Tag Archives: Ben

Chasing Snow

“Hey, the doppler says it’s supposed to be snowing right now,” Ben informed me as he stood on our porch watching the rain.

“Hmmm…,” I replied.

“I bet it’s snowing in the canyon,” he said.

I nodded, too consumed in my book to notice the sadness in his voice.

A few minutes later, he was outside again, looking longingly at the sky. “Why isn’t it snowing?” he rhetorically demanded.

I looked up, saw the earnest manner of my husband, and suggested something completely unlike me. “Why don’t we take a drive to the canyon to find the snow?”

He looked at me, dumbfounded, “But the kids are asleep. You want to wake them up to take a drive? Not that I’m arguing, but that’s not something you would usually be okay with.”

“I know,” I replied, “but I think it would be okay this time.”

We hurriedly pulled the kids out of their beds, bundled them up, and strapped them into the car.

And away we went, chasing the snow.

*****

I am rarely touched by songs these days, mostly because our current soundtrack is limited to The Wiggles and The Jimmies, but in searching for an artist, I stumbled upon this beautiful song.  It reminded me of the above experience and brought tears to my eyes.

Tonight, I dedicate this song to Ben: my best friend, lover, and husband. Babe, I’d chase the snow with you any day.

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It Takes Two

I have a wonderful marriage.  But, there are moments when it isn’t so wonderful. Like when we are caught up in adversity and can’t remember why exactly we wanted to do this whole kid and school and living poor business.

During those not-so-wonderful moments,  we discover what really keeps our marriage together.  Commitment.  (And love.  Lots of love.) We honor those sacred covenants that we made in the temple on our wedding day.    Well, it’s more than honor, we believe in those covenants.  We believe that if we are completely faithful to each other, we can break the bonds of death and find Eternity.

Life is hard.  Everyone can agree on that.  In our lives right now, Ben is working two jobs, 70 hours a week, 7 days straight.  He doesn’t have any breaks.  And I don’t have any breaks.  Last night, when picking Ben up from work, I was extremely frazzled.   Ben asked about my state and I told him that I was tired from solo parenting for the past 3 days.  Because that’s what happens when he works both jobs, as he is gone from 7 am until 11 pm.

Yet, we are making it work.  Even when I am so tired and Ben is so tired and the kids are cranky and we have bills piling up and our car breaks down and, oh you get the idea, we have learned to lean on each other for support.  As I mentioned, our interactions aren’t always pleasant.  Thankfully, we believe in repentance and forgiveness. We’ve learned to let little things go and focus on the important things: How blessed we are to even have jobs, to have our beautiful children, and to have each other.

Sometimes I question the Big Plan.  Is it really necessary for Ben to be working so much when we will be entering medical school next year?  I mean, come on! I want a break!

I realize, though, that these trials are teaching us so much more than we think–and I won’t always learn everything while in the middle of them.  It is my responsibility to stay faithful, and to keep my commitments.

We can and will make it through these difficult times.

Hey, with this guy on my side, I can do anything.

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Of Princesses and Puppy Dogs

After I came out about our family’s lack of holiday spirit (every holiday, mind you), I felt greatly relieved.  So much so that I actually celebrated Halloween with the kids.  Please don’t die of shock.

Ben worked all weekend, so I decided to take the kids to our church’s trunk or treat and chile cook off.

It. Was. Hard.  After arriving, I kept asking myself why in the world I even went.  I did have a good reason.  Truly.  I cannot use the excuse of Ben’s absence to abstain from out-of-the-home activities.  So, I will go when I can and do my best to make it fun for the kids.  I don’t know how to describe the event in greater detail without sounding too negative, but I will say that I am proud of myself for staying through the dinner and not breaking down.  I waited until after we left to cry.  Go me!

Ben worked Halloween day, so we were able to take the kids trick-or-treating to a few houses that night.  It was worth trucking through our cold and deserted neighborhood to hear Emily say, “trick or treat!”

I guess I could share photos with all of you.  (In case you are wondering, Ben nor I dressed up.  That would have been too much effort.)   I am so very proud of myself for  getting the kids in their costumes two days in a row.

Andrew kept his costume on long enough for me to take this picture, and then he acted like a one-year old by ripping it off and throwing it at me.  Silly boy.

Emily loved being a “pincess.”  Since she has never seen a Disney movie, I don’t think she has any idea what that means, but she did enjoy the dress, the tiara, and the wand thingy.

I like this new freedom I feel from the holidays.  It makes them kind of fun!

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My Husband, the Superhero

I’m not really in the blogging mood right now.  I’m too busy feeling bad for myself.  So, instead of focusing on me, I’m going to talk about the most awesome person I know: my husband.

A couple weeks ago, Ben informed me that our finances were hurting.  Not in a oh-my-gosh-we-can’t-pay-our-rent-this-month- kind of hurt, but very very close.  To keep our wallets insulated, my husband picked up a second job.  He will now be working 70+ hours a week from here until Eternity (that’s how it feels, anyway).  When I suggested that I find something part-time or full-time he firmly told me no.  My health was a major factor in his reasoning, as was my desire to stay-at-home with the kids.  In his words, “I want to let you be a mom.”  I think I fell in love with him all over again.

This guy is amazing.  He will be returning from his last medical school interview later this evening only to be at church early tomorrow morning and back to work for 32 straight hours soon thereafter.  All because he knows we need the money and, in his mind, that is his responsibility.

If you aren’t yet convinced, I can bet that tonight he will ly get up with the kids in order to give me a break.  Of course, I am crossing my fingers that Andrew’s new pattern (as in, since his daddy left town) of getting up every few hours will be broken tonight.  And, he will offer to massage my shoulders, listen to my weepy feel-sorry-for-myself stories, and even comfort me.

How did I snag this guy?

On a much brighter note, he has been accepted to all the medical schools he interviewed at.  I am so proud of him.  We now have the luxury of choosing between a few schools rather than going to a school because it was the only one he got into.  (That sounds very haughty.  It isn’t intended to be like that.)  Naturally, we will let the Spirit guide us as we make the final choice.

Clearly, Ben is the better half.

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Moving Forward

A Little Memorial

We held the memorial service in our living room–a fitting place since most the events happened there–with us, the kids, and my mother-in-law.  It was an emotional and peaceful service.  Short and sweet.

All About Science

Every person handles loss differently.  For me, I use my knowledge of science and reproduction to obsessively deduce what has happened.

Because of the severity of the miscarriage–the intense contractions, bleeding, and clotting–it would seem that I was about 8 weeks along.  Unfortunately, the hCG levels  remained at a 4-week level. Slowly increasing.  Very slowly.  This left the embryo in a very inhospitable environment, especially since the amniotic sac was already having trouble connecting to the endometrium.

My body rejected the growing baby.

Moving Forward

During the memorial service,  a little voice whispered, It’s okay.  Your baby is safe with me.  Keep moving forward.

Moving forward doesn’t mean forget, it means continue to live.  I have much living to do with my sweet husband and beautiful children.  And with myself.

I have kept myself secluded inside my house.  Afraid to be outside,  unsure of how I would react to questions and condolences.

I feel myself ready to take baby-steps.  Taking short walks around the neighborhood.  Cooking meals.  Talking with neighbors, friends, and family.   Big gatherings, like church, are still too much.  Too painful.  But I’m emerging.

On Life

Many friends have brought over flowers.  They bring much comfort.  Their vivacious beauty reminds me how to live: It’s more than smelling the flowers, it’s nurturing them.

On returning home from our short getaway,  I ran up the stairs, into my babys’ rooms (they were sleeping) and scooped them into my arms.  I smelled their delicious scent and smothered their smooth faces with kisses.  Lots and lots of kisses.

Healing

I’m not as brittle as I was a few days ago.  I feel strong.  Powered by my husband’s love, my children’s affection,  and the Plan of Salvation, I know I can heal.  The pain will remain nestled within my heart,  nudging me every now and then (like all day today),  but I feel its rawness dissipating.

I am coming back,  armed with a new perspective and knowledge from my experience.

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Gottman, Conflict Styles, And Why I am Not Worried About My Marriage Revisited

While Ben and I are renewing our love for each other,  I am re-posting a few posts.  This was originally posted at Mormon Mommy Blogs and a post I really loved writing.  Enjoy!

Before I went to school, I was sure I could point out which marriages would succeed or fail. I would casually observe the marriages around me and secretly guess how long each couple would last. Not a very positive game, but I was surrounded by divorce and keen on avoiding it in my own marriage. After I married, these observations turned into an obsession. I was sure that marriages in which the couples argued a lot were doomed, but those that avoided conflict were even worse off. Surely the best marriages were ones in which arguing was rare but problems were not ignored. An even balance.

When my sister married, I watched her interactions between she and her husband closely. They seemed intent on avoiding any conflict. Rather than argue, they would shrug their shoulders and insist that time would solve their problems. They preferred to emphasize their similarities rather than discuss differences. I gave them a few years. At most.

A friend of mine, on the other hand, had the dream marriage. She and her husband would ignore the little things that bothered them and calmly discuss those issues that needed discussing. In these discussions, each partner would validate the speaker’s point, showing understanding of how he or she might feel. That was how I wanted my marriage to be.

That was not how it happened. My husband and I are passionate. We argue frequently. We are not afraid to share our individual viewpoints and will often alternate between heated discussions and ridiculous laughter. We do not avoid conflict; rather, we choose to meet each difference head on. In my eyes, we were going nowhere fast.

That was until I took a marriage class a few months after our marriage. The professor introduced different conflict styles in marriage which patterned those above: avoidant, my sister’s marriage; validating, my friend’s marriage; and volatile, my marriage. He asked us which marriage we thought would most likely succeed. The majority of the class answered validating. To our surprise, he informed us that, actually, all three marriages were found to be equally successful.

As it turns out, John Gottman (1), a renowned marriage scholar, has extensively researched conflict styles in marriage. His findings have indicated that marriage conflict style does not predict marriage stability as much as the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions. Whether you have a high volume of negatives and positives (volatile), a medium volume of these (validating), or a low amount (avoidant) did not matter; it was whether the positives outweighed the negative, with a ratio of 5 (positives) to 1 (negatives) as the most successful average.

Since that class, and many others, I have stopped obsessing over whether a marriage will succeed or fail. Instead, I have noted the positives in each marriage and prayed for their success. I also realized that my marriage actually has the potential to reach Eternity. I guess our intense arguments riddled with silly banter is a good thing after all.

How about you? What is your conflict style?

1. For more information you can read John Gottman’s article, “The Roles of Conflict Engagement, Escalation, and Avoidance in Marital Interaction : A Longitudinal View of Five Types of Couples,” in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

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