Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breaking the Tenth Commandment

I have several more fun posts to write, cute pics of the kids to share, and all that good happy stuff. But I'm gonna take five minutes to keep it real.

We went to Michigan for a family trip a few weeks ago and coming back from that has been really, really hard. When we lived in Brooklyn and would take trips to see family (and escape the city), I'd always be filled with a feeling of dread on the ride home. As the years passed, the feeling lessened. And when we lived in Rutherford, I noticed I was eager to get home after some time away. But this time, our first trip while living in our apartment in Fair Lawn, the feeling came back with a vengeance on the ten hour ride home. (For the backstory on why we left our house in Rutherford and moved to an apartment in Fair Lawn, click here.) It was probably exacerbated by my having to continually climb back and forth between the front seat and the back row to cater to my children's every whim, but it couldn't have been all of it. (Any advice on that one? I can't reach the two kids in the back two seats and they're strapped down in their seats so tight they can't reach anything on their own.)

Once we got back, I started having problems with insomnia again. I don't think I've had a good night sleep since. Adam has done his best to help me sleep better by getting up with the kids and letting me sleep in on Saturdays. And he's always trying to tidy up our bedroom because he knows that contributes to my anxiety. But I still can't seem to just fall asleep, no matter how early or late I go to bed. 

The fridge still sucks and we're hoping to get a new one when the Labor Day sales come around. The neighbors downstairs still smoke like chimneys, outside AND inside their apartment. And Tot Lot and Elizabeth's "free" swim lessons are over so now the summer perks of our neighborhood are all but over and gone. So all I'm left with is this deep and persistent despising of where we live. Up until a few days ago, I've been really, seriously pissed off at God for telling me we were "supposed" to live here. And I've gone through the whole rigamarole of wondering if he ever really did, or if it was just my imagination, and if so if every spiritual witness I've ever felt wasn't real, and if so then my testimony is invalid and I should leave the church and turn in my temple recommend and give God the one-fingered salute. 

But those feelings finally passed. I'm okay with not knowing why I felt like we should live here. I'm trying to be more humble and put it on the shelf. But I'm still far from peace. And this is why:

Lately, there are times when I'll walk through the neighborhood, or drive around town, and every house I see fills me with this overwhelming hatred, anger, and jealousy. It's crazy. And awful. But it's true. I literally hate the person, whoever they are, who owns and lives in that house. I hate them because they have a big, beautiful house and I don't. I hate them because they can afford it and I can't. I don't think those words consciously, but I've started to recognize the feeling when it comes. On the bright side, at least I've been able to step back and look at the feelings and go, "Huh. That's weird." But that's as far as I've gotten.

Thou shalt not covet, the Lord commands us. And I firmly believe he doesn't give commandments just to be bossy, but to help us be happy. And there's nothing happy about coveting. 

So what do I do?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Fun

July was hot, hot, hot. But that didn't stop us from having a lot of fun. Here is a re-cap of our month in pictures. Aunt Megan came to stay with us for almost the whole month. But for some strange reason, we got very few pictures of her. But she was a joy to have in our home and, as I said in my last post, she wins Aunt of the Year for helping me potty train the triplets. 

Okay, picture time. 

Fourth of July Parade. Our friends and now next-door neighbors, the Pascuals, invited us to watch the Glen Rock parade with us. Glen Rock is the town just north of ours. North Jersey is filled with towns, or boroughs as they call them, all packed tightly together but each one has their own small-town feel. There are only a hand full of actual "cities." The boroughs/townships each have their own school systems, usually just one high school, and their own police and fire force.

Anyway, here are some pics:

We're having so much fun.

That hair.

Waiting for the fun to begin.
 My friend, who is also named Emily, also is a mother of multiples. She has a 9-year-old girl and 7-year-old twin boys. Elizabeth is currently in love with one of the twins, though she'd be hard-pressed to tell you which one.

The best part of the parade for the kids was all the candy the paraders threw at the crowds. We were at the very front of the parade so the kids got a ton. Emily's kids knew from experience to come prepared, and each walked home with a grocery bag full.

When Tot Lot (the neighborhood drop-off playgroup) started at the beginning of the summer, the only way I could convince Eddie to go was to let him bring his blankie. Now it goes with him wherever he goes. Even during a heat wave, he sports it like a scarf. It's also been a cape, a shawl, a turban, and a whip. He's turning into a regular Linus.

Finishing a lollipop, wearing his favorite accessory.
Here's that blankie again. He's also started doing this really adorable side smile whenever we tell him to smile for the camera. This was at the branch president's house where they hosted a BBQ. 

That night, Megan was good enough to stay home and babysit so Adam and I could go see fireworks. (She got to see some the following Sunday. Basically every town in NJ does fireworks on a different night so you can spend the whole week of Independence Day going to fireworks. Awesome.) This was in Leonia near Overpeck County Park, home of the best playground in the world.

One of the best parts about our new neighborhood is the Radburn Association. Besides a whole summer of Tot Lot and swimming lessons, they do a Family Day with everything from carnival games to pie-eating contests. It was very hot and muggy that day, but we brought lots of water, stayed in the shade, and had a lot of fun.

Charlie asked for a butterfly. 
The finished product.

Eddie asked for Batman. Didn't think he knew who that was. I still don't.


Rainbow II!

Train ride!

Megan was the one who figured out it was just a dressed up lawn mower.

Feeding a calf.

Here's Elizabeth mourning the loss of this duck's dignity and freedom.

Free snow cone!

Elizabeth concentrated on perfecting her bounce, while Charlie gloried in the fleeting elation of being airborne like his totem, the butterfly.

Another great date night was our concert down in central NJ to see Guster, Ben Folds Five, and Barenaked Ladies. 

Guster was amazing. BF5 was good, though disappointing that he didn't play a single song from the one album I have, and we left before Barenaked Ladies because, well, beating traffic and getting home at a decent hour totally beat sticking around and listening to songs that were overplayed in the 90s. Adam has wanted to see Guster live as long as I've known him, so this was a real treat. They didn't play long enough for our liking, though. Just 45 minutes. But after BF5, on a bathroom break, I heard a song that sounded familiar. And live. I wandered over to a small crowd and couldn't believe my eyes/ears. Guster was doing an extra set out there next to the merch booths. I ran and got Adam and we got back in time to hear a few more songs. We were just feet away from them. It was epic.

We ended the month with our branch's Pioneer Day celebration. We got a surprise visit from some former members of the branch who'd moved away almost a year ago. Their daughter, Callie, was our first mother's helper when we moved to New Jersey. She is still remembered and beloved by our children. 

"Stop talking, Mommy."

Let's hear it for old school.
For those of you unacquainted with Pioneer Day celebrations, it usually involves some kind of bicycle parade for the kids in the ward (congregation.) If my childhood memories of growing up in Utah are accurate, kids usually decorate their bikes and even dress up in pioneer costumes. I think in a nod to that tradition, our branch has a bike parade. Or, in our case, a scooter parade.

Yes, it was a hot but fun July. And to end the post, the best pic ever of the best branch president ever, President Nick Bria: