Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tender Mercies : Costco-Style

Hello-hello! Long time, folks! I apologize for dropping off the planet. . . it just seems like life has been speeding up lately! I'm sure you know how it goes.

Yesterday was an interesting day.

It all started when Hannah decided to sleep in. Ordinarily, the angels would begin singing at such a feat, but it just so happened that we had planned on going to a nearby{ish} park with our friends that morning. Thankfully, our friends were also running a tad behind schedule so it all worked out. But, I mean, come on. What are the odds that she sleeps in on the exact day I need her to be a reliable alarm clock?

Well, they're probably the same odds as having my battery poop out in a Costco parking lot in the middle of a rather-warm-and-toasty afternoon.

{photo source}

Uh, yeah.

I had 2 gallons of milk, $20 worth of chicken and a massive chunk of Tillamook cheese in the front seat, two sweaty kids in the backseat, and a whole 'lotta other stuff weighing down the trunk.

I sent an SOS to Chuck {whom I knew was in a meeting all blessed day long} and thought to myself, "Well, isn't this swell? I guess I had better call AAA and have them tow my sorry behind home."

I tried to give them a call, but for reasons that shall be explained shortly, my phone decided that it was going to just sit there and pretend to be a phone in the middle of the call. It was about as helpful as having a brick up to my face. Once I sat there looking dumb for a minute, I decided to hang up and try again. At that exact moment, Chuck called and we exchanged some pleasantries. We remembered that I had jumper cables in the trunk and he asked if I could see anyone nearby that could give me a "jump.

I began stealth-ily scanning the parking lot.

There was a big burly man collecting carts in a reflective vest but despite his burliness, I figured he probably didn't hold a sufficient electrical charge. I kept scanning, but came up empty.

Just as I was about to give in to despair and fling myself onto the asphalt in defeat, I saw a man walking toward me who looked to be moderately helpful and handy. I flagged him down {thankfully he didn't run away screaming} and had Chuck run me through a rapid "Battery Jumping 101" class.

Long story slightly shorter, the kind man {let's call him Bob, shall we?} got his car and pulled it near mine. We needed to push my car out of the spot so that he could connect the cables, so I hopped in the driver's seat, promised him that I was in neutral and not first gear, promised him I had the E-break off, and hoped that eating that extra bowl full of cereal that morning wouldn't add noticeable weight. :)

. . .

Let's take a quick break here and ponder some things. The Lord had my back, you guys. Big time. Let us count the ways.

1) It wasn't snowing. :)

2) The chicken I bought was practically still frozen {which has never, ever happened to me in the four hundred million times I've purchased chicken from Costco} so it was able to keep the cheese and milk chilled much longer than normal.

3) Despite it being a potentially hot day crammed into the backseat of a stationary car, there was a stiff breeze that helped cool off the kiddies.

4) My battery had enough juice left to roll down the windows, thus allowing said breeze to grace said kiddies.

5) My phone decided to glitch out at just as I was calling AAA, thereby saving me unnecessary grief waiting around for a tow that I didn't need in the first place.

6) The only man I saw who exited Costco within that five minutes of scanning the parking lot also happened to do so without a cart-full of perishables. Not only that, but he just so happened to walk right past my car and was willing {and able} to help.

7) I had those battery jumper cables in my trunk and, miracle of miracles, was able to access them without unloading the entire hoard of groceries I had just crammed in there.

8) I was parked on a slight hill, so when it came time for "Bob" to push the car all by himself, we rolled back practically under our own power. . . but not so fast that I scraped into every car and plastered every unsuspecting pedestrian within a five-mile radius. That's an important thing, to be sure.

. . .

Once we had the cars in position, "Bob" started hooking up the jumper cables and I took a stab at calming Hannah. For those who don't know, she has a level 5 meltdown whenever she suspects that the car is broken. That shouldn't come as too big of a surprise as she is a car fanatic and her daddy's daughter. {Her heart truly grieves whenever the horsepower is lacking}.

Hannah refused to be consoled and continued to let the snot flow freely. Not even her now-wrinkly balloon from our morning in the park could take her mind off of the carnage playing out in front of her face, so I went to check on the progress at the other end of the car.

My car uses hydraulics to hold up its hood {which works out tolerably well under normal circumstances, but not when the wind is blowing}. Another man walked up to offer some help the exact second that the hood tried to smoosh "Bob". The man caught it, saw that matters were under control, and walked away. He was probably at the car for all of, like, 20 seconds. I've no doubt that "Bob"'s noggin considered that dude's impeccable timing a tender mercy.

Meanwhile, Curtis should have been joining in on the backseat hysterics because he was long overdue to nurse, but he chose to just hang out instead. Praise be! Tender mercy #9 right there.

Tender mercy #10 wasn't fully realized until we got home and I remembered that Hannah had asked to go potty before we left the store but I had completely forgotten. We all know that toddlers have bladders the size of, like, a bean. . . so it was amazingly awesome that she managed to hold it until we got home.

. . .

It might seem silly, but I'm really grateful for this experience. I hate when my car breaks down, yeah, but it always works out in the end. The thing I like best about situations like these is that I'm given a front row seat to the compassion of complete strangers as well as the omniscient compassion of Heavenly Father.

You might think, "Poor little Jessica. Doesn't she realize that all of those things were nothing but coincidence?" But I disagree. Coincidence is when I stub my toe before my toenail polish is dry or it rains after I curled my hair. Maybe I picked up the slew of abandoned panties on the floor and vacuumed before a friend dropped by for an unexpected visit. You could even say that it's a coincidence when I go to the store to get something and it just so happens to be on sale.

When things like this happen, however, I like to take a step back and notice all the things that could have gone wrong but didn't; the little tender mercies from a loving Father who knows me personally and cares about me indefinitely. The only thing that really stunk about this whole ordeal was that "Bob" had himself a full cup of soda when he left Costco, but the wind knocked it over as he was helping me. So, yes, little cup. Your day probably sucked. But in the grand scheme of things, it could have been much, much worse.

And so I'd like to challenge you. . . to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. Oh, wait. Just kidding. No ALS challenges here. ;)

I'd like to challenge you to look for the tender mercies in your own life. Trust me-- they're there even in the hum-drum of daily life, not just when your car breaks down or your basement floods or your dinner goes up in smoke.

Heavenly Father is aware of you and the little moments in your life. He sends those tender mercies to remind you that he cares.

Some days it might seem like "the mercy machine" is plugged and none are sent your way. I get that. I've had days like that, too. But what if we're just so wrapped up in the momentary stinkiness that we simply don't look for them? Sometimes they're really, really subtle. . . but I know they're there.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tiny Stitches

I love my purse, you guys. I showed it to you all when I first made it and it was squeaky-clean and brand new {post is found HERE} :

 photo Finished_zps27126246.png

It's roughly the size of a small country and holds about as much stuff. I deliberately made it big so that I could have it work as a diaper bag and a purse.

But the problem with that is . . . I just keep putting crap in there. If I don't periodically clean it out, it ends up being, like, 5 pounds.

You see, I have to have spare diapers and wipes for both kids, a rattle for Curtis, a book and toy car for Hannah, a doodle pad for emergency-toddler-melt-downs, two different kinds of snacks, a sippy of water/juice, a nursing cover, a pen, a pencil for the doodle pad {because a pen and a 2 year old don't mix}, my massive wallet and checkbook, wet wipes, spare panties and shorts for Hannah, a spare outfit for Curtis (he's fond of public blowouts, see}, a shopping list, my phone, hand sanitizer, lotion, contact re-wetting drops, chap stick. . . you get the idea.

That poor purse takes a beating every single time we leave the house.

One day, it decided it was under-appreciated and the stitches connecting the straps to the purse started to pop. It's hard work being a massive Mary Poppins purse, after all.

I took a look at the busted stitching and thought to myself, "Whoa! Wait a minute. These stitches are so small! I put a boat-load of stuff in this purse and lug it around everywhere. How can they hold that much weight all the time? It's a miracle my straps don't break every time I pick up the bag. . . "

But then I remembered. Tiny things can be strong when they work together {all the straps needed was a little reinforcing}.

I mean, imagine a big 'ol chunk of rope.

{photo source}
If you've ever taken the time to look closely, you know that rope {and yarn and all sorts of cool stuff} is actually made by winding a whole bunch of itty-bitty threads together. If you took one of those threads and asked it to hold up a tire swing, it wouldn't go over so well. In fact, it would probably file a restraining order. But if that single strand was able to call on its buddies to help out, it wouldn't be a problem. It could hold up a tire swing all day long.

A thread then becomes a rope.

Fragile things can be strong if they stick together.

. . .

I often feel like a tiny piece of thread muddling its way through life hefting tire swings, and the only way I haven't snapped is that YOU {yes, you} make me a rope.

My support system is epic and you're a part of that. Really and truly. Whenever I feel lonely, I have a friend that cheers me up. Whenever I have a question, I have a sibling that can answer it. Whenever I need help, I have an awesome mom that would do anything for me. Whenever I need a hug, I have a stellar husband that gives them to me for free! ;)

You all take turns giving me exactly what I need and I couldn't make it without you. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

And then there's my ward peeps. We can't forget them! They are like my big extended family and they've taught me so much about true selfless service and compassion. We moved into the area and they welcomed us with open arms. I had Curtis and they brought over so many amazing meals and offered me endless support. They make me a rope, too.

So this post is for you. Pat yourself on the back and take it from me -- you're doing a great job. Thank you for being so darn cool. And thank you for reading my oftentimes crazy blog posts. And just remember, when you feel like a thin thread hoisting a ton of bricks or a tiny stitch struggling to hold together a massive purse, you're not alone. Reach out to those around you and take comfort from their strength.

The end.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hannah's Memoir: 2 1/2-ish years

Guys! Long time no see, eh?

In the six months since my last update {found HERE}, I have been up to my eyeballs in fun and excitement. And trouble, but hey. That's all up to interpretation, MOM.

. . .

First on the list of awesome-ness?

 photo PantieAlert-JPG_zps3336fead.jpg

Yup! I've done it! I've mastered the potty! It took some doing, but once I decided that panties were cool and diapers were overrated, I was sold on the idea. You probably remember my prior potty experience that Mom posted about HERE. . . it was a no-go, folks. It was a long time before I agreed to sit on the potty again, and that was only after Mom bought me a new one.

We got home from the store with the new potty and went to put it in the bathroom. I wasted no time handing over that dang frog potty with a fervent, "No more" thrown in to eliminate any possible misunderstanding.

Once Mom told me that I got a candy every time I went pee-pee, I tinkled the smallest amount any human is capable of and thus got a jelly bean. I repeated that process at least 30 times in order to eat every single piece of candy in the jar. I may be many things, but a fool ain't one. Unfortunately, neither is my Mother, so the next day she only put 10 jelly beans in the jar.


If you're one of my fellow toddler-friends considering the concept of ditching your diapers, do it. You get to traipse around in completely awesome panties during the day and wear super cool fluffy panties when you go to bed at night! It's pretty swell. So take a look at the horror on your mom or dad's face as they change your next poopy diaper and take the plunge. Every one will thank you. :)

. . .

I'm still working on my future as a model. What d'ya think?

 photo ThisChild_zps6d10145d.png

Let's not fool ourselves-- that's raw potential right there.

. . .

Back on Mother's Day, I felt really special when a member of another ward's bishopric gave Mom AND me and rose after choir practice. It made me super excited to be a mom one day because not only will I get a stellar gift in church on Mother's Day, but it's the best job in the whole world. I happen to know that's a fact because my Mom is my hero and I don't know what I'd do without her!

 photo MothersDay_zps08a3bd54.png

. . .

I went to a park with my friends and became a wild horse rider in the course of about 30 seconds. I tamed that bad boy, don't you worry.

 photo CowboyCollage_zps5686e0ad.png

He didn't stand a chance.

. . .

In case you're wondering if I'm still OCD and channeling my inner-creative genius, let me put your mind to rest.

 photo FutureQuilter_zpsec6d207b.png

 photo TheLine-Up_zps521eb769.png

But let the record show that sometimes that "genius" gets me into a pickle. . . like when I should be napping but I'm far too busy doing this to my room :

 photo Naptime_zps31b5eb96.png

. . .

I am 110% obsessed with "Justin Time" on Netflix. It's bad, you guys. I can sing and dance along with the theme song because I've watched the entire series 4 times.

Yup. I love it.

. . .

I think the vacuum is actually called "Watch Out!" because, well, that's what I hear when Mom gets it out. It may have something to do with the fact that I love to push my baby's stroller in the way and stand around on un-vacuumed carpet like a bump on a log.

Who knows.

. . .

I still love a good pair of shoes :

 photo SunMornStreaking-EDITED_zpsbb761171.png

 photo DadsShoes_zpsfb3491a3.png

. . . and making new friends :

 photo NeighborhoodPals_zps3f4e44dd.png

. . .

I love when Mom gets out the sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the front yard. . . and I've even been known to enjoy a run through the sprinklers from time to time. If I could walk around the block all day long, I totally would. Actually, I think I would prefer swinging at the park all day long instead, but it's close. Maybe I could just do both. :)

I think it's safe to assume I loooove summer and all that goes with it, like GRASS :

 photo GrassLovin_zps0790f603.png

 and ICE CREAM :

 photo IceCreamBuds_zps257db25a.png
{My buddy and me}

 photo IceCreamMess_zpscf97fefd.png

I just don't love a summer breeze combined with wet clothes. . .

 photo Whoops_zps37623a5d.png

. . .

Well, I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting to tell you. There's always more. But, alas, duty calls. I must go turn off Curtis' swing, steal his blanket, kiss his head, and then go climb in his crib like a monkey. Or maybe I'll go dump my blocks all over the living room floor and then leave them there. Or perhaps I'll go for a walk around the neighborhood and yell "Hiiiiii! Hello!" to everyone I see until they either say "Hi" back or run away.

Who knows? The day is young.


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