Monday, April 23, 2012

Relief Society Blues

I have a love-hate relationship with Relief Society (and, let's face it, all other large-group interactions). On the one hand, I want to be liked and have someone to sit by or chat with when necessary. On the other hand, I just want to be left alone most of the time. I don't really ever need anything from my visiting teachers; I'm going along fairly smoothly in my life, and I have a great relationship with my family. I'm not perfect; I don't dive into the scriptures as much as I'd like, and  there are lots of other things that should be happening, but really, I'm good!

We moved to New Jersey in August 2010, I had Joseph that October, and I got called to be in the Primary presidency in January, and I've had that calling ever since. I didn't have much chance to spend time in Relief Society classes on Sunday before, and now I feel like I don't know almost anyone in Relief Society. Mother's Day is coming up, and so is the well-intentioned desire to allow all the women in the ward to attend Relief Society instead of do their other third-hour callings. I'm desperately trying to come up with a way to stay in Primary. In our ward in Chicago, where I was also in the Primary presidency, I just stayed in Primary as we didn't have the numbers to restaff, and I happily gave the excuse, "Let them go. I'm not a mother yet. I'm good to stay here and help." I don't think I'll be able to give that excuse this year. We have very few women in Primary and lots of youth and dads that can help. How can I tell them I'm happier doing my job, not sitting in RS?

And then there's visiting teaching. I'm going to visit a sister today and was looking over the message and checking out Daughters in My Kingdom. It seems like all of the stories and experiences dealt with sisters who were having a genuinely hard time financially, personally, spiritually, physically, or emotionally. The two sisters I have been assigned to visit are really great women. One has been kind to me from the moment I moved in, and we serve together in Primary. She and her family have some struggles, but they are all strong, active members who do great things with their talents and time. The other sister is married with four kids (ages 4, almost 2, and 8-month-old twins). She and her husband moved here to live with her parents after they found out they were having the twins, so they have lots of extra hands and help much of the time. She and her family are also active and strong with no obvious needs. This is not to say their lives are perfect and need no help or lifting up, but really, what is there for me to do?

As I sat despairing a little, and thinking how much I would hate having another sister come and clean my house, as is suggested every time visiting teaching comes up, I went to my knees. Maybe, I felt as I prayed, this assignment is less about what I do for them and more about helping me make a friend or two while I'm here. I always do much better in a one-on-one situation than I do in a large group. And the Lord (not to mention the RS Presidency) is kind enough to give me that opportunity through Relief Society in a way that doesn't happen on Sunday.

Maybe on Mother's Day I'll bite the bullet, go to Relief Society when the men kindly kick me out of Primary, and will be pleasantly surprised to find I see not only familiar faces, but also friends to sit by.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

There is too much. Let me sum up.

 I'd like to say I've been amazingly busy and got nominated for Mom of the Year, which is the obvious reason why one takes a blogging hiatus for nearly a year. But mostly it's because I never got around to putting pictures into iPhoto and then got behind and then got overwhelmed with the thought of trying to write a blog post. And now it's April. So....sorry about that. When last I posted in any kind of detail, Joseph was teething, not sleeping, crawling everywhere, and definitely wasn't talking. We've made progress. Things have been great with us, and here's a little snapshot of what the last nine months have been like:
At Celeste and Bryan's wedding in Utah, July 2011
All the Millers
Jake was working in China for most of August 2011. We went to Utah for two weeks together for the wedding, and then Joseph and I stayed with my parents while Jake went to Shanghai and Beijing.

Joseph loved "helping" my dad mow the lawn.

Our boy was still chewing everything in sight. I finally had to put child locks on all the cabinets, including the ones with normally safe canned goods.
Starting to walk and talk, October 2011.

Jake spent three weeks Brazil for work during October 2011. It was his first time back in the country since his mission. He got to spend time with some friends and go to church one Sunday in one of his old areas. Here he is outside the São Paulo temple. My mom stayed with us for part of the trip, including Joseph's first birthday.
Happy first birthday to our sweet Joseph! We celebrated with presents and cake a few days after Jake returned from his trip to Brazil, where he found this awesome soccer ball.

He liked destroying the cake but wasn't so sure about eating it. He definitely didn't like the feel of squishy cake and frosting on his hands. He kept holding his hands out for us to wash. The bath water was running as this picture was taken.

Enough hair to do goofy things with during bathtime.

We had planned on giving up the binky after our trip to Utah for Christmas. Joseph chewed through three binkies in a matter of days. It was clearly past time. We saved one for the plane ride. He wanted nothing to do with it.
 Just before his first haircut, December 2011. Note the mullet and old man hair around the ears.
We just cleaned up the back and around the ears. I don't trust him to hold still long enough to do anything up top. Also, I'm clueless when it comes to hair.
Having fun checking out the tree and ornaments at my parents' home in New Harmony.
A neighbor asked us if we had a Santa outfit for Joseph. When I said no, she looked horrified and brought her son's old one to church the next week. It's a little snug, but he sure looked adorable in it. He had been walking a little before our trip to Utah, but by the time we went home, crawling was a thing of the past.
We didn't get much snow this year,  so we couldn't do much with his snowsuit except bundle him up for a chilly ride in the jogging stroller.
The boy loves his lasagna roll-ups. I haven't met a person who doesn't love them.
He's learning the difference between in and out with our food storage buckets. He's getting so big and smart. He talks up a storm and is learning all kinds of new words and concepts. I love watching him progress and can't wait to see what's in store for us next.
Jake's had to travel some. He was in the French Antilles in February and Brazil again in March. We miss him a lot when he's gone and are so glad to have him back. He's working on putting his economics thoughts into a more cohesive structure (we'll give you the website when it's up and running). He loves chasing Joseph around the apartment, teaching him new words in Portuguese, and changing the words to nursery rhymes. Rub-a-dub-dub inevitably turns into a story about the mafia.

As for me, I've been reading when I can (mostly nonfiction right now), rejoicing in having a full night's sleep most of the time, running most days, loving the warm weather, and keeping my home from being destroyed by this pint-size whirlwind that is my kid.