Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ode to a Missionary

Yonder see the morning blink:
The sun is up, and up must I,
To wash and dress and eat and drink
And look at things and talk and think
And work, and God knows why.

Oh often have I washed and dressed
And what's to show for all my pain?
Let me lie abed and rest:
Ten thousand times I've done my best
And all's to do again.

-- A. E. Housman

I thought I would post an example of the type of poetry (ie one of the actual poems)my dad sent me while on my mission. The man never served a mission; how did he know?

My Christmas Gift

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

That Hardy poem, entitled The Oxen, expresses a sense of what I suppose I will call a hopeful crisis of faith. (It is also, by the way, one of the poems my dad clipped out and mailed to me while on my mission, and definitely the most faith-promoting one I received. At least Hardy has hope, unlike the other depressed atheists writing poems from the depths of their existential angst. Just what every struggling missionary needs! My companion and I used to jokingly read them to each other right before we walked out the door as that day's "animo" until the irony was not funny enough to outweigh the powerful downer of the poems themselves. Now that I am not an overweight missionary with a bad haircut and a weird skin condition and a single pair of shoes, the fact of those poems has regained its humor.)

I think that part of the Christian experience for most people is to endure "the ebb and flow of faith." For me, my faith had never ebbed on the issue of whether God exists or the divinity of Christ or the other related basics of Christianity. But for some reason, the birth of my second son prompted me to constantly think about, and fear, what life would be like, and what life would be, if there really was nothing after this, if death was really the end. Maybe I confronted those issues for the first time because we were so worried about Will's health. In any event, it got me pretty depressed. I used to impatiently shrug off the argument of those who could not believe in God because of all the horrible things that happened in this world, but suddenly I could understand what they meant. Where before I did not even worry about death, I became very upset and nervous about what would happen to us, and the thought that there really was nothing filled me with an awful dread. That death would cut me off from all the ones I loved, and end my existence altogether, was inexpressibly saddening.

So it was in this spririt that I entered the Christmas season. Obsessed with my own mortality and feeling a fear and emptiness about what life was and the finality of death. And trying to keep myself from thinking of it by shopping. It was a weird Christmas season.

But it also turned out to be the most spiritual. It was not until I felt that it was possible that there was no hope, no life, no further frontier of existence after this one, that I was able, for the first time, to feel real gratitude for Christ. Without him, my worst fears would come true. I found myself thinking that the only gift I wanted was to be able to live forever with my family and those I loved. I realize that this all sounds so cliche and self-evident, like the story line and supposed 'plot-twists' of those Stephenie Meyers books (which I read), but it was not to me, and I really did wish for the gift that is the focus of every church lesson and meeting, not realizing that I had already been informed of all these answers.

I read a book (The Life of Pi) that was touted as being able to make one believe in God, because it demonstrated that if there were two explanations for a state of affairs, we should choose to believe the explanation that makes us happier. Unfortunatley for me, I cannot make myself believe something just because it makes me feel better. I am stuck with what my honest heart tells me, and my honest heart, I think, is a sort of pessimistic one sometimes. I write all of this to explain that it was not from a sense of needing to believe that I suddenly did again believe, and believe in a deeper and truer and more desperate way.

After struggling with these feelings and fears, my faith broke through. And I am thankful that I can say with my honest heart that Christ was born in a negligible barn in an obscure part of the world to simple people. He lived a perfect life. He died and on the third day He rose again. As in Adam all men die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. This I do believe. It was a very merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Brig Made the Post Again (and I did, too, sort of)

Last Monday, I went to the federal courthouse in Alexandria to watch Brig give his closing argument in the case that had taken up so many months. He was awesome. I was nervous for him, but that was the last time I am going to waste my worries on his performance in a courtroom. I was very proud. I will also add that my pride was inflated a tiny bit more when the line I gave him the night before when he was practicing for me made it into the pages of the Washington Post: "The only consistent part of Junior's story is that he consistently lied." Thank you, Moot Court.

Here's the link to the full story and Brig's other quotables:

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Husband looks like Kenny Chesney, and other fun thoughts

I thought I would take a second to record some recent little moments from our life that make me laugh when I think about them.

1. Brigham asked me how many candles I wanted on our two year old son's birthday cake. He was defensive about my reaction and insists that it was a reasonable query.

2. Andrew is watching Sesame Street on my parents' couch. Brig and I are next to him. I am talking. I reach the point in my story where words will not suffice; Brig must look at the facial expression I am making. I don't remember what I was showing him, but it required that my eyes be shut. Upon opening them, I saw that Brig had never looked at me. So I complained, of course. He apologized, but explained in all sincerity that he had just never seen that episode before. Of Sesame Street.

3. Three minutes later, we are all focused on Sesame Street. Ernie is playing some game where Bert is supposed to guess a body part with the hint of the first letter. The current body part starts with "N" and I guess, in all momentary seriousness, "Knee!" It was the look Brigham gave me that was the funniest part, for me. (I must be given a break here, I had just gotten home from the hospital having our baby.)

4. Brigham looks like Kenny Chesney. This is always funny, especially when you look at a photo of Kenny or watch him in his videos. I love to think that a guy who wears tight jeans, necklaces, cowboy hats and some type of tank top resembles my husband.

5. While dressing Andrew the other day, he closed his eyes and exclaimed, in his funny little teasing voice, "Andrew no see! Oh no!" He was pretending to be blind, an old favorite game of the Smith sisters circa 1981-present (actually, we haven't played since probably 2001. I know I played it once with an unwilling companion on a boring day on my mission). Having never mentioned nor exposed Andrew in any way to this game, I can only conclude that it is a genetic thing and that I should expect that in a few years, Will and Andrew will be leading each other through crowded areas, one boy with eyes shut while the other walks the blinded right up to people or things or puddles etc. I played this as an adult.

6. Andrew pulled his hands into his sleeves and announced, "Andrew has claws!" A little weird, but I chose to interpret this statement to mean lobster claws. I don't know the origin of this announcement.

7. Brigham is my GPS operator. Unfortunately, he does not really have me on his satellite, so he can only provide me a route if I can accurately provide my location. This leads to problems because I often am calling for emergency backup because I do not know where I am. I became upset with him the other day for his poor navigational skills because he failed to tell me if I should turn left or right onto Wisconsin Ave. It was not until I comprehended his protestation that he did not know which way I was facing (and I could not tell him) that I let him off the hook and allowed him to stay on as my telephonic navigator.

8. As I drove onto my parents' street to pick up Andrew, whom I had left in the care of my father so that I could take Will to his 2 week appointment, a surreal sight awaited me. First I saw a man, who I initially thought was a neighbor lady who I always think is a man but is not, standing in the road with a little boy, who I thought was the neighbor lady's son, but was not. Before I could register anything more, the man began waving his arms frantically, as if I were the rescue helicopter to his crash-site. That was when I saw the boy was Andrew. He was playing in the middle of the road with two toy cars. He seemed really happy. Then my dog rushed in front of my car. The man was the across the street neighbor who, after living there for 35 years while I grew up across the street, did not recognize me either. He asked me in a panic if I knew who this child was. I briefly considered that he was kidding, but it would be too weird a joke. After about 5 minutes of confusion, he finally understood who I was and what had happened. We both began to worry about my dad. Surely Andrew and the dog could only have gotten out if my dad had suffered a stroke or something. The neighbor drove my car down the driveway while I herded Andrew toward the house. My dad wandered out, hands in pockets,
and announced, "The dog got out again."

9. Andrew disappeared into the bathroom. When I opened the door to see what he was up to, hoping it had something to do with the tiny potty I had purchased, he tried to wave me out, saying "No, Mommy, no, Andrew is fixing hair." He had gotten ahold of Brig's hairstick and was rubbing it vigorously into his bangs. Later that evening, I had him on my lap while telling him stories. I started to try to (with my hand) brush away the rat's nest of gooey hair he had plastered against his forehead. He turned to me, took my offending hand in his and said, "No Mommy, Andrew fixed hair. Don't touch it."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Great News

We found out on Wed that little Will does not have cystic fibrosis. In fact, he is not even a carrier. He had as much a chance of having the disease as not being a carrier for it (25%). It was a huge relief to find out that he will never have to think about CF in his life.

We discovered back in March or April that both Brig and I were CF carriers and that each child we had would have a 1 in 4 chance of having CF, and a 50% chance of being a carrier for the disease. We opted not to get an amnio to find out whether Will was sick, since there is nothing that can be done to treat it during gestation and the amnio does present a risk to the fetus. The worry over his possible medical condition was a dark cloud hanging over us the entire pregnancy. I thought that I would be able to handle whatever befell, but after Will was born, I knew that hypothetically dealing with that disease and actually watching your child struggle with it were two very different things, and that I would be devastated if he were sick. It has been a tremendous relief that all is well.

He has, however, failed both of the hearing tests administered on his right ear. I am not feeling too terribly concerned about this, though. The IUGR and the CF both turned out not to befall us, and I think out luck will continue to hold. Poor doctors probably have to be alarmists because of the legal profession (I am convinced that was the reason behind the IUGR diagnosis. Also, after concerns that my little boy will suffer a terrible and debilitating illness that would certainly take his life before he reached 40, and possibly much much younger, a hearing impairment in one ear really seems like no big deal. Nothing we couldn't handle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two Boys

Andrew approaches me when I am holding Will sometimes and says, "No, Mommy, hold both boys" (or "two boys"). It is sort of unbelievable that I really do have two boys, and one of them is old enough to say so.

We all miss Brig's mom very very much since she left me all alone :) last Tuesday. Andrew has even mentioned that he misses Momo. We bought him a little truck that came with a working toy drill. The idea was that Will had gotten him the gift, but when we quizzed him on who the gift came from, he replied, "Momo." She got him so much stuff that he thinks every gift is from her.

Andrew's adjustment is, I am sure, perfectly normal, but that doesnt really make it any less stressful for me. He acts up often during the morning. I think we are both a little stir crazy, too, since we dont really leave the apartment. The other day, I had to plop him in his room after an incident of misbehavior. The heartbroken and devastated look on his sobbing face as I marched out the room , pulling the door behind me, made me feel terrible and guilty. He is still so little, too, and all of this must be so overwhelming. When I went back in 3 min later to resolve things with him, I took him in my arms and began telling him a story about a happy boy and his mommy. At this point, Andrew interrupted me and said, "No, Momma, Andrew not a happy boy. Andrew a sad boy." My heart broken. I asked him why he was said, expecting silence. But he replied, "Andrew miss a Momma." It was so sad. Fortunately, Baby Will sleeps pretty well and independently, so Andrew and I have a lot of time to play alone during the day. Andrew does take an interest in Will, too, and when Will has slept for too long, Andrew will announce, "Andrew miss a baby Will! Wake up, Baby, wake up!" and begin streaking for the room where little Will lies sleeping.

This photo was taken when Andrew returned home from Church and demanded to be allowed to hold Will.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Will's Visitors

Since Will was born near the end of visiting hours, he didn't get his first visitors until today. His first visitors were his older brother Andrew and MoMo (my mom). Andrew wanted to wake Will up, and even resorted to poking Will's nose and adding the usual beep-beep. He and MoMo have been having a good time while Alexandra, Will, and I (most of the time) are in the hospital. We'll see how much Andrew likes Will the first time Will is in "Andrew's Room" and dominating Mommy's time.

Alexandra's parents also came by to visit their fifth grandchild (four boys and one girl). Will loved being held by his Nana and Papa who also graciously brought Will's new ride to the hospital so that Will won't ride home in Andrew's lap.

And, finally, Alexandra's friends Kirsten Rabaut and Carrie Cannon came by to visit.

Now, more pictures from today:

Welcome Will!

Alexandra was due to deliver last Friday, the 26th, and she was scheduled to be induced this morning at 8:00 a.m., but the William Alexander Cannon decided yesterday was better. Yesterday Alexandra called me at work around 12:00 to tell me that she was having regular, but not painful contractions and that I should get ready to go. Thirty minutes later we decided that I should just come home and go with her to the hospital.

We arrived at Sibley Memorial Hospital (the hospital of my own birth 31 years ago) at around 2:00, and, despite not having called ahead (which apparently flustered the admitting nurses and Alexandra's doctor), they checked Alexandra into a room. About 1.5 Law & Order episodes later, Alexandra and I expected that the doctor would soon tell us to go back home--that we had arrived to early. But then two nurses and the doctor came into the room to check on the baby whose heart rate was dipping with each contraction. They decided to admit Alexandra, who was progressing very quickly.

At 7:58, William Alexander Cannon was born at 7 pounds 2.2 ounces and 20.5 inches long. He was perfectly healthy and adorable.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Homestead Farm, Potomac Md and Halloween Party

Andrew and I had a fun and exhausting day at a local pumpkin patch. This was our second day in a row of pumpkin-patching, and Andrew loved both experiences. I had forgotten my camera, of course, so my friend Michelle took a bunch of photos for me, most of which I had no idea she was taking.

Andrew got to feed lambs and goats (and loved it!) and saw baby pigs. We rode a hayride out to a pumpkin patch and he selected various pumpkins to take home. At our picnic lunch by a large pond, Andrew found a "screwdriver," which he used to fix all the large logs we were sitting on.

We spent the evening at the McLean Ward Halloween party, where Andrew wore a green T-shirt and diaper the majority of the time and "shot hoops." I physically forced him into his dragonfly costume, an act that practically amounted to child abuse (both physical and emotional, from his reaction). I just wanted him to put it on for 15 minutes for the dumb parade. He calmed down after a few minutes in front of the mirror and agreed to wear it across the stage. He actually understood me when I told him that after he walked across the stage to Papa (who was conducting the event) that he could remove the hated costume. I know he understood bc he stopped struggling and started trying to cut in line. When it was finally his turn, he raced across the stage to Papa and announced repeatedly and enthusiastically "Andrew a dragonfly!" I had told him to do this but was not sure he would or could. Anything to get back in his T-shirt and in front of his beloved hoop.

Just a side note: andrew is great at basketball. Boys MUCH bigger and older than he is (8 year olds!) did not have his made-shot percentage. Everyone was amazed. He really is good. I wish I had a video clip to prove it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Andrew's Birthday Party

Andrew blowing out the candles on his dump truck cake. I am so glad I made this cake instead of buying one. It was really easy, tasted good, and best of all, Andrew was thrilled to eat the dirt out of his toy "dump." (It is just chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse and crushed chocolate-filled oreos on top).

We celebrated Andrew's 2nd birthday in the courtyard of our apt complex. In attendance were Andrew's cousins; Aunt Katie Smith; Carey Cannon and her two girls, Piper and Natalee; and Alyson Yoder and her son, Christian. It was a beautiful, warm October day (but not too hot). Warm enough that the kids that soaked themselves in the courtyard fountain (that included Andrew and Piper) dried off without getting cold. I did have to change Andrew's outfit because he got completely drenched, whereas Piper just dunked her head. The moonbounce that the Segura cousins brought was the highlight of the party, and the various toys were brought down kept kids occupied when they weren't jumping. Andrew loved his gifts: a basketball hoop set from the Seguras, a Cars rolling backpack from the Cannons, and a Cars book from the Yoders.

He spent a lot of the time "shooting hoops." Torn between a desire to shoot and a desire to "jump high" on the moonbounce, he attempted to bring the hoop set with him while he jumped. Andrew loved every second of his day (except for the moment captured in the photo below where Piper donned Andrew's brand new Cars backpack). He really knew that everyone was there to celebrate him, and it made him so very happy. After the party,

Brig single-handedly took the Seguras and Andrew to the zoo while I rested and talked with my sisters back in the apt. He is so great. The Seguras stayed for dinner before heading back to West Va. Andrew told me that he missed Missy that night as he went to bed. We all went to bed after a truly perfect little day.

Andrew shooting hoops with his new set from his cousins

Andrew opening presents with Emma and Natalee.

Andrew with his new favorite book.

Piper shooting a rabbit while Andrew shoots the ball.

Missy, Thomas, Luke, Piper, Sam, and Christian.

Katie, Thomas, and Andrew eating lunch.

Daddy and Andrew.

Andrew getting his legs into his jump shot.

All the kids were excited to help Andrew open his gifts.

Alexandra made a delicious chocolate cake for Andrew's special day. Andrew loved it and was very excited to eat the dirt from the "dump."

Andrew's Angry

Andrew's in for a very rude awakening when the new baby comes (anytime now). If he can get this upset just because Piper Cannon (no relation) is wearing Andrew's backpack, what's going to happen when the new baby (Will?) is now dominating mommy's time? What the picture unfortunately does not show is that Piper is just as upset.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Andrew Turns 2!

When Andrew woke up this morning, we informed him that it was his birthday. This news made him very happy. He asked me, about 20 min later, to sing him a song. I asked him what he wanted to hear and he replied, "Happy Birthday to You." He requested the same when at McDonalds with my parents (I was a a dr appointment), and Papa reported that Andrew had a huge smile on his little face while they sang. I can't believe that it was two years ago that he officially came into our lives, and I am so proud of what a sweet and fun little boy he has become. And a little sad that he has been growing out of his babyhood so very very quickly.

A note about passing the bar

When I told my dad that I had passed, he asked whether I was sure that my name was not on the "Fail" list. My sisters and I are all that we are because our Dad believed in us. Reach for the stars and you can achieve anything is his mantra. Don't let your head get too caught up in the clouds, Dad! (By the way, there is no such thing as awful and humiliating as a Fail list. This is what I resorted to telling my Dad to lay to rest his concerns of a premature sense of relief at passing).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Alexandra Passed the Bar

Andrew and I are very proud of Alexandra today. I'm sure that Alexandra was the only pregnant mother of a two-year old that passed the July 2007 Virginia Bar Exam. And, add to that, Alexandra graduated from law school in 2004 and didn't take a Bar Review course.

Here's the link to the page with her name:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brig made the Washington Post

I wanted to provide a little link to an article about Brigham's big case in which is name is mentioned. I felt really proud of him when a read the one sentence describing him as "prosecutor Brigham Q. Cannon." He has been working really hard on this case and I think its great that its making news (even if it is D4). Here is the link to the full article:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

More Seguras at Difficult Run

Wading at Difficult Run is one of Andrew's favorite activities. The first time he did it, it was a chilly day in Feb or March and he went racing in before I could stop him (I was throwing sticks to the dog). I have taken him to this river knowing that we would end up in it. Still, I failed to bring proper gear. Luckily, he was fine with just swimming in an increasingly enormous diaper.

Cousin Luke Segura, 4 1/2

Conference Weekend with the Seguras

Saying "Cheese!"

During the break between Conference sessions, we drove out to Difficult Run with Charley, Aunt Katie, and the Segura cousins and Missy. Missy and I were the only adults to go in, but we all had a great time. Emma had a temporary tatoo on her bicep, which was the perfect complement to her swim attire: purple underwear. Charley chased sticks (mostly unsuccessfully) and the kids dug in the sand with their hands, threw rocks, jumped and splashed and played with the dog. It was a great day. It was probably the only thing that made me not begrudge the high temperature.

Andrew and Sam

It is too bad that this photo does not reflect the height of the fun Sam and Andrew were having together jumping high on the couch. They are very good friends and Andrew is always talking about going to Sam's house.

Shirtless Painting

This is our morning ritual nowadays.

More Hoops

Dribbling and Shooting

Shooting Hoops

Andrew LOVES basketball (and soccer, golf, and baseball). He can "shoot a hoop," as he says, all day long and is almost completely unruffled by the fact that he can get the ball nowhere near the basket. "ALMOST!" is his refrain after every failed shot. This is a park on Macomb St in NW by our apartment. It is also the very park my dad played at when he was a little kid and lived down the street.

Zoo in August

Interestingly, maybe sadly?, my dad also makes this very face. But he is 65.

At Myrtle Beach August 2007

The waves were a little rough for actual swimming, but jumping the foam was fun.

Andrew waiting to go to dinner

I think Andrew looks like his dad here.

Andrew the Builder

Andrew loved helping Daddy put together this Ikea shelf. I think he had enjoyed a spaghetti lunch right before we took these photos, unfortunately.

July Utah Hiking

After the Bar was over, we all headed out to Utah for a week break (Brig coincidentally had business out there anyway, so it worked out nicely.) We hiked part way to Stewart Falls before the rain forced us to turn around ( I was glad--I was 7 months pregnant). Luckily, we also had the red wagon and Andrew and I enjoyed a nice little ride back down together.