Monday, December 7, 2009
Several months ago, for my sister-in-laws birthday we decided to give her and her husband (my brother) a few days of rest and relaxation at a hotel in a neighboring town. With 3 little girls under the age of 3 we thought she had earned a bit of time to herself to re-group and celebrate the time she had put in over the years. As an added bonus we volunteered to potty train her almost 3 years old. With soon to be 3 in diapers (she was pregnant with number 4 at the time) we thought that this would be the gift of all gifts to have her come home and have one less in diapers!
So we all set off on our adventures, they to the hotel for a weekend, and Matthew and I to the confines of our apartment, no more than 10 feet from the bathroom. We had done some study on it, asked a few friends, remembered back to our own experiences and felt we were up to the task. We figured, almost everybody in the world is potty trained, how hard can it be?
First, to Wal-Mart we took our victim, with all the magic of picking out princess panties, choosing several of her favorite juices, and selecting her soon to be treasures for potty treats she had no idea of what awaited her at our apartment. As usual she was filled with glee at the prospect of having a sleep over at “unle machews and auntie eshcas” house for it truly is a magical place filled with twigs and berries to munch on and a treasure chest packed with toys.
Within the hour she was in her new princess “Awowa” panties and chugging on her Sippy cup like there was no tomorrow. Our subtle plan was set in motion. We played dress up and princess, made lunch and had a picnic as we waited for the time to arrive.
And then it came, with all the excitement of toys and games there was an accident. Lesson number # 1 – 5 learned, here they are for future reference:
1. Don’t get the child so riled up that they have an accident out of pure glee
2. Don’t put the child in an outfit that is hard to get off in a hurry
3. Don’t tell them to go to the potty by themselves unless you want the bathroom redecorated with toilet paper
4. Just because it says color safe doesn’t mean you should use bleach on the carpet
5. Just because a child says “ I’m dwii” doesn’t mean they will be 30 seconds from now.
One strike, no big deal, I’ve been meaning to move my rug over there anyway. That bleached spot is hardly noticeable. So, on with the Cinderella pants, another glass of juice and were good as new. Buy this time even I was feeling the strains of being cooped up to long. So we decided to go to the park across the street. Still close enough that we could hurry back just in time…or so I thought.
This time She chose jasmine and we stayed in the apartment the rest of the day. Auntie, still trying to make it fun, thought we would make a treat in the kitchen while we waited. That was great fun till hands were sticky and nothing could be done. Next we thought Bell was our lucky pair, but to no avail….that’s where we learned lessons 6-8 and we were running out of princesses
6. It doesn’t matter how good the treat is, if they don’t get there in time theirs no turning back
7. Don’t let them see you wash the pants out in the toilet!!! A plunger will do you no good
8. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing….if the water is running for more than 1 minute go and see why!!!
Our next resort, with only 2 princesses left, was to nana’s house. Having survived this three times herself (not including herself) I thought she would shed some light on the problem…..but after 3 full Sippy cups we didn’t make it the drive across town, instead we made it to the carwash up the street.
After cleaning up 4 messes (only 4 because the nice man at the car wash also cleaned the car seat making number 5) in the coarse of several hours I decided enough was enough. I took her home, put her on the potty and told her she could get off and have a treat once she had gone on the potty. I put my seat across from hers and we sat there, waiting. Soon she was off in her own little world naming all the thing in the bathroom, what colors they were, and insisting that the step stool was “her step stool” and “her soap” and “her towel” after bringing her back to the point at hand several times she looked at me, with her chin in her hands and her elbows on her knees, made a sort of grunting sound and sighed…” auntie, it’s stuck!”
How could I argue that??? I helped her down, we washed our hands and went back to playing dollies. One the way home from work I had Matthew pick up another pack of #2 princess panties (which I’m sure he wasn’t to happy about) and we kept at it for a few more days till her mother came home. We apologized for our failed efforts but were very proud that she still had 4 clean princesses left in her new pack! We sent her home with the rest of her potty treats and a pat on the head of a job well done. Once she was gone we reflected on our test run as parents which is where we learned lessons 9 and 10 –
9. Sometimes things just get “stuck “ and you just have to move on
10. Princesses don’t make messes or mistakes, they just make memories
Saturday, September 19, 2009
We were finally on our way to our gate. We soon boarded our plane and were settling in, Matthew, with his triple combination to review his scripture and me with my crocheting. Less than half way through the flight our neighbor across the isle leaned over and asked if what Matthew was using was a triple combination….with such language we knew we were from the same planet…..we must have looked like quite the site, Matthew reading scriptures, our neighbor speaking some incomprehensible language about wards and stakes and quads and myself crocheting some strange black web that seemed to be controlling me instead of me controlling it. Probably the only Mormons on the plane and we find each other across the isle. What can I say, we Mormons like to congregate. As we stepped off the plane in Honolulu, our glasses fogged up, we gasped as we quickly chewed the air in an effort to expedite it to our lungs and we tried to dry ourselves on anything that we could find that looked remotely un -moist. Eventually we found our luggage, shuttle, and rental car and were full of hope, joy and faith as we set our sites on the Mormon paradise known as the north shore. We reminisced and laughed as we made our way over the Pali and through Kaneohe. We joked as we recalled the hard times we faced the last time we were on island and had a good laughed as we vowed that this time, things would be different!
We drove up to temple beach and saw the temple in the back ground, it gave us hope and confidence as we started on our mission: finding a place to live for the next six months…..that was 3’oclock. By six, and between my mother and our selves we had called everyone in the poly community short of the king of Tonga…… (By the way, neither his palace nor the Tongan consulate are for rent). Through an error in calculation (and surprisingly, not my error…..I’m language track) there are an estimated 100 single female students and 15 single male students and an en estimable amount of married students that are homeless this semester. Through this we’ve found comfort to know we are in good company. Gratefully we found housing through uncle Larry’s brother, Max Percell. We slept in the Hilton of studio apartments on the north shore. It was great! It was clean, bright, and had good juju J
On Sunday we attended church in the Laie 7th ward where we pleaded for mercy as we sought for a more permanent solution. We attended the gospel principles class, and a new side of Matthew was revealed. Our teacher, a local bwuda spoke in pigeon and made us feel very welcome on the north shore. Matthew joked with him like he was a bwuda from anuda muda. That was the first light of hope we had had since wading through our days of disappointment. What a testimony it is to know that we may be homeless, we may be half a world away from family and friends but we always feel home in the Gospel.
On Monday we had to be out of our personal Hilton. We increased our frantic search for a place to sleep that night. We then got a call from aunt Nancie's nephew, Steven Larsen who said he had a place we could stay till we could find something else. So we came down to Waikiki till we can find something on the north shore.
So today we continued our search for housing on the island. Starting out with a list of about 12 apartments available, we were hopeful but to no avail. So we sit here, on the 11th floor of a 38 store high rise in Waikiki, looking out over the lights on the hillside that looks like a wave on the shore reflecting the moonlight. We put our feet up and listen to the waves as we relax after a short walk on Waikiki beach to calm our nerves.
I think we would both confess that this has been one of the most trying situations of our lives. We’ve been lost, confused, homeless, and unwelcome. Being frustrated with our situation has, as times made us frustrated with each other which only makes us more alone and more isolated. Though were homeless, far from family and unsure what the next hour, let alone tomorrow will bring we know there is very little simpilthy for those lost in “paradise.” And this has helped us to realize how blessed we are. We have had a ruff over our heads every night. We have 3 and a half bags a piece of clothes to wear, and we have food to eat as long as grocery stores have sale items.
Tears have come readily today, weather as an expression of gratitude for the incredible abundance that I receive on a daily basis or for the hopelessness I have felt from my situation, I don’t know which. But it surprises me how emotions on opposite ends of the spectrum are manifest with the same outward expression.
So tomorrow well try again, prayers and tears will be shed, both in our behalf and in behalf of those like us who are desperately trying to accomplish what they feel directed to do. Hopefully, after it all, we will be blessed with one more blessing then we had today, and one more, or one less tear will be shed.
Friday, April 10, 2009
As most of you know by now, we have made the decision to adopt a little Polynesian boy. Several months ago we had an inspiring experience as an answer to much prayer and fasting. We are overjoyed that this is how we get to start our family. I think the most poignant moment for me was as we shared the news with Mom Teeples, she said, “ I guess that means you're expecting!” Through these past 3 years there have been many joys and tears associated with starting our family, and I am sure there are to be many more. We are so grateful for your patience, love, and acceptance as we excitedly wait for the time when we can bring our son home and welcome others into our family as well. We also invite you to spread the word and ask you to help us in our search to find him. Thanks again for all you do! We love each of you so much!
Matthew and Jessica