Ted+Kelly, Part 6: Now or Never

Nearly 6 months after the last installment, I was starting to go Downton Abbey on ya'll. (Can the next season just be NOW??)

In case you're new to this fun:
Part 1 (In which you wonder how this story could end the way it did.)
Part 2 (In which I'm suddenly available.)
Part 3 (In which the descriptions of bowel issues leave you dumbfounded.)
Part 4 (In which you're suddenly as in love with Ted as I was.)
Part 5 (In which I send signals so mixed, they should be canned and marketed as nuts.)

Carry on!


I sat in my educational technology class, trying to put together a decent presentation for the following week.  I knew almost all this information prior to taking this class.  So why couldn't I focus and finish?

My purple flip phone, in the front pocket of my backpack, vibrated loudly.  I reached for it and saw it was a text.  From Ted.

"Pick you up at 6 tonight, if that's ok.  Dinner then the play."

My date with Ted.  I didn't have to be at the Institute building tonight for FHE.  I knew the "parents" of the groups had everything in order so I agreed to a Wednesday night date with Ted. So unlike me. I knew it was all planned but I struggled slightly not going.

I replied at the speed of T-9. "Sure, sounds good.  What's the dinner plan?"

He responded quickly. "Oh don't you worry, I've got it covered.  I'm cooking."

Um, he's what?  If there was one thing I was pretty sure Ted couldn't do, it was cook.  I mean, I wasn't certain, but he was more impressed with my cooking than he should be, drooling every time he popped by and I was making this or that.  Teriyaki turkey burgers, roast chicken with my roommates on Sunday, cheesy potatoes for a pot luck... Puddles of drool.

I got home with little time to get ready but managed to change shirts and freshen up my make up. I wondered where my roommate Karin was, having not seen her since that morning.  I hadn't even had time to mention my date with Ted.

The knock on the door at 6 on the dot made me wonder if he watched for the minute to pass on his phone before knocking.  Extremely punctual.

I answered the door with a grin.  There was Ted in his slightly awkward totally adorable glory.  We walked over to his apartment.

And I smelled it before I saw it.

It was spicy.

"I hope you like Cajun food because Tony Chachare does it right!"  I couldn't describe the odd accent as he said this if I wanted to.  Uniquely Ted.

I was clueless. "Tony who?  I have no idea what you're talking about."

He seemed legitimately stunned. "You've never had Tony Chachare Cajun seasoning? How is that possible."

"Well, you see, I grew up in Illinois.  You've never had deep dish pizza, I imagine. Maybe we're even."  Yes, I thought, and I'm suddenly grateful I didn't grow up in Arkansas, like you did...

Ted plated our food and after a prayer, dove in.  I tried.  I pulled  away the spicy top parts and tried to eat the parts that weren't nearly blackened with seasoning.  I dipped the chicken in the mashed potatoes to calm down the spice.  But even with these tricks, Ted was done before I'd eaten half and at about the same time I finished my second glass of water.

"I'm sorry Ted.  You actually cooked it really well.  It's not dry or burned. I just don't have much of a tolerance for spicy food."  It was a little embarrassing and he had tried really hard.  He was also totally OK with it and we left.

The walk across the street to Ardrey Auditorium was quick and after he paid, Ted selected seats. "Is this spot OK?" I nodded, sat, and perused the program. We enjoyed some bantery small talk until, behind me, I heard a well-known voice.

"Are you guys SERIOUSLY on a date and we just sat RIGHT behind you? Unbelievable."  Karin. Ha!  Well, at least I wouldn't have to fill her in on the details outside of the chicken.  Plus, Karin was predisposed to give Ted a hard time.  I wondered how that would play into the evening.  At least it was a play.  Dark.  Quiet.  Polite.

Without skipping a beat, Karin chided Ted. "Ted, do you even know who wrote Taming of the Shrew?  This doesn't seem like your ideal date idea, outside of dim lights. Ok, juuust kidding.  But no, really."

Holding up his copy of the program he answered, "Um, I can read." Sarcasm for sarcasm.

Ted knew I'd minored in theatre and that while it might not be number one in his book, it was pretty high up on my list.

The lights dimmed and we dove into Verona by way of one-dimensional acting and tired costuming.  Still, we enjoyed it. I later wrote our favorite quotes in my program to think back on later. ("I burn! I pine! I perish!")

We were laughing over some of the production during intermission when Ted, to my left, pointed behind me, out to the aisle at my right. "Hey, what's that in the aisle?" I turned to look and felt a weight fall on my shoulder.

I turned back to him, not shrugging his "advance."

"That's how you're going to play it?" I laughed.

That sly grin I'd recently been introduced to made its entrance, center stage. "Well, you didn't shrug me off so I guess it doesn't matter how I got here."

As the lights dimmed and my roommate returned to her seat, I heard a gasp followed by an exaggerated cough.  Guess Karin just saw Ted's arm around me, I thought.

The rest of the night went well. We had a good time, as we always did.  We never ran out of things to talk about, never felt awkward around each other, childish diversion tactics included.  After the play, and since he had to work that night, he walked me across the street to my apartment, 2 buildings away from his.  We hugged goodnight on my doorstep and I was greeted by my roommate, Arizona, on the other side of the door.

"You're home kind of early.  How was your date??" Arizona oozed with her normal post-date excitement.

"Oh, he has to work tonight. ... It was good!  He cooked dinner and even though it was too spicy for me..."

Arizona interjected, "...most anything is."

Ahem. "Even with that, it was cooked really well.  He was very gentlemanly and we talked a lot and really easily.  The play was good and at one point he put his arm around me.  Kind of gutsy when I just basically gave him the shove-off a few days ago..."

Arizona cocked her head. "Well yeah but then you told him to be persistent and went on a date with him four days later.  I mean, you're saying one thing and sort of giving him signals of something completely different."

She was right.

I had very little retort. "It's true and he is a great guy.  I really enjoy spending time with him.  More so than any other guy I've dated recently.  But I'm SO busy.  I have the end of the year banquet THIS WEEK for ASNAU, the school year is winding down and I am taking 18 credits.  Plus, I have two other jobs, and a calling... I just feel like I'm way too busy to have any guy in my life right now."

"And yet, you still made time for him tonight," Arizona counseled.  "If there's anything I have learned it is that you are never going to be less busy than you are now.  No one is, no matter where they are in life.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  If you don't make time for a relationship now, you won't do it when you're still this busy, or even busier."

That hit me hard.  But I still felt tangled in a web of work and school and church and... and... and... It always seemed like there was an excuse, another demand on my time.  It was one of the reasons (of several), I felt, that my last relationship hadn't worked. It was probably why the guy after that had just stopped coming by.  Not that I was upset by that.  I was happy with my commitments and how those relationships had played out.

But, I wondered that night as I lie in bed, would I be happy if things with Ted fizzled out in like fashion?  Did I have to make time for this guy or risk losing out on what I was finding to be a good, honest, kind, attentive, attractive man who obviously felt at least as fondly as I did?

As sleep washed over me, I still didn't have the answer.

Ted+Kelly, Part 5: I Could Have Danced All Night

It has been 1,000 years in the making, but part 5 is here!  (Control your girlish screams, I know, it's exciting!)

In case you're new to this fun:
Part 1 (In which you wonder how this story could end the way it did.)
Part 2 (In which I'm suddenly available.)
Part 3 (In which the descriptions of bowel issues leave you dumbfounded.)
Part 4 (In which you're suddenly as in love with Ted as I was.)

Let the fun begin!


I woke up to a metal squeak in the bottom bunk of a metal bunk bed.  It was always one of the first sounds I heard in the morning, sleeping in a metal bed, while my roommate Karin slept directly below me. 

I peeked through the blinds in no particular direction... but, maybe, I looked to about where I knew Ted would be walking to his car... should he be walking to his car.  "How absurd.  It's 7:00 in the morning."  And yet he was the first thing on my mind when I woke that day.

Tuesday held a strange task for me.  I had to tell the only boy who had actually asked me that I would go to the Institute formal with him when I had previously told him I might go with someone else.  He thought, I thought, we ALL thought, Sterling was going to come by Monday night.  Yet, true to form, he never showed.  He had made a habit of coming to me when it suited his fancy, when he wanted to flirt with a girl with a huge smile, when he suddenly felt the urge to serenade someone, and I was not wanting to wait around.  Nice as he was, I wasn't wanting to wait for ANYONE let alone him,

It was strange to go to Ted, when he knew I was debating between him and another intention, and tell him I chose him.  And yet, I didn't feel strange about it.  His actions the night before put me so at ease with the decision that I never even waited around for Sterling.  Whether Sterling asked me or not, I knew who I was going with.

And why was there always some other guy creeping around the corner every time Ted entered the picture?

I texted Ted as I was leaving for work.  "Can you meet me in my office sometime in between classes?"  He agreed.

Several hours later, sitting at my desk in the ASNAU (Associated Students of NAU) office, planning the last details of the upcoming LOUIE Awards ceremony, my purple cell phone buzzed on my desk.  "Ted Crowder: I'm here, can I come back?"  I stuck my head out the door and waved him back. 

We exchanged pleasantries.  It was the first time he'd been in my office.  I was grateful no one else was around, as I shared it with a half dozen other people on the ASNAU staff. 

I shifted gears. "So, I was hoping to accept your invitation to the dance.  I'd like to go with you if you'd still like to go with me."

I was afraid his smile would spread so wide it would bust either the glass looking out into the main office or the window on the other side.  Always the confident man, Ted replied, "Yeah!  Let's do it!  I knew you couldn't resist me."


Wednesday through Friday flew by.  My days and weeks normally did with three jobs and a full class load as well as institute classes and church responsibilities.  I often wondered when I had time to breathe but loved the business and everything I was able to be involved with.  And yet, in the midst of my crammed days and the end of the semester coming around the corner, Ted and I managed to see each other every day.  It was amazing how our paths crossed now in ways I hadn't seen before.

Ted gave me a ride from LFAB (Lunch For A Buck) at the institute building, we talked when he picked Karin up for class to walk to north campus together, we both got home from class at the same time and strolled to the mailboxes together, he texted while I was writing a paper one night asking if I  needed a break and a walk over the Baskin Robbins.  No matter when we saw one another our conversation came easily and there was always something to talk about. 

Ted's ego was easy to pick at and roll my eyes at and he always made me feel important, like I was a priority.  He worked one full time job in an awkward split shift and had the same sort of class load I had, similar institute and church obligations, and yet among all he had on his plate, he would seek my company.  I always happily accepted.

If I weren't preparing for a mission, this would be downright flattering.  But instead, I was just happy to enjoy his company.  At least, I'd tell myself this.  I'd remind myself regularly how busy I was.  Busy busy busy with no end in sight, straight up to when I was ready to turn in my mission papers in a couple months and serve a full-time mission.  Busy.  That was me.  With a capital B and all.  And yet he was there, persistently, filling in the gaps between everything else, and I was available to spend time with him.  It was a lovely coincidence.


Saturday came, dance day!  As my dearest high school friend Jessica had been preparing for her own mission, she lent to me her formal dresses to hold onto.  I remember when Jessica wore the beautiful blue satin skirt her mom had made for her to prom.  I thought I'd wear that, but the top was made just to Jessica's measurements and didn't fit me right. 

My roommates and I found a princess line black top that went perfectly and I added a signature cardigan for good measure.  The black against the blue was a lovely mix and I was happy with how it came together.  Hooray for roommates!  And yet, what they were about to do made me more excited than the wardrobe assistance.

As I was putting my jewelry on, there was a knock on the door.  I knew better than to run off to answer the door.  I was sequestered to my room, just within earshot of the living room.

Ted entered to find my roommates perched on the couch, pens and notebooks in hand.

"Come in, Ted," they invited.

He sat down on a lone chair in the middle of the living room.  It couldn't have been less inviting with a spotlight shined right on it.  He had no idea what he was getting into.

"Before we let one of the girls go out on a series of dates with the same boy, we like to get to know a little more about him.  We like to find out his intentions.  This is your chance to share with us all of this information."  Casey spoke these words like a seasoned pro.

We called it "The Spanish Inquisition" and it wasn't pretty.  An array of twenty questions taking the roommates on a virtual tour of the boy's life from childhood until now with the occasional absurdity thrown in here or there just for our own personal enjoyment.

I stood in my bedroom giggling to myself at the answers and also surprised now and then.  He was surely baffled by the strangeness of our roommate tradition but didn't portray himself as super nervous.  He shared his answers in a truly Ted-ish manner: not too serious, not to silly, honest, bold, and overly-confident. 

In the end, my roommates gave him two thumbs up and let us go out.

I exited my bedroom to a well dressed man with a clean shaven dimpled chin and a dozen roses.  Orange roses.  I must have mentioned it at some point that orange roses were my favorite: the perfect blend of love and friendship in flower talk.  They were beautiful and I thanked him.

"You look amazing," Ted said as he opened the door.  His sincerity was always appreciated.

"Thanks," I replied.  "You look quite handsome yourself!"  And he did.  I was certain I'd never seen that suit on him before and it turned out he had purchased it the week before when he was in Mesa.

We went over to Ted's apartment where he and his roommates cooked dinner for their dates.  And after we ate, and the group was preparing to play a few games - as our group of friends was doing constantly - Ted asked if I'd like to go on a walk before the dance. 

And it was at that moment that I felt it.  I knew what was coming.  I could predict that we were already entering the DTR phase of our early relationship.  A DTR was abbreviation for "Define The Relationship" and I knew in my bones that if Ted and I went on a walk before the dance, he would propose some sort of exclusivity.  I knew this man to be both intense, committed to his decisions, and a fast mover. Apart from most situations, I admired these qualities.  His intelligent decision making skills and decisive nature were admirable, but I was not prepared to be at the opposite end of these skills.

"If you don't mind, I'd really like to stay and play games until we head off to the dance."  I tried to decline without seeming as though I knew exactly what was up his four-buttoned sleeve.

And so we played games.  And when it was time, Ted politely escorted me to Leroy, his beloved Scion XB, and we drove up the steep curve to the Stake Center (church building). 

It was then, shortly after arriving at the dance, that I learned this kind, honest, goodly man's fatal flaw.  He could not dance. 

"What I lack in dance moves, I make up in everything else awesome."  Ted's surety of this statement made me believe it as well.

So after some socializing, awkward dancing, and refreshments, Ted suggested we sit out the next dance and take a little stroll outside.  I was running out of ways to avoid this conversation so I agreed.  I wasn't really a "rip the band aid off" type girl but I saw no way around it.

It was chilly since the sun had gone down and, ever the gentleman, Ted offered me his suit coat.  I accepted and we walked for a bit.  I was surprised by Ted's noticeable nervousness.  I wondered if it was actually as noticeable as I thought or if I had just come to be able to read him.  I knew I was able to pick up on nonverbal cues and other people's energy in ways some people couldn't.  So was it him or was I reading into this too much?

We stopped outside an entrance, sat on a stoop, and Ted switched gears abruptly.

He began with vigor. "So Kelly, I was pretty stoked you agreed to go to the dance with me.  I've really enjoyed our time together on our first date and hanging out and tonight.  I was hoping maybe you'd like to make this a more exclusive deal."

I took a deep breath.  "I am still reeling from my break up with Pete and then Sterling trying or not trying to date me... and then there's all that I have on my plate, which you know all of that stuff, and I just can't even imagine this is something that I can commit to right now.  But I've enjoyed spending time with you too, Ted, and I'd like to keep doing that.  But I can't really commit to a relationship right now."  ... He looked accepting of this.  But his blue eyes buried under his dark rim glasses, and the way his chin creased handsomely, and the closeness of his arm and body to mine made me say something I wasn't expecting to say. 

"But, be persistent!"

Be PERSISTENT?  Who said that?

"Ah, be persistent, eh?" A sneaky grin I would come to know well slowly spread across his face.  "So you're saying to keep trying, huh?" 

What was I doing?  What did I say?  I was both refusing and encouraging him in the same breath.  And yet... and yet I couldn't say that continuing to spend time with Ted would be a bad thing.  I couldn't say I didn't like spending time with him.  And I couldn't say that I didn't wake up each morning wondering when I'd "bump" into him or when he would text me or what I should wear that day in case I did see him...

So as we walked back into the dance, something had changed.  We weren't exclusive.  There was no real defined relationship.  But, I knew there could be and so did he.  And apparently he wasn't going to stop trying that easily.


Ted+Kelly, Part 4: Make-out Hill

It has been a hugely long time (in the scheme of how fast I've been recording this love story) since I last posted.  My dear Ted was out of town for several days.  Gwenna had spring break.  We went on vacation for over a week.  I had a kidney stone.  Then, I got back to this.  I promise, part three (obviously) was NOT the end, as much as I suspected it would be at the time. 

If this whole story is new to you, start here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3



The Sunday after the peculiar date was an unusual Sunday.  My institute teacher (who was also my Bishop - i.e. congregational leader) had asked a strange favor of me.  He had asked if I might be willing to come to Elders' Quorum the next Sunday (the last hour of church, a class comprised solely of 18-25-ish year old men in our ward) to speak for about ten minutes on a few topics he thought the men would benefit from hear in a woman's perspective.

"So you are teaching Elders' Quorum?  That's not strange at all."  My roommate Casey's sarcasm as she made her breakfast expressed exactly how I felt.  I had prepared well and wasn't nervous but did feel a little out of my element.

Arizona had her usual broad grin she wore when she had a teasing comment. "One girl in a room with all those guys... sounds like a fast pass to weddings bells." 

How absurd.  "Oh gosh."  I moaned.  "I think most of them know I want to serve a mission."  Maybe they did and maybe they didn't but I wasn't eyeing anyone in particular.

"Does Sterling know?"  Arizona asked, maintaining her smile. 

Sterling had been coming around our apartment more and more lately, sometimes bringing his guitar to serenade the girls in our apartment, but most specifically to serenade me.  He was a nice guy and we had been out on a date but nothing had come from it.

"Well," I replied, "if he doesn't know, he needs to know."  My plate was fuller than full and the prospect of a mission on the horizon only made me that much more firm in my resolve to avoid love right now.


I felt twenty pairs of eyes on me as I walked into Elders' Quorum. I'm not going to say I had tried hard to primp that morning but I was speaking to a room of single men.  Any self respecting woman would have relied on her black pencil skirt!  And to keep it fun, I added  a bright pink button down shirt just for a pop of color. 

Many of the men in this room I considered my friends, most lived within a few apartment buildings of my own.  I knew the usual suspects would all be present and I scanned the room as I spoke, my eyes landing on Ted.  His mouth was slightly open, reminding me faintly of Mary Poppins.  "Close your mouth, Theodore, we are not a cod fish," I thought but of course did not say.

I was grateful when my ten minutes of fame had passed and I could return to my own meeting where my pencil shirt and pink top would blend into a sea of similar ensembles rather than sticking out like a sore thumb in an ocean of polyester ties and white shirts in need of ironing.

I was ready to leave promptly at the end of church when Sterling caught me by the door. 

He smiled. "Hey Kelly.  Good job in Elders' Quorum."

"Thanks, Sterling."  Let's keep it brief.

"I was thinking of coming by later on this afternoon if that's OK."

No harm could come of that. "Sure, that's fine.  I should be home," I replied. 

We said our goodbyes.  I head home to nap for a while. 

I didn't exactly wait around for Sterling but it would have been rude to go out.  I decided to head out to visit some friends a few hours after church - to my neighbor girls' apartment - and that was exactly where he was. He was visiting the apartment of girls next door to us.  It didn't exactly bother me but I was surprised since he said he would be coming by my apartment.  It seemed such a flippant choice, faced with the two doors as he walked up the stairs, and he chose the one on the right.  I was on the left.  Didn't bother me, I told myself.  Just surprising.  He never did make it by my apartment that day.


Monday came around, rushed and hectic as it always was.  Class, work, work again at another job, and Family Home Evening that night.  By time I arrived at the institute (church) building, I was worn out.  But I had responsibilities to fill and it was only an hour or two until my day would finally be over.

And when it was, with the closing of our activities, Ted met me at the door, as these boys seemed to be doing lately.

"Hey Kelly, want a ride home?" he asked with his signature cheesy grin that fell somewhere between nervously fake and ecstatic.

I hadn't driven to the institute so I gladly accepted.  Our short drive was filled with light though enjoyable small talk and he walked me to my door.  I walked in, still in conversation and he naturally followed, commenting on what a nice night it was.  Casey and Arizona where both home, in the living area.

"It's so nice out tonight," Ted said, "we should go out and do something, just for a little while.  I know you've had a long day.  But, do you want to go on a little drive?"

He was right, I was still exhausted from my day but it sounded like something chill and fun enough that it might shake off some of my day before I dove into textbooks.  "Yeah.  Where do you want to go?" I inquired.

"Oh, I was thinking... Mars Hill."  Ted's eyes shifted and his lips pursed as they squelched a smile as he suggested this location.

"You mean Make-out Hill??" blurted Arizona, who sometimes had a talent for blurting.

I had never been to Mars Hill but it did have the reputation, a sort of romantic look-out point in Flagstaff, for being a make-out spot.  I should have been surprised Ted would make that kind of offer but just by suggesting it in front of my roommates rather than just casually driving up the hill, he was showing he had no suspicious intentions.

"Yeah!  You know it.  OK, not really.  It's just a pretty night and I thought it would be fun."  Ted's mock confidence dripped off him like perspiration.

"Sure.  Why not?  Let's go.  See ya later girls."  I winked at my roommates on the way out.  They both laughed, seeming to know something I didn't.

We headed out in Ted's gray toaster of a car that he loved so much.  I observed what a conscientious driver he was, knowing that driving for a living had surely sharpened his skills.  He told me about how he learned to drive really young, having gotten his license at 14, a whole ten years previous. 

The drive up the hill was windy but I relished the cool air through the windows.  Talking with Ted and enjoying the night air washed away layers of stress and Mynday grime that had built up over the course of my day. 

We got to the top of the hill, overlooking the greater part of Flagstaff.  The downward facing lights gave way to a beautiful night sky as we parked next to a row of mostly closed, dark cars, making things feel only slightly awkward. 

"Want to get out and check out the view?" I was glad at Ted's suggestion.

I was immediately taken aback by the clear sky.  "Wow, the stars are amazing.  You can see so many more than Phoenix.  I love living up here.  What a view!"

Ted agreed.  "Yeah, it's pretty great."  But he wasn't looking at the view.

Just then I got a chill.  I thought it had something to do with the brisk Flagstaff night air but it probably was more than that.

"Hey, I have a blanket in the back of my car.  Let me grab it for you."  Ted went to the back of the car and returned with a black and white quilt.  He unfolded it and wrapped it first around my shoulders, then around his, his arm across my shoulders as well.

I must have given him a look of surprise because his response was priceless.  "What?  What kind of guy would I be if I can't even help keep you warm on make-out hill?"  We both laughed.  It was so easy to laugh with Ted and despite the newness of it, I took note to the fact that I fit perfectly under his arm. 

My thoughts were interrupted by my ringing phone in my pocket.  I pulled it out and Ted said to go ahead and answer, though it seemed rude to ruin the moment.  He didn't retract his arm.  I took the call.

"Hello?" I asked.

"He Kelly, it's Sterling."  Wow.  This is awkward.

"Hey Sterling," I said to alert Ted to the caller.  He still didn't remove his arm, though I suspected he would.  Felt like he should.

"Hey.  So have you been asked to the institute formal yet?"  No beating around the bush for that guy.

The institute formal dance was coming up in a week.

"No, I haven't." I didn't offer any more details than I had to, especially standing on Mars Hill with Ted.

"Ok.  Hey, can I come by later tonight for a little bit?" Once again, Sterling seemed direct.  I didn't particularly want to go to the dance with him but, I hadn't been asked.

"Yeah, that would be fine.  See you then."  I could be direct too.  He said goodbye and I closed my purple flip phone.

"So Sterling, huh?" Ted half asked, half sighed.

"Yeah.  He asked if I'd been asked to the institute formal yet.  I said no.  Since I haven't..." I sort of trailed off, realizing, at that moment, that maybe Ted had wanted to come to this lovely setting to ask me just that.  I wished I could take back my last words.

"Oh. ... That's... cool."  Ted trailed off also.  "I was sort of hoping to ask you as well but it seems like you've already been asked just now.  Or he's going to ask you?  Making his intent known?  I dunno."  He seemed more disappointed than I'd have imagined. 

"Well he didn't technically ask.  He just asked if I have been asked and said he would like to come over tonight."  Again, I felt like the words were coming out all wrong.  Why couldn't I just say what I was feeling?: Nope, he didn't ask me.  You still can.  But Ted's comments made me realize he was probably seeing things from a guy's perspective.  Sterling had essentially just staked his claim.

The subject somehow got changed, thanks to the beautiful view, and a few minutes later, we headed down the mountain, less happy then when we had driven up.

When we got back to our apartment complex, Ted walked me to the door. 

"So, hey, I was hoping to ask you to the institute formal tonight, but I feel like I sort of got the rug pulled out from under me.  I'd love it if you'd go with me but if you choose to go with Sterling, I understand.  No pressure.  It's totally up to you."  Ted looked hopeful and young, like a little boy asking for another cookie.  And not in a strange way but in a completely endearing, freshly-shaven way.

I wanted to be honest.  I had only ever wanted to be honest with Ted but that has backfired in the past.  I measured my words.  "I know Sterling is going to come by and I feel like he tried to sort of 'stake his claim' so I feel really conflicted.  I don't know what to do." 

Ted half smiled.  "It's cool.  I understand.  Anyway, I had fun tonight on Mars Hill.  We should do that again sometime."  Then the real smile popped out.  Captain Insinuation.

"Thanks Ted.  I had fun too.  See you later."  I turned around and went into my apartment, knowing I wasn't mirroring his fun.

"Night." He called after me.

I walked in.  Arizona and Casey were both in their upstairs loft bedroom, Arizona's presence, at least, made obvious by George Strait's twang wafting down the stairs.

I walked straight to the landing of the stairs and collapsed.  Both Arizona and Casey appeared at the top of the stairs.  "WHAT happened?" they said in unison.

"Ted kind of asked me to the institute formal but while we were on Mars Hill, when his ARM was around me, Sterling called to basically say HE wanted to ask me and now I don't know who asked first or what to say or do."  I buried my face in my hands on the stairway covered in decrepit brown carpet from the Ice Age.

There was a knock at the door.  I thought for sure it was Sterling.  He and Ted must have passed on the stairs because I'd only walked in seconds before, having spewed my brief report in Gilmore Girl speed.

"COME IN!" Arizona called down from the loft.

In came,  not Sterling, but Ted.  He pushed into the apartment with long strides and open arms.  He came straight to the stairs where I had collapsed and enclosed me in the best hug I'd had in a while.

"You just looked really upset when you came in so I just wanted to come back and give you a quick hug and tell you know to worry about the institute formal.  It's no big deal."  He released me from his awkward yet loving embrace, retracing his steps towards the door.

"See you tomorrow," he said as he closed the door.  I hadn't said a word.

I looked up at both my roommates, eyes bulging, hands both pointing towards the door, the look on my face saying, "SEE?"

"I guess you know who you're going to the dance with," Casey said with a dimpled grin.


Ted+Kelly, Part 3: The One Where the Girl Almost Loses It.

In case you're new, start here:
Now you're up to speed!  And can we just agree that while this next one is TOTALLY true, it's also totally embarrassing?  Ted and I were amazed tonight, as we recalled details, that we ended up together.  We should have eschewed one another hardcore after this experience.


I got out of my first date with Ted just what I was hoping to get out of it: a fun time with a nice guy and ice cream.  But that wasn't all.  Oh! - if only that were all.


The snow had died down a bit, everything was melting as it started to get warmer.  I had gone home over Easter weekend to be with my family in Mesa.  Seeing my dad's plethora of banjo paraphernalia made me think of Ted.  Ted had just gotten a new banjo, intent on learning to strum.  He didn't seem musically inclined though and I knew he needed all the help he could get.  "Happy Birthday" was his only conquest so far.

I mentioned my friend Ted's new passion to my dad.  Banjo guys stick together.  He gave me some picks, a practice implement, and books to bring Ted.

Shortly after I arrived home, Ted made the almost literal hop-skip-and-jump to my apartment, thrilled with his new toys.  He, I imagined, was certain he could learn the banjo with all these goodies.

"I have to do something to repay your dad's kindness," Ted said with a sly grin, a grin I would come to know and suspect the rest of my life.  "How about a date?"

Oh Ted, I thought.  He doesn't know who he is dealing with.

I immediately sent a text to my dad and told him Ted wanted to take him out on a date.

My dad replied quickly. "That's alright, you can take my date."

"My dad passed, " I told Ted.  "He said I should go in his place."  I was certain Ted didn't know what to think about this crazy woman.

We went on a date that weekend.  Little did I know it would be the last first date in the history of me.

He picked me up and we walked over to his Scion XB, the Toaster, Leroy.  It was the boxiest, most impractical, shiny, gray vehicle I'd ever laid eyes on.  He had a flashy, new car, and, Karin had reported to me, a mortgage.  He owned the home his mother lived in, in Arkansas.  While she deemed it wildly irresponsible to own a house he didn't even live in and she swore she could NEVER date a man so impractical, once I understood the reasoning, I admired his owning a home for his widowed mother.  But I'd never dated a guy with a car payment AND a mortgage let alone just gone ON a date with one.

Ted took me downtown.  He parked that little Toaster underground in the parking garage.  We decided to take the nearby elevator up to ground level.

As we waited for the elevator it suddenly became awkwardly silent.  I wasn't opposed to silence so it seemed strange that it FELT awkward.  Then Ted decided to fix that in the worst way possible.

"Hey, have you ever farted in an elevator?"

Yeah, that just happened.

I told Ted that I had, indeed, never passed gas in an elevator.

"Well I have.  And thank goodness I was alone because it stunk to HIGH HEAVENS!"  He said this without blushing.  Without a follow up comment along the lines of, "I'm sorry for my diarrhea of the mouth, I apparently have no filter and can't keep these things in."  He just said what he thought. I was slightly mortified.

Once we surfaced, we went to Pita Pit.  I ordered something amazing and he ordered something greasy.  We both ordered drinks and filled our cups with lemonade.  I noticed some spilled packets of sugar and, while filling our cups, offered one to Ted. "Sugar?"

That sly grin made a reappearance.  "Sure baby, but not that kind."  And he attempted a provocative wink from behind his Drew Carrey glasses.

I couldn't believe he had just said that to me.  On our first date.  Or at all.  Ever.  Because... he was... Ted!

I, for once, had no snappy retort.  Me!  I had nothing to say.  I just swallowed air and mumbled out an, "Oh dear...."

Lunch was great.  I can't tell you three things we talked about.  But I can tell you what was next: ICE CREAM! We walked across Heritage Square to Coldstone.  Ted encouraged me to buy some frozen monstrosity of chocolate-waffle-bowl-sugary-carmel-absurd-amazingness.

We sat in the square devouring our treats.  "What a perfect day, " I thought.  The sun shone and warmed the brick we sat on.  Ted and I talked about so much nothing.  Our families, growing up.  I was continually surprised  by his life details.  One of six children born over seven years.  his father was a quadriplegic.  He served his mission right where Hurricane Katrina has recently wreaked compete havoc. He worked completely irrational hours for the company Loomis Fargo, a job in which he described himself as, "a hired gun."

For a while, after our ice cream was gone, we sat and chatted.  I had another commitment that afternoon, work related, so we headed back to the parking garage, back to the elevator.  As we walked I heard the bells chime, 1, 2, 3:00.  "Three o'clock and all is well," Ted said in a sort of off key sing-songy voice.  I added to the silliness, quoting old 80's commercials and public service ads. "It's three o'clock, do you know where your children are?"

Ted seemed to. "Yeah. Well, I guess YOU do."  I expected some cute response, saying my children were in Heaven or something precious when I asked where my children were.  But I got a very different response.

Ted pointed each index finger to his lower abdomen, one on each side, sort of, as one might imagine, where a woman's ovaries may reside, in a man's mind.  "Right about here."

We got back to the car.  Oh thank goodness for getting back to the car.  So far on this date Ted talked about his extreme flatulence, tried to seduce me in Pita Pit, and made reference to my reproductive system.  I wasn't discounting the high points of the date, but the oddity of the experience far outweighed the fun simplicity.  This, I thought as we waited at the light for an endlessly long train to pass, was going to be one my roommates would giggle over for weeks.

But at that moment I didn't feel the urge to giggle. I did feel another urge but it was not funny.  As Ted went on about something work related, all I could do was dash my eyes from here to there, looking for a restroom.  The lunch, and more specifically the lunch DESSERT, was attempting to make a beeline for the exit.  Apparently Ted wasn't the only one suffering from diarrhea and while his was verbal, mine was... not.

I couldn't remember a time in recent dates when I had experiences such profound intestinal distress.  Each train car that passed both mocked me and brought a sense of elation.  One more car passed.  One car closer to the end.  Moments from my apartment.  My bathroom.  I knew it had gotten serious when I saw Ted's lunch box - a small, 6-pack style cooler - on the floor of his pristine vehicle, and the thought passed through my mind that it would be better to soil that than his upholstery.  It. Was. Bad.

And then, just as quickly as it arrived, and yet NOT, the train was gone and we were on our way with a stick shift lurch.

We arrived in my parking lot and I had to make it look as thought time had gotten away.  Ted had barely parked when I hopped out.  But he followed.  I thought for sure he'd let me return to my apartment when he saw what a rush I was in.  I mean, I didn't want to offend but... it was about to get offensive.

As I dashed to my door, he stayed on my heel.  I thanked him quickly as I could, included a hug, and retreated to my apartment.

"Well, that's that." I thought.  "At least it's over with.  Ted will never ask me on another date again.  ... Maybe it would have been better had my dad went."


Ted+Kelly, Part 2: Breaking up and getting together.

If you haven't read Part 1 of the Ted+Kelly love story, I'd suggest you start there.  See Part 1 HERE.


March found me in the middle of a busy semester and smack dab in a young  relationship.  Pete and I began dating in the beginning of February. We seemed to have very similar goals and views and in the start things went well, even through my week long trip to Texas for a leadership conference with other members of NAU's student government.  He capitalized on my flirtatious nature and fed off it. I hadn't dated anyone exclusively in a while and it was nice to be back in the pattern of a relationship.  Back to being someone's number one.  Beautiful in someone's eyes.  Important.  Desired.

Desired.  Like the time my boyfriend and I stood in my kitchen, assembling teriyaki burgers.  They were round and juicy and full of flavor.  I had taken the recipe I'd seen over spring break and I had aced it.

In walked Ted, stopping by to pick Karin up on his way to EDU 200.

His eyes lit up.  "Where did you get those burgers?  They look amazing!"

I answered, brusquely.  "I made them."

He laughed it off.  "No, really.  Where did you get them?"

This time Pete jumped right in.  Anything to stick it to Ted.  "She made them.  Just now.  For us to eat."  Us.  That's right.

Ted basically walked off with Karin, drooling.  What's up with this guy and his disbelief that I could make something so tasty looking, I wondered.  Whatever.  It didn't matter.  I was happy in my relationship.  Things were good.  

But then it wasn't right anymore.  With no real rhyme or reason, my feelings changed and I knew I was doing Pete no favors by continuing to date him though I had lost interest.   He was a good guy and this change of heart was not easy for my to justify.  Saturday I went to sleep knowing that I needed to talk with Pete the next day.

Besides, I had recently decided to serve a mission.  I was 22 years old and I was newly fired up for the idea to lose myself in missionary service.  It came to me in a wave and I felt strongly about it.  I felt it was time to prepare.

I woke up Sunday with a feeling of dread.  How was I going to break things off with Pete?  I knew he was going to take this badly.  Despite the fact that I did so irregularly, I felt to call my dad. Pete, two friends, and I had traveled to Mesa earlier in the month and my dad had met Pete.  My dad, as always, cut right to the point.  "What's up, sweetie, " he asked with concern.

"I feel like things have come to an end with Pete.  I just don't feel the same as I used to and I know I have to break things off with him.  I just can't get the guts to do it.  I know it's really going to hurt him."

My dad paused and then dove into what gave me the courage I needed. "I can't believe you're calling me to tell me this.  I had a dream last night.  You were in a church, sitting in the back.  You were crying and I went over to you and put my arm around you. I asked, 'What's wrong sweetie?' You said you broke up with Pete and you were really sad about it.  I just embraced you and told you, 'Kel, he's not the one but he's coming.' "

I was flabbergasted.  I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing.  And yet, I could.  This wasn't the first time my dad had a dream about me or for me.  We are both alike in that we listen to our dreams and have had dreams about the other.

I took this and I made a resolution.  I was going to talk with Pete after church, reaffirm my strong desire to serve a mission, and break things off.  It had to be.  I knew it and I knew the Lord knew it.  He obviously had given my dad this dream knowing it would buoy me up, give me the courage to immediately do what I needed to do.  And it did.


Shortly after spring break the season changed. Spring technically came. So did the snow. Flagstaff, at its 7,000 feet, always has snow in the winter and spring. But the four feet that poured from the sky Friday and Saturday caused church to be cancelled Sunday.

I woke up to an even winter-ier wonderland than I had fell asleep to. Karin, in her bottom bunk, woke with wide eyes as well. We were snowed in. Snowed in our tiny apartment.  

It wasn't long before our neighbor boys, Dave and Ryan, made their way over to shovel us out. They had somehow shoveled our girl neighbors out by clearing their adjoining porch and forcing their way through the front door and snow.  Now they were clearing the landing and coming to rescue us. 

But rescue us for what? It was Sunday. Church was cancelled. There was snow up to our chins. This was a good day to stay inside.

But of course we didn't. Our apartment had been invited to another building and apartment of boys to enjoy some snow cream, if we could make it. The walk that would normally have take two minutes at most, taking us past two other apartment buildings, took us more than 15 minutes to make this day. It was craggy, powdered, and slick. 

I hesitated to join my roommates. While I'd normally jump at a chance to go play and socialize, this outing was to Ted's apartment. We hadn't really repaired any of the "no-date" mojo of days passed. I didn't want it to be awkward, especially since he lived with my friend Ben and my roommates had a special connection to this apartment. 

We had the habit of swiping our guy friends' ties and proudly displaying them on our wall. This apartment of boys had a lot of ties. And a lot of them were Ted's.

"Just come and if it's weird you can go home." My roommate Casey persuaded me to brave the snowy divide.

I was glad I went almost as soon as I got there. I expected it to be awkward when I entered but with my roommates to talk with and Ben it wasn't a bad experience. I even had the chance to talk with Ted. 

"How is it you grew up near Chicago where it snows all the time and you've never had snow cream?" Ted spoke, incredulous in his remarks, amazed I was a snow cream virgin. 

I was surprised Ted was speaking freely with me. Since Pete and I had started dating the only times he spoke to me after the burger incident had been in front of Pete, always looking straight into my eyes, never acknowledging my then boyfriend. This drove Pete mad. Since Pete and I had broken up the Sunday before, I hadn't so much as seen Ted.

"Um, I actually don't think I've ever had sweetened condensed milk before and I certainly have never poured it over snow." This statement bewildered a boy who had grown up primarily in Arkansas where, I imagined, they had some a lot of down-home style baking.  But really, I knew nothing about life where he was from. I noticed, with no facial hair to hide it, the deep cleft in his chin. It was distinguished and striking, two words I wouldn't have previously associated with this guy who had such a goofy exterior.

We continued to chat as layers of nervousness, frustration, and hurt feelings melted off my shoulders like the fresh packed white snow in the bowl when the milk hit it: gradual but certain, and with increasing sweetness. 

While I sat and chatted with friends, Ted spoke with another of my roommates. 

"Arizona, why is Kelly being so nice to me? Isn't that going to annoy her boyfriend?" Ted spoke with loaded words and sarcasm and s light air of disdain. 

Arizona smiled out of the corner of her eye as she frequently did as she gauged someone's reaction. "Naw. Kelly broke up with Pete last week. Didn't you know that?"

I smiled over at Ted from across the crowded room, because he was smiling a strange smile at me. Calculating. Elated. And... handsome. 


Ted+Kelly, Part 1: Ground work.

NOTE: A dear friend has been documenting the early days of her love with her husband.  It is beautiful and inspired me to document my early days with Ted.

This contains names (and Facebook conversations!), real names, of real people.  It's honest in feeling and as factual as I can be, 7-8 years later.  It is what it is, friends!


November 2005 found me, one afternoon, in Flagstaff, Arizona working on a Nonverbal Communication project with my next door neighbor, David.  There was a knock on the door.

"Come in," Dave called from the couch, not getting up to answer his door, in true, trusting Mormon Ghetto fashion.  The apartment complex we lived in was ridden with young, single, LDS students and was occasionally endearingly referred to as the Mormon Ghetto.

Through the crack in the opening door popped a head.  It was a long head with facial hair and thick rimmed, Drew Carry style glasses behind which sat uncertain blue eyes.  "Does Jason still live here," asked the head.

Ted, circa 2006

Dave answered, "No, no one here named Jason.  Jason who?"

"Tidwell," the head replied. "He lived here last summer when I was up here and I'm in town for the day so I thought I'd come by to say hey."

"We know Jason but he doesn't live here anymore," my friend replied.  "I didn't catch your name.  I'm David."

The attached body stepped through the door.  He looked a little goofy.  His classes, at least, gave him a sort of humorous, soft touch.

"I'm Ted.  I'm coming up for school in January. Good to meet you."

"Kelly," I interjected with a smile, not wanting to be rude. If he was looking for Jason I assumed he was an LDS guy and I'd likely be seeing him around at institute and around, well, in general.  Ted gave off a slightly awkward vibe but I instantly thought we could be friends.

We three exchanged some pleasant and brief conversation before Ted left.

That was that.  Dave and I returned to our project.


I was home for a couple days, in Mesa, over winter break.  I was absorbed in cable television one afternoon, taking in reruns of Gilmore Girls I had already seen and various forgotten Food Network shows. 

One segment on one cooking show stood out.  I had been busy with a full class load and working three jobs.  For someone who normally cooked, I had been slacking a little and was trying to gather healthy recipes I could cook and then come back to for a few days.  Teriyaki Turkey Burgers were coming together before my eyes.  Loaded with vegetables and flavor.  They looked divine.


It was a Monday night in January 2006, Family Home Evening at the institute building.  As a FHE "grandma" I oversaw all the little mock families and was busy aiding all the "moms and dads," facilitating the lessons and activities of my "family."  As the activities ended and the mingling commenced, I locked eyes with a boy I'd met recently at a New Year's party.  His name was Pete.  We met in the middle of the room.

Pete smiled his sort of pursed smile. "Hey Kelly.  Good activity tonight."

I returned with a toothy grin, my normal. "Thanks!"

He fidgeted. "Hey would you like to go to the basketball game this weekend?"

Was this it?  Was he asking me out on a date?  I guessed so.  I urged myself to stay cool, as I'd hoped he would ask me out.

"Yeah, that would be fun.  My roommates were planning on going.  Want to meet at my apartment?" He had been to my apartment to play games before so this would be a good jumping point.

We agreed and I immediately returned to my roommate Karin who had been watching from afar.  But we barely had time to squeal, as I saw Ted heading over.  The boy with the thick rimmed glasses who, since he started school here recently, had become nearly a friend during our few encounters.

He flashed a confident and suave smile. "Hey Kelly.  Rockin' FHE tonight."

"Thanks, Ted." I smiled back, still reeling from the invitation I'd received a few moments ago.

"Hey," he said with a nudge, elbow to elbow. "How'd you like to get together this week and go salsa dancing?  They do it on North campus.  What would you say to me sweeping you off your feet for the night?"

I couldn't believe how over confident Ted sometimes spoke.  His ego must have been large enough to fill the Grand Canyon.  Still, he was a good guy and that sounded like fun.

"Sure.  Sounds fun.  Let's talk details later.  Thanks, Ted!" I squeezed his arm and headed back to Karin to squeal about my upcoming date with Pete.

We sat in the rough maroon seats, low to the ground, giggling like two school girls, which, coincidentally, we were.  I was too excited about my upcoming date with Pete to realize that I might have not only given Ted the brush off but also downplayed our date as I squawked loudly, apparently too loudly, with Karin.

Ted and Karin had a class together that they walked to with one another.  The next day, on the way to class, Ted shared his disappointment that, moments after he asked me out, I returned to Karin to rave over my excitement to go on a date with another guy.  Karin was embarrassed for me that Ted had overheard our gushing.  We were nothing if not boisterous.

Karin and me, January 2006

"Kelly, I think you bruised Ted's gigantic ego when you were getting overly excited about your upcoming date with Pete.  Ted totally heard you and he wasn't thrilled that you were gushing about someone other than him."  Karin had a way of relaying Ted information that was uniquely poignant.

I felt to rectify the situation.  Karin and I sat down at my work computer the next morning and wrote a Facebook message to Ted.  I wrote, she offered moral support.

"I feel a little jerk-ish and I'm telling you this because it's in relation to you that I feel jerk-ish. Karin mentioned to me that it was really lame to be all "Pete, Pete, Pete" the other night at FHE. Yes, I want him to ask me on a date, but it's because I really want to get to know him better. But I also would love to go on a date with you because we would have a lot of fun. I'm glad we're friends and I hope you know that. So salsa dancing on a Wednesday night? Sounds AMAZINGLY fun! Let me know. ... I hope you don't think I'm horrible. Talk with you soon. Ü"

I felt this gave the impression that I was an equal-opportunity-dater and while Ted and I were already friends, I hope the date with Pete would further our friendship.  This was of course a half truth.  I hope the date with Pete would lead to another date.  I hoped the date with Ted would lead to... no squished toes and maybe a delicious scoop of raspberry chocolate swirl ice cream from the Baskin Robbins across from our apartment complex.

I probably got just what I deserved.  A reply via Facebook message several hours later:

"hmmm... friends are for hanging out and very safe group dates. if you want to be just friends then we're just friends. no dates."

It sort of ended there.  We never did go on that date, salsa dancing.  But we did dance, together, a few months later.


Why I Blog, Even Sporadically

Today was a special day.  The Gilbert, Arizona LDS temple was dedicated.  Many people probably saw posts about the open house for the temple or maybe even attended it.  This temple is the 4th temple in the state of Arizona but will be joined by the Phoenix temple before the end of the year and the Tucson temple in the next several years.  We attended the open house and it was wonderful.  Anyone who wants to visit an LDS temple can do so during this period.  Then the temple is dedicated and only members of the LDS church who keep certain standards are able to attend regularly. 

On our church website, a short blurb about temple dedication is given:

When the open house period is over, the temple is closed to the public, and several meetings are held to dedicate the temple to the Lord. Only faithful Church members ages 8 and older are allowed to attend the dedication meetings. In these meetings, prayers are offered, instructional addresses are given, and hymns are sung in celebration of the new temple. (See HERE.)
The dedication, in three sessions, was broadcast through the state to LDS church buildings.  It was a beautiful experience filled with inspirational words, music, and prayers.

One speaker spoke of his heart being turned to his deceased ancestors - the spirit of Elijah.  He spoke specifically of his great-great-great grandmother.  Her name was Amy (can't remember her last name - something-Porter?).  He said he had been inspired to learn more of her.  He said, "Little had been written of her life."  He shared more than I know of most all my ancestors.  But this phrase - "Little had been written of her life" - reminded me why I blog.

I don't write on this blog terribly often anymore and though I try my best to keep up to date on my children's blog, it doesn't always happen.  But I do try to share some of the feelings of my heart.  And I do try to share some of the beauty of my children and the wonderful life we enjoy as a family. 

And that's the very reason.  I don't want my children to grow old and forget it all.  I'd hate for my grandchildren to say of my children or even of my husband or myself, "There was little written of her life."  I want to be remembered, be found, and learned from.  It's not out of vanity but out of hope.

How spectacular would it be for a great-grandchild to read about me and discover they have my same odd, impulsive sense of humor?  Wouldn't it be amazing for a relative generations from now to find strength in a trial I have shared or hope in a story from my life?  I want my grandchildren to read about their parents - my children - and laugh so mightily they have to catch their breath.  I want them to cry with their parents as they remember the things they overcame and the hard times they passed through.  There are things to be learned from all our experiences and the learning is not just for us to have, but for those around us.

I would really hate for someone, 125 years from now, to reference me or my children only to say there was little written on us.  Our lives will be documented and, ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, tears and smiles, it will be beautiful.


One of those times.

I could really just sit here and cry.

Like, bawl my eyes out.

We got our family pictures back, from Marquette. ... Getting them back makes it seem like they were just developed.  I think I"m using some 1993 language here. Anyway! -  Oh how we love Marquette.  She does such a good job of capturing US.  Like, US-us.  The real Crowders.

Picking my favorite pictures out of the dozens and dozens was a task that took a good amount of time.  But I did it and I now have a folder on my computer with, oh, just SEVENTY favorites. 

Ted went through the pictures today after he woke up.  He went through all 71 pictures and said this was his favorite:

Seriously?  I couldn't even imagine how that is possible.  But, I'm not too stymied because one of my absolute favorites is this one:

And, seriously.  How is a man so much more handsome 9 years after you met him, than he was the day he introduced himself in your neighbor's apartment?  It seems counter-intuitive.  Aren't you supposed to get older and wrinklier and weired as time goes on?  Maybe my husband is peeking particularly late.

But enough about that.  The tears!

Family pictures are like a shot to the gut.  They make me want to cry.  I see these beautiful people in my family - the little ones are bigger and the handsome one is handsomer.  And I'm filled with gratitude not because they're  big and handsome but because they're good and wonderful.  Because I can see in their bight smiles and shining eyes their love and their beautiful personalities and purity.  I see their sassiness, faith, and excitement.  I love these people in my family.  All of them.

But none as much as this one.

He just makes me want to cry.  In the best way.  He is the best person I've ever met.  I'm not saying he is perfect because he would be the first person to tell you he is not.  But I don't think the man has an unkind bone in his body.  I can't imagine him ever wanting to hurt someone or make someone feel badly.  He is caring, patient, and has a heart unlike any I've ever come across.  I just love him. A lot. 

And though I know he doesn't read my sporadic blog anymore (did I mention he's also intensely busy?), I don't write this for him.  Or for you, for that matter.  But as a reminder to me and my someday self that, once, I thought I loved him.  Because I say it all the time.  I thought I loved him when we were dating (sort of, and that's an amazing story).  When I married him.  That first year and a half through snow cream and intimate vacations.  When Gwenna was born.  When Meredith was born.  When he changed his career path in a moment of Heavenly inspiration.  When we trudged through those two long years of nursing school.  But not when I had my gallbladder out (also a great story). When he graduated and I beamed proudly.  When we found out, after a year and a half of trying, we were expecting a third baby.  When he supported my every need in the intensity of delivering said baby.  When I saw him hold his son.  When I woke up yesterday.  When I texted him all through last night as I was sick. ... Some day I will look back on this and laugh at myself imaging that I had no idea what love was 7 years into our marriage.  This is just one of those times I need to remember and look forward to remembering in 10 years.

But I do love him despite how my definition of love has changed over these years.  That handsome, kindly man of mine.


In the Country

What would you define as "living in the country"?  When you can't walk over to your neighbor's to borrow an egg and make it back in time to pick up your recipe without refrigerating it?  When you can't SEE your neighbors?  A certain amount of acreage perhaps?

I define it as having mice in your house.

This is the first time in my life that I can remember having a mouse in my house.  One of the terrible pitfalls of living in the country: everything wants IN!  Spiders, flies, bees, mice, YOUR KIDS!  OK, that last part, I jest.  Our kids actually enjoy playing outside and most of the time I enjoy them being inside.  But the rest of it is oh-so-true and I have become (nearly) fearless when it comes to pests.

And it's that parenthetical injection that is important.  Nearly.

I can kill the spiders my daughters invariably find in the bath tub.  I can shoo out the bees and kill the flies when necessary.  But I have not enjoyed a winter with mice in my house.

It started one night when Ted was at work.  I remember it was around Meredith's birthday, in November.  I was trying to fall asleep but but kept hearing something in the kitchen/living room region.  I decided at one point it was Meredith's mylar birthday balloon bouncing around.  I shoved it in the box-heavy back room and shut the door.  Finally, I'd be able to sleep.

But it didn't stop and it was freaking me out.  I didn't know anything about mice but the next day I found some telltale evidence in my pantry.  Nothing was eaten through or ransacked but there was black rice all along the back side of the pantry.  Except that it wasn't.  It was mouse poop. 

I was horrified!  Wasn't my house clean enough?  Wasn't I putting things away?  What was inviting these vermon in? 

Nothing.  It's just cold out here and our house seemed so inviting.  Or at least warm.

I decided the best way to rid ourselves of these pests was to find the point of entry.  After searching some time, I found a small hole, a small, fur-lined hole, under my sink.  Gross.  So gross.  I taped over it with a vengeance and bleached the entire kitchen down - the first of many hateful bleachings.

I was pleased with the results.  I saw very little poop in my house and heard next to no mouse sounds. 

But there was still a little bith of both.  In fact, one night, while Ted was home and we slumbered, I was certain something was eating all our food in the pantry, which shares a wall with our bedroom.  The sound woke me up.  We found out in the morning, after the nighttime investigations amounted to nothing, that a mouse had eaten its way through the way - next to the pantry, behind our computer desk, into our bedroom.  I still have the hole to prove it.  And the smart husband who put mouse poison next to the exit hole.

About a week after the incident, we spotted a mouse in the night.  We were watching a movie when I saw something dart across the floor.  I squealed to Ted that I saw the mouse.  He seemed skeptical but half an hour later, after I had dozed slightly, he saw it too and went on a search.  No luck.

But we did get lucky.  The mouse had apparently taken the bate and this past weekend he died, just barely hidden under couch.  My kids found him.  I'm so grateful Gwenna and Meredith found him rather than Simon.  I can't imagine what he would have done. I shudder to think! 

I was shocked they didn't squeal or scream.  They just come and reported their finding.

The biggest though surprise was that my city-girl sister was willing to pluck the dead animal out from under the couch and dispose of him.  I was honestly going to wait for Ted to come in from his outside chose of some sort to toss him out.  But my sister did it.  I will not claim to be without shock. 

We have been mouse-free since.  No skittering noises.  No black rice poop.  No traces.  Thank goodness!

Living in the country means you're sometimes a hotel and smorgasbord (they even eat dry wall!) for pests of varying degrees of horror.  There are about 100 good things that I enjoy about living in the country and luckily they outweigh the vileness of the mice.  Because living in the country apparently means mice.

Wednesday: my Nemesis

I have a beef with Wednesday. 

Let me explain.  And let's start at the very beginning.

Sunday is not a day of rest for me.  The scriptures say: DAY OF REST but it's only a rest from the normal activities of our week.  And I believe that's all we're asked to do.  There is still much good to be done on the Sabbath but, oh dear, as of late, it's tiring.

See, Simon doesn't like the sit still.  Almost ever.  He started walking at 9 months and 2 days and hasn't much stopped moving since.  So that alone makes church hard.  And at the start of the year, the Elders' Quorum (men's organization, meeting the last hour of our 3 hour block of church) moved to the STAGE.  Like, the big, high area at the back of the gym where babies can fall.  So Simon just would always be with me.  And his nap time is 10:30, 11 latest.  Church is at 9:00.  So, about midway through Sunday School, regardless of the snacks and diversions I have for him, he's done.'

Then let's add in that Ted was recently called to the Bishopric. ... I could detail the new Sunday challenges, but suffice it to say I fly solo from 6:30 AM until about 2PM.  Then he comes home to get a bite to eat, nap, help make dinner, and he goes to work. Day of rest?  ... No. 

I'm not looking for sympathy.  I love attending church.  I especially love that my girls gladly attend their classes and are mostly really well behaved during sacrament meeting. I even sort of love that I get to admire my husband a few moments of each meeting as he sits on the stand.  I love and revel in the insane blessings we receive from Ted's service and my service - for the small amount of effort we put forth and the great heavenly return we see. I love church.  But, it's NOT restful.

What does this have to do with Wednesday?  Oh gosh, I'm so off track.  And tired.

Sunday.  It's wild.

Monday is no better.  Monday I resign myself to let life happen to me.  But it is a wild rush.  Great highlights and happy moments but a rush nonetheless.  And a catch-up from Sunday.

Tuesday I'm barely home.  It's just THAT day in my week.  I could detail it but after my Sunday want, no one wants to hear me complain in a first-world-problem sort of way.

Then Wednesday comes.  I need relief.  I would love to sleep in.  Take a long shower.  Wake up to a totally clean house.  Wake up to my husband next to me in bed.  "No, honey, you sleep.  I'll get Gwenna ready for school."  That just isn't how it goes.  And there's something about the building of the craziness of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, that makes Wednesday... hard.  It's my hard day.  I know it sounds like Sunday is but Wednesday kind of gets crapped on.  Everything that hasn't happened yet, has to happen by today.  Forgot to do my kindergartner's valentines for her party Thursday?  Better get it done Wednesday.  Put off grocery shopping and now out of milk again? Wednesday it is.  Have three slips for packages?  Have to run to the post office. There are calls to be made, messages to be returned and probably people's stuff too (we ALWAYS end up with people's stuff at our house because they are generous and I'm forgetful)... whatever it is, it always gets pushed off until or schedule on Wednesday.

I totally love my weeks.  I love going to Gwenna's class, the visiting I get to do with friends, the happiness Mer feels when she has preschool, playing outside on the swings with my kids, the daily cuddle time I have with Mer as she insists she must watch ONE SHOW (and I don't mind, I need a break too!), chasing Simon from one end of the house to the other, reading Gwenna's school books with her, throwing all three kids in the tub, brushing out freshly washed hair... so many regular tasks and amazing daily type things that I could not do without and am so grateful for.  But oh, oh Wednesday.  It is not my friend.  It steals my patience, stresses me out, and makes me very grateful for 7:00 in a way no other day does.  It makes me so glad for Thursday and Saturday.  And maybe, just maybe, that's what Wednesday is for!