Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thoughts that really aren't about pants.

Most of you probably know by now that I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or in other words, I'm a Mormon. Up front, I'd like to say that this post is veering away from the tone of most of my posts and is going to be overtly religious in nature. If that's not your cup of tea, that's okay. You can read it or skip it as you wish.

I wore a skirt to church today, for a variety of personal reasons, including but not limited to the fact that for me, my Sunday best is a dress; I don’t have any suitable dress pants at the moment; and I was teaching the lesson in Relief Society and didn’t want my wardrobe choices potentially distracting people from what I was trying to say. Because this has been a weird week, and part of that weirdness was the reason why I was teaching the lesson, and the reason I was teaching that lesson was because there was something important the Spirit was pushing and prompting and strongly encouraging me to say. 

A bit of background: On Wednesday evening, the sister in charge of lessons called to let me know that we would be combining with the other Relief Society (yes, there are two in our ward) for the next few weeks because of people being out of town, and they’d worked out that the other teacher would teach this week. I had actually been looking forward to this lesson (George Albert Smith Lesson #21: The Power of Kindness which is a great lesson; I highly encourage you to read it if you haven't already), so I was a bit disappointed, but also a bit relieved because my husband was going to be substituting in Sunday School so that meant only one of us had to work on a lesson. 

However, by Thursday afternoon that feeling of disappointment had changed from a small nudge to the full on, whapped-with-a-bat, pit-of-stomach feeling that you get right when you know you need to stand up and bear your testimony but have no idea what you’re going to say. So I emailed the sister and told her that I was feeling like I should ask if maybe I could still teach this week. By the time I got her reply later that evening saying yes that would be fine, I was hoping she’d say no because I’d figured out what I was supposed to be saying and was kind of terrified to say it. 

But after a whole lot of prayer and study and pondering, I got up in Relief Society today and, shaking like a leaf, gave most of the lesson I had prepared before Wednesday night. However, the ending had changed. Here, because I’m feeling that push again, is the portion of the lesson that I prepared after Thursday afternoon, after I had prayed mightily and long. 

* * *

Many of you may have heard, in the last couple of weeks, about an event called “Wear Pants to Church Day.” It was started by a group of Mormon women who, for various reasons, felt hurt or marginalized by what they felt was inequality in the church between men and women in non-Priesthood related roles and situations. They proposed wearing pants to church in order to show support for each other and possibly bring a bit of awareness to the issue that so many were feeling left out and alone. 

Now, for various personal reasons, I do not consider myself to be a feminist. However, I have several good friends who identify as both Mormon and feminist, so I have heard some of their feelings on this subject before, and have some understanding of their perspective. Therefore it was with some degree of interest that I started following news of this event. 

As word of this event spread, even being picked up by several news outlets, the emotional response it triggered was staggering. Although some people respectfully responded with why they would not be participating (whether or not they agreed with the feelings of the originators), the vast majority of the comments were negative. They ranged from “I think this is a silly thing to protest,” or “This is ridiculous” to “Obviously you just don’t understand the Gospel and need to examine your testimony.” Most of the comments were so full of anger and vitriol that I don’t want to repeat them, and over and over variations of this idea were repeated: “If you’re so unhappy, you should just leave the Church and go someplace else.” And many times I also saw people who were not members of the Church say that because of the mean and hurtful and almost violent reactions that members of the Church were having against those who were interested in this event, these non-members would never investigate the Church. 

The whole situation left me deeply saddened, and as I pondered the whole thing I thought to myself that I was glad that I didn’t feel the internal conflict these originators felt, and grateful that I had never felt unequal or marginalized in the Church. Except then a voice whispered in my ear, “But you have felt unequal or marginalized before.” 

Not in regards to men-versus-women; I have had a strong personal witness of the importance and divinity of women as being equal to men, even though our earthly callings and burdens are different. But I have experienced the sting and the grief of feeling marginalized and left on the fringes of the church. 

It took my husband and I six and a half years to have our son, during which time I also had two miscarriages. There was a period of a few years when I would go to church and feel the Spirit in Sacrament meeting and in Sunday School, but by the time I got out of Relief Society I was in a deep depression. Every single lesson seemed to be about how amazing and wonderful and awesome it was to be a mom and have children and teach children and everyone had children or was pregnant except me. I started to feel as though I couldn’t fully participate in Church because I wasn’t a mother and therefore somehow wasn’t good enough. I remember one Sunday I came home and sobbed into my husband's shoulder that if I was supposed to keep going to church I needed a calling in Primary where I wouldn’t have to hear or give lessons on how great it was to have kids. The Lord hears prayers because two days later I was given a calling in Primary. 

I did eventually receive my witness of my individual worth and divinity apart from the role of motherhood, and later I was also blessed with my son. But before all that happened, it was a very dark time in my life, and I struggled mightily, not necessarily with my belief in the Gospel, but with my desire to participate in Church. However, I do remember specific instances where a seemingly random act of kindness saved my sanity and lifted my heart. I can’t list every person who acted as an angel in my life, but these sisters and many others offered kindness to me without even thinking about it, whether they knew of my trials or not, and gave me strength to keep going. 

I thought of these experiences and wondered if I could have stayed in the church, even believing as strongly in the doctrines of the Gospel as I do, if the general attitude towards infertility were as violently cruel as it had been to these women who felt left out, marginalized and on the fringes of the Church. What if our response to people who are single was to challenge their righteousness or their testimony? What if we told people who struggled with certain aspects of the Gospel, like the Word of Wisdom, fasting, or faith—or even something as simple as being called to teach Nursery—that if they were unhappy or struggling they should just leave the Church? 

Christ in His infinite love and kindness invited ALL to come unto Him. He forgave the woman taken in adultery, He taught the sinners and publicans, and He performed miracles for believers and non-believers alike. He has commanded us to be one, and if we are not one, he says, “ye are not mine.” (see D&C 38:27)

I believe that in order to be one, we need to be kind. We need to be aware of those who are struggling or who feel marginalized for whatever the reason may be. When we find that people are struggling, we should not react in such a way that makes them fear to speak up or ask questions or get support. We should not minimize or dismiss their struggles, but try to understand and help them. 

In Mark chapter nine, a father brings his son to Jesus to be healed of an evil spirit. Jesus said to him, “'If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.'” 

Christ knows that we all struggle with unbelief in the midst of our strong belief. As he healed the child of the man who struggled, He offers healing to all of us for our weaknesses and infirmities. However, He often enlists us to be his hands in helping to heal others. 

Struggles, doubts, or “unbelief” can take many forms: being single or infertile in what often seems to be a Church of large families; having trouble with the Word of Wisdom in what seems like a Church full of non-smokers who have never so much as looked at any drink stronger than Sprite; feeling like one’s nickname should be “O thou of little faith” in what feels like a Church full of people who can walk on water; or, perhaps, feeling like a second-class female citizen in what seems like a Church full of men. Not everyone feels these same struggles or moments of unbelief, and I would venture to say that many of these struggles, if not all, are based on a limited and incomplete perspective. But just because we don’t feel a particular brand of unbelief doesn’t mean that we should belittle or tear down those who do. We should treat them all with kindness, and not be so quick to point out the mote in the eyes of others; we should lovingly entreat them to stay with open arms rather than encouraging them to leave. 

It is my prayer that we will be able to be more mindful of those who are struggling so that we may reach out hands of love and kindness in the name of Christ, that we may communicate more openly with each other, that we may become one as we come to Christ and say together, “Lord, we believe; help thou our unbelief.”

Monday, November 05, 2012

Thoughts on Remembering; or, A Highly Scientific Study

Remember, remember
the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot . . . 

So I have to confess that I've never seen V for Vendetta. A few years back when I first got on Facebook (I was a late-ish adopter) I was surprised but nerdily pleased to see the number of Guy Fawkes references bandied about on November 5th. (You may have noticed by now that I'm American. I assume that these references are more plentiful among the Brits.)

I didn't realize that there had been a huge movie in which Guy Fawkes (or at least the mask version of him) and his associated rhyme featured prominently. I just thought a whole bunch of other people were book nerds and liked Agatha Christie

I mean, sure, I'd heard of the movie; I just had no idea what it was about except for Natalie Portman shaving her head.

I don't think I figured out the V for Vendetta/Guy Fawkes link until the next year when Guy Fawkes day rolled around, everyone started quoting rhymes, and a few people started complaining about people not knowing anything about history and just quoting dumb movies, blah blah blah. (The fact that people were throwing sheep at Guy Fawkes, or sheep dressed like Guy Fawkes, or foxes dressed like sheep, or whatever, clearly showed that Facebook also endorsed the Guy Fawkes thing, which made the likelihood of the book geek scenario shrink, collapse, and dwindle down into a bedpost nothing.)

It was slightly deflating to realize that, far from being a co-conspirator in geeky book type lore, I actually was simultaneously 1) not a member of the Kool Kids Klub and 2) being despised for appearing to belong to the Kool Kids Klub by members of the We Actually Know How To Spell Cool But We Are Soooooo Over It Kids Club. And nobody but me seemed to know or care that I knew the Guy Fawkes rhyme like twelve years before it was a cool/lame movie. 

Ah, the trials of being a book geek. 

All of which is to say, I have apparently discovered the limits of the popular memory. The populace at large only remembers things for six-and-a-bit-years. I can say this with some certainty after conducting a highly scientific test (i.e., looking at my Facebook feed and realizing that only one person mentioned anything about Guy Fawkes and then figuring out that the movie came out seven years ago). 

Obviously, V for Vendetta has now been forgotten; it has become lost, as my old Welsh professor would have said, in the mists of antiquity. 

That, you know, or people were too busy throwing tantrums having political discussions in preparation for tomorrow's election to bother with silly pop culture references. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pretty much awesome.

So today is a bit of a cop-out post (see earlier post about Little Guy's Cold of the Millenium; I'm getting the residual effects today), but this is amazing. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Anticipatory ache.

Note: This has been sitting in the draft folder for several months, as you'll see from tomorrow's post, but I decided I liked it enough not to give it up. So here it is.

I open my front door to take out the trash and 90ºF+52% humidity hits me like a hot water bottle to the face. I close my eyes and try not to gasp at the shock of it because I don't want that sticky warm air going into my lungs, and all of a sudden I'm no longer standing on my front porch in Tampa on a May afternoon.

It was one of those nights during reading days/finals week where you've gone past a late night and into a really early morning without realizing it, and I'd hit a wall in whatever project I was working on, so I decided to empty the nearly-overflowing trash (one of the many small household tasks that fell horribly by the wayside during finals weeks). It was mumble o'clock in the morning of a cold December, but the stupid cat (as opposed to the smart one, who was curled up in a pile of quilts) heard the call of the wild and bolted out the door as soon as I cracked it open to come back in from the dumpster.

There was a sheet of ice all over the road, since the guy the HOA was paying to plow the private roads of our little neighborhood had gone out of town a few days before, of course neglecting to designate a substitute, which departure heralded the first big snowstorm of the year. Not having been properly removed by a plow, the snow had frozen under the various tire tracks and footprints, making a treacherous path, especially if one was trying to move quickly to overtake a stupid cat who was trotting down one's small road towards the larger cross street at the end of the block.

And halfway down the road I looked up from muttering under my breath about selling certain felines to wandering groups of gypsies and saw the moon. It was large-ish, though not full, and unobscured by clouds. The moonlit air was crisp and sharp, making shadows in the hollows of the ice. There was no other sign of life on the street than myself and the soft movements of a black-and-white cat no smarter than your average brick, and my breath caught in my throat as lines sang through my head:

The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.  
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep. . . .*

I paused to take in the sheer otherworldly loveliness of the moment, the cold air searing my lungs and throat till I almost couldn't breathe from the ache and the awe. The stupid cat had also paused, not willing to be too far separated from his pack leader, and had looked back at me just as I returned my gaze to him. We stared at each other for a long moment, and then he turned back and continued to lope down the ice-covered street, leaving me to stumble behind in a chorus of small ice crackles. I did catch up with him at last in the middle of the cross-street—luckily no cars were near—and carried him back to the house, shutting the door firmly behind us to keep wayward cats indoors.

The slam of the door in my memory shakes me back to myself. I step back inside and lean against the wall, willing the ghost of that cold air to come and cleanse my lungs from the humidity, and try not to think about this most recently realized implication of our cross-country move.

I push it out of my mind until late that night, so late that it's nearly early morning. My husband is gently snoring next to me and my mind is insistently focused on my phone. Finally I give in and pull up the Wikipedia article on Tampa's climate.

Average winter temperature: 70's in the day, 50's at night.
Lowest ever recorded temperature: 18°F; December 13, 1962.
Only known blizzard: The Great Blizzard of 1899.

I know my husband, if he were looking at this, would start singing the Hallelujah chorus; after all, he's the one who always started a Florida job search on the first day of snow every year while we were in Utah (he refers to it as "the enemy from above"). But to my Utah-born-and-bred heart, this is a sickening blow.

My son will not know snow. The weather here will rarely even hit freezing, let alone go through any type of snow weather. I will never again have to chase a stupid cat down a street slick with ice at ungodly hours of the morning.

It's only May and I feel the anticipatory ache of missing winter start deep within my bones. I have months to look forward to the fact that I will not get a chance to sit looking out the window at falling snow with a mug of hot chocolate in my hands.

Into my mind flashes Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight." Not the words exactly, but the impression of it. Frost creeping along the ground, firelight, a sleeping child. My throat tightens as I think of my son's lost frosts, and I pull up the full text on my phone.

I'd forgotten that after the first stanza, this isn't a poem about winter so much as about letting your child grow up to love nature and run free in the sunlight and love the world.

My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores . . .**

I think of what my husband says, that Florida is, more than anything else, so very ALIVE. The size of the spiders alone attests to that fact, but more than that it's hard to escape the life that abounds everywhere. Plants, trees, lizards, bugs, crazy birds I've only ever seen in aviaries. And I do want my son to experience amazing things.

But even amid the comforting thought that all is not lost; that even having given up the snow I have gained other good things for my son, I still sigh at the final stanza:

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

And I lie in my bed in our apartment in Tampa, at dark-thirty of the morning, listening to the whir of the fan that we need to constantly run in order to keep ourselves cool even in the middle of a May night, and mourn in anticipation of our first missed snowfall, with miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Star in the making.

That move, at 1:15, is exactly what the Little Guy does whenever you try to put him in his carseat, or his booster chair, or your lap, or anywhere else that might threaten to confine Mr. You Can't Contain Me.

In 16 years maybe he'll be saying hi to Nigel for me. But for now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go purchase some duct tape. We'll see who can't be contained now.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hey there.

I promise I still exist.

What's more, I even still have random thoughts that I'd like to continue sharing with y'all. (Assuming anyone still checks this blog. Because six months is a long time with no posts.)

(Actually, six months is just a long time in general and boy howdy, have the past six been a doozy for me and Shallow Man and the Little Guy.)

(And I'd love to start telling y'all about them instead of continuing on in parentheticals, and I fully intended to do so but the Little Guy has pulled out one of his truly amazing apocalyptic colds, to which the Cold of the Century seems a mere trifle, which in practical terms means a whole lotta facial tissue—some name-brand, some not—and something like ten total hours of sleep for me in the past two days, no more than two and a half of which were consecutive.)


So I'm going to skip on the real stories for now and satisfy myself with reassuring you all, once again, that yes, I still exist.

Tune in later for exciting stories! Or, you know, random nonsense. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pop quiz; or, why I haven't posted for a while.

Time for a pop quiz!

Which of these situations contains actual irony?

1. Rain on your wedding day.

2. A traffic jam when you're already late.

3. You grow up in Utah and love it there. Love the dryness, love the seasons, even love the snow as long as you don't have to shovel it or drive in it too much. You marry a guy who grew up in Florida. He complains about the lack of humidity in Utah and any hint of a snowflake (what he terms "the enemy from above") causes him to frantically scour the Internet for job openings in Florida. This goes on for seven consecutive winters, you watching him search for jobs that are in close proximity to palm trees while you're curled up on the couch with a blanket, a good book and some hot chocolate as the snow falls gently outside. Every winter, you worry a little bit about what would happen if he actually found a good job in Florida, because, as previously stated, you love it in Utah. And then the eighth winter comes along and . . . it's like winter forgot to arrive. Christmas is brown and green and dry. You get a little bit of slushy flakes in January but no real snow until late February/early March. For the first time, your husband isn't constantly searching for jobs in Florida, because the snow isn't driving him to extremes. And then, out of the blue, a sister company for the company he works for says, "Hey, we have an opening for a job in Tampa. Do you want it?"

4. You live in Utah where it usually snows all the time. You have a toddler who likes to play outside. You'd rather keep the toddler and the snow from having too much direct contact so you start shopping for snowpants (he's already got a coat and mittens and a hat in the shape of a penguin). You find the exact kind you want—cheap, durable, not pink or purple—and the store is ALWAYS out of his size. You wait and keep checking because it hasn't snowed much yet this winter so it's not urgent that you have these snowpants right now and by waiting you can avoid having to pay shipping by ordering through the store's website because paying for shipping just kind of seems immoral to you now that you've got Amazon prime (and why doesn't Amazon make it easier to find size 18m snowpants in non-girly styles, anyway?) but finally there's a forecast for a big storm and you really want your little guy to be able to build a snowman so you just bite the bullet and order the boots and the snowpants and pay the shipping and then they arrive and the snow sort of comes and you build a snowman with your waterproof toddler once. The snow all melts the next day and within a week and a half your husband calls you and says that a sister company for the company he works for has just told him out of the blue, "Hey, we have an opening for a job in Tampa. Do you want it?" It snows a couple more times in the next few weeks but the snowpants don't see any more use either because you're frantically packing for a cross-country move or your toddler is sick or both.

5. A sister company for the company your husband works for tells him out of the blue that they have an opening in Tampa and asks if he'd like the job. You say yes and start planning for a quick but organized cross-country move. Then your toddler gets a major ear infection, contracts the stomach flu, and gives that flu to you and your husband. Your family spends the better part of a week and a half recovering. Then your husband is flown out to work in Tampa early, leaving you alone with a toddler and a house to pack. Your babysitters get a nasty bout of illness. Your son gets RSV and ends up in the hospital overnight so they can observe his difficulty breathing. Husband comes home the night after toddler is discharged from hospital. All semblance of organization in packing and moving goes irrevocably down the drain; the only overarching theme of this cross-country move is "If it can go wrong, it will." We should just call it Murphy's Move to save time. The day you start packing the moving van, you get the worst cold of your life (because, let's face it, it's probably actually your son's RSV) complete with nasty cough (like unto one which hacks up a lung) which hangs on and hangs on and hasn't left yet.

6. You somehow manage to get to Tampa with your husband, your toddler, two cats, and the bare essentials which you took on the plane with you to tide you over until your furniture and other stuff arrives hopefully on Tuesday. Immediately your air mattress springs a leak.

7. You have a palm tree growing outside your bedroom window and a tiny lizard lives on your deck. Your toddler loves the new apartment and even though you have uprooted your entire life, have no idea where anything is in this town, have to learn an entirely new city, have no friends and are miles away from your family, your home and everything you've grown up with, you start thinking, hey, maybe living in Tampa is going to be fun after all.

8. Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. (Note: you are not in any kind of silverware factory.)

Hint: By my count, only one of these is actually ironic. The others involve bad timing, bad luck, Murphy's law, odd coincidences, frustration, facepalms, and, thankfully, a bit of fortuitousness.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Introducing LitGroupie

I'd like to just take a quick moment and introduce you all to my new blog project, LitGroupie. It's a place for me to geek out about books and the like and post reviews of the books I read this year. My goal is to get to at least 52 books by December 31st and so far I'm making good progress.

Please feel free to head on over, take a look around, and make a few comments. I'd love to get some sort of discussion going—I always love to talk about books!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2011 in review.

This post is a little late because I spent the first bit of this year dealing with an exorbitant amount of poop. (Oh, come on, I'm a mommy, I'm a blogger, you had to know it was going to show up eventually.) I spent the next bit of this year recuperating from the exhaustion of the first bit. But hey, I'm still ahead of where I was for 2010 in review!

To be honest, a lot of the past year is a bit hazy for me, as a lot of it I spent in a dark place where I didn't like myself much. I was happy with things going on in my life, but there were days—many more than I like to think about—where my sense of self-worth was absolutely nil. I've started coming back out of it in the past few weeks and I'm optimistic that this will be a good year, but I have to say that on the whole, I'm glad 2011 is over. I've loved the time I've spent watching the Little Guy grow and learn, and I look forward to seeing him get even more awesome in 2012 (although really, I just don't know if the world can hold that much amazingness. Maybe that's why the world is supposed to end this year: it will spontaneously burst from trying to contain the sheer awesome that is my son).

And now it's time for 2011 in review!

*Ushered in the New Year very quietly, with just our little family of three. Celebrated later that day with Southern New Year's and the Thompsons.
*Had lots of fun using my new bread machine until it broke. Experienced much frustration on the phone with the people at the warranty office. Eventually just decided to send it back to Amazon and go with another manufacturer.
*The Little Guy started off the year with a bad cough and I had my first experience as the mother at a sick-child visit.
*Eventually did get the Christmas tree taken down about a week into the new year.
*Continued the love affair with Netflix. Notable flings included Better Off Ted, 30 Rock, Monk, Psych, Word World, Mythbusters and lots of fun movies.
*Had my first experience flying on a plane with a small child (3.5 months old). The Little Guy was a champ and pretty much slept through all the flights. On each flight, we had someone stand up at the end to get their luggage and say, "I didn't even know there was a baby on the flight!" Well done, sir.
*Visited Shallow Man's family in Alabama. Flew into Middle of Nowhere, FL, to do so, which made landing kind of weird with no other lights around other than the airport.
*The Little Guy rolled over for the first time ever on the floor in Shallow Man's grandparents' house. Fortunately he chose to do it at the exact moment that his uncle was recording him, so we caught the big moment (and the big reaction) on camera.
*Briefly took the Little Guy to the beach for the first time at the Gulf Coast, although it was too cold to swim.
*Went in for an oil change and left feeling scared to drive because of all the repairs our car needed.
*Learned how to use my beast of an inherited sewing machine to make one of those car-seat covers for the Little Guy because I didn't feel like paying $40 for one on easy. It turned out way cuter than it had any right to.
*Lots of time spent cuddling and nursing my baby. This got less fun during my bout with mastitis, but it turned out okay.
*The massive amount of time spent nursing also lead to my achieving 3 stars in every level of Angry Birds.
*Started feeding the Little Guy solids, beginning his love affair with mush and solids in general.
*Learning how to make an em-dash on my iPod. It was definitely a highlight of the year.
*Feeling smug coming back from actually visiting the dentist and not having any cavities when Shallow Man had some.
*Just Jane again, and always.
*Campaigning to help my friends' band, Fictionist, during the competition to get on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine (they eventually came in 4th).
*Celebrating my birthday at home because we'd finally taken our car into the shop to get everything fixed.
*Walking into the Little Guy's bedroom to find him calm and happy, listening to Shallow Man hum him various themes from Zelda.
*Finally making a decision on the new bread machine model and having it arrive. It's huge and white and we call it the Monolith.
*Making cupcakes for the ward's Pinewood Derby, but mostly enjoying watching Shallow Man get ridiculously excited about helping one of the Scouts with his car.
*More Geek Night parties, although the dynamic changed with the growing number of Geeklings.
*Twilight Time 3. This one was a fun event even though it was smaller, although it wasn't quite as awesome as Twilight Times 1 or 2 for the simple reason that the movie was slightly better than the others and less compulsively mockable. But there were more cupcakes, so that was good.
*Yes, I enjoyed the season of Jimmermania.
*March Madness was both awesome and heartbreaking.
*Saw a play version of Persuasion with KEY that was eye-opening—I didn't know you could ruin such a perfect story so completely. I would have walked out except I wanted to see how they handled the ending. I'm not sure it was worth it.
*Finally had to get a high chair for the Little Guy. Was both excited and sad to see him getting so grown up. It was really nice to see him start plumping up once he started eating solids, though.
*Did a lot more experimenting in the kitchen, coming up with some new family favorites like shrimp tacos, spinach mushroom quesadillas, and chicken tikka masala.
*Bountiful Baskets. Yes.
*Girls' Night Out with my sisters and the incredibly nice person at the Arctic Circle drive-thru who rushed our order because the Little Guy was having a meltdown.
*Making the decision to move to Salt Lake and starting the whole process of finding renters and moving.
*Tea with Mint or Lemon? at USU. The most fun I've had at the theatre in a long time.
*Discovering the best cobbler recipe ever.
*The Law Gals lunch. It was great to see old friends and new babies.
*The Little Guy producing his first tooth the day before Easter, probably in hopes of getting candy. It didn't work, which is probably why he came up with tooth #2 a few days later.
*So much of my time this year has been spent listening to the Little Guy learn to babble. I love all of his crazy little noises.
*Interacting with authors over email.
*Finally getting the postage-stamp-sized backyard into shape.
*Coming back from the birthday party for my dad, Shallow Man checked Facebook on his phone and saw the news about bin Laden.
*I won a laptop from Pixar. No, really.
*Discovering how to make rosemary focaccia with the bread machine. Oh, yes.
*Visited the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU. Powerful, inspiring, moving, beautiful. Wrote this about it.
*Had my first Mother's Day as an actual mommy. Have to admit I loved it.
*The Little Guy celebrated Mother's Day by saying "Dada" for the first time.
*Celebrated our seventh anniversary. Crazy!
*The old faithful lappy kept having identity crises.
*Read "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson. Wow.
*Hosted the final Geek Night at our old place. Bittersweet.
*Packing, packing, packing. Blech. Trying to find renters. Double blech.
*Moving day made infinitely more stressful by having our car die on the freeway on the way there. Fortunately we were first in line in the caravan and were able to shuffle passengers to get things moving quickly. Also fortunately my dad and brother were able to fix it for $10. That did not help my nerves calm down at the time, though.
*Living in my grandfather's old house and getting used to calling it our house.
*The Little Guy considerately waited to start crawling in earnest until AFTER we had moved.
*Finally finding renters and having them be the best ever.
*Lots of time spent weeding and cleaning up the huge new yard.
*The summer and fall of the nightmare commute.
*Lots of time spent with my sisters and family now that we live a block away.
*Lots of walking on early summer mornings.
*Shallow Man's first Father's Day. I was kind of hoping the Little Guy would take that opportunity to say "Mama" for the first time, but it was not to be.
*Girl date with my mom and sister to IKEA and watching the Little Guy fall asleep in his stroller.
*Red Iguana. Yum.
*Finding Shelob living in my laundry room. Okay, maybe not Shelob exactly, but still a black widow.
*Watching the Little Guy's stats progress throughout the year as his weight started to catch up to his height. His head circumference was always way ahead of both of them, though.
*The Little Guy learned how to give kisses on request and also to say "bye bye" and "night-night" when he felt like it.
*Fourth of July was awesome. We went to the Army Band Concert the night before and the fireworks the night of, and the Little Guy loved them both.
*The Little Guy's makeshift hat for the band concert.
*Major geeking out upon finding that a movie was being made of one of my favorite books. (Yeah, I'm still excited about this.)
*Had to keep cutting the Little Guy's hair because it grows so fast and crazy. He still hasn't quite reconciled himself to the process, though.
*The Princess and the Frog with my sisters.
*Steadily increasing numbers of teeth.
*The week that we all caught the summer cold. Blerg.
*The arrival of a new geekling! The Little Guy was glad to have another boy in the group after all the recent girl geeklings.
*Making a birthday cake for my mom with my sisters.
*July 26, 2011: MAMA!
*Getting a new niece in July!
*Going to Lagoon for Shallow Man's work party. So much fun to have a real date day!
*The Epic Battles of trying to get the Little Guy to fall asleep on his own.
*The car transmission acting up again shortly after we'd gotten it to pass inspection and renewed the registration. D'oh! Finding out it was a relatively quick fix: *sigh of relief* I've said it before, and I'll say it again, my dad is a car wizard.
*The joy of a baby trying to learn how to walk on a hardwood floor. Luckily his skull is super-thick.
*Getting to have lots of talks with my sisters and getting to know them better.
*Discovering Niagara Falls in the basement and having to deal with the plumbers.
*Pondering the differences between editors and ghostwriters.
*Croup. I hate it so very much.
*The month of coughing which ended with the discovery that the Little Guy had a double ear infection, which made me feel like the best mom EVER. Fighting off that ear infection for the next several months didn't help that feeling much.
*Staycation 2011. So much fun. Took the Little Guy to the Zoo, This is the Place, Tracy Aviary, and Thanksgiving Point Gardens. He got to ride a train AND a pony! We also had the chance to go out on our own and see a movie, which was nice.
*Going to the fair with the Little Guy and watching his face light up as he got to touch cows and sheep and bunnies and pigs and . . .
*Getting to see Motion de Smiths again! It was a lot of fun to have them stay with us and finally introduce them to the Little Guy.
*Having our car transmission act up *again* on the way home from finally seeing Harry Potter 7.2.
*The fun of living close enough to the fairgrounds to hear part of the Weird Al concert from our backyard.
*Sibling movie nights = very yes.
*The Little Guy's first birthday was great. Loved celebrating and thinking back to a year before and all the fun stuff that had happened during those 12 months.
*Watching the Little Guy attack his cake. So very awesome.
*Took the Little Guy to the dentist and felt like a responsible parent.
*Learned how to make donuts.
*Teaching in Relief Society like, three times, because my lesson week kept getting bumped by things like Conference and Christmas and such. One of the cushiest callings ever.
*Another trip to the South, this time to Tallahassee as well as Alabama. So many adventures. Loved seeing Shallow Man's home ward and meeting people I've heard about for a long time. Swimming with the Little Guy at Wakullah Springs. Canopy roads. Visiting friends from law school. The Crepevine.
*The Little Guy maintained his "Champion Flyer" status.
*Having the airline break our less-than-three-week-old Britax carseat. *primal shriek* They did eventually replace it for us, though.
*iPhone! The angels sang. Especially because it offers an en-dash as well as the em-dash.
*The Book Exchange Party. One of the best ideas I've ever been involved with (thanks to megcellent and alli for being my partners in crime).
*The Dracula meeting of Just Jane was ridiculously fun with the husbands there. I especially loved the days leading up to it while Shallow Man was reading the book and would say things like, "Okay, seriously, I would sue Van Helsing for malpractice!" Having Kat be able to come and hang out for it was also especially great.
*Finally having the ear infections of doom clear up when we went to the specialist to see if the Little Guy needed tubes. *big sigh of relief*
*Taking the Little Guy trick-or-treating in his garden gnome costume.
*Being lawyerly from time to time.
*Coming up with fun business ideas and working towards putting them into action.
*November 3, 2011: He walks!
*Playing in the leaves with cousins.
*Taking a weekend for ourselves at the Little America, even if it did mean spending my first night away from the Little Guy.
*Winning third place in the Pioneer Woman's Princess Bride trivia challenge. Oh, yeah.
*Making new friends.
*Weaning the Little Guy the week before Thanksgiving. Both heartbreaking and liberating.
*Mice. Ick.
*Thanksgiving at our house with my family. Favorite holiday ever.
*Gourmandise and Banbury Cross.
*The Little Guy's first experience with chocolate pudding.
*Lots of editing.
*Taught myself how to knit.
*Cake Wrecks thinks I'm funny.
*The MoTab Christmas Concert, which was wonderful.
*Playdates with friends.
*Christmas with a toddler—AWESOME.
*Homemade ice cream!
*New Year's Eve with the family at our house. A great way to end the year.

A few books I loved during the year:
*The Mary Russell books by Laurie R. King, starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice in January. Oh, my. Serious author crush. I've read through book 6 (which was nothing short of amazing) and can't wait to read more.
*The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. This is the one I got at the Book Exchange Party and it was absolutely fascinating.
*The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The best words I can think of for this book are charming, sparkling, lovely, and delightful. It made me laugh and cry within the first ten pages, which takes more than you might think.
*Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was a great book club pick by megcellent and I loved it, especially the idea of there being a place somewhere where all our lost things end up.
*Wings, Spells, and Illusions by Aprilynne Pike. I am loving this series and looking forward to the next book being released this year.
*Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. One of the more inventive fantasy books I've read recently.
*Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Wow. Just . . . wow. This was one of the top three books of the year for me (the other two being O Jerusalem and Justice Hall from the Mary Russell series). A new release and a beautifully written and beautifully dreamed fantasy YA novel that was the only YA book to make Amazon's Top 20 books of the year, and with reason. Even if you think you don't like fantasy or YA, if you love absolutely exquisite writing, you owe it to yourself to check out this book.

If I missed listing something that I did with you that you loved, I'm sorry. I probably loved it, too, but my memory does miss some things now and then.