Monday, January 28, 2008

President Hinckley—He Will Be Missed

So last night I was watching TV when the local news broke through with news announcing that President Gordon B. Hinckley, the president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had passed away. This really wasn't too surprising because he was 97 years old, but it was still sad. When I realized what had happened, I started crying. I didn't realize it would hit me that hard. Even now as I write this, 12 hours later, I start to tear up when I think about it. Really, I know I should be happy for him, and I am. His wife passed a few years ago and after being married on this earth for about 70 years, it was obvious to everyone that he missed her deeply. I actually thought after she passed that he would soon follow her because of how much his heart obviously ached for her. So now they are together again and that is wonderful. And I am glad that he is free from pain and can be in a happier place.

Still, I will miss him very much. President Hinckley became the prophet when I was 14 years old. Previously there had been only three other prophets in my lifetime—President Kimball, President Benson, and President Hunter. Living in Washington, I never really connected with the previous prophets.  It was just a kindly old man who led the church. This was especially true with President Hunter, who was the prophet for only 9 months before his passing. On the other hand, I really connected with President Hinckley. When I was a teenager, we had a regional conference in Tacoma, Washington and President Hinckley came to speak. It was the first time I'd ever been in the presence of a prophet. I was very excited and could really feel the Spirit there. 

Then when I graduated high school, I went to BYU. During my time there, I was able to be in his presence, as well as many of the Apostles, many times. One time I even had the opportunity to shake his hand. That experience will always stay with me. He was walking in with his wife, Marjorie, and he shook the hands of those he could reach. It was in the Marriott Center, where BYU plays basketball as well as other events, and so the seats went upward from the floor. Once he had shook the hands of those he could reach, he stepped back and said, "No, no. You're going to get a hernia." Everyone wanted to shake his hand so badly that they were straining to reach. I was lucky enough that I was able to shake his hand.

With President Hinckley, you never doubted that he loved you and everyone else in the whole world. It doesn't seem possible to, but somehow he did it. It was amazing. And he had the best humor; it was funny, never crude, humble, self-deprecating (but never in a way that diminished who he was as a child of God and a prophet), and lightened any situation. He had so much energy for someone in his 90s and really drove the Church to do more and be more, and inspired each of the members to be better people. You could tell that he really relished life. Even though he missed his wife, he never longed to be gone from this life either. He made the most of each moment and found joy in each day. He was truly inspirational. 

Because of all this, I truly felt connected to President Hinckley and I love him very much. I will miss him, but I'm happy for him as well. I know I can't be selfish and expect him to stay on earth forever. He deserves to rest and be with his family on the other side of the veil. And I'm sure that our next President will be just as wonderful, just as loving, and I will love him too. But for now, I miss President Hinckley, and I am sad I will never be in his presence again (at least not while on this earth). Rest in peace, President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yes, yes, yes!!!!!

I am like SO HAPPY! Today I had a meeting with my manager to talk about going on maternity leave and about how my responsibilities will be dealt with while I'm gone. I was really nervous about this meeting because I wanted to broach the topic of my working from home at least part time once I come back, mostly so I can continue to breastfeed and so I won't have to pump as much. I wasn't sure what my manager would think or what he would say, but I knew it would be better to talk about it sooner than later. I had gone over how the conversation might go about a million times in my head and most of the time I got flustered trying to figure out what to say and how because it meant so much to me to be able to work from home. (And I prayed at least three times today for God to help me to know what to say and that if it was a good thing for me to work from home, that I would be able to.)

One thing that really worried me was that to work from home, my company requires you to have a company-issued laptop, which you can use to connect to the company's network. I do not have a laptop for my job and I figured that my manager would not see it as a necessary expense for my job and would, therefore, not want to pay for one. So I had figured out a way for me to do some of my work from home that would not require me getting on to the network, and I prepared a speech on how I could do that for part of the day and then come in to work to do the rest of my work.

So basically, I was really nervous going into it because I didn't have any idea what the result would be. So I went into his office and we started just chatting about the baby and how wonderful having kids is. Then we talked about what responsibilities I have that would need to be covered while I was gone. Some things could be put off while I was gone, but there were some that could not. We talked about who in the department could do them and divied them up accordingly. Then, when it looked like the meeting was over and he had another meeting to go to, I said, "So you have another meeting right now, right?" and he said, "Yeah, why?" And I said, "Well, I wanted to talk to you about what is going to happen when I come back to work after the maternity leave is over." He asked, "You mean like with your schedule?" And I said, "Pretty much. You see, my husband is going to be home all day with the baby taking care of him, but there's one thing he can't do and that's breastfeed. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to work at least some of the time from home." Surprisingly, he answered, "Yeah, I can work with you on that. We'll need to get you a laptop that you can use to work on at home, but a lot of your responsibilities don't require you to be here in the office, so that should be just fine." I was just like, "Really? I was so worried about that." And he responded, "No, it's no problem really. We can work it all out." And I saw him write in his notebook, where he writes down things he needs to do, a note about getting me a laptop to use at home.

Well, as you can imagine, relief just swept over me. I was SO HAPPY! I couldn't believe that it went so well, and that he immediately volunteered to get me a laptop and I didn't even have to fight for it or justify why I needed it or show him how I could do some of my job at home without needing to get on the network. I had worried about all that for nothing, really. I really could feel that Heavenly Father was there guiding the whole situation. It made me feel very loved and it made me feel good that He wants me to work from home just as much as I do. When Aaron and I decided to get pregnant, we really didn't know how it would all work out, and we knew there would be sacrifices. But I have tried to have faith that it WOULD work out and that Heavenly Father would be there to help things to work out. This truly is a testament to me that He is watching out for me, He does care, He does know my situation, and He is willing and ready to bless me if I have faith in him. I feel very lucky and grateful for that. Yay!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Merry Christmas 2007

So yeah, I know that this is REALLY late, but I pretty much have justbeen too lazy to write my Christmas blog.

Essentially, Christmas was AWESOME! I took a week and a half off of work and it was so nice to have a break. I spent most of it either relaxing (read being a lazy bum) or "nesting" (which according to my pregnancy book, I'm doing about a month early). I mentioned this in my last blog, and the urges continue. This time it was going through our second bedroom and basically getting rid of anything/everything I could convince Aaron to get rid of. Luckily, Aaron was very cooperative and we got rid a whole bunch of stuff including clothes he doesn't wear, a box of ties from his mission, a garment bag we never use, and whole bunch of little stuff. Basically when we were done (and this took a few hours a day for three days), we had a lot more space and things were way more organized. It will still be really tight trying to fit the crib and such in there (the room isn't very big), but I think that it will all work. I also got some plastic storage containers with drawers and put them in the closet, which will work as a dresser for baby clothes and such. Doing all this gave me a huge sense of relief.

Christmas itself was really great. Though I was tempted to open the presents we got from relatives before Christmas (since there are no parents to say no), I restrained myself and waited till the day of. Aaron was nice and let me wake him up semi-early so I wouldn't have to wait too long to open (he actually got up only about a half hour after me). We had a lot of fun opening presents from my dad and step-mom, his mom and step-dad, and each other (the rest of the parents just sent money). Aaron did very well at picking out my present: he got me soothing bubble bath, lotions, and a hot pink bathrobe from Bath & Body Works, as well as a jigsaw puzzle and a pink sweatshirt with Tinkerbell.

I got him a white noise machine (he has trouble sleeping and I hoped it would help drown out noise from neighbors to help him sleep better). I also got one for the baby's room. We've been using it every night since and it seems to be working really well for both of us. It basically just creates a fan sound, but doesn't blow around like a fan does, so it doesn't make your room cold.

Other gifts for us included a statue of a father and mother holding a baby (so cute!), gift certificates to Outback Steakhouse, earrings, a t-shirt, a traveling jewelry case, and baby clothes. It was a very fun Christmas.

I thought our Christmas tree turned out rather well this year. Here is a shot of it:

After presents were opened, the Christmas pudding was done. This is a breakfast that we have had in our home since I was a kid. It's a recipe created by my mom that is made with brown rice, apples, canned milk, sugar, and raisins and, when baked correctly, has a custard top to it. It's very yummy, and I'm excited to make it a tradition in our home as well. This was the first time I had attempted to make it on my own, so I was a little worried about it turning out. Overall I was really happy with the results. Since my mom doesn't really measure, she had to estimate when she gave me the recipe, so it did end up having too many raisins, so next time I'm going to half the amount I put in.

The rest of the day was spent pretty much relaxing and spending time together.

I got a picture of me the week before Christmas with my prego-belly:

Nothing much exciting happened the rest of the break. I just spent it organizing other portions of the apartment, taking things over to DI that we didn't want, and getting a better idea of what I wanted in terms of baby items: the crib, bassinet, car seat, stroller, etc. I also starting checking out Craig's List to see if any cribs and such were put up for sale that I liked. I think I've found a crib that looks promising, but the seller lives quite a ways away so she's trying to figure out a good way to get together (her husband works in Salt Lake City, so we're planning on meeting around there some time this week). It sounds like the crib is in good condition and comes with a mattress; in fact, she said her husband didn't want to sell it, but seeing as they aren't having any more kids, it would be awhile before they would need a crib again and she didn't want to store it. And I'm going to get a stroller and car seat today that has good reviews on Consumer Reports and by users.

So things seem to be coming together in terms of having things for the baby when he arrives (I know it's still 8 weeks or so away, but I think it will go by fast). If anyone in Utah County has any extra baby things that they don't need, let me know. Especially if you have boy clothes in good condition that you no longer need.

That's pretty much what's going on with me, and even though it's way belated, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!