days and hasn't much stopped moving since. So that alone makes church hard. And at the start of the year, the Elders' Quorum (men's organization, meeting the last hour of our 3 hour block of church) moved to the STAGE. Like, the big, high area at the back of the gym where babies can fall. So Simon just would always be with me. And his nap time is 10:30, 11 latest. Church is at 9:00. So, about midway through Sunday School, regardless of the snacks and diversions I have for him, he's done.'
Then let's add in that Ted was recently called to the Bishopric. ... I could detail the new Sunday challenges, but suffice it to say I fly solo from 6:30 AM until about 2PM. Then he comes home to get a bite to eat, nap, help make dinner, and he goes to work. Day of rest? ... No.
I'm not looking for sympathy. I love attending church. I especially love that my girls gladly attend their classes and are mostly really well behaved during sacrament meeting. I even sort of love that I get to admire my husband a few moments of each meeting as he sits on the stand. I love and revel in the insane blessings we receive from Ted's service and my service - for the small amount of effort we put forth and the great heavenly return we see. I love church. But, it's NOT restful.
What does this have to do with Wednesday? Oh gosh, I'm so off track. And tired.
Sunday. It's wild.
Monday is no better. Monday I resign myself to let life happen to me. But it is a wild rush. Great highlights and happy moments but a rush nonetheless. And a catch-up from Sunday.
Tuesday I'm barely home. It's just THAT day in my week. I could detail it but after my Sunday want, no one wants to hear me complain in a first-world-problem sort of way.
Then Wednesday comes. I need relief. I would love to sleep in. Take a long shower. Wake up to a totally clean house. Wake up to my husband next to me in bed. "No, honey, you sleep. I'll get Gwenna ready for school." That just isn't how it goes. And there's something about the building of the craziness of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, that makes Wednesday... hard. It's my hard day. I know it sounds like Sunday is but Wednesday kind of gets crapped on. Everything that hasn't happened yet, has to happen by today. Forgot to do my kindergartner's valentines for her party Thursday? Better get it done Wednesday. Put off grocery shopping and now out of milk again? Wednesday it is. Have three slips for packages? Have to run to the post office. There are calls to be made, messages to be returned and probably people's stuff too (we ALWAYS end up with people's stuff at our house because they are generous and I'm forgetful)... whatever it is, it always gets pushed off until or schedule on Wednesday.
I totally love my weeks. I love going to Gwenna's class, the visiting I get to do with friends, the happiness Mer feels when she has preschool, playing outside on the swings with my kids, the daily cuddle time I have with Mer as she insists she must watch ONE SHOW (and I don't mind, I need a break too!), chasing Simon from one end of the house to the other, reading Gwenna's school books with her, throwing all three kids in the tub, brushing out freshly washed hair... so many regular tasks and amazing daily type things that I could not do without and am so grateful for. But oh, oh Wednesday. It is not my friend. It steals my patience, stresses me out, and makes me very grateful for 7:00 in a way no other day does. It makes me so glad for Thursday and Saturday. And maybe, just maybe, that's what Wednesday is for!
Recently I was rocking Simon to sleep. He was tired and I was putting him to bed before we had scriptures or prayer. I was thinking of - and slightly dreading - having scriptures that night. We had finished memorizing the Articles of Faith the week before and had since been reciting either our favorite Article of Faith or reciting the last one we memorized (#13, see image below) together. I wondered, what would we do for scripture study this year?
We do scripture study in the evening, before bed. The morning doesn't work for us as Ted isn't always home, having worked the night before and not returned home before Gwenna goes to school. So the evening, before Ted goes to work, works best for us.
For a while we were just reading in various books of scripture, and most recently the Book of Mormon, 4 scriptures a night. Ted and I would each read one verse and then help the girls read one verse each. It was concise and consistent but it wasn't working for us.
Sometimes it took more time to explain the context of the 4 scriptures - and the new words in sometimes lengthy verses - than it did to even read! Our children became disinterested and we often became flustered or upset trying to get through it all, even just 4 verses. Or, as an alternative, we wouldn't explain anything and then what was the point to begin with?
|Found here AND it's a free printable: http://creativewoodcrafts.blogspot.com/2011/10/free-printable.html|
So, as I sat rocking my Simey, I pondered what to do this year. We are studying the Old Testament in Sunday school this year so I thought it would be nice to somehow go along with that. But reading through the Old Testament, 4 verses at a time, would take us years. I also loved the memorization aspect of our study last year. Elder Richard G. Scott said that memorizing a scripture is like forging a new friendship (see talk HERE). You will, so long as you have that scripture in memory, be able to turn to it in times of need. It was during this time of pondering that I decided to suggest to Ted that we memorize the 25 passages of scripture from the Old Testament seminary scripture mastery.
I was instantly excited by the idea of working on scripture mastery scriptures. I know they were revamped last year and having graduated seminary in 2002, I hadn't had much occasion to delve into some of the newer selections.
We started the same night. We sat down with the girls and discussed the books of scripture and that we would be studying the scripture mastery scriptures in the Old Testament this year. We started at the beginning, luckily, with a short scripture (Moses 1:39) I look forward to using this resource (cards for the scripture mastery scriptures), something I used when I was in seminary in high school, to help explain context and meaning. Also, there is this bookmark, which I believe is updated and recent with the new selections, which can help us keep track and provide brief summaries.
The first night we introduce a new scripture we normally first all listen as Mom or Dad reads the scripture and then we all repeat it together. We then, subsequent nights, each take a turn, with help, reciting the scripture or part of it. After a time, we each have it memorized. It is a very special experience to see one of your children recite a scripture by themselves and then look at you with expectation, a look of "did I get it right??" painted all over their face. Then, there is the elation when they know they recited it correctly - the clapping by all (including the baby of course!) - and the next person's turn. It's like a mini scripture celebration once each person has it memorized. The happiness. The accomplishment. It's SO worth it!
Plus, if we desire to stick with it, we not have scripture study planned out for 4 years. When we finish the selected scriptures - and I hope we do! - we plan on reviewing the Articles of Faith again, to keep them fresh. There is always going to be something to review. I'm glad we have found a family scripture study method that works well for us and I'm grateful for the blessing we have felt as we have studied together.
Remember how I'm not a New Year resolution kind of person? I'm not. It's not my thing. But I did realize today, on New Year's Eve, I'm lacking in an area I can pretty easily fix. So why not start today and be ready tomorrow? I'm feeling pretty resolute.
Since Gwenna has been home, I'm been slacking on playing with my kids. All THREE of them play really well together. Gwenny and Mer have been happy to play with one another and Simon loves to either attempt to play with them or at least play by them with whatever they're playing with or something else entirely. He just loves his sisters. So I've taken to working on other tasks (or not... just being lazy) while they all play. And, in all honesty, even before Gwenna went on winter break I was already slacking on playing with Mer. Since we've moved into our new house, so much has needed to get done that it made it hard to drop it all and just play. At any rate, I really want to start playing more with my kids again.
The first step I'm taking towards playing with my kids more is relearning how to play. Kids are the greatest teachers when it comes to this. They're happy to teach as well especially if you don't mention wanting to learn and just, well, play!
Another thing I have done is remind myself that while I do have important things to get done in the course of my day, playing is also important. It helps my kids know I love them and they are important to me, too. It also helps us all have more fun - which, in itself is good, but also lowers my stress level.
In honoring this reminder, I created a ghetto jar of play tasks. Each is scribbled on the back of a piece of paper most likely sent by our bank, sniped and folded up. I want to pick out a task when I feel overwhelmed and find myself telling my kids "No. Sorry. No time. Maybe later. Can't. Ask Dad!" I'm sure you know the drill. They're SO simple. Bake something together. Swing on the swings together. Walk the perimeter of our entire property. Walk to the mail box (round trip is nearly a mile). Have a picnic on the play set. Do a puzzle. Draw on the chalk board. There are about 40 and I'll take them out as we accomplish them and then out them in another jar, to start over. I think it will help.
So my words for this year are Play and Return. Last years theme was Return and I loved it. I loved thinking of how to return my gratitude, return to simplicity, return home and BE home as a family. And we did really well, so I want to continue that. But once we're here, being all simple and what not, I want to PLAY!